In 1965 British rock group, The Who released a song called My Generation. Aside from its claim to fame as a rock anthem, this also contains the most instantly famous bass guitar solo in rock and roll. This iconic solo by John Entwistle is common of the bass solo modeled on similar solo breaks played on double bass and bass guitar in jazz music. This type of bass guitar solo is in the form of a question and answer sequence often seen in blues music. The Who’s solo also imitates jazz bass solos in that it is played without some other instruments behind it. In jazz, such solos are played unaccompanied simply because other instruments are likely to drown out the bass.There have been many bass solos a part of rock, funk and jazz but only in pop music has the bass guitar solo stood alone as a piece of music. The first pop musician in England to own and play an electric bass guitar was Jet Harris. He found fame and fortune with the Shadows, Cliff Richard’s backing group who were attempting to make their own way in pop music as a vocal and instrumental group. Harris played on the band’s early instrumental hits featuring the lead guitar of Hank Marvin but decided to try to make it as a soloist like America’s Duane Eddy.
Jet Harris’ first big hit as a solo guitarist was in 1962 with his rendition of the 1940 song Besame Mucho. The throbbing notes of the six string bass turned a poignant love song into an instrumental work filled with menace. Probably inspired by their former band member’s success, The Shadows released yet another six string bass solo known as Stingray as a single in 1965.
At the same time in America in 1963, a young composer and arranger known as Jack Nitzsche made a lush orchestral single called The Lonely Surfer. The orchestra was basically the backdrop for a simple melody played on the bass guitar. The Lonely Surfer never climbed higher than number thirty nine on the charts, but that’s very good for a bass guitar solo!
These days the bass guitar is an essential part of any band. It was actually born in the nineteen thirties but met with not much success until it was used by the early rock and roll groups of the nineteen fifties. The bass guitar is obviously originated from the double bass that has always been a solo instrument in orchestral music and was frequently used for solo work in jazz.
If you wish to play bass guitar, you might wish to consider learning to play a regular guitar first. It’s not completely necessary to become a lead or rhythm guitarist prior to playing bass however it appears to be the way in which bass guitar players come into the world. To begin your career as a bass guitarist you can try playing through the bass tabs available on the internet. There are several lessons available for free plus you can view heaps of bass solos and bass guitar lessons on the numerous video sites.
As soon as you have some practice on the bass guitar under your belt, there’s blinding variety of bass guitar techniques to try before you begin seriously to play solos. You can employ a wide variety of plectrums or select from the numerous techniques which involve plucking, popping and slapping the bass with the fingers. To a few people, this might sound like hard work but hopefully you will regard it as a labor of love.