Old guy with a question

I started playing 5 years ago when I was 65. I’m still as enthusiastic and good-looking as I was then. Now I love to play some of the bass lines, that I have listened to, hummed and air-guitarred through the years. I have already exceeded my expectations of what I would be able to play. Learning to play Bass has been a Pandora’s Box of fun and stimulation. I don’t think I’ll ever comprehend all the technical things associated with the instrument, but sometime I have small musical epiphanies, that prompts me to say “so that’s what that means”.

The Paul Butterfield Band does a great tune called “East West”. I’m guessing the dominant bass groove is, F-F#-A# F# A# F#. Am I correct?

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@cajarmj61 Is their a video you’re referencing, or a particular recording of the song? That would help with all of us starting with the same source material.

Edit: I found this on YouTube.


Wow! Thanks a lot for the effort. My mistake was thinking that because I like the tune so much that a whole lot of people would have heard and appreciated it also. I thought that someone in the Bass Buzz universe would have heard East West and would know that bass groove right off the top of his or her head. Have you heard East West, Eric, and how many stars would you give it?

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I had never heard of it before your post. I think I’m going to stay away from trying to give it a star ranking since it isn’t in the vein of what I usually listen to. :grinning:

I tried playing through with those notes and it didn’t sound quite right. However, I haven’t cultivated the best ear yet.

If you click on the ‘cog’ at the bottom of the video, you can change the playback speed and slow the song down. I slowed it down to half speed but I was still having trouble working it out.

I think I better defer to the community at this point. Maybe we can get some people who want to work on ear training to help get it figured out.

Also, I tried searching for some tab for this song but the only thing I could come up with was an entry at Jellynote. Since Jellynote charges $7.99/month, if you intend to learn more songs by the Paul Butterfield Band, it might be a better deal to look for an actual song book.

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I’m hearing:

D - F - D(8va) - C - B - A

as the bass line in the video above.

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Thanks, I’ll try that. That bass-line makes me think of darkness, menace, and in my native vernacular, “no mo playin’ around”.

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What does this part mean?

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Now that’s what that wee cog thingy is!
You sure learn something new every day on this interweb thing. :rofl:
Mant thanks

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+1? .

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octave. generally +1 octave IIRC. It notates that you should play that an octave higher than notated.


Good question @eric.kiser, and thanks @howard for the response.
It means 1 Octave higher (8v = octave a = alto / high)

There’s another mark: 8vb that means 1 octave lower (b = basso / low)

So, you start on a low octave D, and then that next D is an octave higher than your starting note.


Thanks. I didn’t even know that was a thing. I had wondered how that was notated. :+1:

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@Gio Is this how you played it?


I’ve gotten a little obsessed with this. :rofl:

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@eric.kiser I’ll post the photo below because this bass line offers a great opportunity to see what we can do with fingering options, and fingerboard position options.

Here are 7 options for the same exact pitches / same bassline:

I called options E and F by two names because they use identical fingerings to A and B (respectively) but because they’re in a different place on the fretboard, they feel, sound, and play very differently.

I don’t know exactly what the bassist is up to, but because it is so quick and sounds like he’s playing everything clean and without slides or any LH articulation… I’m guessing option A or G?
I like option D as an exercise, because it puts everything into a 4 fret reach.

I’d play it with option E or F, because I like how my bass sounds and plays up there, but I’d also do some slides between the C and the B. Cuz’ I’d want to.

Hope this helps!!


Thanks. I’ve got some work to do.