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Funk Brothers/Jamerson Transcriptions?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Superdave, Apr 13, 2005.

  1. Superdave


    Apr 20, 2003
    St. Louis, MO
    Anyone know where I can find some Jamerson transcriptions, "I Heard it Through the Grape Vine", and others?

    What's some essential Jamerson/Babbit grooves/tunes? "I Was Made to Love Her", etc..
  2. ErikP.Bass

    ErikP.Bass Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2004
    Check this out, it is certainly worth the cash. Lots of transcriptions (no tablature), comes with CD's with famous players playing their favorite Motown hits (corresponds with transcriptions) and also has quite a bit of background on James and the Funk Brothers.

    Here is the Amazon.com link:


    One of my personal favorites is "Bernadette" - Yes. it is in there. I don't have the book on hand at the moment but I am pretty sure there are two versions of "Heard It Through The Grapevine" - Marvin Gaye and Gladys Knight.
  3. Superdave


    Apr 20, 2003
    St. Louis, MO
    I actually just saw the DVD, pretty interesting stuff, great musicians, great music.

    I dig the Marvin version more than the Gladys, I just worked it out today.
  4. I can't remember exactly, but I think that tune is the Bass Tab White Pages. Even if it isn't, it's sure worth getting, over 200 songs to learn.
  5. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    ONLY the Gladys Knight version is in the SITSOM/Jamerson book(played by Will Lee).

    IIRC, the Marvin's "Grapevine" is in the Real Book III LEGAL version(Chuck Sher)
  6. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    I have a lead chart for Marvin's version that I created. PM me your email and I'll send it your way as a .doc file. LIbby Bee had the exact bassline transcription, but I'm not sure it exists anymore.

    There's some stuff here: http://www.e-bass.ch.vu/
  7. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    You're thinking of "Ain't No Sunshine". There are two versions of that song in the book, Marvin Gaye/Tammi Terrell and Diana Ross and the Supremes.

    (My last band medleyed the two Sunshines. It was cool).
  8. Mr.Phil


    Apr 9, 2005
    Upstate NY
    Check out the book standing in the shadows of Motown... It has a lot of transcriptions as well as a history of Jamerson's life. As for "essential" licks, I would look into:
    Bernadette - The Four Tops (Jamerson)
    Darling Dear - The Jackson Five (Jamerson)
    Ball of Confusion - Temptations (Babbitt)
    Scorpio - (Babbitt)
    Good luck and have fun!
  9. johnvice


    Sep 7, 2004
    Every bass player should own the Motown boxed set vol. one. Jamerson is on about 80% of the songs.
  10. rllefebv


    Oct 17, 2000
    Newberg, Oregon
    I thought "Ain't No Sunshine" was a Bill Withers recorded on Stax... "Ain't No Mountain High Enough", well that is another story :D

  11. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    I was gonna say!
    I have a 1st edition SITSOM book & thought I got ripped off.
    Bad Jazzbo!
  12. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA

    Talk about a brain fart.


    (I've had a long couple of weeks guys. Can I be forgiven?)
  13. Lorenzini


    Dec 31, 2004
    Los Angeles
    Most of this stuff you should be listening and trying to transcribe yourself. A Jamerson bassline, while quite brilliant, is also quite simple -- do yourself a favor and just learn it yourself! :)
  14. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    ...come again?
  15. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    While I acknowledge that lines like "Ain't Too Proud To Beg", "Get Ready", "Heatwave", and "You Can't Hurry Love", could certainly be learned by ear without the greatest of difficulties, I might be inclined to bring up the following examples of basslines that Jamerson played, that would be difficult for even an experienced bass player to learn by ear:

    - Home Cookin'
    - Darling Dear
    - I Heard It Through the Grapevine - Gladys Knight
    - What's Going On
    - Signed Sealed Delivered
    - I Was Made To Love Her
    - For Once In My Life
    - Bernadette
    - Ain't No Mountain High Enough (both versions)
    - I'm Gonna Make You Love Me
    - It's A Shame
    - Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing

    This only includes the "hit" tracks. This doesn't even go into the rest of his body of work.
  16. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    "Sign, Sealed, Delivered"-
    My sources indicate Babbitt.
    IMHO, there's not enough improvisation to make me 'think Jamerson'...although there are a definite couple of Jamerson-isms happenin'.

    Right now, I'm re-reading the Dec 2002 Bass Player(Jamerson cover).
    Chuck Rainey sez-
    "Two ingredients are key to Jamerson's style. One, he usually played off a Root-five-ocatve pattern. Second, most of the Motwon grooves had a hidden baion type of feel. James built many of his lines from a Root-five-octave shape, & then he'd add other scale tones as well as non-scale chromatic passing tones to create motion & melodic lines".

    Another nugget of great info, IMO-
    "Like all great musicians, James heartd other things in his head while he played-such as polyrhythms from the drum patterns-& when he added those ideas they came through loud & clear, but they always locked with the groove & supported the song".

    Pretty simple stuff. huh?
  17. Superdave


    Apr 20, 2003
    St. Louis, MO
    Oh yeah, I have been doing them by ear, "I Was Made to Love Her", and "I Heard it Through the Grapevine" right now.
  18. Mr.Phil


    Apr 9, 2005
    Upstate NY
    Perhaps it is possible to pick up pieces of Jamerson's lines by ear, but there is no way to be completly accurate when transcribing the more complicated lines. Take Darling Dear for example, after the intro, Jamerson never uses the exact same pattern twice. True, you can use a root-fith-octave pattern and "interpret" his lines, but there was much more to his technique. Those are just my thoughts...
  19. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    Jamerson has a lot of lines without much improvisation.

    It's funny, I always heard Signed, Sealed, Delivered as Jamerson, but I would defer to you on this.

    (A good excuse to give the tune another listen).

    Of course, "Ain't No Sunshine" I would say is definitely not James! ;)
  20. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    I just re-read a Bob Babbitt interview(in the UK's Bass Guitar mag...it's a few months old now; FWIW, this particular issue has a killer transcription to Chic's "Everbody Dance").

    Anyway, Babbitt talks about "Tears Of A Clown" & "Sign, Sealed, Delivered" as though it was he. ;)
    Just last week, I did pull out my transcription to "SSD" & had a go at it.

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