Tag Archives: Fender

Video

Release, Release – BASS AUDIO

When I started to listen Yes from the 70’s, my friend lent me Tormato – he thought that it would be a nice mid term to start with…
That was when I started to appreciate some Yessongs. I recorded the vinyl LP to a cassete… all of it? No… I didn’t care too much for 2 songs that were not so “beautiful” or “melodic”… indeed they seemed to me only noisy and disjointed. Those were “Release, Release” and “On the Silent Wings of Freedom” (would you believe?)…. So… perspective and tastes will always change – always irrationally – and while some songs we enjoy at first listen and start getting tired of them, others spend years before we start to like them, but once we get the picture – our own picture – it will stay forever.

This is an old recording from 2000 that I transformed into a video clip, because I’m short of time for now but I’d still like to make something for my own and for those of you who like to watch my videos.

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Video

Panda Pompoir – Mundial da Boa Esperança

Panda Pompoir did the politically incorrect anthem for the Portuguese national team’s campaign on World Cup 2010 in South Africa – World Cup of Good Hope (Mundial da Boa Esperança) is actually a support song for both Portugal and Brazil – The lyrics, written by featuring artist Felipe Flamboyant (aka the voice of “Bruno Aleixo” character) professes that both teams will make it to the final 16, that Brazil can win Portugal as long as they doesn’t thrash us too much, and that in the end Brazil will be 1st and Portugal 3rd. On the top of that, the song is sang in Portuguese but with a hardly convincing Brazilian accent! Confused? Good – that’s the whole point!

The song was recorded in one afternoon, that’s the way we could afford it… anyway this is the bassline I came up with in something like 20 minutes. I used my 1978 Fender Precision Bass, and yes – fingerstyle only! I don’t appear on the clip since I had to be at work :))

The song features on the closing/opening title’s of Bruno Aleixo’s special series about South Africa 2010 – Highly recommended, even if you don’t get a word of Portuguese!

FAQ #2 – How do I get my bass sound

This is probably the most asked question, so I will try to resume my setup.

Bass: Usually it’s my Rickenbacker 4001 CS. It’s a Chris Squire signature limited edition of 1000 and mine is #605. It was manufactured on the 30th January 1996.

Other basses are:

  • early 70’s Fiesta Red Fender Jazz Bass
  • late 90’s transparent amber Zon Sonus 8 eight-string bass
  • defretted sunburst jazz bass copy
  • early 90’s Warwick Thumb bass 5 – neck-through, bubinga-wenge, bartolini pickups
  • Japanese Fender VI

Strings: I prefer the exact strings Chris Squire uses – Rotosound RS66LD “swing bass” (stainless steel, .45-.105 gauge). However I experiment some other brands, but the important thing is that I try to use very new strings when I am about to record. Chris Squire uses a new set of strings for every gig, that would be optimal but I can’t do that. I got a really nice sound with Dean Markley Blue Steels (Parallels) and recently I used really cheap strings from Warwick and they sound great. The main features are:

  • roundwound (always)
  • .45-.105 (always)
  • stainless steel (nearly always)
  • brand new (according to my possibilities)

One last word about the gauge. Some of you may think to get lighter gauge because .45-.105 is too “hard”. Really… it’s a) very relative b) a matter of practice. The fact is that a lighter gauge will not have the ability to sound the same. Try to win the ease to play the gauge that you feel it sounds better with your bass. Practice will be where you gain the technique, the ability to play it, rather than picking an “easier” gauge and be limited on sound.  I don’t have the strongest fingers on earth so .45-.105 can’t be that scary… try to play the double-bass and you will look to electric bass strings in another perspective :).

Pick: I use Jim Dunlop’s Herco Flex 75 – it’s a grey-silver nylon pick. It’s the same pick used by Chris Squire. I will write an article dedicated to picking technique.

Amplifier: On most of the videos I plug my bass to my Sansamp Bass Driver DI. It’s a preamp/DI box with controls similar to a valve tube bass head. The knob settings vary and here you may follow your ears… I just make sure that I adjust the “Level” output to the input on my soundcard and that I “Blend” 100% (maximum) of the signal through the preamp (no dry signal). “Bass”, “Treble” and “Presence” are most likely 12 o’clock (+/- 2 hours) and I will add “Drive” if I want a dirtier, saturated sound.

I used on a couple of videos a real valve-tube bass head. My Ampeg SVT II pro (also a limited edition model). I only took it’s preamp output (no speaker and microphone) and it sounds brilliant, but the Sansamp is really good and practical for using at home.

Effects: Whenever I needed effects, I got them from software plugins such as Guitar Rig. These are specific situations and they are not really part of “my sound” because they depend of the application I am using them. I only used a real pedal on “Amazing Grace” solo because I couldn’t find a satisfactory plugin by then. On the clip “On the Silent Wings of Freedom” I installed at the time a demo version of Guitar Rig (2 or 3) and I combined 2 effects to emulate Chris Squire’s effect. The “Autofilter” effect dubbed the original “Mutron III” envelope filter pedal, and I added a Chorus preset that I seem to hear blended on the original Tormato recording (possibly made from an Eventide harmonizer). I couldn’t save the settings but it’s difficult to adjust the filter controls on that plugin because it’s very sensitive to changes. I am currently building a Mutron-like pedal that I hope will do the trick in the future.

So, the signal path is really straight forward bass-sansamp-computer. For me the most important points are the quality of the bass, the strings and the (pre)amp. Those really can affect your sound. I would really advise you to work the sound from these 3 elements rather than from effect tweaking because once you get your sound from the bass-strings-amp combination, then you can be sure that your sound will work good with effects, and perhaps most important – without!

Finally, don’t forget one last thing and maybe the most important factor on your sound – You. The way you play will affect your sound. As guitar luthier Mike Tobias said about Chris (and this is not word by word, but it’s on a Guitar World interview from September 1987) and goes like this: “Most of the tone comes from his fingers. Whether it’s the Rickenbacker or another instrument, it will still be the sound of Chris Squire playing bass”

Video

Tempus Fugit – BASS AUDIO with TRANSCRIPTION


I’ve been very busy for the past weeks working on my Music, also working with a few other live projects. On the top of that my regular job also requested more time, so I haven’t had the chance to upload something new. In exchange, I am uploading something old :). This is from 2002 (if I am not mislead by the files dates) when I joined efforts with Frenchman Lionel Gibaudan, working together on a set of transcriptions of Chris’ basslines, to which I added an mp3 audio file with bass only. This happened after an invitation from Chris’ former site webmaster. Eventually I was told that Chris himself suggested him to include the mp3 files along with the transcriptions online. I was really overwhelmed with that gesture of kindness from Chris. I am sure he must be an incredible person, beyond the little I know, and before the musician he is.

So, I am making a video out of the transcription really… no special effects this time :) But I will put the transcription soon available for you at miguelbass.com. The bass used was my Fiesta Red Fender Jazz – originally, Chris didn’t use the Rickenbacker, he played the song on his white MPC Electra which had the Flanger effect incorporated on the bass itself. I used my old Boss ME-6B multi-effect pedal-board. IIRC, the bass was plugged into the ME-6B, onto the Sansamp. The strings were Rotosounds and they were new – that was good cause the tone has got plenty of harmonics and it makes the Flanger shine as it should.

The transcription – Again, it’s impossible to transcribe everything – it never is enough to replace the actual hearing of the bassline, but I still think it’s the notation that works best for me. I understand a lot of you may prefer tablature. This is just me playing the bass and no original recording at all. I can try to upload the song mixed-in later, if you think it’s a good idea! I haven’t re-checked the notes all these years later, so maybe I would hear (and play) something else, so there you go… I tried to adapt the bass pedal notation using the notation for piano pedals. I know that this, formally, doesn’t exist. This with other “improvisations” doesn’t make this transcription absolutely compliant with the standard notation, so please bare with it :)

My friends, I hope you enjoy the material, that’s what I came up with for now. As I said, I’ve been busy somewhere else and you know how the title of the song says…

Download the pdf transcription here!

Video

Le Mystére des Voix Bulgares – Пиленце пее (Pilence Pee) [arr. Miguel Falcão’s “BEBE”]

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.

Sometimes an idea is just an idea… the idea of making this arrangement has been haunting me for the last 8 months and for 8 whole months I worked on it. This is the second effort of my BEBE, following the test experience of “Svatba”. My dear channel viewers sent me an incredible loving feedback by then, including some very own native Bulgarian friends. I thank you all for your encouragement and I really hope that this time it will please you too.

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.

Voice order
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

Video

Caffeine – Slippery Ride

While I have been part of several local bands throughout the years, only this one – Caffeine – has released a video clip that actually aired on some tv stations. To put it simple, Caffeine was a rock act that had it’s major activity around the turn of the millenium and saw an EP and full length albums released. Quite far from the prog area (if not from some splashes from yours truly), this was a different thing and maybe not the usual dear channel viewer’s cup of tea. Still, I would like to present you a picture of what I was doing some years back, including some of my own bassline work. You will find “familiar” influences for sure, but also other elements that somehow are part of my style, if there is one.The bass however gets a bit lost in the mix, as this single edit of the song progresses. I used my J-Bass with flanger on the first part of the song, and on 2 occasional overdubs you may spot some 8-string harmonics. The video was shot in 2001 by the occasion of our only international performance, opening for Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds (after being invited by Mick Harvey) at La Riviera, Madrid – Spain, and in our homeland, at Lisbon’s Coliseu dos Recreios. Caffeine opened for other more and less well known international alternative acts such as Sigur Ros, Dakota Suite and Day-One.

Video

Our Song

Music has magic – That stuff of syncopation. Music is a shout of foregone conclusions. Treat it good. Treat it rightly. And if you get it flowing. The harmony is glowing. Music – Good to you.

Video

Vi (i saw) [improvisation for Fender VI]

This piece of music came along one night after some noodling on my Fender VI. I left the tape rolling just to save some ideas flowing by. I just played what was going on inside me. After I heard it, I thought it made sense to keep it as a solo improvisation. It’s something I enjoy doing once in a while but never had thought to actually record it. The idea for the video was also another sort of improvisation… Obviously I didn’t flim myself playing… you may decide to find a musical connection with the images or simply close your eyes and listen.

Video

Parallels

One of my all-time favourite bass lines and songs of Yes – Parallels, written by Chris Squire, from the album Going For The One.

SETUP: Early 70’s Fender Jazz Bass, a brand new set of Blue Steels, Sansamp Bass Driver DI, GR3 “bass pro” ampeg SVT emulator. The sansamp settings make a huge difference but I don’t remember them. If you need more details just send me a message.