Cassidy bass line

Cassidy bass line

Postby paulpos » Sun Oct 31, 2010 9:02 am

I've been ask to perform Cassidy as a duo with a guitarist. I don't play GD regularly and I'm having a hard time wrapping my ears around what Phil is playing. There are a lot of versions and variations, and very little help on You Tube and bass tab sites. I would gratefully appreciate any insight in how to approach this songs - a video link of this song being performed by Phil or others, tab or chart of bass line (I have the chords). Thanks for the help!
Last edited by paulpos on Sun Oct 31, 2010 9:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Cassidy bass line

Postby Rusty the Scoob » Sun Oct 31, 2010 9:44 am

That's a pretty broad question... Phil's approach to Cassidy is pretty similar to his approach to all music after 1971 or so. Climb each chord as an arpeggio plus passing tones. I usually hit the root on beat one and the other chord tones on the offbeats. I also tend to emphasize the shift from major to minor a little more than Phil does, since I like how it reflects the whole birth/death theme of the song.
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Re: Cassidy bass line

Postby Rusty the Scoob » Sun Oct 31, 2010 9:51 am

You should be able to see my hands fairly well here:

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Re: Cassidy bass line

Postby paulpos » Sun Oct 31, 2010 9:56 am

Thanks Rusty for the quick response. Admittedly, my request is vague. I understand theory and have a good ear usually, a but for some reason, this song seems difficult to pin down. The video is helpful to see where you are on the neck. Thanks so much.

Unrelatedly, I used to play sax with Mike Young with the Deadbeats in Denver. I started playing bass about a year ago and haven't touch a reed since - the low end is addictive! Tell Mike 'Dr. Pos' says hello. Small world :-)
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Re: Cassidy bass line

Postby brbadg » Sun Oct 31, 2010 5:35 pm

Digging Rustys part on this,but damn they are rushing through this!
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Re: Cassidy bass line

Postby Lunchbox16 » Sun Oct 31, 2010 8:21 pm

Rusty,
Can you expound a bit more on what you see as Phil's approach, viz. arpeggios, etc.? For all the attention around here to Jerry and Bob's approaches there's not much on Phil. I'd love to hear more of what you've figured out.
"Is maith an scéalaí an aimsir." Time is a great storyteller. -- Irish Proverb
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Re: Cassidy bass line

Postby Rusty the Scoob » Mon Nov 01, 2010 5:34 am

brbadg wrote:Digging Rustys part on this,but damn they are rushing through this!


It's definitely a little quicker than we do it now... whoever counted it off must have been listening to some 1978 earlier. http://www.archive.org/details/gd1978-0 ... sbeok.shnf


About my general approach to Phil - I have several basic eras, rounded to the nearest year:

1966-1970ish - play mostly pentatonics, but avoid the 3rd. Examples - Truckin, Hard to Handle, Dark Star, etc. Lots of energy. Some grit in your tone helps. You're kind of like a laid-back version of Jack Bruce.

1971-74 is when he really developed his playing. It's very similar to a jazz bassist who's walking swing lines, but with more rhythmic variety and a more melodic approach - you're always thinking the Root first, then the arpeggio, then adding passing tones to connect the important notes together. Feel free to hit offbeats, drop bombs and weave long melodic ideas together under the Jerry songs. Knowledge of first-year college music theory voice-leading techniques helps a lot, although conceptually you're closer to the Pre-Bach era when each instrument wove a melody first and thought about harmony second. In most Bobby songs you want to play a lot simpler and fade into the background a lot more.

1976-79 - same basic idea but you can be a lot looser, even sloppy, because Phil was usually drunk. Stay higher on the neck, above the 5th fret as much as possible, because his Alembic prototype had intonation problems with the lowest few frets.

1980-83 - you're a little more mature, your playing is a little tighter because you've got Brent in the band and you've switched to 34" instruments. (Fender Jazz, G&L, etc) You've stopped dropping two-note bombs, probably because they're harder to control on the long-scale basses.

1984-88 - you have your 6 string, so explore the really high notes.

1989-on - his tone gets a lot more open. Scoop the mids, make each note count.

Above all, you have to learn to play with a pick. I'm not really a pick player either, and I hate having to make sure to have one handy at all times, but it's essential... you simply cannot get the right feel and sound without one. Flatwound strings are also pretty crucial for his tone pre-1989 or so.
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Re: Cassidy bass line

Postby Lunchbox16 » Mon Nov 01, 2010 10:57 am

Rusty, this is great. I'll definitely experiment based on your ruminations and see what I can do.

I'm more concerned with Phil's approach to playing than I am with replicating his sound/tone. In all honesty, I don't always like it, especially from the mid-to-late 80s. It just sounds too sterile to me. Yes, it's a really clean tone, but it doesn't have that round, fat sound that I like. Part of that, I think, is playing with fingers (and I just switched to flatwounds for my Jazz bass) because a pick provides a more consistent attack, but it lacks the nuance of playing with your fingers.
"Is maith an scéalaí an aimsir." Time is a great storyteller. -- Irish Proverb
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Re: Cassidy bass line

Postby Rusty the Scoob » Mon Nov 01, 2010 1:48 pm

I totally agree that you can get more subtle nuances with your fingers than a pick, but IMHO you can't quite get Phil's phrasing. Something about the up/down motion makes the licks jump out of the bass correctly, and two fingers just inspire you to move around the strings differently. Plus playing fingerstyle encourages you to play the bass the way you're used to playing it if you're a pocket/groove player, and you almost have to forget all about that and relearn the instrument to really get into Phil.

I'd at least get a pack of 2.0mm Dunlop Gator Grips or similar and toy with it at home - you'll be surprised how much more naturally the Phil licks flow. Learning to use a pick made me a much better Phil player on the rare occasions I find myself playing Phil fingerstyle.

You can also still get a very warm tone IMHO - just set the bass and EQ much warmer than you normally would for fingerstyle.

But that's just my rant. :lol: Let me know if you have questions about the the rest of it... I'm a music theory nerd and love to talk about Phil!
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Re: Cassidy bass line

Postby Lunchbox16 » Mon Nov 01, 2010 2:20 pm

Ah... my music theory isn't great. Rusty have you thought/the ability to do any instructional videos for Phil type stuff like some of the guitar players around here do?
"Is maith an scéalaí an aimsir." Time is a great storyteller. -- Irish Proverb
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Re: Cassidy bass line

Postby paulpos » Mon Nov 01, 2010 7:00 pm

I second the motion. I would love to see Phil lines up close.
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Re: Cassidy bass line

Postby Rusty the Scoob » Tue Nov 02, 2010 4:33 am

Hmmm. Never crossed my mind but that's not a bad idea... what kind of webcam do you need? Any recommendations for good free editing software?
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Re: Cassidy bass line

Postby Lunchbox16 » Tue Nov 02, 2010 9:09 am

Rusty,

Equipment and software would depend on your platform. I'm a Mac user so I can only speak for that. I might have an old USB Webcam that I could send you if you need one, I have no use for it any longer. As for editing software, I can use iMovie, but I'm sure there's a viable, and free, option for Windows if that's what you use.

I'm much more of a visual learner than just reading about stuff, so I would surely love some how-to vids!
"Is maith an scéalaí an aimsir." Time is a great storyteller. -- Irish Proverb
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Re: Cassidy bass line

Postby Rusty the Scoob » Tue Nov 02, 2010 8:29 pm

Ok.... I bought a cheapo webcam at Radio Shack at lunch and threw this together. Maybe I crammed in too much info, maybe I didn't..... let me know what you think.

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Re: Cassidy bass line

Postby jdsmodulus » Tue Nov 02, 2010 9:31 pm

I liked the vid. I think I learned something as well. Keep em comin! :cool:
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