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Author Topic: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing  (Read 51927 times)

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Xose

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #20 on: June 21, 2010, 10:19:45 AM »

The myth is that Paul traded his trumpet for a guitar, because he couldn't sing when he was playing the trumpet. This could of course be another trumpet...

Yes. And those drums could date AFTER Spring 1960. Allan Williams - William Clayton, The Man Who Gave The Beatles Away, London, Elm Tree Books, 1975, p. 73:

"...I saw him [Tommy Moore] recently [by 1975] in Liverpool
'Allan, what happened to my kit?'
'I don't know, Tommy. Not a clue.'
He told me that he had asked the Beatles about it some time later in their career but the drums were sunk without trace.

[...]

'I'd still like to know what happened to those bloody drums though, Allan.'
'Yeah, it's a bleeding mystery, Tommy.'
'D'you think the Beatles took them?'
'Nah,'
'No, I wouldn't think so either. I think Paul played on them a couple of times after I left, mind.'
'Yeah?'
'Yeah. Don't know what came of them after that though.'
Tommy Moore, the best drummer the Beatles ever had, looked thoughtful..."


This means that by Summer 1960 they have got Tommy Moore's drums set and Paul took over the drums when needed:

George Harrison in Anthology book "...We had a stream of drummers coming through. After about three of these guys, we ended up with almost a full kit of drums from the bits that they'd left behind, so Paul decided he'd be the drummer. He was quite good at it. At least he seemed OK; probably we were all pretty crap at that point. It only lasted for one gig, but I remember it very well. It was in Upper Parliament Street where a guy called Lord Woodbine owned a strip club. It was in the afternoon, with a few perverts - five or so men in overcoats - and a local stripper. We were brought on as the band to accompany the stripper; Paul on drums, John and me on guitar and Stu on bass...."

When are they named 'The Beatles' for the first time?? According to most sources in Hamburg, August 1960...

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« Last Edit: June 21, 2010, 10:22:57 AM by Xose »
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Xose

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #21 on: June 21, 2010, 10:38:08 AM »

But back to this thread topic. When did McCartney start to play bass FOR THE FIRST TIME in Hamburg??

Alan Clayson - Pauline Sutcliffe, Backbeat. Stuart Sutcliffe: The Lost Beatle, London, Pan Books, 1994, p. 91:

"...Up at the Kaiserkeller, the group's [Derry & The Seniors] hours off caused the crowd to thin. Custom was lost, Koschmider presumed, to the hated Top Ten and entrampment by Sheridan for the rest of the night. It was a bit unreasonable to expect Wilkie's boys to work around the clock without a rest but, discontinuing the juke-box, Bruno bridged the gaps by extracting the saxophonist and pianist from the Seniors, and Sutcliffe from the Beatles, and bringing in a German jazz drummer from another club. Stuart's borrowed the Seniors' instrument while the Beatles restructured their act [at Indra] with left-handed Paul playing the absent member's bass upside down..."

The Top Ten was opened on Saturday 9 July 1960

The Beatles started to play Indra on Wednesday 17 August 1960

The Indra was closed by the police on Tuesday 4 October 1960

So McCartney playing with Sutcliffe's borrowed bass at Indra happened during September 1960...

Was this the first time Paul played bass??

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Xose

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #22 on: June 21, 2010, 10:58:25 AM »

Barry Miles, Paul McCartney. Many Years From Now, London, Secker & Warburg, 1997, pp. 43-44:

"...Even though it was forced one me, it is interesting that I'm a bass player. I certainly didn't pick i because my grandfather had played bass [E-flat bass tuba]. My dad, presumably because of his dad, would point out the bass on a radio. He'd say, 'Listen to that. You hear that, dum duuum, dum? That's called the bass.' 'Oh.' My dad would take us to brass band concerts in the band shell in the park, and we would sit and listen, and I would always like that. It was very northern...I still have a very soft spot in my heart for brass bands, it's a root thing for me. And no wonder if my grandfather's semen had a load of bass genes on it, my dad must have passed them to me..."

Ibidem, pp. 74-75:

"...There's a theory that I maliciously worked Stu out of the group in order to get the prize chair of bass. Forget it! Nobody wants to play basss, or nobody did in those days...So I definitely didn't want to do it but Stuart left, and I got lumbered with it... Stuart lent me his bass till I got one, so I was playing it upside down..."

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« Last Edit: June 21, 2010, 11:04:19 AM by Xose »
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Xose

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #23 on: June 21, 2010, 11:10:22 AM »

Dave Ravenscroft, private email dated 17 February 2010:

"...Wally Shephard who is the person who apparently taught Paul to play the bass line for the Chuck Berry song (I'm) Talking About You, which Paul then used for I Saw Her Standing There.
 
Wally is also a left-handed bass player, so he may know better than most about Paul's bass back then..."


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Xose

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #24 on: June 21, 2010, 11:38:18 AM »

Walter Everett, The Beatles as Musicians. The Quarry Men through Rubber Soul, Oxford, OUP, 2001, p. 94:

"...McCartney first recordings as bassist [Polydor recordings, June 1961] show only the dominant compositional traits that became the core of his playing style into 1964...[1] Arpeggiation-based ostinati (with their basis in boogie-woogie) are taken from Presley recordings and from saxophone arrangements on Richard and Domino records. Otherwise, McCartney typically parts [2] repeated roots or [3] he alternates roots with fifths in dotted rhythm..."

i.e.: 1 - saxophone, 2 - rhythm guitar, 3 - bass tuba / left hand piano styles. The three ones he DID learn from the beginning...

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« Last Edit: June 21, 2010, 11:42:35 AM by Xose »
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Bobber

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #25 on: June 22, 2010, 09:15:13 AM »

Things obviously got together. When the switch to bass was to be made, John refused because he was John and George was the lead guitarist. And yes, it might very well be that Paul's gear wasn't really working well plus he was into the bass more than the other. That made the choice pretty obvious. I know that at first Paul didn't like playing the bass, but he soon found out that it was a great instrument.
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Xose

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #26 on: June 22, 2010, 10:18:02 AM »

Things obviously got together. When the switch to bass was to be made, John refused because he was John and George was the lead guitarist. And yes, it might very well be that Paul's gear wasn't really working well plus he was into the bass more than the other. That made the choice pretty obvious. I know that at first Paul didn't like playing the bass, but he soon found out that it was a great instrument.

Yes...

BTW: could you finally get any info of the bass players in Hamburg at my first post in this thread??

Best!! ;)

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Bobber

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #27 on: June 22, 2010, 11:09:16 AM »

Can the pictures of the Wyvern Club be of any help?

http://www.dmbeatles.com/forums/index.php?topic=7201.0
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Xose

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #28 on: June 22, 2010, 11:25:51 AM »

Can the pictures of the Wyvern Club be of any help?

http://www.dmbeatles.com/forums/index.php?topic=7201.0


Only for the following facts. Regarding bass players that historical day:

- Stuart Sutcliffe played his brunnette Höfner 500/5 with The Silver Beatles

- Malcom Linnell played his blonde Höfner 500/5 with Cliff Roberts & The Rockers

- Johnny Gustafson played his Hoyer_Soloist_converted_to_a_bass with Cass & The Cassanovas

- Les Chadwick played his Framus_Sorella_converted_to_a_bass with Gerry & The Pacemakers

- Another guy* played his Kay (=not sure!!) with Derry & The Seniors. Was this guitar also converted to a bass??

At least two bass players (=perhaps three??) at this historical audition had their regular guitars converted to a bass, i.e., 40% (=perhaps 60%??) of the total. And we are dealing with 'la creme de la creme' of Liverpool bands at those times, trying to do their best in front of Larry Parnes and Billy Fury**. No wonder that Paul McCartney did the same a few months after with his Solid 7...

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* I have found that Derry & The Seniors' line-up of the group when they arrived in Hamburg in 1960 was Howie Casey (saxophone), Derry Wilkie (vocals), Jeff Wallington (drums), Billy Hughes (rhythm guitar/vocals), Brian Griffiths (lead guitar) and Phil Whitehead (bass).

** Something which means that The Silver Beetles playing standards COULDN'T be that of Forthlin Road tapes by Spring 1960...
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Bobber

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #29 on: June 22, 2010, 11:37:48 AM »

Converting a guitar into a bass could have been a common thing to do. Most bassplayers start as a guitarist and purchasing a bassguitar meant spending a lot of money. I can accept that. ;D
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Xose

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #30 on: June 22, 2010, 11:54:01 AM »

Converting a guitar into a bass could have been a common thing to do. Most bassplayers start as a guitarist and purchasing a bassguitar meant spending a lot of money. I can accept that. ;D

Of course!! Even me in mid-seventies did the same!! ;)

But see: at Larry Parness audition there are five of the most important Liverpool bands by May 1960. Two (=maybe three) of the bass players had no basses, but guitars converted to basses. And another two (=Sutcliffe and Malcolm Linnell) had regular basses. Which ones?? Höfner 500/5's. How many different bass makes were available in Liverpool at those days?? Probably only one: Höfner 500/5.

Which other 'important' Liverpool bands were NOT at Larry Parness audition??

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Bobber

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #31 on: June 22, 2010, 12:02:19 PM »

I think Rory Storm wasn't there.
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Xose

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #32 on: June 22, 2010, 12:36:59 PM »

I think Rory Storm wasn't there.


Well. Rory Storm was at the audition but didn't play. His bass player, Walter Eymond -aka Lu Walters-, played a Framus Star bass by those days...

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« Last Edit: June 22, 2010, 12:39:34 PM by Xose »
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Kevin

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #33 on: June 22, 2010, 12:56:53 PM »

Just want to say I really admire what you guys are doing in these threads. This early-days stuff isn't my bag, but this kind of Beatle archeology stuff really is. Abandoning your preconceptions, picking up those bones and trying to look at them with a fresh eye. It's amazing what you might find. Fantastic!
"You call him DOCTOR Jones lady!"
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Xose

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #34 on: June 22, 2010, 01:55:57 PM »

Thank you Kevin!! ;)

As far as I have found, the Framus Star bass was the first bass guitar fully available in the UK. The Selmer distributed Hofner 500/5 followed very soon after it. The first owner of a Star Bass is reputed to have been Don Wilson of the Sidekicks Skiffle Group, but Jet Harris, later of the Shadows, apparently purchased the Aristone version at around the same time in 1957. Shirley Douglas (part of the Chas McDevitt & Shirley Douglas Duo) was probably the first woman to own a Star Bass in the UK from sometime in 1958.

It's interesting the fact that both Höfner and Framus presented his first bass guitars ever produced at Frankfurt Musikmesse in 1956 (=500/1 and Star bass, respectively). Before that, there were NOT European bass guitars, if I right, and importing them from the USA was forbidden...

I've attached a scan out of the Dallas catalogue of c1960, which has prices included (=Sutcliffe's 500/5 was 48 gns on 21 January 1960...)

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Xose

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #35 on: June 22, 2010, 05:23:43 PM »

Michael Hannan, "Melodicism in Paul McCartney's bass playing" in Yrjö Heinonen et alii (eds.), Beatlestudies 2. Proceedings of the Beatles 2000 Conference, Jyväskylä, University, 2001, pp. 231-242:

"...For the most part, the techniques used by McCartney in the first five Beatles albums and the singles of the same period, are remarkably straightforward, functional and economical...
...By far the most common techniques are (1) to employ only the root of each chord of the progerssion of the song and (2) to employ the root of the chord on the first beat of the bar and the fifth of the chord on the third beat of the bar...
...Quite a few songs of the period are rock and roll songs with boogie- style repeated melodic bass patterns..."


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Xose

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #36 on: June 23, 2010, 08:36:53 AM »

Dr. Christian Hoyer (=Framus historian. He has written the book Framus: Built in the Heart of Bavaria, Framus, 2007), private email dated 23 june 2010:

"...What made him [Fred Wilfer] design the instrument [Star bass] was rather the desire of musicians.
Fred Wilfer had always an open ear for them, he worked closely with Peter Kraus, Attila Zoller and first of all Billy Lorento (Bill Lawrence) who recommended the thinline guitar designed with him in 1953... and then three years later the Star Bass 5/150 was launched, almost the same thinline body like the 5/120 Billy Lorento guitar.
Because Fred Wilfer worked with bands such as the Starlets who also gave their name to the new bass: Star Bass..."


So..., did Walter Höfner know about Fred Wilfer's attempts to design a bass guitar by 1955??  8)

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Xose

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #37 on: June 23, 2010, 05:17:19 PM »

Christian Hoyer, Framus - Built in the Heart of Bavaria, Cantz, Edition Framus, 2007, p. 40:

"...An additional setback came for Framus, the largest company in the industry, in this period of malaise. Walter Höfner, since May 1, 1947 production supervisor for the plucked instrument division at Framus and his brother Josef, who had been working as export specialist at Framus since April 1948, understandably planned to found their tradition-rich family company anew after the conclusion of their denazification proceedings. In the summer of 1948, however, this resulted in 'certain differences of opinion about the future form of the mutual legal relationship'. The denazification according to the amnesty legislation of August 1948 cleared the way for a potential revival of the immemorial 'Karl Höfner' company. Originally, both a partnership with Framus and the naming of both family names in the Framus company name had been discussed for the time after their denazification. Since Walter Höfner was so important in the company, his wife had already been bestowed with a 50-percent share of Framus' profits as of July 1947. A further deepening of the partnership did not ensue after August 1948, however, and the interpersonal realtionship between the two families became so charged that a full dissociation followed in October 1948.

An avalanche of legal proceedings followed over such things as a radio, a shack of corrugated metal or a gluing method. The main case, which was to clarify to what extent Walter Höfner or his wife were already in a partnership with Framus, stretched over six years and finally ended with a settlement in 1956..."


Christian Hoyer, op. cit., p. 104:

"...The Star bass was put through practical tests long before it was introduced at the Frankfurt spring fair in 1956. The instrumental quartet 'Starlets' worked with the new bass and gave it its name. At the time, the quartet played for popular artists such as Vico Torriani or Gerhard Wendland..."

This means: Höfner bros. were having legal arguments with Fred Wilfer when the TWO first European bass guitars were designed...

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« Last Edit: June 23, 2010, 07:16:53 PM by Xose »
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Bobber

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #38 on: June 25, 2010, 07:11:59 AM »

You're going indepth on the history of electric guitars and basses here. I know there's a piece of history here on that topic on this forums, but I could not find it.
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Xose

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #39 on: June 25, 2010, 09:28:59 AM »

From Steve Russell Höfner site:

http://www.vintagehofner.co.uk/cont.html

"...Hofner at the Frankfurt Music Fair in Spring 1956. Frau Wanda Hofner (Walter Hofner's wife) is sat at the table. The 'new' 500/1 Bass model can be seen at the right-hand side of the main display...."

The pickups of that first '56 were separated, and so were at the bass included in the '56 catalogue. Steve Rusell: "...However, Höfner in those days took a photo of a new model, and then used it for years afterwards, even when significant changes had been made to the appearance of the model..."

Dr. Christian Hoyer and me are trying to get a photo of the Framus stand at the same Frankfurt Musikmesse, as it could perhaps show the Framus Star bass. I will let you know...

Meanwhile..., who was THE first musician in Liverpool to own a bass guitar?? Perhaps Walter Eymond -aka Lu Walters-, bass guitar player with Rory Storm and The Hurricanes?? Any clues??

Best!! ;)

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