Dave and Paul continue their two-part conversation on emulating the singular influence of James Jamerson.
How do you handle covering Motown and the songs Jamerson played? Any special considerations?
- Check out the first part of this conversation!
- I have a tough time because it’s not so patterned. Tough to “fake it”
- I try to think of what the bass line does conceptually for me
- Plays around the one, lines that leave you hanging then pull you back
- Mostly, I feel like he always plays around the melody and mood
- Ex: Gapevine – Ain’t no maountain (valley deep)
- Warm & punchy – nicely deadened strings
- Somehow simulating the one finger technique
- First, gotta have the P bass! Something about it makes you want to play more like Jamerson
- Last year I fulfilled a dream and got an original 1961 Ampeg B-15N… I love playing through it at home when I’m in a Motown mood
- But interestingly, almost everything on the records you hear was through a DI in the Motown studio. They didn’t have great mics for recording bass back then
- I try and use some of his moves like bouncing around root-five-octave; for uptempo songs he played fairly “busy” lines
Any other points?
- There really is something to be said about his one finger technique and the evenness that’s so subtle, but big
- I always think that he represents everything dance in regard to bass writing
Photo by Ole Bendik Kvisberg.