Tag Archives: Billy Sherwood


New State of Mind (HD Remaster)

Here’s a remastered version of New State of Mind, that I originally did in 2010.

Interview at Yes Music Podcast 5th anniversary

Last week I had the honour of featuring in one of Kevin Mulryne’s interviews celebrating the 5th anniversary of the Yes Music Podcast. Some topics discussed were my interest in Bulgarian Folklore Music, start of my online bass lessons project and, of course, Yes Music and Chris Squire.

YMP 5th Anniversary – Part 2 with Miguel Falcão – 246


The Solution

Time to re-discover another OYE song – The Solution was always one of my favourites for the beautiful vocal interplay between Jon and Billy nad the tricky odd-time meters. Chris’ bass does have a mighty tone here. I wonder which bass was used… the Tobias extended scale? The 6-stringed Carvin? My friend Américo Silva from Music-Light lent me his new-old bass, made by JP Custom Guitars, here in Portugal. – a beautiful sounding bass.

As usual I took the bass notes by ear – some parts I wasn’t absolutely sure of the notes. Perhaps the most difficult part for me was that groovy riff around E – to understand the notes played and fingering pattern… well, I hope I didn’t miss by many. All in all it’s a bassline full of interest, contrasts and a thunderous tone!

Bass: JP Custom Guitars “Luso”

Strings: Elixir

Signal conditioning: Boss LM-2 (limiter)

Preamp: Sansamp Bass Driver DI (BDDI)

Signal path: Bass→LM-2→BDDI→PC


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


Fortune Seller – BASS AUDIO

This is one of my old bassline attempts from back in 2001. Fortune Seller has always been on of my favourite tunes in “Open Your Eyes”. The song is very dominated by it’s bass riff which, to me, has a strange “odd-meter” feel, although in reality it’s in plain 4/4.

The effects applied were also notable since flanger and octaver effects were rarely used by Chris with his Rickenbacker (more often with his MPC Electra on Cinema, Leave It or City Of Love). However, on the Open Your Eyes album, especially the flanger was used on some other tracks: Open Your Eyes (Rickenbacker) and Wonderlove (flanger and octaver, maybe here it’s really the Electra).

Bass: Rickenbacker 4001CS

Strings: Rotosound Swing Bass RS66LD (45-105, stainless steel)

Effects: Boss ME-8B (Octaver, Flanger)

Preamp: Sansamp Bass Driver DI (BDDI)

Signal path: Bass→ME-8B→BDDI→PC


New State of Mind


To Be Alive

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”)