“Limelight” by Rush

Today’s Classic Bass Line is from “Limelight” by Rush.  Bassist Geddy Lee is one of the legends of the electric bass, and his playing on this track is a perfect primer for learning his style and technique.

Rush1

Since the release of the band’s self-titled debut album in March 1974, Rush has become known for its musicianship, complex compositions, and eclectic lyrical motifs drawing heavily on science fiction, fantasy, and philosophy. Rush’s music style has changed over the years, beginning with blues-inspired heavy metal on their first album, then encompassing hard rock, progressive rock, and a period with heavy use of synthesizers.

“Limelight” is probably the easiest Rush song to learn when exploring Geddy’s style for the first time, but it’s Geddy, so “easy” might not be the best description.  The line stays in 2nd position for most of the song, making it more accessible than some of his other work.  Remember to always lead with your 1st finger on your right hand.

Geddy4

Geddy with Ricky

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 some controversy on the Internet about whether he played this on his Rickenbacker or his 1972 Fender Jazz Bass, but I have scoured the web and I believe that he is playing a Rickenbacker.

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.

I have included the original recording, the isolated bass track, a good cover, and a live version.  Learn it!

“Limelight” – Original Recording

Isolated Bass

Accurate Bass Cover by Troy

“Limelight” Live from Exit… Stage Left