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Video lesson: Learn to play Hair by Larry Graham

Video lesson: Learn to play Hair by Larry Graham

Larry Graham performs on stage during Dave Koz & Friends At Sea 2013 on September 29, 2013 in Rome, Italy.



(Picture credit score: Photograph by Jun Sato/WireImage)

Once we requested Intervals bassist Jacob Umansky to choose his favorite bassline from our ballot the 40 best basslines of all time, he selected Hair by Larry Graham and Graham Central Station, which ranked quantity 37 in our listing and featured on the group’s self-titled debut album from 1974. “Larry Graham actually invented slap bass,” says Umansky. “With out him, bassists like me merely wouldn’t exist.”

Because the fashion’s originator, Graham as soon as mentioned that he was merely making an attempt to create a drum-like sound to flesh out the rhythm part, however his newfangled method would later pave the way in which for slap bass enjoying the world over. “I used to be grooving arduous to Larry Graham and Sly and the Household Stone during Deep Purple’s Burn tour in 1974,” mentioned Glenn Hughes. “From slapping to finger popping to sliding, his bass enjoying shifted my ears, coronary heart and soul to what was occurring in California.”

Having left the Household Stone fold in 1972, Graham went on to reel off thump-led hits together with his personal band, Graham Central Station. Tracks like Pow, It’s the Engine in Me and Hair epitomised his percussive bass guitar grooves, as demoed by Jacob on this video lesson.

We requested Jacob about a few of the frequent pitfalls that bass gamers usually make when replicating Graham’s fashion, how he stored his personal tone intact for the video, and in regards to the upcoming album from Canadian steel band, Intervals.

What errors do you see folks make when making an attempt to play Hair?“One of many greatest errors is to make use of the bone on the aspect of your thumb to slap the string. Try to be putting the string on a downward angle with the left fringe of your thumb, after which touchdown on the subsequent string over.”

How necessary is it to copy Larry Graham’s bass sound?

“To be sincere, I deliberately tried to maintain the traits of my tone intact whereas additionally mixing in with the unique tune. I used the Classic Extremely plug-in from Neural DSP and added a little bit of reverb and compression, however I in the end ended up with a reasonably trendy tone. I needed to offer the listener an thought of what a contemporary instrument may sound like on such a traditional tune. I believe it matches fairly nicely, however nothing beats the unique.”

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What’s it about Larry Graham that makes his method so identifiable?

“It’s not simply in regards to the method, it’s about how tastefully it’s executed and the way nicely his bassline serves the tune. With slap bass, it may be really easy to over play and lose sight of what’s truly necessary. Larry Graham is a grasp of maintaining the bassline attention-grabbing, whereas additionally acknowledging everybody else within the band. That’s what makes him so iconic.” 

Are you able to inform us in regards to the upcoming Intervals album?

“The final file, Circadian, was my first time enjoying on an Intervals album, so I might be mendacity if I mentioned there weren’t instances the place I performed it secure. I really feel extra relaxed this time round and much more comfy with throwing my loopy concepts on the guys. The vibe can be a bit darker, which I’m actually enthusiastic about.”

Do issues really feel completely different now that journey restrictions have been lifted?

“Recording the final album was bizarre. We hadn’t performed reveals for such a very long time, after which to enter a studio and file on my own with out the fellows felt actually unusual. I’m extraordinarily pleased with the top outcome, however I’m way more excited to trace this one altogether in an enormous studio. We’re working with some wonderful folks and introducing so many new components into the music. I actually can’t wait for everybody to listen to it.”

What are you able to inform us about your aspect undertaking, JIA?

“JIA is a band that performs solo materials that I co-wrote with Alan Hankers, who was the keyboard participant for one of many first tasks I used to be ever concerned in referred to as Painted in Exile. We wrote a strong quantity of music collectively throughout the pandemic and it’s presently being blended by Simon Grove. We plan to launch our first physique of labor later within the yr. We completely need to carry this act on the highway and see how far we will take it.”

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Circadian by Intervals is offered now on Amazon Music (opens in new tab). To search out out extra about Jacob, go to jacobumansky.com (opens in new tab).

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Nick Wells was the Editor of Bass Guitar journal from 2009 to 2011, earlier than making strides into the world of Artist Relations with Sheldon Dingwall and Dingwall Guitars. He is additionally the producer of bass-centric documentaries, Strolling the Modifications and Beneath the Bassline, in addition to Manufacturing Supervisor and Artist Liaison for ScottsBassLessons. In his free time, you will discover him leaping round his bed room to Kool & The Gang whereas hammering the life out of his P-Bass.

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