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Elvis Presley – Jailhouse Rock Bass Transcription

Elvis Presley - Jailhouse Rock Bass Transcription

Elvis Presley – Jailhouse Rock Bass Transcription

This month’s bass transcription takes us all the way back to 1957 and the release of Elvis Presley’s movie Jailhouse Rock. This track was recorded on April 30th at California’s Radio Recorders studio and features Bill Black on electric bass. Black had played with Elvis since his first single, exclusively on double bass. He switched to a Fender Precision for this recording however, which makes him one of the first to add one to a rock and roll recording. Both Black and Scotty Moore (guitar) detune their instruments down by a semitone making the tuning Eb, Ab, Db, Gb, presumably to suit the song’s key of Eb Major.The bassline alternates between the accented chords of the verse and arpeggios in the chorus. Although the note choice is pretty straightforward, be careful about how you play them. Scotty Moore plays the chorus decidedly straight, whilst D.J. Fontana (drums) swings it just slightly. I’d err towards following the drums to keep the groove locked in, but don’t tell your guitarist I told you so!

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