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“Music is all about wanting to be better at it.”

- Geddy Lee - Rush.com

The science of music is often discussed amongst the many, the evolution of sound and recordings is always in the intros of the many, so in this edition we take a look at a man that is in the interest of the many and a truly awe-inspiring cocktail 🍸 of the two highlighted topics.

This incredibly unique character is held in high regard as a truly awe-inspiring musician, a player with incredible abilities and continually progressive expression and creativity. Visionary and mentor and of course - let's not forget - an icon.

Most importantly, having dug deeper into this weeks feature as a player, artist, and personality, we discover that he is just an all-round cool cat 😎 

Oh “Yes”, it's Mr Geddy Lee… 🎸 - Prog Prodigy!


Image credit: Richard Sibbald

Geddy Go Getter … 🎼 

We head back to Toronto, Canada 🇨🇦 , July 29th back in 1953 when an award winning musician graced the Earth 🌎 .

Gary Lee Weinrib aka Geddy Lee, was born to parents who were Polish survivors of the Jewish Holocaust, Lee's father died at a young age sadly but he was also a gifted musician.

His mother was then thrust into work to support her young children, Geddy expresses this to be a significant factor of change within himself as a young person and also contributing to him being a very constructive and isolated musician in his late teen years 

“It was a terrible blow that I lost him, but the course of my life changed because my mother couldn't control us." He said that losing his father at such an early age made him aware of how "quickly life can disappear", which inspired him from then on to get the most out of his life and music.”

Geddy Lee - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geddy_Lee

As a young man he recalls his early experiences with music and how he came to become involved with instruments:

“I first started playing guitar when I was about 14, and the local group of guys I was hanging out with, nobody really wanted to play bass, because it meant you had to spend the money and actually purchase a bass. I was kind of nominated by everybody else: "You play bass!" So...

I don't know why, but just kind of worked out. It was up to me to get it together. Maybe they thought I was the only one who could get the cash together to buy a bass or something. Anyway, I bothered my mother to get an advance - I used to work for her in her variety store on Saturdays. So I got an advance and I went to the local music store and bought a Canora bass for about $35. I started learning how to play bass, and basically learned to play any of the songs of the bands that we liked. I would just try to do what everybody does at home and listened to the parts and I mimicked them.”

Geddy Lee - Jeff MacKay, Canadian Musician Vol. XXI No. 5 Sep/Oct

One of the most fascinating and highly respected aspects of Geddy's musical abilities is his incredible delivery singing and while playing the bass during live performance.

An award-winning musician, Lee's style, technique, and skill on the bass have inspired many rock musicians such as Cliff Burton of Metallica, Steve Harris of Iron Maiden, John Myung of Dream Theater, Les Claypool of Primus, and Tim Commerford of Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave just to name a few.

Geddy Lee - Digital Art by Zapista OU

During an interview for a Canadian musician magazine he truly answered the question and dissected the overall perception of his technique.

“Well, I was always a vocalist first, and when I was in school I was in the choir, and I always sang. I always had kind of a soprano voice, so it was kind of natural that I was going to be the guy who sang, and it was up to me to also play bass. You know, I started emulating people like Jack Bruce, who I greatly admired when I was younger. It was just a matter of figuring out how to do it. There were a number of times where I thought it was impossible and I could never pull it off, but for me it was always a matter of learning the bass parts first and learning them so well that I didn't have to think about them while I was singing. And then, you know, concentrating on the vocal part of things. If ever there was a conflict between what I was playing and what I was singing, I would slightly rearrange what I was playing to make it somehow easier for me to actually get the syncopation of the two together.

Do you think bass parts get simpler when bassists start singing? Do they get more rhythmic?

Sometimes, yeah, but sometimes with our music, it's not a matter of making it simpler, it's just making it a little different or making it have more connection with the rhythm of what I'm singing. Sometimes that's more important than even making it simpler. And I've found that if you really rehearse your bass parts a lot, it's easier than you think. It's kind of like any physical activity or sports activity, you know: the more you do it, the more the muscle memory kind of takes over for you and suddenly just clicks into place. I've found on almost every rehearsal that I've ever done, ever, I reach a point of total frustration where I think, "I'm not going to be able to do this." Especially when we were doing stuff from albums like Hemispheres, where the musical parts are so complex. And yet, if I just keep banging away at it, eventually you just sort it out, and the things that you have to change in the bass part are usually fairly subtle, so that the average listener wouldn't really perceive that you've maybe slightly modified the bass part.”

Geddy Lee - Jeff MacKay, Canadian Musician Vol. XXI No. 5 Sep/Oct


Geddy is a truly inspired musician even to this day, he has never had any formal lessons on bass or guitar and can barely read musical 🎶 notation, which is quite shocking when you listen to his back catalogue of work, the complexity and in depth integrity of his playing is simply astounding. 🤘.


Geddy > Rush

Image - Rush.com

A true Canadian national treasure and a worldwide acclaimed power trio. Rush are a group that dates back to 1968 and the foundations lay in Toronto, the group had a number of member changes as it developed but eventually settled upon the now iconic Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson & Neil Peart.

The band and the collaborative music they produce is highly coveted and deemed progressive rock in its most original form.

In 2013, the group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame after 14 years of eligibility; they were nominated overwhelmingly in the Hall's first selection via fan ballot.

The dynamic and overall generic sound of the band continually changed and developed stemming from blues rock towards metal and eventually categorised as Prog Rock.


“Equal parts Led Zeppelin, Cream and King Crimson, Rush burst out of Canada in the early 1970s with one of the most powerful and bombastic sounds of the decade. Their 1976 magnum opus 2112 represents progressive rock at its grandiose heights, but just a half decade later they had the guts to put epic songs aside in favor of shorter (but no less dynamic) tunes like “Tom Sawyer and “The Spirit of Radio” that remain in constant rotation on radio to this day. Absolutely uncompromising in every conceivable way, the trio has spent the last 40 years cultivating the largest cult fan base in rock while still managing to sell out arenas around the globe.”



Rush reached critical and commercial success with a number of iconic studio releases and high-profile worldwide tours. To this day there are many musicians and music journalists analysing and cross examining their work for its sheer unique musical context and transatlantic almost scientific qualities.


Geddy’s bass lines and incredible vocal lines along with integral keys 🎹  & synth parts really sits perfectly with the identity of the ever evolving Rush. 🎸 


Throughout this overview and spotlight and the knowledge that Geddy Lee is a highly intricate and complexly developed bass guitar player. A player of this calibre would require a string set up just as in-depth and have high demands for tonal quality reliability and stability, so where does a player like this go to meet his needs what brand and style of string does he look to?


As that brief but incredible video there conveys Geddy let’s us know that he has been a Rotosound loyalist his entire career and he denotes The Swing Bass 66 to be his set of choice with on the road and in the studio.

Geddy highlights the strings give him the bottom end he needs and a top and he needs and all the reliability required.

These are definitely great Strings and we here at Strings Direct can definitely vouch for that, Geddy is a highly accomplished and complex player so requires a string to be absolutely perfect and the performance and integral reliability along with intonation of the string need to be perfection.

Rotosound have given Geddy that confidence year after year and you’ve got to admire his respectful nod to the late great John Entwistle, Rock and roll by the generations, the passing of the torch the keeper of the flame 🔥 

Let's leave you with some monumentally inspiring words from the iconic man of the moment Geddy Lee.🤘 

“What would be a good exercise for somebody to try, something good for chops? Do you have any favourite exercises that helped you develop a certain style or a certain way of playing?

Not really any one particular exercise. Like I say, in the early days I would just take a lick by a bass player I admired and play it to death, and then as I got older I would write a part. I would write a part that was really complicated and really used a different part of the neck. For example, I would listen to something that Jeff Berlin would play, and it would be very obviously jazz-influenced, but it was also modal. When you learn by playing only rock or blues, you stay in a particular mode. When you start listening to other guys, some of the jazz guys, they slide from one mode into another, and suddenly the character or the flavour of the bass part is changed. When you twig on that, it opens up a whole other level of play for you. Suddenly you're able to take your rock chops and slide out of them into a whole different flavour. That comes in time. So I would do that. I would listen to a guy that was in a different style than me, and I would try to learn from him, in terms of where he would take the melody, and then I would apply it to my rock context, and it would sound fresher or more unusual.”

Geddy Lee - Jeff MacKay, Canadian Musician Vol. XXI No. 5 Sep/Oct


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