Universal Garden


Universal Garden has been a sort of “forgotten” song for me, since I had so many other favourites on “Open Your Eyes”. When it came the time to rediscover this album, I thought I should give a chance to this song and hear carefully what was going on with the bass. When I finally noticed that Chris was playing the 8-string bass and detected the “Ranney” tuning, that’s when things started to become interesting.

For those who don’t know, Chris developed an alternate tuning with his Ranney 8-string bass. Instead of having all string pairs tuned as octaves, he decided to have perfect fifths above the D and G string. On his “starlicks” video interview, Chris describes this as a “gothic” sound, and songs like “Changes”, “Hearts” and more recently “To Be Alive” and “It Will Be a Good Day“.

The bassline is a bit hard to hear in places. I had some doubts in the opening section, deciding whether the notes were played on the E string (as octaves) or the D and/or G strings (as fifths). The is a guitar overdub that plays on a similar register and confused me a bit. I decided to play a mix of the two versions but to be honest I am not sure about that intro. For example, on the Conspiracy live DVD Chris plays his “second” Mouradian 4-string and he hits the same notes using fifth chords on the D and G strings (G#, E, A, G#).

For the video, I did a very basic concept that I actually think of many times… only I forgot to write down here. I just googled for “universe” and the name of a colour and I selected the images I liked the most. I remember I looked for red, orange, blue, purple… maybe the same as Jon Anderson’s Yesshows “pre-Ritual” speech :) So I just applied the effects to those pictures. Finally I included Yes members pictures and applied a colour to each one… I thought of which colour to associate to each member. Billy – Purple; Steve – Red; Jon – Gold/Yellow; Chris – Green and Alan – White! :)

Bass: Zon Sonus 8

Strings: Zon 8 String set and D’Addario EXL 280 piccolo strings (for the fifths)

Effects: Amplitube 3 – Ampeg BA-500

Signal path: Bass→PC→Amplitube


Published by Miguel Falcão


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