Tuesday, April 28, 2009

ROTD: Tom Sawyer (Rush)

Most of the bass line in "Sawyer" is straightforward, easy to figure out, but the one that gives me fits is the figure Geddy Lee plays under the guitar solo. I have trouble with it mostly because I don't practice like a proper musician should.

Tuning: Standard

G ----------------------------|
D -7---6----------7---6-------|
A ---9---7-5--------9---7-5---|
E ------------7-r-----------7-|

The entire solo is in 7/8 time. The bass figure is articulated in descending thirds (A-F#, Ab-E, D-B). Most of the motion your fretting hand will do is lateral, with your index finger on the A, down a fret to Ab, then jumping down a string and over a fret to the D. Your middle and ring fingers are hitting the thirds in between.

You could do the riff in standard "walking" with your picking hand, or you can just use one finger or the other in a "drag" (pluck the [D] string, then continue that motion and pluck the [A] string). I end up doing it that way because I suck at "walking" on adjacent-string stuff.

The bass tone Geddy gets in this part of the song is by far my favorite--punchy bottom-end with a snarl.

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