This week we’re taking a second look at the bass lines of Chris Squire of Yes with a breakdown of the intro to the song Heart Of The Sunrise from the Fragile album.

Heart Of The Sunrise

This is a very tricky line which has much in common with speed metal. It’s also quite a lengthy line, so I’ve provided backing tracks at 4 different tempi – from 116bpm to 146bpm to help you get it under your fingers. It’s in G# minor and a 6/8 time signature – and if you’re interested in emulating Chris Squire’s famously trebly tone, you should use a pick, roundwound strings, and a Rickenbacker.

The first section is fairly straightforward – but to play it correctly as per the original recording, pick the notes individually and resist the temptation to hammer on. You’ll find that a simple alternate picking style is the best way to emulate this – and if you don’t normally play that way this is a great place to start.

The gap after this first section is actually two bars of 4/4 which Rick Wakeman fills with a dissonant keyboard part  – but I count it as two groups of six eighth notes and a one group of four eighth notes. Don’t worry too much about how you count it as it’s up to you, but I find this method gives me more accuracy when it comes to timing.

This is repeated twice before the main riff comes in.

Again we’re looking at using the alternate picking style to make sure each note gets plenty of attack – and essentially working our way down from  high up on the G string, before repeating the same pattern an octave down the fretboard. I use the first and third fingers for the whole tone notes so that I can bring my second finger into play for the chromatic notes – just to keep my fingering clean.

After this, we play a pair of repeating patterns – only this time ascending back up the neck; very much like the opening motif.

Finally, there is the dramatic closing run down to an open E. I think the original recording had two basses, which I emulate by playing two strings. The real trick isn’t this however: it’s the timer.

I find it easiest to count 3/8 until hitting the A flat – which is a count of 5 – before returning to 3/8. It probably sounds more complicated than it is, but at the song’s original tempo you might find it very tricky to count at first. Good luck!

Practice Tracks:

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