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Skill Centre: Pino Palladino

Pino Palladino Gives Us His "Wherever..." Bassline | Pino Palladino

Fretless Pino shows you how to play the bassline to Paul Young's 'Wherever I Lay My Hat'.


Pino put the bass down at The Workhouse studio on to a more or less finished track. "It was the first track I did for Paul Young," he remembers. "I did it as a session, I hadn't joined the band then." The drums, drum machine, keyboards and guide vocal were all there when he put his part down. "So it was just a question of rooting it all down," Pino adds modestly. "I think at the end there were probably a couple of inversions added to the keyboard part, a little sweetening. A full vocal was there, though Paul may have changed it a bit after I'd done the bass. I did about two or three different intro sections - they obviously picked the right one!" He recorded 'Hat' with his trusty Music Man Stingray fretless, DId and with plenty of Eventide and AMS chorus wobble.

STRUCTURE (LP version)



Root chords: one bar each Bbmaj/Gm/Bbmaj/Fmaj (twice round)

"I start the first phrase by sliding a C on the D-string up to a D (pic 1), hit an F on the G-string (pic 2), and then play a chord of Bb on the A-string and D on the D-string (pic 3). Live I have been known not to bother with the chord!

"Then the second phrase starts with an A/Bb/A trill on the D-string, followed by F to D to G (A-string, E-string, A-string). The first phrase repeats, only you slide from the last D down to C (which you don't strike), then F to G on the A-string and Bb on the D-string.

"The second phrase repeats then, followed by an F to G slide on the A-string, struck once, to Bb on the D-string. Slide up from C to D on the D-string, then back to the C, and slide F on the E-string down to Bb, hitting both notes."


Root chords: one bar each Bb/G/Bb/F (twice round)

"On the first verse I just play the root notes of the chords, it's as simple as that: Bb, G, Bb, F, low on the E-string.

"On the second verse the chords are the same, but I put in this little Spanish triad on the first Bb — sounds a bit Spinal Tap, doesn't it, 'little Spanish triad'? You play a Bb bass on the E, an F on the A-string and a D on the G-string. Then I slide that F/D chord down a tone, hit the D on the A-string under the G chord — I don't know why I did it, but it sounds nice — then C to Bb on the A-string, G to F on the E-string, to Bb on the A-string. Then slide from C to D, back to C (all A-string), and F on the E-string.

"In the third verse the whole pattern of the chords syncopates with the bass drum, the drums are back to half time. I play the roots of the chords, damped and rhythmic — listen to the record again to get the feel."


Root chords: two bars Ebmaj7+9/ one bar each Gm/Ebmaj7+9/ and F Plus four-bar 'link' as intro to next verse (or to middle): Bb/G/Bb/F

"On the first chorus I keep the root note feel of the verse on the Eb (A-string), then I play a little lick on the Gm where I hit the Bb on the D-string and then the F on the G-string (see pic) — add a bit of vibrato to the last note to make it speak a bit more, wobble your finger a bit. It's a punctuation after the vocal finishes. The idea is that the bass fills in to answer the vocal — so you have to listen to what's going on. Every time we get this Eb in the song, what I play varies in accordance with the vocal — you play to that. Then there are two bars of G, one of Eb and one of F (all A-string roots).

"On the third beat of that bar of F, still on the first chorus, I do a harmonic slide. Holding the F on the A-string, I hit an octave G harmonic on the fifth position on the G-string and an A harmonic on the seventh position D-string. Wait till the harmonics ring, then press the two strings against the fingerboard, and slide them down. Keep sliding till it's comfortable to hit the Bb of the 'link'. On the 'link' chords I play roots, Bb, G, Bb, and F on the A- and E-strings.

"On the second chorus I throw in a high lick after the Gm, a higher version of the first intro phrase, above the octave; G on the D-string to Bb on the G-string and back to the G."

"During the third chorus, on the second bar of Gm I put in a two-note F chord between the Gm and the Eb, a sort of passing chord that only I play: on the Gm I hit Gs on the A- and G-string, an octave apart, and slide both notes down a tone to F, and finally to the Eb."


Two bars each Ebmaj7+9/Dm9/Gm7/Fmaj

"This is where the drums play backheat — up until the middle they've been sort of half-time, but here they go to a little rock back-beat. I play quite a fast rhythmical line, on the Eb and the Dm, using notes from withik the chord and starting on the root on the A-string. The Eb groove uses Eb, C, Bb, and F; the D groove uses mainly C and A. The best thing here is to listen to the record. There's a certain amount of damping going on with the right hand. On the Gm there's a little blues lick, the sort of thing Eric Clapton might play: slide from C up to D on the A-string, then an F on the D-string and a Bb (G-string) to G (D-string). On the F chord there's a walking line, almost, roots and fifths."


(Extended chorus)

"On the fadeout, live, we play the arse off it on the chorus chords forever, and Paul goes down on his knees. A bit of soul drama. I play some more roots and notes from the chords — a bit of Jaco here and there, too, damping the notes with your left-hand fingers across the strings."

'Wherever I Lay My Hat' written by Gaye/Whitfield/Strong, published by Jobete Music (UK) Ltd

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Program Notes

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What It All Means

Making Music - Copyright: Track Record Publishing Ltd, Nexus Media Ltd.


Making Music - Nov 1986


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