7 Reasons Les Claypool is Strangely Awesome (+Lesson Tips)

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Les Claypool - human, or slap bass machine? Or Willie Wonka in disguise? Here’s my take, plus bass lesson tips to match his style.

Sheet music + bass tab for all the Primus riffs I played -

Let’s get right into it - if you’re anything like me, your brain probably exploded when you first heard Les Claypool slapping up a storm on a Primus tune. “How does a human make a bass guitar sound like that?” you may have asked yourself. “How does Josh know what my internal monologue is?” Fair question.

The thing is, Les’s technique actually can be comprehended by mortal minds - I’ll break it down for you, so you can start learning some Primus riffs ASAP.

Then we’ll dig into all things strum. Les plays a lot of bass chords, and combines them with his slap technique to create a lot of his signature bass lines. Again - I’ll break it down, you can copy it and learn Primus riffs. Are you sensing a pattern?

But how the hell does he pick all these weird notes? I’ll dig into a little bit of music theory (hey wait stop running away) to explain why Primus sounds like Primus and not… that weird Hanson mashup that I subject you to in this section of the video.

Time to take a tour of Colonel Claypool’s tapping technique. I’ll show you some of Les’s favorite moves, plus how to approach tapping with his particular style.

Also - Les is the king of weird bass tone. Let’s talk about it. I’ll demonstrate how different he sounds compared to other basses from the same era, and how crucial his tone is to getting the Primus sound.

Finally, we end as all semi-biographical tribute videos must end… with some juicy quotes from Les about the creative process, and a painfully obvious pun based on a Primus song title.

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15 Jan 2022



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Comentários 1 715
Alright, give it to me straight - I missed your favorite Primus riff, didn’t I? Punish me in the comments, I’ll be running away on the hamburger train. 🍔🚋
Irish Chuck
I think we can agree, Les Claypool isn't just a Bass player, he's a mad scientist/ genius with a four and six string laboratory at his fingertips. Thanks for the vid mate, now I'm off to hurt my fingers.......a lot
You're not wrong about his humility! They came to town around '94 and my friends' local band opened for them. After their set, the members of Primus helped them load their gear off stage and into their van! I had never seen a band that big pitching in like that before or after!
IzzyReel 14 dias atrás
Les is a friend to our family. He always shows grace and humility. A really good guy.
Darren Stansbury
The idea of Primus performing "Tommy the Cat" in the style of Hanson's "Mmmbop" is hilarious.
Cactus Toadwine
Les Claypool literally saved my life once. True story. Me and my old lady ate some random "doses" at a music festival; they tasted bad and we immediately spit them out. This was 2006 and Research chemicals were everywhere. I deduced that it had to be something like DOA, DoB or DOC. Either way, we ended up tripping for at least 72 hours. It was miserable, thought I'd completely lost my mind and I was gonna be insane for ever. We had been lying in our canopy for days with the most horrible, nightmarish hallucinations....unable to even speak to my girfriend. It was like a Hunter S. Thompson novel. And then, on the final day of the festival, a group of my buddies along with Mr. Claypool came and literally dragged the two of us out of our canopy and ("Weekend at Bernies style"). We had VIP tickets and were supposed to be working backstage on lighting. We had a posse of of Les's people prettty much carry us to the backstage area where we could watch the show in peace. It was magical. I've never been told by my favoreite rockstar to " Get up, you're gonna miss the show" { I didn't have a big role in the production of the shpow ( they could have gotten along just fine without me {) He just really wanted me to see the show and get out of my psychedelic horror film. I love that man.!
Rob Scallon
This was fantastic.
Dayyyyum these videos are well made. No filler, no time wasting, good editing, good demonstrations, clear and easy tabs. My singular thumbs up is not enough.
David Crabtree
Les claypool is My favorite songwriter of all time. Not only is he just a flat out master of lead Bass. He writes his songs like he’s lived a million lives. “Damn blue collared tweakers”- is a good example..he was pretty young when he wrote that. From the perspective of blue collared workers. Which I imagine he has spent little time having to do. bc he has been successful since a young age.
Harris Freedman
"We're at an evil carnival and we're gonna die" - the most fantastic description of Les' style I've ever heard
Sweet Man, Thanks
My favorite thing about Primus is that it is it's own genre of music and Les deserves credit for being a pioneer.
Eko Jar
When I first herd Jerry was a race car driver. I didn't even know it was a bass that I was hearing, I thought it was just a loop of somebody slapping guitar strings that just happened to sound cool. Once I learned it was bass. It flipped my bass world upside-down. And I was hooked on Primus .
Les' vocals over Mmmbop is the most cursed thing i've heard in a while. Also, fantastic video! I've never really been interested in learning slap bass until now. This vid is easy to follow and does a very good job of breaking down the technique so a relative bass noob like myself can understand it and follow along. Might be putting down the pick for a few days.
Les Claypool. The man who made me want to pick up the bass.
I have always loved listening to Les' tone evolve over decades eventually landing on what we hear today. My favorite was when he was using the Mesa 400s, 15" cabs with the ADA-MB1 preamps combined with the 1970's mahogany 6 string fretted CT bass. That combo was hella flat, muddy and heavy. He's still my favorite bassist ever. Not solely because of his bass playing but because of the world he created of Primus; all the tragic characters, the ocean/fishing vibe and many other artistic talents he has. He's also just a cool dude. I've met him several times over the last 30 years as just a fan backstage and he was always really nice and funny.
Cornelius Throckmorton
I started playing bass in ‘91 after hearing ‘Tommy The Cat’ for the first time. I’ve been learning Les’ style ever since and I can categorically say he is not of this world
Poke A Brain
Nice video. Les is probably the most notable bassist in Rock.. or modern music... his exotic approach, dynamic, creativity has no equal... who else could compete with him? -Geddy Lee is pretty good but Rush is mostly major scales, not much outside that realm... who else? Flea is up there but in bursts... then you have to look into Jazz and Funk to find equals which bass is basically the most important instrument! in other words, Les is truly awesome!
Zol Fodor
Primus were/are way ahead of the time, unbelievable musicians, absolutely love,Les,Larry & Tim. ❤️🎸🤘
Isaac Cady
Isaac Cady 14 dias atrás
One my favorite things about a Les Claypool show is how he tells these wild anecdotes between almost every song. Some are more exciting than others and some are down-right mundane, but they're all weird.
Stephan Barbarian
The quote "So you can create feeling in music without following the rules - its just gonna be really weird feelings" actually made me laugh because it's so spot-on. Great writing in this episode!
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