Monday, March 14, 2011

Bass solo: Randy Coven's "Funk Me Tender"

Hey! It's been a while since my last post. Here's a new transcription/video combo:

Funk Me Tender

As you can see, this transcription includes articulation marks: "T" = Thumb, "P" = Pop, "LH" = Left hand slap. On measure 10 you'll find a downward glissando that cannot be played on a 4-string bass (I don't play it in the video). That's because Randy Coven recorded this solo with a whammy bar-equipped bass. Have fun!


  1. Hi Alvaro,
    I just discovered your bass playing and blog site. Marvelous playing, interpretation and excellent transcriptions. It also makes me laugh at the same time because the level of musicianship you display on "Funk Me Tender" is top-notch. I like the way some of the phrasing sounds on this song when you play it at 3/4 speed. I'm currently working on your 'Autumn Leaves' transcription. Thanks for sharing and I hope you post many more in the future.

  2. Thank you so much for your kind comment, Fred! I'm happy to help and I'm so glad to know that you find this place useful. :^)

  3. Hi Alvaro,

    I'm sure I'll be visiting your site frequently as I'll use it as an inspiration as well. I live in the Los Angeles area and have seen many musicians and bands for years. If you played here, you would impress many people. Personally, Charlie Haden and Mike Watt are the bassists that have most influenced me locally. I love every kind of music under the sun.

    Concerning 'Autumn Leaves':
    What recording is your transcription based on and what tempo do you feel the most satisfied playing this song? Disregarding that this is a classic standard that has been played and recorded numerous times: what are your thoughts on the phrasing and dynamics for the bass as you would play it? The sequence of notes from the 3rd through the 6th measure make me feel sad (in a good way). I love the tension created by the F# dotted quarter note in the 5th measure.

  4. Thank you one more time, Fred. My transcription of the bassline for "Autumm Leaves" isn't based on any recorded version. I posted it to TalkBass trying to show one of the many valid possibilities when creating a walking bassline, and I chose that tune as an example. I just picked up my bass and transcribed the first things I came up with when I played it at that specific moment. There are lots of choices (many better ones, for sure) to play it, but that particular one works fine. The tempo I like the most for this tune is around 134 beats per minute. For phrasing, wwll, nothing different from a typical walking bassline: Trying to make the notes the most connected possible (no gaps between them) unless otherwise noticed (16th measure). Although my preferred technique is playing somewhat close to the bridge, for stuff like this I go for two different approaches: Playing very close to the neck (for fretless bass) or plucking the strings with my thumb while palm muting at the bridge (for fretted).

    BTW, I want to say thanks again for your kind comments. It makes me feel a mixture of joy and sadness to know that maybe I'd be somewhat "successful" as a musician in your country/area, since I admire your country so much and Los Angeles is a dream city to me. Unfortunately I've never been able to visit the United States of America. My visa is always denied every time I've tried to get it and that's been a big frustration to me.

  5. Hello Alvaro,

    Thanks for your responses and thoughts.

    A couple of questions:

    Are you familiar with Guitar Pro software and if so what are your feelings about it? I have been using it lately and I find it very helpful in several aspects concerning acceleration in improving my playing, progress and appreciation of music. I've read that you are also a teacher and wondered if you incorporated digital technology such as software applications into the lessons and studies for your students.

    Are there any distributed albums, songs, recordings or such that I can hear you play on?

    Thanks for your patience,

    p.s. I'm sure one day you will be playing in the U.S.

  6. Guitar Pro is a very popular software for transcribing music, but I'm not really familiar with it, Fred. I know it's manly aimed at guitar/bass notation and it has plenty of options to create tablature sheets for string instruments. But my contact with it has been minimal. This is the program I'm truly familiar with:

    All my transcriptions have been made with that software. I've used it since 1998 or 99 and haven't thought of replacing it. It's a very complete program that allows you to do almost anything regarding music notation. I work as a teacher in two local universities and learning Finale is one of the subjects I have under my charge.

    Regarding recorded material, I must say that the city in which I live is a nice place, but not exactly the "Land of opportunities". That's why I haven't recorded with any renowned artist. But of course, I've made many recordings with local bands. Recently, my rock band released an album that I'll be happy to share with you for free if you let me know your e-mail address (so I can send you a compressed file with the whole album). This week I'm in another town on vacation and I'll be back home next Saturday, so I won't be able to send you the album during this week. In the meantime, you can check a preview video I created and uploaded to YouTube:

    Thank you one more time for your kindness, Fred.


  7. Thanks for offering your album recordings via email. You may contact me at

    I look forward to hearing the songs. I did have a chance to check out the Finale software. It appears to do almost anything as you stated. Does it contain and play the instrumental sounds as it follows the score?

    The thing I like about Guitar Pro is that I can isolate and also alter the settings for each instrument on playback as well as change the tempo. I use the software as a play along tool rather than as an application to write original scores or lessons on. Finale seems to be more than I might need for the moment. But who knows, I may even surprise myself in the next year or so.

    Hope you enjoyed your vacation.