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Monday, August 13, 2012

The Beatles "Something" Isolated Bass And Drums

Here's a wonderful insight into the backbone of The Beatle's ever enduring success, a listen to the isolated rhythm section of Ringo Starr on drums and Paul McCartney on bass. This is as solid and as creative a combination as modern music has ever seen. As you listen to just the bass and drums of "Something," be aware of the following:

1) Listen to how far behind the beat Ringo's snare is. He plays the song every bit the way a blues drummer would. Actually, "Something" uses somewhat of a blues song form, with 10 bars instead of the the normal 12.

2) Ringo doesn't play a high hat during the verse. It's just kick and snare. You hear the ride cymbal during the guitar solo section, and the hat only during the very last B-section of the song.

3) Listen to the constant tom fills during the bridge. It's easy to overlook this when all the instruments are in the mix.

4) Listen to how improvised the bass part is. The only part that seems written is the B-section ("I don't want to leave her now").

5) The sounds of both the bass and drums are great; big and round sounding with plenty of definition. This was done on the solid state TG console at Abbey Road Studios that no one particularly liked the sound of, but it holds up very well as compared to what came after.

If you'd like to read more about recording The Beatles and Abbey Road Studios, check out Ken Scott's book Abbey Road To Ziggy Stardust.


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Anonymous said...

Great post! Is somebody else helping out with the mallet cymbal on that same take? It sure doesn't sound like Ringo is playing them while he does the kick/snare stuff. I never noticed how abruptly McCartney cuts off the last note. Amazing.

Brad said...

Ringo is as solid as a Drum Machine. lol Paul always had some cleverly worked out bass lines that did a lot more for the song than just hold down the low end. That element of the bass is missing in today's Pop music IMHO.

Paul was playing lines that intertwined with guitar parts while staying locked with the drums at the same time. Brilliant. Paul McCartney = My Favorite musician.

Fred Decker said...

I agree with Brad about the bass part--outstanding. Sometimes it seems to me like Paul would take a lesser song (in my opinion) like "Something" and decide to elevate it with his bass playing and make it seem profound where it could have seemed banal and trite. "Nowhere Man" would be another example of this.

Jumpinjimmy said...

A lot of studio drummers learn this technique of playing slightly behind the beat.It keeps them from speeding up or slowing down,a disaster for any band with a good drummer


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