Watch Paul McCartney give a lesson on how to play bass
Through his talented days with The Beatles all the way up to his brand new lockdown album McCartney III, Sir Paul has always been a rapidly improving multi-instrumentalist. On his latest album, the songwriter has confirmed that he, in fact, played every instrument on the LP, leaving many open-mouthed at his continued pursuit of all things musical. But, one thing that is impossible to avoid is that McCartney will forever be attached to the bass guitar.
Largely considered by many as the most impressive bassist of his generation, if not ever, the melody that McCartney implemented with such a rhythmic yet understated instrument permeated everything that was good about his time with The Beatles, Wings, and his stunning solo career. Meaning to receive a one-on-one bass lesson from Macca is an unattainable dream. Luckily, the singer has provided a series of clips teaching us all how to play the instrument.
Instructional YouTube videos are hit and miss these days. For every shining example of expert tutelage, there is a chancer who is only one step ahead of the lessons they’re giving. However, when you find yourself staring at Paul McCartney delivering a sincere, comprehensive and wonderfully charming lesson on how to play bass, you know you’re on to a winner.
When a bass player like Geddy Lee considers you one of his favourite bassists of all time, you know that he’s right up there with the best, despite being so often overlooked. He “gets overlooked as a bassist,” said Geddy Lee. “But as a pop bassist goes, he’s such a melodic player. And you’re talking about a guy who wasn’t originally the bass player for the band. He adapted, of course, and he picked it up. I just find his story really interesting, as a bass player. So he comes at the instrument from a much more melodic place, and you really hear that in a lot of Beatle music.”
The video sees Sir Paul teaching us how to perform his solo song ‘Ever Present Past’ taken from 2007’s Memory Almost Full. Wearing some serious dad-jeans and a t-shirt, he plugs in his headphones gets the click track going and teacher sus how to perform the song using his “little baby”, his classic Hofner violin bass.
For Macca, there’s one thing to remember when playing bass — keep it simple. As the songwriter says, the bass part for the track is “really simple” and its a hint at what has made Macca such a serious musician. Never one to champion “fiddly bits” over the simplicity of a fine melody, he shows how the simple bass line sounds on its own and then with the track as he plays along.
Produced by ‘Now Play It’, the video was part of a series which encouraged songwriters to share a tutorial on how to perform their songs. Most of the original posts need to be paid for and there is a lot to be found. But we’d say it truly doesn’t get better than Paul McCartney teaching you how to play bass.