The Story of Four Fretless Bass Covers

INTRODUCTION
This blog entry is about four different cover songs that I have worked up and recorded http://and%20video over the past week. I’ll write about what each song entailed, the challenges each song presented, and why I picked these songs in the first place.

Let’s gooooooo!!!!!


GOODNIGHT TONIGHT, BY PAUL MCCARTNEY & WINGS
This song was released in 1979. The first time I heard this song, I thought that the bass line was complicated to play. To be fair, I’d not been playing bass for one full year by that time.

For me, my musical sensibilities were about to change from things like The Beatles and pop in general, over to rock and metal. The song represents the last time I would listen to this type of music for quite some time.

This song was a bit of a challenge to play on fretless bass. On top of finger picking, the spread required to play this at the 2nd fret is enormous. I have a decent finger spread, but maintaining this position for an entire song is a great deal to ask. It would be a cakewalk with a fretted bass.

I compensated by moving to the 7th fret. The first two notes are plucked on the open low E, which is the second lowest string. It then moves to the low B string, where the rest of the riff is played up on the 7th fret.

Finger plucking and using a pick generate two different types of sound, so having the ability to do either is a bonus for a bass player.

Because my musical tastes changed after 1979, I never really sat down and learned this song before. It was familiar, I had it in my head, and it just a matter of finding the root and going with it. Doing this song is like ticking off a line on my bucket list, except I had long forgotten that it existed.


DANCE WITH ME, BY PETER BROWN
This 1978 disco hit, like many other disco songs, featured the bass in a big way. What drew me to the song, beside the energy, is the octave-rocking chorus. That part of the song just sounds really cool.

What also strikes me about this song is the complexity of this 4/4 song. The chorus has pick-up notes, but it also has a staccato rhythm that I would consider to be advanced for the average non-musician listener.

Once again, I would go higher up on the fretboard to take advantage of the smaller finger spread that is afforded to me when I access the low B string. That string is super-fat, and produces a thunderous tone. The deeper the better!

This song reminded me of when I was very young and had relatively fewer problems.


BS SHIT, BY HOT DAD
Unlike the first two songs, this is a departure in that it’s not an old song from my past. Those songs have an advantage in that I’ve heard them many times before, to the point that they’ve become part of my psyche. For this reason, it is by far easier to work up those songs than this one, and the next [final] song.

I love the ethereal feel of the song and the occasional syncopation of the bass line. The lyrics might be funny, but the music is serious, varied, complex, and strong.

When I heard the song, I noticed that the bass lines were in a relatively higher range. This is because Hot Dad probably used a 4-string fretted bass, which is the standard configuration for a bass guitar. Because of this, he starts on the D. The only two options for him are either the open 2nd string, or the better 3rd string on the 5th fret, because it is deeper.

I can play a much lower D on my low B string. I felt that the song had an even more solid feel with the bass lines played an octave lower.

Hot Dad is a musician and video creator for whom I have a great deal of respect. I have shared the link on his pinned comment on the original video, and hope that he sees it. The song is one year old, so I have some doubt that he will. But if he does, acknowledgement from him would mean a great deal to me, not for the validation, but just for the nod.

Hot Dad is best known for the two theme songs that he wrote for Big Money Salvia, another comedy YouTube video creator. If you are curious, here is the first one [Big Money Salvia], and this is the second one [Big Money Salvia City]. These are truly well-crafted and produced fun songs.

Hot Dad also streams frequently on Twitch.


パステルパスポート [PASTEL PASSPORT], BY KOTO
This J-POP song from 2015 is a big mystery to me. I do not speak Japanese, so I cannot understand what it is about. I heard the song only once before, last week when I was watching the nightly YouTube stream run by Based Shaman. He played part of my video last night on his stream.

I chose this song for several reasons. Since I don’t understand the lyrics, I do not get the benefit of having lyrical cues on when changes will occur. Like the previous track, it is not one that I had heard before. This was kind of genre-busting for me, as this is the FIRST-EVER J-POP song that I have heard in my entire life.

I also chose the song because of the higher energy, the interesting changes, and the emotional manipulation that exists within the context of the chord structures.

Most of all, J-Pop is VERY unfamiliar for me. Because of that, I saw it as a challenge. I’ve mentioned that before, and I cannot mention it enough.

Chances are very good that I will NOT be exploring the catalog of KOTO, mainly because I am not the intended demographic for this song. This song seems to be directed at a pre-teen audience, mainly young girls and the young boys who are noticing them. KOTO is only 22 years old and retired after her final “one-man performance” at the end of April 2021.


IN THE END
For the past several years, I have been struggling with Major Depression Disorder and a host of other issues that promoted depression. It robbed me of my energy, my enthusiasm, and even my interest in music. Before this, I hadn’t really picked up my bass for any significant amount of time in years.

Years of therapy and a few different types of medications had been explored. There are no short-cuts, and the great length of time that it took me to deal with this was difficult, yet necessary.

I had something to prove to myself. Can I still learn old songs? New songs? Can I perform and record them? Can I post them on YouTube? And will I not get too self-conscious and leave them up?

I made three videos previously, and they were rushed. I ended up taking down the Hot Dad video and re-doing the entire thing. He deserved better than me sitting in my office chair while playing.

None of these performances are 100% perfect. I’m working to get away from perfection, in favor of what is good. Some of the imperfections are only noticeable by me, or may be noticeable by a musician who is scrutinizing the tracks.

The point isn’t perfect.

The point is fun.

I haven’t had fun in maybe 7 years, and the last few years before that involved fun that was shrouded in conflict, stress, emotional manipulation, gaslighting, and other horrors. So it might be more accurate to say that I’ve not had fun in over a decade.

That changed this week, and you got to see it. I want to close by thanking everyone who takes the time to read this, as well as watch the videos. I appreciate everyone who takes the time to like and comment whatever it is that I’m doing.

Thank you so much!


If you like what I write, then please consider sending a one-time donation to me via PayPal. Please use the following link and click SEND to donate, and thank you for reading! https://paypal.me/drumwild

Published by DrumWild

Writing about drums, music, and philosophy.

4 thoughts on “The Story of Four Fretless Bass Covers

  1. Nice round, fat, meaty and juicy bass lines are where it’s at for me. And you definitely have delivered the goods, making me a very satisfied listener 🤗

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Likewise, compadre. Besides listening to and watching you play, there’s another dimension that I deeply appreciate.

    That’s the detailed analysis and break down of each song/groove/bass line and techniques used to nail the part. It’s never overly-technical, so even an unschooled musician such as yours truly can get what you be talking about. Keep it up ✌️✌️✌️

    Liked by 1 person

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