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Author Topic: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing  (Read 52920 times)

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Xose

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #180 on: February 19, 2011, 03:59:54 PM »

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

...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. 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..."
...




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Xose

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #181 on: February 20, 2011, 10:14:52 PM »

This is all I can do, although there still are some lacunae:

"...25, Upton Green,
Speke,
Liverpool, 24,
Friday Dec 16th.

Dear Stu,

I hope you are going on ok there with Astrid. I arrived ok (24 hours exactly), but spent a packet on porters, taxis, etc.

I went to see your mum and dad, the day after I arrived, and they were very pleased to see me. Your dad doesn't seem too to mind the idea of you being engaged, but your mum seemed a little disappointed in you, (that is as far as I could make out). Your new home is fab, and your dad was busy adding finishing ... to the paint work. I was shown your room to be, which is about the same size of the room you & John occupied at Gambier, and your mum has moved in all your paintings photos - record player – bed etc. I like the painting you did of ...

...I saw John last night for the first [MISSING PAGE: time he has be (sic) home, although he's been back for a week or so. He never let on to us!...

...I was at the 'Jac' last night...

...we have bookings for Christmas Eve, Boxing day, New years Eve...

... 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 how about coming home son! This hasn't been talked about with the others in the group, and is just my opinion...

...If you aren't coming home for awhile, can you send some money to keep Frank Hessey]
laughing. I want to get an Echo for Christmas, £34, or £6 down, the rest when Frank catches me, so if all my other stuff is up to dak (sic) I will probably be able to get it with no guarantee. I believe Gerry has one, only he ruins it by using it on every number.

I bought Eddies 'Singing to My Baby' LP, Man of Mystery, Lucille, Only the Lonely, Like Strangers, (Everly's new one), Perfidia, (Ventures new one), and may buy an instrumental called Chariot. I am learning everything I can get my hands on now!

Anyway Stu, get home here smartish, and remember me to the wife, Jurgend, + the blonde one as well. Remember, the trip is quite good even alone, and you too can be in Ullett Rd in exactly 24 hrs!

Cheerio from

George

P.S. All groups here have Fender & Burns solid guitars & Bass & Echo's on their amps, so we want to be at our best as soon as we start spieling.

Jim Gretty also send his love.

(This address was on the back of the envelope you sent, so I hope it is the right one)..."


Could anybody help to fill the lacunae??  ??? ...

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

"...CN:...but there were a couple of tunes where I had to learn a bass line. There's a Ray Charles number, Hallelujah, I Love Her So, but they used to do the Eddie Cochrane type version of it. And that had a more scale bass line to it, rather than just a blues .playing the prime note and the thirds. So I had to learn that. And the other one was Red Sails In The Sunset. Its funny now, because I've joined a band, here, locally -you know, a bunch of old guys playing together. And, some of the songs they sing are Beatles songs, and it's amazing how many of those Beatles songs have the same scale progessions for the bass lines. 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..."


So, Paul McCartney was playing bass lines with his Solid 7 on 17 December 1960..., wasn't he??...

If we cross these two sources, we can conclude that McCartney started to be the Beatles bass player by December 1960 -when Sutcliffe or Newby weren't at hand-, and that he used his Rosetti "bass" to fulfill that function...

Xosé
« Last Edit: February 20, 2011, 10:26:31 PM by Xose »
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Bobber

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #182 on: February 24, 2011, 09:37:57 AM »

Not sure about that conclusion.
We can read that the group has decided that 'it's no good with Paul playing bass'. That means that the band had been talking about filling in Stu's place for the time being. Obviously they all thought it would be no good with Paul playing bass, so they went looking for someone else to fullfill the vacant position on bass while Stu was still in Germany. Chas Newby says that it was Paul who told him what he wanted to hear, not that Paul was playing bass at this time.
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Xose

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #183 on: February 24, 2011, 09:51:35 AM »

Not sure about that conclusion.
We can read that the group has decided that 'it's no good with Paul playing bass'. That means that the band had been talking about filling in Stu's place for the time being. Obviously they all thought it would be no good with Paul playing bass, so they went looking for someone else to fullfill the vacant position on bass while Stu was still in Germany. Chas Newby says that it was Paul who told him what he wanted to hear, not that Paul was playing bass at this time.

Yes but..., why does George say "...we've decided, that is if he had some kind of bass & amp to play on!..."?? Maybe they tried with the Rosetti "bass" -that means that McCartney played the bass lines with his guitar- and they realised it didn't work as expected??

After all, McCartney did really play bass lines with his Rosetti "bass"...

Xosé
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Bobber

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #184 on: February 24, 2011, 12:49:46 PM »

I think George means that they had discussed the matter and realized that Paul didn't even have a bass and amp to perform with, should he have wanted to play the bass at all.
When did Paul start performing with the rebuild Rosetti?
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Xose

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #185 on: February 24, 2011, 01:06:57 PM »

I think George means that they had discussed the matter and realized that Paul didn't even have a bass and amp to perform with, should he have wanted to play the bass at all.
When did Paul start performing with the rebuild Rosetti?

Another scenary is that having booked 4 gigs for December 1960, and not being Stu with them, they tried to use the Rosetti as a "bass" and it didn't fullfil their expectatives, so they look for another solution (=Harrison writes to Sutcliffe to come back to Liverpool, and Sutcliffe refused. Best asked his old bandmate Chas Newby and he agreed, borrowed a Höfner bass guitar...)

The Casbah photo is dated 12 February 1961, according to Chazz Avery...

But several witnesses remember him playing the Rosetti with a few strings on it in September 1960 (=Hamburg), December 1960 (=Liverpool), and January 1961 (=Liverpool), one of them even remembers that he used his Rosetti to play bass lines...

Sutcliffe is not there until end January, Newby returns back to his studies and they have booked more gigs for January. Solution?? Using the Rosetti as a "bass" (=hence the photo with the three piano strings and the FUMA_type pickup...)

Xosé
« Last Edit: February 24, 2011, 01:15:36 PM by Xose »
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Xose

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #186 on: February 24, 2011, 02:49:11 PM »

Tom Mulhern, "Interview to Paul McCartney", Guitar Player, July 1990 (=full interview here...):

"...Q. You obviously didn't abandon guitar altogether, but did you ever feel that you had hopelessly locked yourself into the role of the bassist?

A. It's funny, actually. I have problems with one of the books that's been written about us, because the guy obviously didn't like me. That's fair enough. But this guy started to make up a whole story of how I was so keen to be the bass player that I really did a number on Stuart Sutcliffe, the original bass player. He made it sound as if I had planned this whole thing to become the Beatles' bass player. I remember ringing George up shortly after this book came out, and I asked him, "Do you remember me really going hard to chuck Stu out of the group and be a bass player?" And he said, "No, you got lumbered with bass, man. None of us would do it." I said, "Well, that's how I remembered it." Because it's true: We all wanted to be guitar players.

Q. Sure. Bass players were never frontmen.

A. The fat boy in the back was the bass player, and who wanted to be him? So I really wasn't too keen to do it, but I'd had a real bad guitar-because of my fear of getting in debt. When I went to Hamburg, I had a thing called the Rosetti Lucky 7 [sic], which is a really terrible British [sic] guitar with terrible action. It just fell apart on me-you know, just the heat in the club and the sweat made it fall apart. Eventually, I sort of busted it-early rumblings of the Who! In a drunken moment it was busted somewhere, and it had to go. So I ended up with my back to the audience, playing piano, which was then the only thing I could do unless I could get a new guitar.

So, yeah, I did pretty much get lumbered into playing bass. I didn't really want to do it, but then I started to see interesting things in it..."


Xosé
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Bobber

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #187 on: March 12, 2011, 10:04:36 AM »

I have tried to find the names of the members of the George Martin Orchestra, but haven't found anything yet. Did you have more luck?
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Xose

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #188 on: March 12, 2011, 08:33:44 PM »

I have tried to find the names of the members of the George Martin Orchestra, but haven't found anything yet. Did you have more luck?

No, I didn't...  >:(

Xosé
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Hello Goodbye

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #189 on: March 13, 2011, 02:12:37 AM »

Neither did I.
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Xose

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #190 on: April 09, 2011, 10:11:18 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..."...


According to the entry "Boogie-Woogie" in the 2001 edition of The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, this recording by George Thomas -aka Clay Custer-, dated 1923, "...was one of the first recorded examples of a walking bass...":

George W. Thomas - The Rocks


Xosé
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Ken Wood

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #191 on: December 05, 2011, 04:01:15 PM »

Walter Everett considers that Mike McCartney played drums at those recordings (=those where a drummer is audible at).

At Mike McCartney, Mike Mac's white and black plus one colour, London, Aurum Press, 1986, these photos...





...have the following reading:

"...Paul's first trumpet from Cousin Ian and two guitars, plus my drums and banjo..."

???

Xosé

Hi Xosé,
I figured you managed to identify the banjo in these photos (http://www.banjohangout.org/archive/168216). Great!
However in that forum you say the photos are from December 1960 - can you let me know how you did arrive at that date?
We (http://beatlesdaybyday.freeforums.org/viewtopic.php?f=1420&t=6936) are currently trying to id this photo but never read a date for it.
Thanks!

Sorry everybody else if this question is taking the thread off topic for a moment!
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Xose

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #192 on: December 05, 2011, 09:11:15 PM »

Hi Ken Wood,

Hi Xosé,
I figured you managed to identify the banjo in these photos (http://www.banjohangout.org/archive/168216). Great!
However in that forum you say the photos are from December 1960 - can you let me know how you did arrive at that date?
We (http://beatlesdaybyday.freeforums.org/viewtopic.php?f=1420&t=6936) are currently trying to id this photo but never read a date for it.
Thanks!

Sorry everybody else if this question is taking the thread off topic for a moment!


The banjo is a Windsor. i identified it last year...

Regarding the datation for the photo, it was merely a hypothesis. Why?? Because those photos were taken with the camera Paul brought to Hamburg as a present for his brother Mike, after his first trip to Hamburg. This is what Mike says in his book...

I hope to be of any help...

Best!! ;)

Xosé
« Last Edit: December 05, 2011, 09:13:34 PM by Xose »
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Ken Wood

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #193 on: December 07, 2011, 10:27:18 AM »

Regarding the datation for the photo, it was merely a hypothesis. Why?? Because those photos were taken with the camera Paul brought to Hamburg as a present for his brother Mike, after his first trip to Hamburg. This is what Mike says in his book...

Thanks for the quick reply! So Mike eplicitly stated that these were taken with said camera?

My own guess so far for these was that they were taken in the first half of 1960 because
a) the Rossetti is absent (it was bought July 30 IIRC)
b) the drums feature "beatles" written on it - I guess they were used by Paul for those Beatles gigs he filled in as a drummer (the strip-club shows and possibly others)

But December would be just as fitting - after Paul`s return he did not have the Rossetti for a while as it still had to be sent over from Germany

By now however I saw two photos of Mike that he took of himself with said camera (at least I think it is this camera):


To me Mike appears younger here than in the "instruments heap" photos, so those must have been taken later I guess.
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Xose

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #194 on: December 07, 2011, 02:53:36 PM »

Hello Ken Wood,

Thanks for the quick reply! So Mike eplicitly stated that these were taken with said camera?...

You ate welcome... ;)

And yes: I don't have right now at hand my copy of Mike's book, but he explicitly stated that were taken with the Said camera. I can check the book anyway when I get home...

...My own guess so far for these was that they were taken in the first half of 1960 because
a) the Rossetti is absent (it was bought July 30 IIRC)
b) the drums feature "beatles" written on it - I guess they were used by Paul for those Beatles gigs he filled in as a drummer (the strip-club shows and possibly others)

But December would be just as fitting - after Paul`s return he did not have the Rossetti for a while as it still had to be sent over from Germany...

Yes: that would be another possibility? However, let me check the book to look if Mike explicitly states that he used the camera brought by Paul from Hamburg....

I will keep you updated...

Best!! ;)

Xosé
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Ken Wood

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #195 on: December 07, 2011, 05:27:50 PM »

Thanks for checking again - I enjoyed what I saw of your research very much!
I usually hang out at the Bootlegzone and the Beatles Day By Day photo forum but already feel right at home here too!
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Xose

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #196 on: December 07, 2011, 05:44:40 PM »

Thanks for checking again - I enjoyed what I saw of your research very much!
I usually hang out at the Bootlegzone and the Beatles Day By Day photo forum but already feel right at home here too!

Thank you very much!! ;)

I'm also very happy at this wonderful forum... ;)

Best,

Xosé
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georgefromhenley

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #197 on: June 09, 2012, 09:56:31 PM »

scan removed

 ;)
« Last Edit: June 11, 2012, 08:42:32 AM by georgefromhenley »
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TomMo

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #198 on: June 10, 2012, 07:52:51 PM »

With the Beatles' five man line-up, including Stu, what exactly was Paul's role? Second rhythm guitarist or second lead guitarist? Every indication seems to be that he was a rhythm guitarist. Did he occasionally play lead?

More to the point of your question, might Paul have played bass notes on his guitar to cover up for Stu? It's certainly not unheard of for a guitarist to double up on what the bassist is playing (or in Stu's case, supposed to be playing). The Beatles certainly did that on "Day Tripper", with guitar and bass playing the main riff.

If Paul dreaded the thought of being the full time bassist, he certainly did jump into the role quickly and competently, didn't he? While his best playing started after the "Help" album, he was no slouch on their earlier work, given what was expected of a rock bassist in the early 60's.

So why do I think that Paul, even without a bass guitar, was more than prepared when the time came? Even if it was just out of boredom, I can see where Paul noodled around with bass lines before he ever touched a bass.
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Ken Wood

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Re: The beginnings of Paul McCartney's bass playing
« Reply #199 on: June 11, 2012, 07:12:39 AM »

Wow, we got a date for the purchasing of the bass now! I think that`s pretty sensational, as the date was always subject of dispute!
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