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●5 SCALAR MOVEMENT
In many ways, McCartney’s playing on Rubber Soul is some of his busiest and most forwardspushing, and there are some great examples of propulsive eighth-note parts. Take, for example, Nowhere Man: the bass never settles for any significant length of time, and McCartney uses lots of downward scalar movement in the verses, delivering a cool
melody that plays off the vocal at the verse’s end. Here’s a way in which you might take this kind of approach to another song. The key is to keep everything moving along slowly.
There will always be arguments about the ‘greatest’ Beatles song, probably because there are so many of them that fall into that category – but In My Life is one that has to rank in the higher echelons. Although McCartney’s bass part is one of the more root-note oriented ones you’ll find on the album, it’s also notable for its world-class feel, achieved by the confluence of
the bass and Ringo Starr’s drums, and McCartney’s rhythmic use of double-stops (two notes played at the same time). Here’s a double-stop bass part that’ll get you going.
●7 PLAYING THE BOXES
As we’ve seen, Rubber Soul is stuffed full of McCartney’s melodic, triad-based work… Drive My Car, Nowhere Man and, to a lesser extent, If I Needed Someone are excellent examples. Top of the heap, however, has to the verse part from You Won’t See Me. The bassline doesn’t adhere strictly to the shape of each chord; McCartney throws in scale notes for variation
and further colours his line with grace notes and slides, clipping the occasional note for dynamic impact. Below is the kind of thing Paul might have done on another occasion.
●8 BUBBLY BASS
In April 1966, within the space of 10 days, McCartney recorded a duo of funk/rock behemoths that would, once and for all, confirm his place as one of the premier electric bass players: Taxman (which featured on Revolver) and Rain (which became the B-side to Paperback Writer). The precursor to both is The Word, where McCartney used tight
phrasing and a chromatic sixteenth-note approach. Here’s a line which takes the same kind of angle, and in bar 2 we’ve included a bluesy finger-twisting lick.
122 Guitar & Bass FEBRUARY 2012