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Old 3rd May 2020, 12:48 PM   #1
Paul2
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Machine-gun bass

I could have sworn that the term "machine-gun bass" has been used to refer to a electric bassist playing the same note, often a high one, repeatedly and quickly. The term was applied, presumably, because this technique has some vague imitation of bullets coming rapidly out of a machine gun.*

However, Googling "machine gun bass" turns up nothing apropos. I am nonplussed and would dearly like to return to the state of being plussed. Is anyone else familiar with this term?

One example is from "Paperback Writer" by the Beatles at 1:49 at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yYvkICbTZIQ.




*While the analogy with a machine gun is a stretch, I admit that I've heard bassists play the electric bass as if it were an instrument of war.
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Old 3rd May 2020, 03:09 PM   #2
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Top result for me from a Google Video search

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XrI7cBTZli0

Searching "machine gun bass playing" gets a few more results
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Old 3rd May 2020, 03:38 PM   #3
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Duh, shoulda YouTubed it!

But that video link shows two notes alternating, and I always heard that machine gun bass is just a single note. Hmmmmmm.
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Old 5th May 2020, 08:14 AM   #4
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Google "machine gun bass guitar" for your RDA of WTF.
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Old 5th May 2020, 08:25 AM   #5
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The thread title sounds like an extremely inefficient method of fishing.
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Old 5th May 2020, 08:55 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
The thread title sounds like an extremely inefficient method of fishing.
Nice one!

But I still can't get confirmation of the meaning I've long assumed for this technique.

Am I dreaming?
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Old 5th May 2020, 10:34 AM   #7
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It's a clear enough usage, whether it's "standard" or not. It's the kind of phrase a critic might make up ad hoc to describe a band's sound or a particular song.

(I once read a story online in which a guy was "literally machine-gunned" by an approving crowd for an impressive demonstration of diving at a pool. As no injury or any other plot complication resulted, either the crowd were very poor shots or the phrase was meant to describe applause. The story had been translated from another language. Possibly from one in which words literally translatable as machine-gunned are also an idiomatic expression for enthusiastic clapping. In which case, the translator meant "not at all literally" but forgot how words work, or something.)
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Old 5th May 2020, 10:38 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
The thread title sounds like an extremely inefficient method of fishing.

I took the thread title as an imperative. Which in hindsight is rather regrettable. Also, I'm not very experienced at identifying fish. My wife saw the result and said, "holey mackerel!"
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Old 5th May 2020, 11:38 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
It's a clear enough usage, whether it's "standard" or not. It's the kind of phrase a critic might make up ad hoc to describe a band's sound or a particular song.

(I once read a story online in which a guy was "literally machine-gunned" by an approving crowd for an impressive demonstration of diving at a pool. As no injury or any other plot complication resulted, either the crowd were very poor shots or the phrase was meant to describe applause. The story had been translated from another language. Possibly from one in which words literally translatable as machine-gunned are also an idiomatic expression for enthusiastic clapping. In which case, the translator meant "not at all literally" but forgot how words work, or something.)
Yeah, maybe I heard or read it once and it stuck with me, or I mistakenly thought that it was in common usage.
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Old 5th May 2020, 05:06 PM   #10
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I believe I recognised it as well but no idea where from.
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Old 5th May 2020, 06:41 PM   #11
Matthew Ellard
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Originally Posted by Paul2 View Post
Duh, shoulda YouTubed it!

But that video link shows two notes alternating, and I always heard that machine gun bass is just a single note. Hmmmmmm.
I play funky bass with my right hand thumb and have a thick callous on my thumb's outer ridge. This includes playing fast octaves. I don't think you can switch that quickly from thumb to pinkies that quickly and also the changing from "slapping" low note with your thumb, to pressing for high octave notes would allow for a consistent tone and volume between low and high notes even with a compressor. (Unless you are lifting the higher string )

However, whatever works for a particular song.....works.

I have not heard the expression of a technique called machine gun bass
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Old 5th May 2020, 08:27 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
The thread title sounds like an extremely inefficient method of fishing.
..and for a more efficient method, try dynamite bass

https://youtu.be/dOXqUh2Blts?t=72
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