Alan Reed Studio Report pt. 6
Bass Odyssey (Welcome to my new direction)
In the last episode I was explaining about the joys of working with 12-string guitars...
On the whole I’m using them a lot less on this album than the last, but they are the key to the ‘long’ track on the album. Clocking in at almost nine minutes, it’s quite a journey. But I’d been aiming at keeping it a mostly acoustic one. So far it’s acoustic guitars with a bit of keyboards and drums. More of a Roy Harper approach than a full-blown prog workout, if you get my drift. However… I’d got to thinking that maybe, just maybe, it might benefit from a sensitive bit of bass. Just a bit of bottom end here and there. Nothing fussy or fancy.
I have two main basses. A Rickenbacker 4001 I’ve owned since the early 80’s, and an Epiphone Thunderbird 5-string which I bought during the recording of the last album. It’s bit smoother in tone than the Rick, and obviously goes a bit deeper. There’s a lot of hanging ‘D’ on this track, so the ability to go down an octave makes it the obvious choice. Let’s roll the track and see what comes out?
To cut a long story short, by the end of the day I’ve added quite a complex and up-front bass part!! Sort of two parts Geddy/one part Squire - with a soupçon of John Paul Jones for good measure*. mmmm.. Maybe the T-bird isn’t the right axe for this gig.
After living with the ‘demo’ version of the parts for a few days, there’s no escaping the conclusion that I need the ‘grunt’ of the Ricky on this after all. It’ll need a bit of a re-think where I’ve used the lower string, but hey-ho, let’s go!! Mysteriously ends up sounding more like Mike Oldfield than any of the previously mentioned bass heroes, but I like it! :-) I’ve also kept in a bit of the T-bird for one section.
If you’re interested in hearing a snippet of what this actually sounds like, I’ve posted a taster up on my Bandcamp site. I’m posting the odd work-in-progress clip here as things develop, so keep an ear out.
* Please note: The referencing of certain expert names in this context has more to with what’s going on in my head, than what it actually comes out as. Whatever approach I take, it invariably ends up sounding like me playing :-)