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- These Transcriptions Are For Educational Purposes Only -


As part of my on-going development as a musician, I've continued to transcribe basslines for many years. Believe me when I say, my first transcriptions were almost illegible. But times change and skills advance, and I'd like to offer some of my transcriptions for you as a resource to practice your sight reading skills. Regardless of your level, even if you can progress through a single bar of notation, it's progress in the right direction. I remember one of my tutors once saying, "If you can't read it, don't play it!". Wise words...

With Bass In Mind Transcription Archives

The Transcriptions - Jeff Berlin.jpg

Song: Joe Frazier

Artist: Bill Bruford

Bassist: Jeff Berlin

A signature bassline from one of the all time greats.

Jeff Berlin has performed with the likes of Frank Zappa, Allen Holdsworth, Scott Henderson, and Frank Gambale and of course, Bill Bruford, I'm so proud to have been taught by him.

The Transcriptions - Joe Dart.jpg

Song: Dean Town

Artist: Vulpeck

Bassist: Joe Dart

Joe Dart's impact on the worldwide bass community has been immense - the collective impression that Vulfpeck have left has been so large that it's resulted in Ernie Ball Musicman commissioning their first ever signature bass guitar. I was working for EBMM in LA when Joe took delivery of the instrument - his smile said a thousand words.

The Transcriptions - Pino Palladino.jpg

Song: Vultures

Artist: John Mayer

Bassist: Pino Palladino

From The Who to John Mayer, D'Angelo to Nine Inch Nails, Pino Palladino is one of the most sort after session musicians on the planet - and a total gentleman! I was fortunate enough to

meet him while I was tutoring his son, Rocco. He proved to be a perfect role model for anyone who wishes to question the myth about 'never meeting your heroes'. Although I've featured 

his fretted playing here, be sure to check out his fretless endeavours with Paul Young!

The Transcriptions - Norman Watt-Roy.jpg

Transcription: Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick

Artist: Ian Dury and the Blockheads

Bassist: Norman Watt-Roy

Norman Watt-Roy has always been one of my biggest influences. Back in '98,

Ian Dury's 'Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick' was the first tune that I ever studied - which literally took months, it's a wonderful bassline which requires a great deal of plucking hand discipline. In more recent years I was fortunate enough to tutor 

Norman's nephew Alan, another fine bassist, during his time at The ICMP, London.

The Transcriptions - Paul McCartney.jpg

Transcription: Come Together

Artist: The Beatles

Bassist: Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney's playing is simply magnificent, but the amount of bassists that have named this recording as a seminal part of their own development is quite substantial - For example, I remember hearing Nathan Watts losing his mind whilst trying to describe the first time he heard 'Come Together'. It's worth noting that at this time in his career McCartney was using both a Fender Jazz ('69) and a Rickenbacker in the studio.

Transcription: Country Boy

Artist: Albert Lee

Bassist: Emery Gordy Jr.

The Transcriptions - Emory Gordy Jr.jpg

MCA studio musician, Emery Gordy is one of those unsung heroes. A prolific resumé boasts appearances with Elvis Presley, Neil Diamond, Gram Parsons, Emmylou Harris, Billy Joel, Tom Petty, Vince Gill and but of course, Albert Lee. I was honoured to perform this very bassline with Albert back in '17 - a career highlight of mine.

Transcription: Cissy Strut

Artist: The Meters

Bassist: George Porter Jr.

The Transcriptions - George Porter

Inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2011, Cissy Strut was first released back in 1969 on The Meter's debut album. Back then the composition only managed to reach #23 in the Billboard Hot 100, but since has grown to be recognised as a pioneering, seminal R&B instrumental. P-Bass at the ready...

Transcription: Master Blaster (Jammin')

Artist: Stevie Wonder

Bassist: Nathan Watts

The Transcriptions - Nathan Watts.jpg

I wish I could describe to you the feeling of meeting Nathan for the first time - but I'm afraid it was all a bit of a blur (I can honestly tell you I was properly star struck). Amazingly, he remembered me when we bumped into one another in LA. I'm not sure the 19 year old me would believe the adult me if I told him one day you'll be perching at the bar chatting with Nathan Watts.

The Transcriptions - Flea.jpg

Transcription: Under The Bridge

Artist: Red Hot Chili Peppers

Bassist: Flea

Not just the Red Hot Chili Pepper's bassist; Michael Balzary has collaborated with 'Fear', 'Jane's Addiction', 'Atoms for Peace', 'Tom Waits', 'Alanis Morissette' and believe it or not, even 'Johnny Cash'. An incredibly melodic musician, this bassline is one of my favourites - Taken from the seminal '91 album, 'Blood, Suger, Sex, Magik'. EBMM StingRay 5's at the ready!

The Transcriptions - Tony Levin.jpg

Transcription: Slegehammer

Artist: Peter Gabriel

Bassist: Tony Levin

A long term associate of Ernie Ball Musicman, Tony Levin pulled out all the stops for his performance on Peter Gabriel's seminal recording; 'Slegehammer'. Originally recorded on a fretless Musicman Sabre, you'll need both an Octave and Chorus pedal in your arsenal if you'd like to accurately reproduce to required tonality.

Al McKibbon was notoriosuly known for his rich, resonant tone and metronomic precision.

Hired by Dizzy Gillespie to replace Ray Brown, McKibbon’s carrer had numous highlights,

from playing on Miles Davis’ groundbreaking 'Birth of the Cool' sessions, to briefly backing

Count Basie. He joined Nat King Cole's main backing, the George Shearing Quartet, in 1951.

The Transcriptions - Al McKibbon.jpg

Transcription: Let There Be Love

Artist: Nat 'King' Cole

Bassist: Al McKibbon

With the likes of Roger Hawkins, Bobby Womack and The Sweet Inspirations joining her

at Atlantic Studios - Aretha Franklin was in fine company for the undertaking of her 13th

studio album; 'Aretha Now' Jerry Jemmott's playing on this recording is deceptive, what

initially sounds quite straightforward, is actually dense in melodic detail. 

The Transcriptions - Jerry Jemmott.jpg

Transcription: I Say A Little Prayer

Artist: Aretha Franklin

Bassist: Jerry Jemmott

'Don't Change Horses (In The Middle Of A Stream)' is taken from Tower of Power's

fourth studio album, 'Back to Oakland' - released in the spring of 1974, on Warner Bros.

To authentically duplicate Prestia's seminal approach to fretting hand articulation, take

the time to watch his 1993, 'Fingerstyle Funk' VHS (now available on digital formats and YouTube).

The Transcriptions - Rocco Prestia.jpeg

Transcription: Don't Change Horses

Artist: Tower of Power

Bassist: Francis Rocco Prestia

John Bentley was part of Squeezes' original lineup from 1980 until the the band initially split up in 1982. His playing was featured alongside that of Glenn Tilbrook, Chris Difford and Jools Holland's on; 'Argybargy', 'East Side Story' and 'Sweet's from a Stranger'. When the band reformed in 1985, Keith Wilkinson took over bass duties. Today, the wonderful Yolanda Charles MBE holds the bass chair, touring with the band since 2017.

The Transcriptions - John Bentley.jpeg

Transcription: Tempted

Artist: Squeeze

Bassist: John Bentley

The Transcriptions - Carol Kaye.jpeg

Transcription: Good Vibrations

Artist: The Beach Boys

Bassist: Carol Kaye

What can you say that hasn't already been said about one of the most prolific session musicians ever. Carol Kaye is estimated to have featured on over 10,000 recordings during a career spanning over five decades. As a fundamental member of the Los Angeles' 'Wrecking Crew' her list of session appearances is phenomenal and includes the likes of Frank Sinatra, Stevie Wonder, The Monkees and but of course, The Beach Boys!

The Transcriptions - Jerry Knight.jpeg

Transcription: Lovely Day

Artist: Bill Withers

Bassist: Jerry Knight

Along with Ray Parker Jr, Jerry Knight was a founding member of the group 'Raydio', who's early hits included 'Jack and Jill'. Together as session musicians, both Knight and Parker appeared on the 1977 Bill Withers album, 'Menagerie' - performing on this timeless classic 'Lovely Day'. Surprisingly the single never reached #1 - however Withers did go on to win three Grammy Awards and also be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015.

The Transcriptions - Tommy Cogbill.jpeg

Transcription: Son of a Preacher Man

Artist: Dusty Springfield

Bassist: Tommy Cogbill

Often hired by Jerry Wexler at Atlantic records, Tommy Cogbill's list of recording credits is something quite special; from Wilson Pickett to Aretha Franklin, Dusty Springfield to Elvis Presley. For me, some of his stand out performances can be heard on such recordings as Aretha Franklin's 'Respect' and but of course this one, Dusty's Springfield's soul masterpiece 'Son of a Preacher Man'

The Transcriptions - Verdine White.jpeg

Transcription: Shining Star

Artist: Earth, Wind & Fire

Bassist: Verdine White

Founded in Chicago by Maurice White; Earth, Wind & Fire's lustrous legacy has spanned over fifty years. Named ‘one of the greatest bands ever’ (VH1), the ensemble has won six Grammy awards, been nominated for seventeen, four American Music Awards and have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame...they even have a star on the ‘Hollywood Walk of Fame’. 

The Transcriptions - Duck Dunn.jpeg

Transcription: Soul Mann

Artist: Sam & Dave

Bassist: Donald 'Duck' Dunn

Know for his work as the principle bassist at STAX records - Donald 'Duck' Dunn was a true force of nature, recording with everyone from Booker T & the M.G.'s to Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, Rufus Thomas, Carla Thomas, Eddie Floyd, Albert King, Bill Withers and even Elvis Presley. In 1992, he was rightfully inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The Transcriptions - James Jamerson.jpg

Transcription: Reach Out (I'll Be There)

Artist: Four Tops

Bassist: James Jamerson

Collectively, The Funk Brothers, have played on more than 100 number ones - that’s more hit singles than Elvis, The Beatles, The Beach Boys and The Rolling Stones put together. I can’t urge you enough to purchase the ‘Standing in the Shadows of Motown’ text, it’s killed. Watch the documentary, read the book and get lost in this seminal part of music history. 

The Transcriptions - Louis Johnson.jpeg

Transcription: Get On The Floor

Artist: Michael Jackson

Bassist: Louis Johnson

Best known for his work Michael Jackson, Louis Johnson has also collaborated with the likes of Aretha Franklin, George Benson, Michael McDonald, Bill Withers and but of course, the Brothers Johnson. The catalyst for my own love affair with Music Man’s Sabre bass, Johnson is more heavily associated with another Leo Fender design, the StingRay. If you get time, check out Star Lick’s Bass Master Session DVD, it’s monster!

The Transcriptions - Bob Babbitt.jpeg

Transcription: Tears of a Clown

Artist: Smokey Robinson & The Miracles

Bassist: Bob Babbitt

Babbitt's career at Motown was often over shadowed by James Jamerson’s legacy - But his time there saw him record with the likes of Stevie Wonder, Edwin Starr, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations and Diana Ross. When Motown headed to LA, Babbitt headed to New York, continuing his career with everyone from Frank Sinatra to Alice Cooper! Here’s a fun transcription of his playing on Smokey Robinson’s ‘The Tears of a Clown’ - As a student, my mentor Rob Burns, taught us to play the bassoon part featured in the opening four-bars - for nothing but fun, you can include it, if not, just remain tacet! 

The Transcriptions - Stuart Zender.jpeg

Transcription: Virtual Insanity

Artist: Jamiroquai

Bassist: Stuart Zender

The seminal link in Jamiroquai’s early success; Stuart Zender is without a doubt one of the most prolific bass players of our generation. During his time with Jamiroquai the band was decorated with an array of awards ranging from MTV to Grammy - but since leaving the band his career has continued to envelope other high profile artists such as Lauryn Hill, D’Angelo, Mica Paris, Stevie Wonder and Mark Ronson. Ashdown 'Funk Face' plugged in, enjoy this one!

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