The Shadow of your Smile – Piano solo with sheet music Play along
One day we walked along the sand
One day in early spring
You held a piper in your hand
To mend its broken wing
Now I’ll remember many a day
And many a lonely mile
The echo of a piper’s song
The shadow of a smileThe shadow of your smile
When you are gone
Will color all my dreams
And light the dawn
Look into my eyes
My love and see
All the lovely things
You are to meOur wistful little star
Was far too high
A teardrop kissed your lips
And so did I
Now when I remember spring
All the joy that love can bring
I will be remembering
The shadow of your smile
Songwriters: Johnny Mandel / Paul Webster
“The Shadow of Your Smile“, also known as “Love Theme from The Sandpiper“, is a popularsong. The music was written by Johnny Mandel with the lyrics written by Paul Francis Webster.The song was introduced in the 1965 filmThe Sandpiper, with a trumpet solo by Jack Sheldon and later became a minor hit for Tony Bennett (Johnny Mandel arranged and conducted his version as well). It won the Grammy Award for Song of the Year and the Academy Award for Best Original Song.In 2004 the song finished at #77 in AFI’s 100 Years…100 Songs poll of the top tunes in American cinema.
Danny Boy – Londonderry Ballad Bill Evans version with sheet music
Jazz Play Along: Herbie Hancock “Watermelon Man” with sheet music
“Daniel” Jazz Play Along Vol 104 Elton John (with sheet music book for piano & guitar)
Antonio Carlos Jobim Jazz Play Along “The Girl from Ipanema” with sheet music/partitura
Antônio Carlos Brasileiro de Almeida Jobim (Rio de Janeiro, 25 de janeiro de 1927 — Nova Iorque, 8 de dezembro de 1994), mais conhecido pelo seu nome artísticoTom Jobim, foi um compositor, maestro, pianista, cantor, arranjador e violonistabrasileiro. É considerado o maior expoente de todos os tempos da música popular brasileira pela revista Rolling Stone e um dos criadores e das principais forças do movimento da bossa nova.
Filho do diplomata gaúcho Jorge de Oliveira Jobim e da dona de casa fluminense Nilza Brasileiro de Almeida, Antônio Carlos Brasileiro de Almeida Jobim nasceu na rua Conde de Bonfim, n.º 634, no bairro da Tijuca, no Rio de Janeiro (na época Distrito Federal). Mudou-se com a família no ano seguinte para Ipanema, onde foi criado. A ausência do pai durante a infância e adolescência lhe impôs um contido ressentimento, desenvolvendo no maestro uma profunda relação com a tristeza e o romantismo melódico, transferido peculiarmente para as construções harmônicas e melódicas. Aprendeu a tocar violão e piano em aulas, entre outros, com o professor alemão Hans-Joachim Koellreutter, introdutor da técnica dodecafônica no Brasil.
O trisavô paterno do compositor, José Martins da Cruz Jobim, era natural de Jovim, Gondomar, Portugal. O sobrenome de Jobim alude a essa localidade. A bisavó do compositor, Maria Joaquina, era meia-irmã do barão de Cambaí, Antônio Martins da Cruz Jobim. Era descendente, também, do bandeirante Fernão Dias Pais.
Pensou em trabalhar com arquitetura, chegando a cursar o primeiro ano da faculdade e até a se empregar em um escritório, mas logo desistiu e decidiu ser pianista. Tocava em bares e boates em Copacabana, como no Beco das Garrafas no início dos anos 1950, até que em 1952 foi contratado como arranjador pela gravadora Continental, onde trabalhou com Sávio Silveira. Além dos arranjos, também tinha a função de transcrever para a pauta as melodias de compositores que não dominavam a escrita musical. Datam dessa época as primeiras composições, sendo a primeira gravada “Incerteza”, uma parceria com Newton Mendonça, na voz de Mauricy Moura.
Tom Jobim, 1965. Arquivo Nacional.
Depois da Continental, foi para a Odeon. Entretanto, não tinha tanto tempo para se dedicar à composição, que lhe interessava mais. É nessa época que compôs alguns sambas, em parceria de Billy Blanco: Tereza da Praia, gravada por Lúcio Alves e Dick Farney pela Continental (1954), Solidão e a Sinfonia do Rio de Janeiro. Tereza da Praia foi o primeiro sucesso. Depois disso, ocorreram outras parcerias, como com a cantora e compositora Dolores Duran, na canção Se é por Falta de Adeus.
No ano de 1953, as canções Faz uma Semana e Pensando em Você foram gravadas por Ernani Filho. Ainda nos anos 50, com Vinicius de Moraes, Tom Jobim produziu as canções para a peça Orfeu da Conceição e, posteriormente, para o filme Orfeu do Carnaval ou Orfeu Negro, dirigido por Marcel Camus, ao lado de Luiz Bonfá e Antônio Maria.
Placa em homenagem a Tom Jobim no Aeroporto Internacional do Rio de Janeiro Tom Jobim/Galeão.
Dessa peça fez bastante sucesso a canção antológica Se Todos Fossem Iguais a Você, gravada diversas vezes. Tom Jobim fez parte do núcleo embrionário da bossa nova. O LP Canção do Amor Demais (1958), em parceria com Vinícius e interpretação de Elizeth Cardoso, foi acompanhado pelo violão de um baiano até então desconhecido, João Gilberto. A orquestração é considerada um marco inaugural da bossa nova, pela originalidade das melodias e harmonias. Inclui, entre outras, Canção do Amor Demais, Chega de Saudade e Eu Não Existo sem Você. A consolidação da bossa nova como estilo musical veio logo em seguida com o 78 rotações Chega de Saudade, interpretado por João Gilberto, lançado em 1959, com arranjos e direção musical de Tom, que selou os rumos que a música popular brasileira tomaria dali para frente. No mesmo ano foi a vez de Sílvia Telles gravar Amor de Gente Moça, um disco com doze canções de Tom, entre elas Só em Teus Braços, Dindi (com Aloysio de Oliveira) e A Felicidade (com Vinícius).
Tom foi um dos destaques do Festival de Bossa Nova do Carnegie Hall, em Nova Iorque, em 1962. No ano seguinte compôs, com Vinícius, um dos maiores sucessos e possivelmente a canção brasileira mais executada no exterior: Garota de Ipanema. Nos anos de 1962 e 1963 a quantidade de “clássicos” produzidos por Tom é impressionante: Samba do Avião, Só Danço Samba (com Vinícius), Ela é Carioca (com Vinícius), O Morro Não Tem Vez, Inútil Paisagem (com Aloysio), Vivo Sonhando. Nos Estados Unidos gravou discos (o primeiro individual foi The Composer of Desafinado, Plays, de 1965), participou de espetáculos e fundou sua própria editora, a Corcovado Music. Em 1964, competindo com os Beatles, os Rolling Stones e Elvis Presley, Tom Jobim ganhou o Grammy de Música do Ano com a “Garota de Ipanema”.
Tom Jobim e Chico Buarque no Festival Internacional da Canção (FIC), 1968. Arquivo Nacional.
O sucesso fora do Brasil o fez voltar aos EUA em 1967 para gravar com um dos grandes mitos americanos, Frank Sinatra. O disco Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim, com arranjos de Claus Ogerman, incluiu versões em inglês das canções de Tom (The Girl From Ipanema, How Insensitive, Dindi, Quiet Night of Quiet Stars) e composições americanas, como I Concentrate On You, de Cole Porter. No fim dos anos 1960, depois de lançar o disco Wave (com a faixa-título, Triste, Lamento, entre outras instrumentais), participou de festivais no Brasil, conquistando o primeiro lugar no III Festival Internacional da Canção (Rede Globo), com Sabiá, em parceria com Chico Buarque, interpretado por Cynara e Cybele, do Quarteto em Cy. Sabiá conquistou o júri, mas não todo o público, que em grande parte preferia que a vencedora fosse “Pra não Dizer que não Falei das Flores” (ou, como ficou mais conhecida popularmente, “Caminhando”), composta e interpretada por Geraldo Vandré, por seu conteúdo de confrontação à ditadura política por que passava o país. Assim, uma grande parte do público vaiou ostensivamente tanto a divulgação do resultado quanto toda a interpretação da vencedora, para constrangimento de seus compositores.
Ao apresentar-se como segundo colocado, Vandré, sentindo o clima pesado do ambiente, até tentou defender os vencedores, dizendo:
“Antônio Carlos Jobim e Chico Buarque de Hollanda merecem o nosso respeito. A nossa função é fazer canções; a função de julgar, nesse instante, é do Júri, que ali está” (e ao afrontar assim o público, foi vaiado estrondosamente, também. Ao que ele reagiu esperando o final dos apupos, para deixar uma alerta e lição ao público) (…). Tem mais uma coisa só: pra vocês, que continuam pensando que me apoiam vaiando… (o público inicia um coro de “é marmelada!”) (…). Olha, tem uma coisa só: a Vida não se resume em Festivais!”
A influência impressionista
É reconhecida a influência de Debussy e Ravel na música do maestro Antônio Carlos Jobim, que utilizou motivos impressionistas e estruturas harmônicas semelhantes às desses compositores em suas músicas populares como nas eruditas, o caso de A Sinfonia da Alvorada.
Uma das marcas de Tom era a incrível capacidade de dotar de leveza e elegância a complexidade e a densidade elevadas de suas composições.
Tom Jobim, Vinicius e o estilo mais intimista da Bossa Nova abriram espaço para os compositores gravarem seus sucessos de modo frequente, pois tornou-se importante conhecer a carga emocional pensada ou desejada pelos compositores para suas composições.
Tom Jobim, 1972. Arquivo Nacional.
Tom desejava intensamente que sua música fosse cantada pelo povo no cotidiano.
Aprofundando seus estudos musicais, adquirindo influências de compositores eruditos, principalmente Villa-Lobos e Debussy, Tom Jobim prosseguiu gravando e compondo músicas vocais e instrumentais de rara inspiração, juntando harmonias do jazz (Stone Flower) e elementos tipicamente brasileiros, fruto de suas pesquisas sobre a cultura brasileira. É o caso de Matita Perê e Urubu, lançados na década de 1970, que marcam a aliança entre sua sofisticação harmônica e sua qualidade de letrista. São desses dois discos Águas de Março, Ana Luiza, Lígia, Correnteza, O Boto, Ângela. Também nessa época gravou discos com outros artistas, como Elis & Tom, com Elis Regina, Miúcha e Tom Jobim e Edu e Tom, com Edu Lobo.
Valendo-se ainda do filão engajado do pós-regime militar, cantou, ainda que com uma participação individual diminuta, no coro da versão brasileira de We are the world, o hit americano que juntou vozes e levantou fundos para a África ou USA for Africa. O projeto Nordeste Já (1985) abraçou a causa da seca nordestina, unindo 155 vozes num compacto, de criação coletiva, com as canções Chega de mágoa e Seca d´água. Elogiado pela competência das interpretações individuais, foi no entanto criticado pela incapacidade de harmonizar as vozes e o enquadramento de cada uma delas no coro.
Em 1987, lançou Passarim, obra de um compositor já consagrado, que pode desenvolver seu trabalho sem qualquer receio, acompanhado por uma banda grande, a Banda Nova. Além da faixa-título, Gabriela, Luiza, Chansong, Borzeguim e Anos Dourados (com Chico Buarque) são os destaques. Em 1992 foi enredo da Escola de Samba Estação Primeira de Mangueira. Seu último álbum, Antônio Brasileiro, foi lançado em 1994, pouco antes da sua morte, em dezembro, de parada cardíaca, quando estava se recuperando de um câncer de bexiga no Hospital Mount Sinai, em Nova Iorque.
Algumas biografias foram publicadas, entre elas Antônio Carlos Jobim, um Homem Iluminado, de sua irmã Helena Jobim, Antônio Carlos Jobim – Uma Biografia, de Sérgio Cabral, Tons sobre Tom, de Márcia Cezimbra, Tárik de Souza e Tessy Callado, e Tom Jobim – Histórias de Canções, de Wagner Homem e Luiz Roberto Oliveira.
O Aeroporto Internacional do Rio de Janeiro foi renomeado Aeroporto Internacional do Rio de Janeiro/Galeão – Antônio Carlos Jobim junto ao Congresso Nacional por uma comissão de notáveis, formada por Chico Buarque, Oscar Niemeyer, João Ubaldo Ribeiro, Antônio Cândido, Antônio Houaiss e Edu Lobo, criada e pessoalmente coordenada pelo crítico Ricardo Cravo Albin.
Grandes nomes da música internacional tocaram e cantaram as músicas de Tom Jobim, como Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, Oscar Peterson, Sarah Vaughan, além de Frank Sinatra, a Voz do Século XX, simbolizando a consagração internacional de sua produção musical. Essa admiração fez com que Tom Jobim fosse chamado por músicos do jazz de o George Gershwin do Brasil, uma grande honraria.
Com a obra de Antônio Carlos Jobim, a música brasileira experimentou uma projeção internacional inédita, rigorosamente sem precedentes e definitiva. Até o movimento da Bossa Nova, a presença brasileira, ainda que marcada pela excelência, como nas obras de Ary Barroso, Dorival Caymmi, Zequinha de Abreu e Waldir Azevedo, era eventual; com Jobim, contudo, ela se tornou permanente, estrutural e influenciou a produção posterior.
Uma vertente musical que nasceu do samba-canção se abriu ao diálogo com as tendências internacionais da música, marcou gerações e exibiu a riqueza que nasce da disposição ativa para conhecer a diversidade cultural dos povos, articulando o popular e o erudito, sem nenhum preconceito, reverenciando os clássicos, oferecendo uma nova leitura da música popular, superando estereótipos, expressando, assim, uma marca indelével de sua produção musical, constituída de obras de rara beleza com amplo reconhecimento internacional pela critica especializada e o grande público
The Frim Fram sauce by Joe Ricardel and Redd Evans -Jazz Play Along with sheet music to download.
Airegin by Soony Rollins – Jazz Play Along with sheet music to download
“Israel ” is a composition by John Carisi, which has become a jazz standard. Described as a “minor blues”, it was originally recorded in 1949 by Miles Davis as part of the “Birth of the Cool” sessions. It is considered to be an “early use of the perfect fourth interval”, which “arpeggiates a pair of three ascending fourths at mm. 9–10”.
“Israel” has since become most associated with jazz pianist Bill Evans, and features on several of the Bill Evans Trio recordings. According to Joe Utterback, Marty Morell‘s solo work for the Trio on songs such as “Israel” and “Peri’s Scope” is “evidence that a drummer can play strongly and fluently without ever losing the melodic line or disrupting the playing of the other musicians”. “Israel” was later covered by Gerry Mulligan with his Concert Jazz Band for their 1961 album Gerry Mulligan Presents a Concert in Jazz. Carisi is credited with rearranging the tune especially for Mulligan to make the recording.
Israel (by John Carisi) – Jazz Play Along with sheet music
Published by by Beginner Guitar HQ Staff
How to Play Bass Guitar like Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney might just be the most famous bass player of all time. Beginning with his career in the Beatles and continuing through his careers with Wings and as a solo artist, McCartney has revolutionized the role of the bass in popular music, and changed the image of the bass guitar overall. Bassists today, in all genres, owe a lot of their presence and style to Sir Paul.
Over the course of his storied lifetime, Paul McCartney has shifted between a wide variety of different bass styles. His playing has evolved consistently, and at times it’s taken left turns into new genres entirely.
That evolution has helped make Paul one of the most enjoyable bass players to listen to in the history of rock and roll. While they might be complex, dense, or even difficult to wrap your head around, McCartney’s bass parts are almost always interesting.
He’s demonstrated all of the different ways how the bass guitar can drive a song — from holding down the rhythm with rock-solid ostinato grooves to flying over the drums and providing an iconic hook that sticks in the ears of all of the listeners.
If you want to learn how to play bass guitar (or find a good bass model for beginners), Paul McCartney is an essential player to learn from.
No matter which styles of bass guitar you like to play, Paul’s career will offer something for you — he’s dabbled in a lot of different styles, which makes him one of the most revered and versatile bass players ever to pick up the instrument.
This guide discusses everything that you need to know in order to play like Paul McCartney.
We’ll discuss the specifics of his technique, as well as many of the general ideas to keep in mind if you want to play like Paul McCartney. These ideas include broad areas to focus on, as well as more specific points to help improve your playing style and help you find your sound.
Finally, we’ll touch on some of the gear that you might want to buy in order to emulate Paul McCartney’s tone.
A lot of the items that McCartney has used throughout his music career have been very expensive. The large amounts of gear that he’s used also makes it difficult to emulate ihm exactly. Oftentimes, McCartney would adopt one or two main basses for his time with one group, and then move on when those groups broke up or petered out.
However, when those expensive cases come up, we’ll provide affordable alternatives and explain what makes them the best choice for players on a tighter budget. Paul’s lasting influence on the bass guitar world means that most.
Playing Style: Goals
If you’re setting out to emulate a particular musician when they do something, it’s absolutely essential to keep their goals and contexts in mind. Simply put, if you’re not playing towards the same goals as the musicians that you want to sound like, you’ll find it very difficult to emulate them successfully.
Without reflecting on the long-term creative goals of your favorite players and how they achieved those in their playing, it will be difficult to provide any decent approximation of their sound. You won’t be thinking about the parts in the same way, and won’t frame them within the right context to serve the song and the creative vision accurately.
With that warning in mind, here are some of Paul McCartney’s goals when he plays bass guitar. I’ve collected many of these goals just from observing his playing style and the music he makes. I’ve also come to recognize how his playing style changes as his big-picture goals shift.
With the Beatles
On a lot of the Beatles’ records, Paul felt moved to write rhythmic parts to anchor a groove behind a band over top. This was particularly noteworthy during the band’s first few records, which prioritized faster tempos and quick, danceable grooves. Paul needed to establish a consistent, tight bassline in order to lock in with Ringo Starr on the drums.
As the band began to mature, McCartney’s goals changed a bit. Rather than hitting a pulse on every beat, he began to focus on using the bass to create proper melodies. Instead of backing up the rhythm guitar or just playing the root note of every chord, these bass lines were unique, melodic, and much more articulate.
Of course, Paul could still deliver a pounding, groovy bassline — just check out his work on White Album tracks like “Helter Skelter” or “Yer Blues”! But instead of focusing exclusively on these styles, McCartney was able to expand his range and palette significantly.
Wings & Solo Artist
As a solo artist after the breakup of the Beatles, McCartney began to blend some of these techniques to create a new style on the bass. A lot of tracks, like “Hi Hi Hi,” focused on driving the beat forward with a chugging bassline, just like he did in the early days of the Beatles.
However, he also had a lot of softer, suave basslines, like on his album Band on the Run. Te mixes of these different styles continued the work he had done in the Beatles’ later years, and brought some trends back forward from the early work of the group.
This synthesis of different styles yielded a lot of great work, although it’s also been a bit more inconsistent than a lot of his work in the Beatles. Obviously, having the songwriting geniuses of John Lennon (who was also a great rhythm guitarist) and George Harrison to work with couldn’t have hurt!
Overall, though, all different pieces of McCartney’s career have a lot of valuable techniques which you can learn from to play bass like him.
With that in mind, let’s get into the specific techniques McCartney uses, so you can learn how to play like him! Then, we’ll break down his favorite pieces of gear.
Bass Guitar Techniques
Any bassist with a career as long as McCartney’s will use a ton of different techniques. That makes it difficult, if not impossible, to cover all of them in one short article. However, if you want to get a quick estimation of McCartney’s talents and playing style, these techniques are some of his favorites. Learning how to use these skills will help you sound and feel like Paul on the bass.
Playing With a Pick
Playing with a pick is a pretty divisive technique in the bass community — some bassists love the sound and feel that it affords them, while other maintain that picks are for guitars only — and that bassists who play with one should learn how to play with their fingers instead.
Of course, these debates are often a bit silly. There’s no such thing as a “right” or “wrong” sound on the instrument, and even what makes a given bass tone sound “good” is highly subjective. However, if you want to play like Paul McCartney, playing with a pick is absolutely essential.
Paul played with a pick from his earliest days on the instrument, and continued this habit all throughout his career. It’s rare to find a Beatles where he plays with his fingers instead. Using a pick has a number of tonal advantages, particularly with the violin-style basses that Paul liked to use. We’ll focus on the violin basses in more depth later, but for now let’s talk about picking.
Playing bass with a pick increases your attack on the instrument — this means that the note is sharper, more precise, and more “in your face.” If you listen to clips of bassists comparing fingerstyle playing to playing with a pick (like the video that we’ve featured above), you’ll see the difference in attack.
Like the attack, you can play with a pick to get more presence out of your bass. The exact meaning of the term “presence” is a bit nebulous to some, but it generally signifies a better response in the midrange and upper registers of the bass.
Listeners often perceive a bass tone with a lot of presence as sharper, or more distinct. Notes don’t blend together as much, and it’s easier to hear dynamics, rhythm, and phrasing. That top boost is also handy, particularly when playing with hollow-body basses. Semi- and fully hollow basses add a round, warm acoustic tone to your bass. Playing with a pick balances it out.
If you’re looking for examples where McCartney’s pick playing made a difference in his tone, all you need to do is check out some Beatles records. It’s a consistent presence throughout, but you will hear it more easily on some songs than on others.
“I Saw Her Standing There,” from the band’s first album Please Please Me, is a good example to listen to. Notice how bouncy and crisp each note is on the bass. The attack and cutting tone of Paul’s pick makes the bassline go, and drives the song forward by extension.
From the Beatles’ later work, “Come Together” is another easy option to hear the way that playing with a pick changes your tone. This song is the opening track on Abbey Road, and its bassline is one of the most famous of all time. Once again, you can hear how the pick keeps every note in the riff clear and defined. It provides better phrasing and a clearer sound overall.
While there were certainly mechanical aspects that influenced Paul’s playing style and sound, most of his crucial techniques had to do with how he actually played the notes. In that regard, one of his first and most prominent influences was the blues.
Blues permeated the early rock and roll records that he listened to before the Beatles were founded, and that style of music provided the band’s main inspiration for the first half of their career. If you want to find a great blues guitar on a budget, check out our comprehensive guide to the best cheap blues guitars.
Paul incorporated a lot of the language of early rock and roll and used it in his playing. All you need to do is listen to the chord progressions and rhythmic, driving basslines of albums like With the Beatles and A Hard Days’ Night to understand the role that blues music served in Paul’s style on the bass.
This is particularly prominent on the Beatles’ cover songs. They often covered blues songs outright, like Chuck Berry’s “Roll Over Beethoven” or Berry Gordy’s “Money (That’s What I Want).” These songs provided a forum for McCartney to demonstrate his skill at playing blues bass, and incorporate that influence into his playing on other songs as well.
Becoming fluent in blues guitar playing takes a bit of effort. There are a lot of different aspects you’ll need to know, like how to play over a 12 bar blues sequence and how to play blues turnarounds. You might also want to learn some basic blues improvisation, because these techniques will help you play bass like Paul McCartney.
Uses for Blues
Paul used these techniques for a few main reasons. First, the blues emphasize stock, repetitive chord progressions that make it easy to drive a song forward. Rather than focusing on the root of every chord and just playing one note in each chord, 12 bar blues songs allow plenty of time for bassists to establish a rhythm through driving, repetitive playing.
The rhythm of the blues also translates to a lot of other styles of early rock and roll. Lots of blues and rockabilly songs, particularly those released in the 1950s, emphasize syncopation and swing. These aspects are important to know, because Paul often incorporated swing feeling into his bass playing.
If you learn how to play blues, your time feel and rhythmic skills will improve, which will in turn allow you to play more consistent swung basslines and sound like Sir Paul. Combine that with the hard-charging rhythms of lots of blues standards, and you’ll be sounding like the basslines from the early Beatles in no time!
Early Beatles: Simple, Basic Chord Tones
Learning the chord tones of a given chord is crucial to play bass like Paul McCartney. That’s because a lot of his early work with the Beatles focused very heavily on the chord tones of a particular song. The chord tones of a given chord are the notes that give the chord its distinctive flavor. They’re usually identified as the root, third, fifth, and sometimes the seventh as well.
Using these chord tones in a song is a great “shorthand” way to communicate which chord the band is playing at any moment. Hearing a chord tone in the bass register immediately frames the rest of the sound around that chord — even if the guitarists play less conventional lines, having a chord tone in the bass will help listeners hear how it all fits together on one chord.
This means that he played the root, third, and fifth of each chord a lot, without a ton of chromativ emphasis on the other notes in the scale.
Later Beatles: Chromaticism
If you listen to albums like Sergeant Pepper’s, Abbey Road, or even Revolver, you’ll notice a stark contrast with the band’s first five or six albums. There are a lot of reasons for that break in the sound — the band stopped touring, and the changing culture of the 1960s provided a fertile ground for more exploration in both sound and lyrics.
However, one of the key factors in the ultimate sound of this transition was Paul McCartney’s growing use of chromaticism. This marked a big shift from the blues-based vocabulary of the band’s earliest albums, and ended up influencing the pace, tone, and rhythm of the Beatles’ last five albums.
In contrast to blues rhythms, which prioritize repetitive playing and faster, swung rhythms, a lot of Paul’s chromatic basslines were more nuanced and incorporated a bit less emphasis on pace. The main impact of this was that the band centered the bass in their songs more than they did at the beginning.
Rather than keeping the bass in the back of the mix, McCartney’s bass riffs began to provide a more complex, dissonant sound that merged well with the other instruments as a prominent factor in the mix.
This marked a big shift away from the bass as a rhythm-keeping instrument. While Paul could still lay down tracks to reinforce Ringo Starr’s drumming, more often the chromatic emphasis gave him the freedom to riff and “solo” on his own. As we’ll discuss a bit more in the next section, this continued to center the bass and raise Paul’s role in the band’s musical process.
For some good examples of chromatic basslines from Paul in the Beatles, check out the riffs he laid down on tracks like “Oh! Darling” and “Something.” These two songs are both off of Abbey Road, the album where Paul provided some of his most melodic playing ever.
Notice how the bassline in each song snakes comfortably through the changes, without as much “driving rhythm” or pulsing repetition as in a lot of the Beatles’ earlier songs. This marks a big change from driving the groove forward to sitting back in the pocket, and taking more of a role in the melody of the song rather than just the beat underneath it.
It’s also good to notice how the bass interacts with the other instruments on these songs. While the lines accent the guitars over top of them, they’re not just “part of the rhythm section” — the riffs Paul is playing are just as present in the mix as the guitars and singing. It’s that focus on melodies and catchy riffs which showcases his chromatic playing.
Using Chromaticism in Your Playing
Incorporating chromatic influences in your playing might seem difficult, particularly if you’re only used to playing within scales like the pentatonic scale or arpeggios. These patterns jump around a lot, making larger leaps between notes and leading to a “spacier,” less chromatic sound.
The modal scales are a good way to start playing chromatically. You’ll need to learn how to use the mixolydian mode, the lydian mode, the phrygian mode, the dorian mode, the harmonic minor, the locrian mode, and far more. Our comprehensive guitar music theory guide is a great walkthrough.
However, at its root chromaticism is very simple: it’s just learning how to play notes next to each other in a given scale, and working between those notes to build interesting riffs and hooks. If you’re skilled at playing chromatically, you open up a lot more options for yourself than playing in the pentatonic scale.
That’s because chromatic scales offer a lot more notes for you to use than pentatonic scales and other similar forms. By weaving these together effectively, you increase the possible options for different lines to create. Add in the varied use of rhythm, and chromatic playing is a great way to spice up the way that you play scales and patterns already on the bass.
For a newer player, it might be helpful to begin by incorporating chromatic influences into scales and patterns that you already know. Try transcribing some of the melodies from Paul’s basslines, and see how he often moves between just one or two notes in the scale at a time.
Then, you can emulate these basslines by moving around one note at a time, and trying to string together smooth, melodic sections of notes. Pay attention to your phrasing and articulation, to make sure that you don’t sound sloppy, or play too slowly. Ultimately, applying this melodic instinct to chromatic structures will get you close to sounding like Paul McCartney.
Of course, if you want to get Paul’s tone on the bass, you’ll need to use some his gear! Sir Paul’s legendary Hofner bass is one of the most famous symbols of his career — in fact, he’s done more than any other artist to raise the profile of that model — but throughout his career he’s used more than just the one instrument.
To get all of the sounds that Paul uses, you might need to check out a bass, amps, and even pedals as well. We’ve provided a mix of gear designed to copy Paul’s choices as closely as possible, and make these sounds accessible to players on every budget. Read ahead to find out!
Hofner Violin Bass
As we mentioned above, the Hofner violin bass is far and away Paul McCartney’s most famous piece of equipment. He purchased this axe when the Beatles were playing residencies in Hamburg, mostly because of its symmetrical shape (which he thought looked better for him as a left-handed player).
However, in the years since he first bought that bass, it’s become famous for far more than just its looks. The Hofner violin bass provides a unique warm, woody tone thanks to its hollow body. Among professional bass players and hobbyists alike, the violin bass is popular as a tonally unique instrument — it’s a great “change of pace” axe that can put a unique stamp on a song.
It’s also got a number of ergonomic advantages, as well. Its small frame and short scale length make it a great choice for bassists who want a lighter instrument that’s easier to handle and comfortable to play for long hours at a time. If you play lots of gigs, the difference in weight might be particularly noticeable — over time, a few pounds can add up to a lot of back stress!
The short scale combines with the hollow body to produce a completely unique sound. Short scale basses tend to emphasize the fundamental of any given note, with fewer harmonics and overtones in the sound. This makes them sound “punchier” and more “up front” to many listeners, and helps them sit well in a mix, both in the studio and on stage.
The hollow body of this instrument balances out that punchier attack, by rounding out the edges of the sound and offering woody, resonant response. When played with a pick, it’s a stunning combination of sounds. Paul uses this combination to great effect throughout his career with the Beatles and later as a solo artist.
Rickenbacker Bass (4001/4003)
While he was in the Beatles, Paul also began to experiment with basses beyond the Hofner violin. The Rickenbacker 4003 was a product of this experimentation — Paul received one from the company in 1965, and soon began to use it as his favorite bass on many other songs.
It’s all over Sgt. Pepper’s, and he also enjoyed using the Rickenbacker through parts of Revolver and the White Album. In contrast to the Hofner, the Rickenbacker’s solid body and crisp, clear single-coil pickups provide a tone that’s hard to beat — and very difficult to replicate.
Rickenbacker basses are known for accentuating the top end of their signal range, as well as the high mids and overall clarity. Some players hate this sound design, but many more like to use it in order to add a different weapon to their bass arsenal. And as far as off-color basses go, it’s hard to beat the pedigree and reliability of a Rickenbacker!
Unfortunately, Rickenbacker has no budget models or affordable alternative line. If you want to get Paul’s Rickenbacker tone without spending thousands of dollars, you’ll need to look for an alternative.
The Peavey T40 is a good vintage bass that can mimic the sounds of a Rickenbacker pretty well — while it’s out of production now, you can find them on Reverb, EBay, and Craigslist for affordable prices. They’re some of the most versatile basses ever made, as they can sound like Rickenbacker basses, P-Basses, J-Basses, and even Gibson bass sounds as well!
Of course, you may not be able to find any T40 models at an affordable price near you. The company’s Peavey Milestone bass is another option, or if you want a more consistently available alternative, a Fender or Squier Jazz Bass or Jaguar Bass should do the trick.
These guitars use two single-coil pickups, like Rickenbacker basses. They’re voiced a bit differently than Rickenbacker pickups — but with a bit of experimenting and maybe an EQ pedal handy, you should be able to imitate the sound of a Rickenbacker pretty convincingly with one of these instruments.
Amps & Accessories
Like his basses, Paul has used a wide variety of amps throughout his career; he’s not picky and works with whatever amps are available. However, during his time with the Beatles he was fond of two main types of bass amps: Vox amps (like their AC4 guitar amp) and Fender bass heads.
Vox amps tend to emphasize the midrange and trebles more (a “British” voicing), with plenty of saturation at higher levels of gain and more “chime,” “jangle,” and “sparkle.” American amps retain some of that brightness, but are voiced to be a bit warmer and smoother than their British counterparts.
If you’re on a budget, any bass amp from either of these companies will work well. The Vox Mini SuperBeetle is a Beatles-inspired mini amp, and Vox’s bass version is just as good as the guitar models. These amps are built with Vox’s “NuTube” technology, which uses tubes along with solid-state tech for a boutique sound at a bargain price.
The Mini SuperBeetle Bass does a great job of giving you classic Vox bass tones, without breaking the bank. It doesn’t have a lot of extra features or frills in the control set, but at this price it’s hard to hold that against the team at Vox. Also, it looks absolutely fantastic! It’s an amp that you might want to plug in at your living room and just show it off, without even playing it!
As far as Fender amps go, a blackface or silverface Fender will work best. Whether you get a vintage model or a modern reissue, these amps are built to imitate the sounds that McCartney got out of his bass amps as precisely as possible.
If you don’t have a lot of money to spend, check out one of the amps from Fender’s Rumble series. These amplifiers are affordable, but sound very good for their price. Because they’re so cheap, it also makes them perfect for new and young players. They’re a great way to save money without compromising on tone and sound.
Sir Paul McCartney is one of the most revered bass players of all time. It can be difficult to play like him, for obvious reasons: his songwriting genius, his multiple stylistic changes throughout his career, and his unique gigging experience, to name a few. However, there are certainly a few key concepts that you can take away from his playing.
Studying these concepts and techniques will help you improve on the bass, and sound more like Paul McCartney as you do it. Make sure to check out some of his gear as well, in order to get the perfect sound from records like Abbey Road to Band on the Run. Happy playing!