Learn how to play like Kasabian with tips on how to re-create the Fender Jazz bass sound on such classics as Processed Beats with advice and tricks from bassist Chris Edwards.
A lot has been said about Kasabian emulating the Oasis swagger and The Stone Roses’ baggy beats, but the Leicester combo took a whole bunch of classic rock influences on their self-titled first album in 2004 and stamped their own identity on them. Having taken bass up at the relatively late age of 18, Chris Edwards started off getting an education from the likes of The Verve and Oasis, later checking out the way Noel Redding held things together in legendary late ’60s outfit the Jimi Hendrix Experience.
Chris is a big fan of Fender Jazz Basses due to their thin necks. The bass was put through an Ampeg SVT Classic head most of the time, using a 4×12″ cabinet as well as a 1×15″ one. Before he could afford the Vox cabs, though, he was using a Hartke 4×10″. As for pedals, an Electro-Harmonix Octave Multiplexer was used on ‘Running Battle‘. “It takes your bass down two octaves, so the amp just cries. You can use it so that the bass acts like a kick drum,” says Chris. As well as Boss DS-1 He’s also got a BigMuff distortion that was used for the end of ‘Test Transmission‘ and ‘Cutt Off‘.
In The Studio
‘Processed Beats‘ was done on a “broken down computer and a one-pound microphone” after having come up with the idea in guitarist Sergio Pizzorno’s bedroom. The bulk of the album was done on a remote farm in Rutland, the idea being that wouldn’t get much done if they stayed in Leicester. They also produced most of the record themselves after ‘falling out’ with engineers and producers. “They kept trying to tell us what to do, but we already knew what he wanted,” he explains. “We might have done things a bit quicker and smarter if we’d listened, but it wouldn’t have been our record. I’d advise people to make their own mistakes and learn how to get their own sound. Only then go to other people to learn from them.”
‘Processed Beats‘ sounds right flashy, but it’s essentially one repeating phrase (what posh music people call an “ostinato”) that drives the whole song. Stick around the seventh-to-ninth frets of your A string (second one down) to get the gist. If you wish to try this kind of thing yourself, pick a couple of strings you like, come up with a pattern using only three repeated notes on one of the strings. Once that’s done, throw in another note on the other string you’ve chosen every 7 notes or so; do what sounds right, but you can’t go off course by going for the same fret as the one you started off with on the other string. It’s also important to note that, despite this funkiness, Chris is happy to stick to root notes (the basic chord changes the song is based upon), being able to hold back the note against the kick drum, or push it slightly ahead of the beat, really does affect the song more than you’d think.
“Don’t ever play slap bass, or play a bass with more than four strings,” warns Chris. “It’ll be the death of you.”