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Author Topic: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing  (Read 48718 times)

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Bobber

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #40 on: June 25, 2010, 09:49:06 AM »


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??


That looks like a question for Bill Harry to answer.
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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #41 on: June 25, 2010, 11:12:26 AM »

That looks like a question for Bill Harry to answer.
I wait with baited breath. :)
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Xose

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #42 on: June 25, 2010, 05:15:37 PM »

I wait with baited breath. :)

So do I...

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Xose

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #43 on: June 26, 2010, 04:46:59 PM »

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

"...Paul was now [middle January 1961] quite accomplished on the bass and Geoerge more than the others wanted to keep the status quo...
...But Paul and George were still [February 1961] not happy with Stuart on bass and they constantly questioned his commitment..."


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« Last Edit: June 26, 2010, 04:48:31 PM by Xose »
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Xose

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #44 on: June 28, 2010, 06:17:22 PM »

Quote from: Xosé
...Does anybody know who was the first liverpudlian bass guitar player??  Perhaps Walter Eymond -aka Lu Walters??...

Steve Russell, private email dated 22 June 2010:

"...Yes, the Framus bass was I think 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. I believe that Shirley Douglas (part of the Chas McDevitt & Shirley Douglas Duo) was the first woman to own a Star Bass in the UK from sometime in 1958..."

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Xose

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #45 on: June 28, 2010, 07:17:18 PM »

Some Liverpudlian bass guitar players in 1960:

Walter Eymond -aka Lu Walters- playing his Framus Star Bass with Rory Storm & The Hurricanes:



Malcom Linnell playing his blonde Höfner 500/5 with Cliff Roberts & The Rockers:



Davey "Mushy" Cooper playing his blonde Höfner 500/5 with Bob's Vegas Five:



Stuart Sutcliffe playing his brunette Höfner 500/5 with The Silver Beetles:



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Xose

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #46 on: June 29, 2010, 08:30:27 AM »

Pauline Sutcliffe - Douglas Thompson, Stuart Sutcliffe & his lonely hearts club, London, Pan Books, 2001, p. 122:

"...'But Stuart lent me [Paul McCartney] his bass guitar when he left the group, so obviously we liked each other well enough, basically. I remember a string broke on that guitar and we couldn't get new strings -it must have been a Sunday or something- so we just get some pliers, and took ab A string off the piano, and amazingly it worked'..."

Why do we take for sure that the 22-24 June 1961 recordings with Tony Sheridan at Friedrich Ebert Halle were done with the 500/1??

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Xose

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #47 on: June 29, 2010, 03:11:31 PM »

Mo Foster, Seventeen Watts?, London, Sanctuary, 1997, pp. 93-94:

"...Often, in the enthusiasm of forming a band, there would be an excess of one instrument. This imbalance was solved during the skiffle period when four guitars would suddenly dwindle to three guitars as one player, so he imagined, was demoted to the lower rank of bass player. Everybody thought there had to be a bass although nobody actually knew what it did. The unfortunate player was usually chosen by default -either he knew the least number of chords, or he was last to join, or perhaps his personality dictated a desire to stand at the back...
...Somehow, somewhere, I'd heard the phrase 'Electric Bass Guitar'. It sounded longer and more important than just a guitar, and I liked it. Desperate for more information (even though my lack of funds would preclude such a purchase), I scanned the advertisements but they were not helpful. For example, 'The Hofner Bass Guitar': "Guitarists, double your income with the Hofner Bass Guitar. Tuned like a bass with the third, fourth, fifth and sixth strings of a guitar"...
...This confusing information led me to believe that to play the bass guitar you merely removed the top two strings of an ordinary guitar, and then in some way amplified it..."


This leads us to Johnny Gustafson & Les Chadwick (=& Phil Whitehead??) 'basses' discussed at this post...

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« Last Edit: June 29, 2010, 04:10:43 PM by Xose »
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Xose

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #48 on: June 30, 2010, 11:32:31 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...

Listening to 'Swanee River' recording, the differences amongst Colin Crawley -aka Colin Melander- bass playing, and McCartney's one, become clear..., don't they??

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Xose

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #49 on: June 30, 2010, 11:38:11 AM »

BTW: does anyone have the other recordings (='Sweet Georgia Brown'??) including Colin Melander as bass player to Tony Sheridan??

Best!! ;)

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Xose

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #50 on: June 30, 2010, 02:11:13 PM »

Pete Best - Patrick Doncaster, Beatle! The Pete Best Story, London, Plexus, 1985, pp. 41-42:

"...A more immediate problem, however, had been Stu. It had already been decided among the rest of us thet he would not take part in the recording session [with Tony Sheridan under Bert Kämpfert] because, it was agreed, the more experienced Paul would make a better showing on bass guitar..."

So, when Bert Kámpfert offered them the recording contract (=end May - beginning June 1961??) Stu was STILL considered part of the band... ???

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Xose

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #51 on: June 30, 2010, 07:21:43 PM »

That looks like a question for Bill Harry to answer.

From an interview with John Byrne -aka Johnny Guitar-, guitar player with Rory Storm & The Hurricanes:

"...Question. And I know you were the first Liverpool band to have an electric bass guitar.

Answer from Johnny Bryne Guitar. How that came about was.... we'd been using teachest bass but skiffle was going out. So, to play rock and roll you need the instruments and in Liverpool in 1958 all you had were Hofner guitars - which were great but they weren't rock and roll guitars. So I bought an Antoria in Rushworths for 29 quid. Everyone laughed at it when they first saw it. It was a Japanese import and it looked like a plank of wood, it was the first one in Liverpool. But I hadn't thought on that you needed a bloody amplifier to go with it. Nobody had amplifiers. So the first amplifier I used was a wooden box with a small valve amplifier and a speaker out of a cinema on West Derby Road. So I used that. Ringo had by now got a full kit together. We had a lead guitarist with a Hofner Club 40, but we were still using a tea chest bass. But Rory had met this woman who said her son had bought a Framus Star Bass, and she was making him take it back because it was too much. So me and Rory arranged to meet her at Hessy's were we bought it off him for 24 quid. No one knew what to do with it because there were no bass amps. In 1958/59 amps were just coming into the shops and they had Vox which were scarce and expensive and another firm called Selmer. So we bought 3 Selmers. Plugged the bass into one of them and we were off as a rock and roll band. When we did Brand New Cadillac the other bands would come over and say the sound was fantastic..."


Another mistery solved...  8)

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« Last Edit: June 30, 2010, 07:23:46 PM by Xose »
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Xose

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #52 on: June 30, 2010, 08:29:54 PM »

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...


According to George Harrison (=apud Eric Krasker, The Beatles. Fact and Fiction. 1960-1962, Biarritz, Séguier, 2009, p. 132) 'Cry For A Shadow' was composed in Hamburg in October 1960. The song was recorded on 22-23 June 1961 and it's one of the first -if not THE first- songs with McCartney playing bass.

I have transcribed (=sorry for the manuscript, as my Finale software today doesn't work...) McCartney's bass line and I'm wondering which bass playing style do we have here. IMHO, that of a rhythm guitar player..., isn't it??

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« Last Edit: June 30, 2010, 10:59:44 PM by Xose »
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Bobber

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #53 on: July 02, 2010, 08:28:40 AM »

Pete Best - Patrick Doncaster, Beatle! The Pete Best Story, London, Plexus, 1985, pp. 41-42:

"...A more immediate problem, however, had been Stu. It had already been decided among the rest of us thet he would not take part in the recording session [with Tony Sheridan under Bert Kämpfert] because, it was agreed, the more experienced Paul would make a better showing on bass guitar..."

So, when Bert Kámpfert offered them the recording contract (=end May - beginning June 1961??) Stu was STILL considered part of the band... ???

Xosé

I don't agree with this source.
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Bobber

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #54 on: July 02, 2010, 08:29:05 AM »

BTW: does anyone have the other recordings (='Sweet Georgia Brown'??) including Colin Melander as bass player to Tony Sheridan??

Best!! ;)

Xosé

Have you already found it? It must be somewhere on the hdd over here.
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Bobber

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #55 on: July 02, 2010, 08:30:11 AM »


Why do we take for sure that the 22-24 June 1961 recordings with Tony Sheridan at Friedrich Ebert Halle were done with the 500/1??

Xosé

Why not? It is widely documented that Paul got his Hofner in April 1961.
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Xose

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #56 on: July 02, 2010, 09:40:33 AM »

Have you already found it? It must be somewhere on the hdd over here.

No I haven't. Any clues?? ???

Why not? It is widely documented that Paul got his Hofner in April 1961.

Well. The most detailed description is at Andy Babiuk, Beatles gear, San Francisco, Backbeat, 2001, p. 49. What is clear, is that the instrument was purchased during their 2nd trip to Hamburg (=29 March - 2 July 1961, according to Eric Krasker), but the exact date is not known...

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Xose

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #57 on: July 02, 2010, 12:05:44 PM »

Andy Babiuk, Beatles gear, San Francisco, Backbeat, 2001, p. 49:

"...'Stu lent me his bass for a week or so', remembers McCartney...'Eventually I found a nice little shop in the centre of Hamburg, near a big department store...I saw this bass in the window, this violin-shaped bass, the Hofner...So I bought it, and I think it was only about £30'.
It was on the second floor of the Steinway shop in the centre of Hamburg that McCartney found the solution to his problem:a German-made Hofner 500/1 bass...Günter Höper was one of six salesmen at Steinway at the time. 'Paul McCartney bought his Hofner bass from me...As usual in those days, he bought it in instalments. We offered a ten-payment deal, and so we had to set up a contract, for which we needed his passport number. However, Paul had left his passport at the Top Ten club, so I went with him to the club to get the passport and do the deal'. Höper says the price of the bass was 287 Deutschmarks..."


The "... second floor of the Steinway shop in the centre of Hamburg..." was the same as the "...nice little shop in the centre of Hamburg, near a big department store.."?? :shock:

The Beatles arrived in Hamburg on 29 April 1961 and stayed there until 2 July. On 22-23 June they had the recording sessions for Polydor. When DID McCartney buy the 500/1?? :shock:

McCartney had seen AT LEAST one 500/1 by those days, Colin Crawley's -aka Colin Melander-, bass player to Tony Sheridan & The Jets...





"...According to an article by musician Iain Hines, which accompanied this photo in a January 1965 issue of 16 Magazine, this photo was taken the night Paul and Pete were arrested by the Hamburg police for the infamous fire incident. Hines claims this band was hastely thrown together to fill The Beatles' spot..."

...as well as some other basses, as Stu's 500/5 stringed lefty...



...The Jets' Framus Star Bass...



The Jets at The Top Ten Club, Hamburg, July 1960. The front line left to right: Pete Wharton (bass), Colin Melander (guitar), Tony Sheridan (guitar), Rick Hardy (guitar).

...and even Top Ten's Double Bass, purchased for the club by Peter Eckhorn:



Tony Sheridan & The Jets at Top Ten in 1961

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Xose

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #58 on: July 02, 2010, 11:21:55 PM »

Backing to the thread's topic: when The Beatles arrive in Hamburg on 16 August 1960 to perform at the Indra, there were the following English bands playing there:

- Two at the Top Ten, whose line-ups were:

a) for The Jets, Jimmy Ward on drums and vocals, Iain Hines on keyboards, Chas Beaumont on guitar, Colin Crawley -aka Colin Melander- on bass and Rick Hardy on guitar

b) for the Tony Sheridan Trio, Peter Wharton on bass, Ingo Thomas on drums -replaced shortly afterwards by Tony Cavanaugh- and Tony Sheridan on guitar and vocals.

These two bands emaned from the divison of The Jets, when Peter Eckhorn decided -by end July 1960- that he wanted a programme of non-stop music at the Top Ten in order to improve the club's drawing power. It should be remembered that The Jets were the first English band to play in Hamburg, when they arrived on 5 June 1960 to play at the Kaiserkeller. The line-up was Rick Hardy, Colin Crawley, Peter Wharton, Jimmy Ward and Tony Sheridan. The following photo shows this line-up:



The Jets at The Top Ten Club, Hamburg, July 1960. The front line left to right: Pete Wharton (bass), Colin Melander (guitar), Tony Sheridan (guitar), Rick Hardy (guitar).

- One at the Kaiserkeller, Derry & The Seniors (=the first Liverpool band to play in Hamburg), whose line-up was Howie Casey (saxophone), Derry Wilkie (vocals), Jeff Wallington (drums), Billy Hughes (rhythm guitar/vocals), Brian Griffiths (lead guitar) and Phil Whitehead (bass). The following photos, dated 10 May 1960 at Wyvern Club in Liverpool, show this line-up:





So, a Framus Star Bass at the Top Ten and a... Kay??(=this guitar is still unidentified!!) bass or guitar_converted_to_a_bass at the Kaiserkeller.

Some time after, Peter Eckhorn purchased a Double Bass for the Top Ten, and Colin Crawley got a Höfner 500/1:









This is -aproximately- the 'bass sound' The Beatles found in Hamburg on August 1960...

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Xose

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #59 on: July 03, 2010, 01:31:46 PM »

Tony Sheridan, Tokyo Beatles Fan Club Magazine, 19 (1998), (=apud Eric Krasker, The Beatles. Fact and Fiction. 1960-1962 , Biarritz, Séguier, 2009, p. 159):

"...Tony Sheridan explain why listening to 'Sweet Georgia Brown' really gives that impression: 'He [McCartney] sounds like a double bass, 'cause I told him to play like theat. I didn't like the new idea of Fender guitar bass. When I first heard Elvis singing 'Jailhouse Rock', that was the first time I heard the electric bass and I didn't like that. Before that, Elvis had always that big bass. I still think the big bass is the best, it has more sound. So I asked Paul to always play as deep (deep notes) as posible, and to play like a big bass player. He's a very good musician, you know, so when he started playing bass guitar, he played like a bass player, not like a guitar player..."

The Jets arrive in Hamburg with a Framus Star Bass on 5 June 1960:



On 30 June, their contract with Bruno Koschmider to play at the Kaiserkeller was extended for a further four weeks, but they only performed until 6 July, as Peter Eckhorn offered them to play at his new club, the Top Ten, offering them a wage increase of 5 Deutschemarks per day and per person, including superior lodgings in the building's attic. The opening took place on Saturday 9 July 1960, and soon afterwards a Double Bass was purchased by Peter Eckhorn for the club:







IMHO, Sheridan's requirements to Eckhorn are behind that Double Bass purchase, and so are behind McCartney's earliest bass sound (=at least behind McCartney's bass sound on some songs, like 'Sweet Georgia Brown' for example...)

But, have a look at Wharton's index finger in his right hand. What does he have?? Exactly: plaster. As you all know, I have been playing both bass & Double Bass for years, and I can assure you that plucking Double Bass strings is not the same as plucking -even although you pluck the strings without a pick- bass strings.

But another fact should be stressed. Have a look at at Wharton Double Bass at the photos. You will notice a 'fat' 4th string. Why?? Because it is a GUT string. At those days, 4th Double Bass strings were still made out of gut. Metal ones got common only at end sixties - beginning seventies in Europe, and this is a very interesting feature, because that string sounded different.

Incidentally, that problem with the bottom string at bowed bass instruments was ALREADY a problem for those who can be considered the most innovative musicians in the XVIIth. Century: the musicians at the service of the Duke of Medici in Florencia by mid-1680's:



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