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Author Topic: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing  (Read 49292 times)

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Xose

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #100 on: July 22, 2010, 09:04:44 PM »

My old Höfner 4th bass string together with my old Spanish guitar, i.e., the very one the string was intended for...





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Bobber

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #101 on: July 23, 2010, 10:32:41 AM »

Yes, on second thoughts I think it is. There is another picture of the window shop which, I think, shows another bassguitar. I'll try to scan it tomorrow.


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Xose

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #102 on: August 09, 2010, 11:28:00 AM »

By those days (=beginning May 1960) not many Liverpool bands did have a bass guitar:

- Davey "Mushy" Cooper played his blonde Höfner 500/5 with The Bob's Vegas Five

- Walter Eymond played his Framus Star Bass with Rory Storm & THe Hurricanes

- 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 an extra pickup at the tailpiece!!!) with Gerry & The Pacemakers

- Phil Whitehead played his ...Kay??? with Derry & The Seniors. Was this instrument also a guitar converted to a bass??

At least two bass players (=perhaps three??) at the historical audition at Wyvern Club on 10 May 1960 had their regular guitars converted to a bass, i.e., 40% (=perhaps 60%??) of the total. No wonder that Paul McCartney did the same a few months after with his Solid 7...

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..."


Xosé






















Howie Casey has sent an email today. He says that the guitar player at those Derry & The Seniors photos is Brian Griffiths (=Paul Whitehead didn't join The Seniors until after the band had returned from Hamburg, by 1 October 1960), the guitar he is playing was home made by his brother, Bill Griffiths, and he was playing bass lines with it...

This confirms that on beginning 1960 Sutcliffe was one of the few musicians in Liverpool (=perhaps only four??) owning a true bass guitar...

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Xose

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #103 on: August 09, 2010, 01:38:43 PM »

Quote from: Xosé
...Now, another picture surfaces:

Peter Stone, "An interview with The Beatles' Chas Newby", Beatlology Magazine (September/October 2007), pp. 8-13:

"...CN:...And funny enough, that's exactly the same as Red Sails In The Sunset. I can remember, even Paul must have, I guess, been listening for the bass line that he wanted in a particular song. And, I can remember him playing it, because bear in mind we were both left-handed and so we had a certain affinity. But I can remember him playing it on his guitar and then showing me the notes that he wanted me to play for Red Sails In The Sunset and Hallelujah, I Love Her So. But with all the others, there wasn't that sort of problem, because they were basically... 12-bar blues and just play the bass line like a boogie-woogie, like a left-hand on a piano.

P.S.: It's intriguing that Paul was interested, even back then, in the bass lines.

CN: All I'm saying is that he was the one who told me what he wanted to hear. Whether it was just the bass line or whether he told the others what he wanted to hear, I don't know. I'm not aware of that. But, he was the one in those two particular songs. He made sure that I knew what it was he wanted..."


The interview is very interesting and full of very good info about those historical days at the end of December 1960. But what we can conclude from Chas Newby words is that Paul McCartney was playing bass lines with his Solid 7 at those days, and he was VERY sure of the bass lines he wanted for -at least some- group songs...

Now, I think McCartney could have his Solid 7 converted to a bass_with_three_piano_strings_plus_a_Fuma_type_guitar_&_cable while in Hamburg because:

a) That gear (=Fuma type pickup + cable), being German made, was available in Hamburg but perhaps not in Liverpool

b) Cfr. David Bedford, Liddypool. Birthplace of The Beatles, Deerfield, Dalton Watson Fine Books, 2009, pp. 147-148 (=interview to Faron Ruffley):

"...[Q]: Tell me your memories of The Beatles' Litherland Town Hall appearance.

[A]:...I'll never forget that night at Litherland after they returned [from Hamburg]. I was chatting to the girls at the back of the hall. Bob announces 'Direct from Hamburg, The Beatles' and they started with 'Long Tall Sally' which Paul sang. I'll never forget it, it was so loud and piercing, and then they belted the song out. The crowd went wild, and the girls ran from the back of the hall to the stage, leaving me on my own. They started screaming -I'd never seen it before; no one had.

I had my trademark white suit and these lads were scruffy. Paul had a brown tweed jacket; they all had smelly leathers with fur trim and they did stink. John had ripped jeans. They were a right mess, Paul had a red guitar with three strings on it, and it wasn't even plugged in. John hit his amp with a hammer to get it going. What on earth was going on?

They were different. Paul sang 'Oh My Soul' and 'Long Tall Sally', and then John would do Gene Vincent's 'Dance in the Street' and George would do 'Everybody's Trying To Be My Baby' and then they would all do 'Searching' together. No other groups do this. There would be one singer and backing singers, but they had three of them doing solos and then singing three-part harmonies together. However, I then made my famous quote: 'They'll never last'. How wrong was I? I say that the world never saw the real Beatles, the greatest rock 'n' roll band ever known...".


Xosé
« Last Edit: August 09, 2010, 01:40:27 PM by Xose »
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Bobber

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #104 on: August 10, 2010, 08:37:30 AM »

That would be odd though, knowing that Stuart and his bassguitar were still around in Hamburg and they had asked Chas Newby especially to join them for those late December 1960 gigs.
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Xose

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #105 on: August 10, 2010, 11:39:26 AM »

This is the póster for The Casbah gig on Sunday, 17 December 1960:



Lennon's passport bears an official stamp indicating that he left Germany on 10 December 1960 (=Harrison had left by 22 November, while McCartney & Best were deported on 1 December).

So, from 10 to 16 December they convinced Lennon-McCartney to join themselves again, recruiting Chas Newby, had at least two rehearsals, recovered all their gear, were offered to play four gigs, Newby borrowed a Hófner right-hand bass and Harrison wrote a letter to Sutcliffe dated 16 December and telling "...So how about coming home son! This hasn't been talked about with the others in the group, and is just my opinion..."

Isn't there anything strange here??  ???

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Bobber

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #106 on: August 10, 2010, 11:51:51 AM »

One step further: the story goes that John didn't contact the others for days (a week?) after his return to Liverpool. George's letter could be an act of despiration to get the band back together. Another option is that the rehearsals with Chas and/or Paul on bass didn't go that well. But I agree that the time is really tight. I must say I find it strange that John stayed in Hamburg for another nine days after Paul and Pete were deported.
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Xose

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #107 on: August 10, 2010, 12:24:41 PM »

Quote from: Bobber
One step further: the story goes that John didn't contact the others for days (a week?) after his return to Liverpool. George's letter could be an act of despiration to get the band back together. Another option is that the rehearsals with Chas and/or Paul on bass didn't go that well. But I agree that the time is really tight...

And remember Harrison words to Sutcliffe: "...Can't you, or won't you come home sooner, as if we get a new bass player for the time being, it will be crumby, as he will have to learn everything, and its no good with Paul playing bass, we've decided, that is if he had some kind of bass & amp to play on!..."

So, McCartney has neither bass, nor amp. BUT he had to use his Solid 7 as a bass, because if this were not the case..., why "...it's no good with Paul playing bass..."??


Quote from: Bobber
...I must say I find it strange that John stayed in Hamburg for another nine days after Paul and Pete were deported.

Eric Krasker explained this situation in his book: Lennon remained there, playing, until he had to leave Germany. The official stamp at his passport is a irrefutable source...

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Bobber

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #108 on: August 10, 2010, 12:28:14 PM »

Eric Krasker explained this situation in his book: Lennon remained there, playing, until he had to leave Germany. The official stamp at his passport is a irrefutable source...

I know. But it makes the time even before their first gig in Liverpool plus the arrangements they had to make even shorter.
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Xose

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #109 on: August 10, 2010, 12:36:38 PM »

Quote from: Bobber
I know. But it makes the time even before their first gig in Liverpool plus the arrangements they had to make even shorter.

Right... It's clear that the mistery is far from being solved...

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Bobber

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #110 on: August 11, 2010, 07:21:36 AM »

On the gear for the 17th: I read that The Beatles used the gear of Earl Preston and the TT's that night, who shared the bill with them.
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Xose

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #111 on: August 11, 2010, 09:58:19 AM »

On the gear for the 17th: I read that The Beatles used the gear of Earl Preston and the TT's that night, who shared the bill with them.

Aha... Well done Bobber!! ;)

Who were Earl Preston and the TT's?? Any photos and/or bio??  ???

Best!! ;)

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Bobber

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #112 on: August 11, 2010, 10:21:12 AM »

From Bill Harry's site:

July 9 1964

Earl PrestonEARL PRESTON – real name GEORGE SPRUCE - describes his career in his own words:

“I made my first public appearance at the age of 16 at Clubmoor Picture House. I was playing tea chest bass in a group who didn’t have a name. We were a bunch of lads who used to go around together.

“We used to practice all skiffle songs. I remember the first song I ever sang before an audience was at the Clubmoor and the number was ‘Oh Boy.’

“At this time I worked in Sayers (a Merseyside confectioners) and met fellow worker TONY WADDINGTON (who is now with THE PETE BEST FOUR). We got to talking and he invited me to his house where I heard him play guitar. I was knocked out by his playing!

“Tony then struck up a friendship with me and came and heard my group play. We entered a competition at the OPB and Tony came with us. In the competition we played ‘Bad Boy’, ‘Mean Woman Blues’ and ‘Living Doll.’ We came third in the contest and FARON won it!

“Tony asked me to form a group with him – THE COMETS. When I did join the group we changed the name to GENE DAY & THE DJANGO BEATS. I was with the group for 18 months and we used to play regularly at the Casbah and Lowlands.

“The group started to play more CHUCK BERRY numbers and thought that a lead vocalist wasn’t called for and asked me to leave.

“I left my full-time job and decided to go to sea – and went down to London. Unfortunately I couldn’t get a ship so I returned to Liverpool.

“One mid-day I happened to go down to the Cavern and got into conversation with BOB WOOLER. When he found that I wasn’t working with a group he placed me with the TT’s.

“The main venue in the early days of EARL PRESTON’s TT’s was, of course, Aintree Institute, where our main rivals were THE BEATLES.

“Time passed, we played many other venues – and then the Mersey Scene erupted due to THE BEATLES’ national success.

Earl Preston“Through BILL HARRY, we recorded for the Oriole album ‘This Is Mersey Beat,’ which entered the LP charts and soon after we signed a contract with Fontana.

“Bill took over the group for a brief period and handed us over to JIM IRELAND, my present manager.

“Due to rather different aims in music, rather than anything personal, the TT’s and myself split up, and I formed my present group, EARL PRESTON’S REALMS.

“After we had rehearsed for some time we signed with my original recording company – Fontana, and have our debut disc released this week.

“One of my main hobbies is songwriting, and I have already recorded some of my original compositions. I made my television debut on the AR-TV documentary ‘Beat City’, and hope that with my current disc I may have the opportunity of appearing in the major pop TV shows such as ‘Lucky Stars’, ‘Ready, Steady, Go!’ and ‘Scene At 6.30.’”


And here: http://www.oocities.com/fabgear6366/prestonearl.htm


Videos:
Earl Preston & the TT's - "My Prayer"
« Last Edit: August 11, 2010, 10:22:57 AM by Bobber »
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Bobber

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #113 on: August 11, 2010, 10:29:11 AM »

It seems they were also in the Beat City movie.

Remarkable: a left-handed bassplayer in that video...
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Xose

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #114 on: August 11, 2010, 11:31:05 AM »

Thank you Bobber!! ;)

I read somewher that on 17 December 1960 the band with The Beatles at The Casbah was Gene Day & The Jango (=sic) Beats...

Quote from: Bobber
...Remarkable: a left-handed bassplayer in that video...

Yes. And playing a Höfner solid, as far as I can see...

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An Apple Beatle

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #115 on: August 11, 2010, 04:54:58 PM »

Wow...cheers for the info...I sound engineered the TT's a few years back and had no idea. :)
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Xose

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #116 on: August 11, 2010, 05:34:37 PM »

Are you still in contact with them??  ???

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Xose

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #117 on: August 12, 2010, 02:52:27 PM »

Barry Miles, Beatles. In Their Own Words, London, Omnibus Pres, 1978, pp.10-11:

"...Then Stuart [Sutcliffe] left the group. He was the bass player. He lent me his bass, and I played bass for a few weeks. I used to play it upside down. And he used to have piano strings on it, because you couldn't get bass strings. They were a bit rare, you know, and they cost a lot, too, about £2 for one string. So he would cut these big lengths of piano strings from the piano and wind them on this guitar. So I played that upside down for a while..."

Andy Babiuk, Beatles gear, San Francisco, Backbeat Books, 2001, p. 46 (=quoting the same paragraph from Miles' book and trying to explain the -presumably- presence of piano strings on the Rosetti Solid 7):

"...McCartney got the idea from Sutcliffe: '...Stuart...lent me his bass, and I played bass for a few weeks...He used to have piano strings on it, because you couldn't get bass strings. They were a bit rare, you know, and they cost a lot too, about £2 for one string. So we would cut these big lengths of piano strings from the piano and wind them on the guitar..."

So..., which guitar was McCartney really referring to?? His Rosetti Solid 7, or Sutcliffe's Höfner 500/5 bass?? ???

A bit puzzling..., isn't it??

Xosé
« Last Edit: August 12, 2010, 03:05:52 PM by Xose »
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Xose

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #118 on: August 12, 2010, 06:06:29 PM »

Sam Leach, The Birth of The Beatles, Gwynedd, Pharaoh, 1999, p. 49 (=about their debut at The Cassanova Club in Liverpool, in 1961, February the 11th...)



"...You're playing more of them than Paul does then..."

What was Sam Leach meaning?? Any thoughts??  ???

And that Sam Leach's gig was ONE DAY BEFORE these ones (=according to Chazz Avery datation):  ???





Any thoughts?? ???

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #119 on: August 13, 2010, 10:09:25 AM »

http://www.myspace.com/terryandthetts Terry still runs the site himself and is normally good at answering. I am not in much contact with him myself nowadays since I left the theatre job.
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