Roger Waters as a Bassist

Talk about other Floyd related musicians here.
Kerry King
Knife
Knife
Posts: 497
Joined: Wed Dec 16, 2009 8:54 am

Re: Roger Waters as a Bassist

Post by Kerry King »

Here's what I need to know...who cuts Vernon Fitch's hair? Ziggy...would you mind asking? Or maybe James Guthrie would be kind enough to provide us with an essay? I desire exhaustive details...
ZiggyZipgun
Hammer
Hammer
Posts: 1128
Joined: Mon May 05, 2008 3:04 pm

Re: Roger Waters as a Bassist

Post by ZiggyZipgun »

It is exhausting, isn't it? There have been over a dozen threads about this, and none of them were started by me. The go-to resource on the matter was apparently based on outdated assumptions. The number of known tracks that feature Gilmour on bass went from 4% to something like 40% pretty quick, and by the time he'd claimed 'at least half', he'd also played bass on at least one track on A Momentary Lapse of Reason.

But let's get into something more exhaustive: some of the $458,750 worth of basses that Gilmour auctioned off for charity.

1951 Fender Precision Bass
(purchased in 1977 from Eric Clapton's guitar tech)
Although Gilmour confirms that the guitar has seen a good deal of use in the studio over the years, there are no records to identify specific recordings, owing to the fact that he generally records his bass parts alone in the studio control room.

1963 Fender Bass VI

David Gilmour purchased this guitar in North London circa January 1978 during jamming sessions for his eponymous debut solo album at Pink Floyd’s Britannia Row Studios. Gilmour had the guitar strung to a special low tuning, telling Melody Maker’s Karl Dallas in 1981: "They were brought out some time in the Fifties, but they weren’t very popular because the strings were too close together and they rattled if you tried to play them like a bass guitar. I always thought they were awful until someone suggested stringing them this way, tuned up from E to A" The following year, Gilmour used the Fender VI during recording sessions for the band’s 1979 narrative concept album The Wall, notably to record a bass line on the track Run Like Hell, a Gilmour composition originally earmarked for his 1978 solo album, with lyrics subsequently supplied by Roger Waters.

1978 Zemaitis fretless acoustic bass
Having been introduced to Tony Zemaitis through his friend George Harrison, David Gilmour commissioned Zemaitis to build a half size guitar for his daughter Alice, later adding a fretless bass guitar to the custom order. An accompanying letter from Zemaitis to Gilmour’s guitar technician Phil Taylor, dated 17th May 1978, reads: "Tell Dave I remember him from George H’s place… The bass is now on the list and I’ll do it soonest. Can’t jump the queue with this as the other clients are all known to Dave!!"
[This could very well be what he played on "Vera"]

1982 Charvel fretless bass
Custom-made to David Gilmour’s specifications by Grover Jackson of Charvel Guitars, San Dimas, California in 1982, this guitar instantly became Gilmour’s preferred fretless bass for studio use. Often recording his bass parts alone in the studio control room, Gilmour has played the Charvel fretless on a number of tracks over the years, including On The Turning Away...High Hopes, Poles Apart and Coming Back To Life...

1984 Overwater Guitar Co. Fretless C Bass
After trialing a final prototype of the C Bass, this guitar was custom-made to David Gilmour’s specifications by luthier Chris May of The Overwater Guitar Company, Northumberland, England, in September 1984 - the second C Bass to be produced by Overwater, before general release of the instrument in 1985. Designed in collaboration with Thompson Twins bassist Andrew Bodnar, the C Bass aimed to match the lower range basslines produced by the synthesizer, before five-string basses became widely available.
ZiggyZipgun
Hammer
Hammer
Posts: 1128
Joined: Mon May 05, 2008 3:04 pm

Re: Roger Waters as a Bassist

Post by ZiggyZipgun »

penguinzzz wrote: Tue Jun 15, 2021 1:57 pm I'll repeat that Gilmour's original quote was followed by the story about Waters 'winning bass polls' which is demonstrably untrue, albeit an exaggeration (Waters did do better in the 'Melody Maker' polls than the other members but nowhere near winning).
I get that what was published in Melody Maker didn't reflect that, but I have no idea what other publications were around back then in the UK, US, and Europe, and I'm sure they haven't all survived into the internet age. It's too vague to be 'demonstrably untrue.'
User avatar
mosespa
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 11433
Joined: Thu Sep 12, 2002 5:54 pm
Location: In the editing bay...working on the final cut...

Re: Roger Waters as a Bassist

Post by mosespa »

Here in the States, the quote was published in "Musician" magazine (if I remember correctly.) It was followed a little while later by an issue with an interview with Waters in which Waters says something like "look, I read that piece you did with him; what do you want me to do, shoot him in the other foot?"

In Gilmour's interview, both statements were part of the same bit; he claimed to playing bass on about half of the material and then almost immediately after came the part where he claimed that Waters routinely thanked him for winning him "best bass player" polls.

I had both issues. I have to say, Waters came off better, I think.
User avatar
theaussiefloydian
Hammer
Hammer
Posts: 506
Joined: Mon Apr 17, 2017 6:57 pm
Gender: Male

Re: Roger Waters as a Bassist

Post by theaussiefloydian »

mosespa wrote: Thu Jun 17, 2021 4:01 am I have to say, Waters came off better, I think.
Yeah there are very few occasions where I think Gilmour took the L in a confrontation with Waters but this would definitely be one of them.
penguinzzz
Axe
Axe
Posts: 61
Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2021 1:34 pm

Re: Roger Waters as a Bassist

Post by penguinzzz »

ZiggyZipgun wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 9:28 am
penguinzzz wrote: Tue Jun 15, 2021 1:57 pm I'll repeat that Gilmour's original quote was followed by the story about Waters 'winning bass polls' which is demonstrably untrue, albeit an exaggeration (Waters did do better in the 'Melody Maker' polls than the other members but nowhere near winning).
I get that what was published in Melody Maker didn't reflect that, but I have no idea what other publications were around back then in the UK, US, and Europe, and I'm sure they haven't all survived into the internet age. It's too vague to be 'demonstrably untrue.'
The 70s UK music press was made up of four papers (MM, NME, Sounds, Record Mirror) - seriously, I remember: Waters never won a poll in any of them. Bass winners were (can you guess...?) McCartney, Bruce, Squire, with JPJ, Lake, Entwistle usually making up the top 3; after '77 JJ Burnel and Bruce Foxton got a look in before the 'muso' categories were ditched. PF often did well in the Band / LP / Live Act categories but were never virtuoso enough to win as individuals.

There were some polls in US magazines but no way on earth Waters would have won there up against more American players as well as the above Brits. In Europe there were various magazines but again the more technically proficient prog bands were far more popular there, and the mags probably too low profile to have registered with the band anyway.

Gilmour's quote implies it happened more than once so it's even less likely to be literally true. As I said before, I would guess he was remembering Waters doing rather well in a few of the early 70s MM polls while Gilmour himself was absent. It's not too much of a stretch to imagine Waters finding this state of affairs amusing and 'rubbing it in' a bit.

Of course, it's worth remembering also that in those days many poll voters would have seen the band live anyway so wouldn't just be going on studio performances.
User avatar
mosespa
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 11433
Joined: Thu Sep 12, 2002 5:54 pm
Location: In the editing bay...working on the final cut...

Re: Roger Waters as a Bassist

Post by mosespa »

We're also overlooking the possibility that Waters was simply being sarcastic, if it was ever said.
User avatar
azza200
Judge!
Judge!
Posts: 2263
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2004 2:18 pm

Re: Roger Waters as a Bassist

Post by azza200 »

Shame on his last tour he barely played the bass for One Of These Days and he let one of his session musicians play the entire song while he played the odd note here and there between waving his arms around at the crowd mime bass playing. As he really should of played live that entire song on bass as its easy
ZiggyZipgun
Hammer
Hammer
Posts: 1128
Joined: Mon May 05, 2008 3:04 pm

Re: Roger Waters as a Bassist

Post by ZiggyZipgun »

Roger's bass is just a prop.
User avatar
azza200
Judge!
Judge!
Posts: 2263
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2004 2:18 pm

Re: Roger Waters as a Bassist

Post by azza200 »

yep it is now sadly in his live shows
User avatar
Yucateco
Supreme Judge!
Supreme Judge!
Posts: 3102
Joined: Sun Aug 10, 2003 11:23 am
Gender: Male
Location: Munich, Germany

Re: Roger Waters as a Bassist

Post by Yucateco »

I don´t think anybody going to a RW concert goes there because of his bass playing skills.
ZiggyZipgun
Hammer
Hammer
Posts: 1128
Joined: Mon May 05, 2008 3:04 pm

Re: Roger Waters as a Bassist

Post by ZiggyZipgun »

I hope they're not going to hear him sing.
penguinzzz
Axe
Axe
Posts: 61
Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2021 1:34 pm

Re: Roger Waters as a Bassist

Post by penguinzzz »

azza200 wrote: Sun Jun 20, 2021 6:29 pm Shame on his last tour he barely played the bass for One Of These Days and he let one of his session musicians play the entire song while he played the odd note here and there between waving his arms around at the crowd mime bass playing. As he really should of played live that entire song on bass as its easy
Much as I hate to spoil another good old rant with a few facts, Waters did play bass throughout One Of These Days on the last tour. He was doubled by Seyffert in the main parts (following the studio version) with Waters playing the middle bit on his own. I quite enjoyed it.
ZiggyZipgun
Hammer
Hammer
Posts: 1128
Joined: Mon May 05, 2008 3:04 pm

Re: Roger Waters as a Bassist

Post by ZiggyZipgun »

He's a douche.
User avatar
Yucateco
Supreme Judge!
Supreme Judge!
Posts: 3102
Joined: Sun Aug 10, 2003 11:23 am
Gender: Male
Location: Munich, Germany

Re: Roger Waters as a Bassist

Post by Yucateco »

ZiggyZipgun wrote: Mon Jun 21, 2021 2:00 pm He's a douche.
Takes one to know one