The Guns N’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan is currently promoting his new solo album called “Lighthouse” and in an interview with Guitar World, the musician talked about bassists who shaped his sound. One of them was the legendary Led Zeppelin co-founder, bassist and keyboardist John Paul Jones, who McKagan praised and recalled that he had to spent seven hours studying his bass parts in order to be part of a Led Zeppelin tribute concert.
Duff McKagan praises Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones
“When I was in sixth grade, my older brother taught me three chords on guitar: G, A and D. And then he taught me ‘The Birthday Song’ on bass, which is a blues major scale, but I didn’t know what I was doing, so I didn’t learn what it was until years later.”
“But once you understand that 12-bar, blues major scale, you’ll recognize it in other things, you know? So, I grew up listening to Led Zeppelin, and that’s when I realized how good John Paul Jones is. But I also realized that it was almost unattainable. I didn’t know what he was doing and got it in my early 20s.”
“Not to get too deep about it, but he’ll put a minor note – I don’t know exactly what it’s called because I’m not a musicologist – but he will put a minor note in a major blues scale. He does that shit effortlessly, like not even thinking about it.”
“It really hit me when I was part of a Jimmy Page tribute in Seattle, and I went to the woodshed to learn his stuff. Man, I’m talking like seven hours a day; that’s when I gained a true appreciation for John Paul Jones. He was fluid, effortless, and beautiful. I could say so much about John Paul Jones; he was a bad motherfucker,” Duff McKagan said.
Duff released his first solo album “Believe in Me” in 1993 when he was still a member of Guns N’ Roses. The second and most recent one is “Tenderness” released in 2019.