Tag Archives: 8-stringVideo Video
Dear friends, this is a very special video for me because I’m presenting the bass I have built in the memory of Chris Squire. The #bassforChris project is my first attempt to construct a bass and it took me about one year. Finally it’s ready.
Another important part of the cover is the use of the 8-string bass on the intro and first two verses of the song. Although there isn’t any report of Chris using an 8-string in this song, while studying the bassline, I concluded that it was indeed the Rickenbacker 4008 that was used, with a wah-wah effect pedal. I underline that this statement is just from my listening, but it fits in the chronology, as the first prototypes were issued in 1973, according to the Rickenbacker Electric Bass Book (Paul D. Boyer/Hal Leonard) and Chris was given one of the first copies.
Episode 4 of the “sort-of-tutorial” series on Chris Squire and the 8-string bass is a kind contribution of Eric Ranney, who designed and built the Ranney 8-string bass. Details of the bass’ construction and all the story from the instruments’ conception to its première in the hands of Chris Squire are presented in this video.
I would like to express my gratitude to Eric Ranney for sharing this piece of Yes history, which I’m sure will captivate your interest.
Very special thanks to Keane Arase at keanespics.com for the photographs from the Chicago show.
This is the first (sort of) tutorial video of a series I am doing about Chris playing the 8-string bass. I began on episode 3, talking about the use of the Ranney bass from 90125 on.
Bass: Zon Sonus 8
Effects: Boss LM-2 Limiter
Signal path: Bass→LM-2→PC
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
I’m starting using Soundcloud. I thought this could work as an audio scrapbook where I will make some experiments and store any ideas that will arise. Something to share quicker without having to build a video clip.
The first entry is an improvisation using the Zon Sonus 8-string bass. Just exploring the natural timbre of the bass, without any effects or amp simulators. I just enjoyed the “echoes” that I can hear vibrating inside, enhanced by the long sustain that this bass provides. This can be felt even with the bass unplugged – it would be interesting to hear it acoustic, captured by an external microphone… Hope you enjoy it!
These are my wishes of Merry Christmas for all of you visiting my music.
May the Music be with you always!
A beautiful song by Billy Sherwood. Also a good example of how to make use of the 8-string bass, letting the notes shine, keeping it simple and focus on the timbre of the instrument. The top two strings are tuned in perfect fifths (just like “Changes” or “Hearts”)
Pilence Pee (Пиленце пее) is my latest musical adventure. This song features a traditional Bulgarian choir arrangement, adapted by me to an ensemble of bass instruments.
Having in mind, once again, that the Bulgarian female choir voices *are* irreplaceable, I tried again to absorb the inspiration of those wondrous sounds and, somehow, to speak my soul through my playing.
The original BEBE concept had to be extended. To achieve the expression of the sustained pairs of voices, I used effects on some basses, namely, the Malekko b:assmaster (second appearence after “Amazing Grace“) and a Sansamp TRI O.D.. My BEBE (Bulgarian Electric Bass Ensemble) had a very special non “electric” guest – one of my doublebasses had an important contribution for the final texture of the sound. BEBE’s veteran members Rickenbacker 4001CS and Fender VI also welcomed the Zon Sonus 8-string and the Warwick Thumb Bass.
The notes were taken all by ear and, later, checked with the help of a friend of mine. Then many changes were (as in Svatba) made, as to adapt the song to my own taste and style of playing, hopefully without spoiling it too much. On the outro I did take some more freedom, harmonically, and in general drifted away from the original Krassimir Kiurktchiiski’s arrangement.
Pilence Pee (sounds like “Pilentse Peh”) is a Bulgarian folk song and it means something like “Little bird sings”. I just know a little Bulgarian and I searched for the meaning of this song, with the generous contribution of some friends. For 20 years, since I heard this song released on the album by 4AD, I sang it without understanding a word, just sounds. But, having understood the lyrics this year, I honestly had the sensation that I already had got the message. The message is beautifully composed and yet extremely tragic. And if there is a sign of hope for the years to come, the beauty of the Bulgarian Music that blossomed from its people, in spite of five centuries of slavery couldn’t be a better example. Love now – because it may be too late and you will regret it. Hear what the little bird speaks.
high (main):Rickenbacker 4001CS + b:assmaster
high (pedal):Warwick ThumBass + TRI-O.D.
mid (main & pedal):Fender VI and doublebass
low (main):Rickenbacker 4001CS + b:assmaster
low (pedal): Zon Sonus 8