Motown Bassics
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James Jamerson – Motown Bassics

  • Joined Dec 2019
  • Published Books 1

James Jamerson


A legendary bass-guitar player who redefined bass-guitar playing with a unique sound and style of playing.


With his classic fender-precision bass he was able to create a signature sound that defined soul music in the 60’s & 70’s.








He played part in 23 “Billboard Hot 100” number one hits – A record surpassed only by 2 musicians  – Paul McCartney and John Lennon.

He was presented into the rock and roll hall of fame in year 2000.



He started his musical career he played the upright bass.


After declining a scholarship to study at Wayne State University he continued playing in clubs as an electric bass player which let him gain a good reputation.


Ultimately ending up in Berry Gordy’s studio, Hitsville U.S.A – Home of Motown records.



Playing mainly as a recording bass player he played for numerous soul and r&b artists.


The Temptations, Marvin Gaye, Stevie wonder, Jackson 5, The Supremes and many More



His unique sound was created by 2 simple modifications to his Fender Precision bass.


He was using flat-wound strings on a fretted bass guitar – Those strings are mainly used on fretless style basses.

He put a piece of foam under the strings – close to the bridge. This gave the muted staccato sound that he is so well known for.


Growing up I had a lot of exposure to soul and funk music and later in my life when I started playing the bass guitar the special sound of this music was even more apparent through Jamerson’s unique style of playing.



In 1973 his relationship with Motown ended and even though he still played as a session player for a few well known artists he found trouble staying in the spotlight mainly due to his drinking problem and progress in bass guitar playing styles that left him outdated.



After years of dealing with alcoholism James Jamerson died in 1983 due to alcohol related complications.


He left a wife a 4 kids and a legacy of soul music that influences music till this day.


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