The Convoluted Mystery Behind Who Played Bass on The Beatles Song ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’

Raymond Schillinger of You Can’t Unhear This takes a good look behind the rather convoluted mystery as to who played bass on The Beatles epic ballad “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”. Schillinger notes that the obvious answer would be Paul McCartney. If that were the case, the answer would still only be half-correct. In the studio, there existed a Fender VI, a six-string bass that guitarists John Lennon and George Harrison both had played on several occasions, making it possible that one or both of them played bass on the song. Additionally, the bassline of the song seemed particularly full and heavy, as if it had been doubled in the studio, making it seem like any one of them could be the bassist(s).

George Harrison’s 1968 song While My Guitar Gently Weeps is often cited as one of the finest songs written during his tenure with The Beatles. But there’s a mystery buried in the track that recently has become the subject of renewed debate among Beatles scholars and fans alike: who is playing the bass part?

To this date, no one has really figured out the answer to this question, albeit there has been a great deal of discussion around the subject.

So while we don’t have a definitive answer from Paul himself, we do know based on [engineer] Ken Scott’s recollection that at least two Beatles were playing this part at some point, calling into question many of the unofficial accounts of this session. Perhaps Giles [Martin]  is right and this was John taking the helm on the Fender VI bass… but short of definitive proof, this mystery may be left up to you to decide.

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.