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Author Topic: Brian's Bass Playing  (Read 5344 times)
NateRuvin
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« on: July 04, 2015, 07:21:04 PM »

Among BBs fans, it is a general consensus, that if there is an official BBs bass player, it's Brian. So how has Brian's bass playing been?
62-65: Brian's bass playing started off amateur, but he became really good by '64. If you don't believe me- check out the TAMI show gig.
66-69: Brian wasn't touring, and he was playing bass on the records very rarely. But when he did play, it sounded good.
70-75: Brian wasn't playing bass very often, although I believe he contributed bass to Sunflower.
76-79: Brian's back period (And the next few years), his bass playing is rough, but by 77/78 he's back to his old self, playing bass really well.
80-2015: Brian plays bass rarely now. He mostly sings and plays his keyboard. In the early 2000's-2012 he would always rock out on bass, playing the chord changes, not the actual bass lines, on the encore songs. But he hasn't done so since 2013.

So, the NPP tour and his European Pet Sounds tour, may be his last tours(?) and he hasn't been playing bass. Will "The Beach Boys Official Bass Player" ever play bass again?
« Last Edit: July 04, 2015, 10:22:35 PM by NateRuvin » Logged
NHC
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« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2015, 11:32:26 AM »

80-2015: Mostly sings and SITS at his keyboard.
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GoodToMyBaby
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« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2015, 01:41:22 PM »

80-2015: Mostly sings and SITS at his keyboard.
He has been playing keyboard pretty regularly since 2009.
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Lonely Summer
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« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2015, 01:44:40 PM »

80-2015: Mostly sings and SITS at his keyboard.
Exactly. I never think of Brian as a bass player. Obviously in the early days, the band needed a bass player, so Brian was it. But he is a piano man. Wish he would play in concert, but I suppose he's been convinced he's not that good, others are better, therefore no need to play. I don't care about that. Elvis Presley was not a virtuoso guitarist, but I always love when I see/hear footage of him playing rhythm in the band. He had a great 'feel" that added a lot to the music.
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Ron
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« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2015, 01:51:11 PM »

I've always marveled at his bass playing, although I'm not talented enough on bass to know how good he was, but here's what always got me:

Brian's biggest 'gift' in my opinion was always his mind for harmony.  He claimed he heard all the songs in 5 part harmony in his head, and then taught all the other guys their parts.  He still has that ability, Mike talks about it on the Hawthorne Album I think.  You still see him doing it when studio footage comes out, although some of that is probably re shot...

When he's on stage (in the early years)... not only is he singing the HIGHEST part of the harmony, he's playing the LOWEST part of the music, actually lower than the bass vocal line Mike would be singing.  So he's basically covering that whole spectrum in his live performances. 

It's kind of mind blowing.

A similar thing happened with Karen Carpenter, she sang like an angel, had one of the most beautiful, soft, delicate voices ever recorded, just perfectly beautiful... and played the DRUMS live, at the same time!  So she was singing the softest, most beautiful part of the vocal, and playing the hardest, roughest snap of the music, at the same time.  Showed a complete mastery of the music, IMHO. 

(not saying Karen's drums were particularly good, or that she's on par with Brian, just saying the similarity is interesting)
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kookadams
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« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2015, 02:38:34 PM »

Well hes on the early records in 63 and here&there 64/5, hardly on pet sounds, off&on in the late 60s, not so sure bout surfs up and holland but he did most of the instrumentation on love you, and probably here&there on MIU and KTSA, probably not so much from the 80s to now.
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Autotune
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« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2015, 02:43:19 PM »

Given his back problems, it's unlikely he'll play bass again while standing onstage.
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« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2015, 02:46:03 PM »

When Al rejoined in '63, he became the main in-house bassist, not Brian. Carl also played occasional bass.
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Mike's Beard
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« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2015, 02:57:37 PM »

Both Brian and Bruce had a weird picking technique.
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Mike's Beard
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« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2015, 03:00:19 PM »


(not saying Karen's drums were particularly good, or that she's on par with Brian, just saying the similarity is interesting)

OT, Karen was a very good drummer.
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« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2015, 03:17:10 PM »

Both Brian and Bruce had a weird picking technique.

Bruce picked.

Brian thumbed.
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« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2015, 03:17:43 PM »

Brian used his thumb at bottom of fret board,
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Mike's Beard
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« Reply #12 on: July 05, 2015, 03:28:53 PM »

Both Brian and Bruce had a weird picking technique.

Bruce picked.

Brian thumbed.

Yeah that 'thumbing' technique, I've seen Bruce use it too.
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mikeddonn
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« Reply #13 on: July 05, 2015, 04:13:34 PM »

Brian was a pretty talented bassist.  He also looked super cool playing it.  Check out The Lost Concert and TAMI concert.  I would love to see him pick up the bass and play with that swagger and energy again one last time (an encore would do, back pain permitting). Grin
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NateRuvin
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« Reply #14 on: July 05, 2015, 07:41:01 PM »

I'm seeing Brian tomorrow, and I know it's extremely unlikely, but I'd love him to do Barbara Ann playing bass!
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Aum Bop Diddit
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« Reply #15 on: July 05, 2015, 08:10:29 PM »

There's a "pocket" on those earlier records.  If nothing else, Brian understood the importance of the bass and groove, and created or co-created some great baselines.
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« Reply #16 on: July 05, 2015, 10:41:13 PM »

I've always marveled at his bass playing, although I'm not talented enough on bass to know how good he was, but here's what always got me:

Brian's biggest 'gift' in my opinion was always his mind for harmony.  He claimed he heard all the songs in 5 part harmony in his head, and then taught all the other guys their parts.  He still has that ability, Mike talks about it on the Hawthorne Album I think.  You still see him doing it when studio footage comes out, although some of that is probably re shot...

When he's on stage (in the early years)... not only is he singing the HIGHEST part of the harmony, he's playing the LOWEST part of the music, actually lower than the bass vocal line Mike would be singing.  So he's basically covering that whole spectrum in his live performances. 

It's kind of mind blowing.
Now that you mention it, yeah, it is! Good observation.

I like this topic, too. I like being able to say that not only did the boys have amazing voices/harmonies, but that they were in fact talented and capable of playing instruments Grin
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« Reply #17 on: July 06, 2015, 01:42:48 AM »


(not saying Karen's drums were particularly good, or that she's on par with Brian, just saying the similarity is interesting)

OT, Karen was a very good drummer.

According to the guy who gave her some tuition, she was pretty good. Name of Belsky.  Smiley
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« Reply #18 on: July 06, 2015, 03:14:19 AM »

Both Brian and Bruce had a weird picking technique.

Bruce picked.

Brian thumbed.

Yeah that 'thumbing' technique, I've seen Bruce use it too.

Bruce told me that Brian sometimes used a picking technique, but with his thumbnail rather than a pick. Best of both worlds!
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Autotune
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« Reply #19 on: July 06, 2015, 04:24:27 AM »

Both Brian and Bruce had a weird picking technique.

Bruce picked.

Brian thumbed.

Yeah that 'thumbing' technique, I've seen Bruce use it too.

Bruce told me that Brian sometimes used a picking technique, but with his thumbnail rather than a pick. Best of both worlds!

Seeing some stuff from the early 60s, it's impossible not to think he got blisters in his thumb.
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NateRuvin
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« Reply #20 on: July 06, 2015, 08:12:36 AM »

Both Brian and Bruce had a weird picking technique.

Bruce picked.

Brian thumbed.

Yeah that 'thumbing' technique, I've seen Bruce use it too.

Bruce told me that Brian sometimes used a picking technique, but with his thumbnail rather than a pick. Best of both worlds!

Seeing some stuff from the early 60s, it's impossible not to think he got blisters in his thumb.

You're right!!! i've tried to play bass like Brian and I always get blisters! Playing the Dance Dance Dance rifff with your thumb, is very hard! Brian was a very underrated bassist. I have heard many times that he played bass on Sloop John B in addition to WC members playing bass. Is this accurate?
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NHC
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« Reply #21 on: July 06, 2015, 01:31:29 PM »

When I play bass, which I guess I really don't since my bass was stolen 10 years ago, I use(d) that classic "hand pointed down over the edge, use the first two fingers" style. Never liked a pick or thumb for bass. For thumb-picking, see the late Tommy Caldwell of the Marshall Tucker Band. Like his guitarist brother Toy, it's all in the thumb. I never saw anyone play that way with as much speed and dexterity as those two boys on either instrument - jazz, rock, blues, country, whatever they happened to be playing at the time.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2015, 08:31:21 AM by NHC » Logged
Ron
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« Reply #22 on: July 06, 2015, 11:47:46 PM »

Paul McCartney plays bass with a pick.  That's about all I need to know Smiley

Love the Caldwell brothers, though.  I'm about 45 minutes from their stomping grounds though, so I think it's in the water...
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NHC
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« Reply #23 on: July 07, 2015, 08:45:33 AM »

It must be, Ron. That whole original MTB line-up from Spartanburg was incredible. Toy's solo album, Son of the South, recorded not long before he passed away 20-some years ago has some of his best guitar work - Why Am I Cryin', instrumental Night Life, Texas On My Mind, live Can't You See . . . . . George McCorkle was no slouch as second guitar, either.
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Niko
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« Reply #24 on: July 07, 2015, 08:49:54 AM »

Both Brian and Bruce had a weird picking technique.

Bruce picked.

Brian thumbed.

Yeah that 'thumbing' technique, I've seen Bruce use it too.

Bruce told me that Brian sometimes used a picking technique, but with his thumbnail rather than a pick. Best of both worlds!

Seeing some stuff from the early 60s, it's impossible not to think he got blisters in his thumb.

You will develop a very thick callus on your thumb playing bass like that, so not really.
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