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Bass Transcription: Paul McCartney - "Drive My Car"

May 8, 2016

Paul McCartney’s bass lines continue to be some of my favorites.  A few things that were surprisingly difficult (and fun!) to transcribe:

 

For one, he’s using his famous Hofner bass, which doesn’t exactly cut through the mix, making for some muddy moments.

 

If you get out your nearest Rubber Soul album, there are a few questionable notes in McCartney’s line from measures 19-20.  I transcribed what I thought he was shooting for, which I generally don’t do, because I just couldn’t advocate the notes I *think* he’s playing, which sound off.  You can hear the dissonance against the guitar line which doubles the bass line quite closely. 

 

Also, Paul was singing and playing bass, probably at the same time, which is a feat in itself.  Have you tried it? It's crazy hard.

 

Being 1965, the band recorded via analog methods, so the album track was probably done in a single take… no digital punch-in’s like nowadays!  Try doing it all the way through in one take!

 

This era of one-takes also might speak to McCartney's note “errors” – some people may use the term “errors”, while others say they add to the album’s character.

 

The intro.  I’ve timed this out again and again, and the math in my transcription is, I’ll assert boldly, correct.  But I’m equally confident that no one sat down and wrote out a measure of 1/8 time when they went to record!  The analysis is more useful in helping us replicate the music, rather than helping us get inside the head of the band -- as is often the case with music analysis!

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