Today we have another Classic Bass Line from Paul McCartney. “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” is from The Beatles White Album and was written by George Harrison. This line has everything – double stops, slides, wide ranging scales and arpeggios – all played with an aggressive grinding tone. From a gear standpoint, this track is unusual for Paul. He used his 1966 Fender Jazz Bass instead of his Rickenbacker or Hofner. The Jazz is strung with flatwounds and played with a pick.
“The 4-string bass was sometimes doubled by a 6-string bass on some songs. By this time Paul had acquired a Fender Jazz bass which he used in lieu of his Rickenbacker, and a Fender Bass VI was always around the studio. What possibly happened was that the band had heard German orchestra leader Bert Kaempfert double an upright acoustic bass with a 6-string bass when they were in Germany, and decided to give it a try with electrics. Although they might not have known at the time, the practice was also used in Nashville on a lot of country songs and even had a name: “Tic-toc bass.” You can hear it on “Piggies,” “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” “Glass Onion,” and “Rocky Racccoon.” The two parts were always played together and never overdubbed individually.”
Below is the original track, the isolated bass, and a great cover by Kocuhu.
Isolated Bass (from Deconstructed Songs)
Cover by Kocuhu