“YYZ” by Rush

Today’s Classic Bass Line is from “YYZ” by Rush.  This is the holy grail of bass lines, so expect a long and painful journey if you attempt it.  It’s worth it.  Trust me.

YYZ is an instrumental rock piece by Canadian rock band Rush, from their 1981 album Moving Pictures. Following its initial release, it became one of the band’s most popular pieces and has been a staple of the band’s live performances. The song has been featured on all live concert video recordings in some form.

I'm taking a break.  I can already play it.

I’m taking a break. I can already play it.

Geddy Lee is one of the most unique and influential bassists of the past 40 years, so take some time to learn a little about him, his style, and his technique.  Look for a Know Your Player on Geddy in the future.

Geddy leads with his 1st finger on his picking hand for all the 16th note groupings.  When you watch the cover by TJH3113, note that he is watching his right hand – not his left.  Accent the first 16th note with the first finger in each 2 finger grouping.  For more on Geddy’s style and technique, click here and here.

To replicate Geddy’s sound on this track, solo the neck pickup and play hard.  I mean as hard as you can.  And then add 10%.  His basses are set with very straight necks and have low action. This setup will introduce some string slap that is inherent in his sound. He uses Rotosound Swing 66 strings which have a bright and aggressive timbre.  There is also some chorus applied to the verse and solo sections.

I have included the original recording, the isolated bass track, and a good cover.  Accurate TABS are here.  Learn it.

“YYZ” Original Recording

Isolated Bass

Good Cover by TJH3113