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ljblanken

For Studio Recording Folks - Question On Bass Playing

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My friend sent me this great video of the Beach Boys recording the song good vibrations. 

 

my question refers to section 2:00-2:10 where they show BOTH an upright bassist AND an electric Fender bass guitar being used. was this technique common (or ever used?) in soul recordings? 

 

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That's a fantastic clip!...Brian at his peak - just before it all went a little awry.

 

Brian Wilson threw out the rulebook when recording in the mid 60s (Pet Sounds and Smile) and became a massive innovator - he pretty much ditched the band as studio musicians and used top session guys (The Wrecking Crew - Hal Blaine on drums, Carol Kay etc..)

 

He used bass harmonicas, theremins, harpsichords ,cellos, you name it - all to get the 'texture' right. Electric and upright bass played together would have been purely for texture and a 'different' sound. With Smile, given free reign by Capitol, he pretty much went mad (literally!) writing and recording small sections of exquisite music....just gave up in the end as stitching all the little bits together proved too much. I'd recommend getting the Smile sessions box set if you want to hear more of that - stunning!

 

I wouldn't say two basses used like that was a common technique - however, I'm certain Phil Spector will have done that. By the mid 60s electric bass ruled the roost in pop and soul. Some soul records that used big orchestras still had upright basses, and certainly some of the earlier doo woo inspired tracks.

 

Hopefully someone will give us some good examples of upright bass tracks...and even dual bass?

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Lou Reed "Walk On The Wildside" is another (not soul though)

In soul it's not common & I can't think of an example off the top of my head, although there will definitely be one.

That's right, Herbie Flowers got paid double due to playing 2 x basses!

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Tons of early Motown featured upright bass.  My Guy would be a prime example, but as to layering electric and acoustic I've no idea!

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James Jamerson played Upright bass almost exclusively up until 1960. He eventually installed a makeshift pick up on it but switched to 57 Fender Precision after his friend  Horace Ruth persuaded him.

 

Kev

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I believe 'Love is like an itching in my heart'/The Supremes has an upright and electric on it. Also on eof those wind instruments that kids used to play with - is it a yazoo or something?

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BOTH an upright bassist AND an electric Fender bass guitar being used. was this technique common (or ever used?) in soul recordings? 

 

 

 

Totally unrelated to this post I happened to be watching a documentary thing on You Tube about Carol Kaye.

 

She started playing the bass riff from River Deep, Mountain High and she said "of course on that one we had an upright bass and the Fender bass." So might be more out there than people imagine.

 

That's my contribution anyway! :)

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