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James Jamerson's Gear?

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by John K., Dec 4, 2002.


  1. Ok, I know he always played his coveted P-bass, but what other gear did he play through? Were there ever any records that showed what he played through? Or was that not even remember by anyone, since Motown usually focused on the star, and not necessarily the musicians?

    I've just recently realized how amazing Motown really is. I feel just listening to the music will help me improve.
     
  2. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    In the most recent issue of Bass Player, you can see his Ampeg B-15 setup, and his upright he used early on, but I'm not sure what else. I know he had very high action and played with only one finger on dead strings, so I'm sure that had an effect on his sound.
     
  3. Andrew Jones

    Andrew Jones Banned

    Feb 28, 2001
    Northampton Mass
    Its in the standing in the shadows book.


    school double bass

    His double bass only (only one family/son still has it.

    Refinised 57 Pbass " black Beauty"(stolen)

    Early 60s sunburst (stolen)

    62 sunburst P bass" funk machine"the famous one(stolen late in his life)

    A fender 5 string

    b15 (stolen)

    Kustom 2 15 combo
     
  4. fatlad1

    fatlad1

    Feb 27, 2012
  5. On most Motown recordings Jamerson (and the guitars) went direct to the recording console due to bleeding problems in the relatively small Studio A . The musicians set their own levels...and Jamerson was known for running his volume into the red to round out his tone.
     
  6. mambo4

    mambo4

    Jun 9, 2006
    Seattle
    SocAl has it. Most of the Jamerson you hear was P-bass recorded direct.
    there is a thread about the direct preamp that was used in studio A here:
    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/f15/real-james-jamerson-amp-854013/

    Jamerson did crank the level and overdrive the inputs
    The isolated bass tracks are (to me) surprisingly 'dirty' with peaking & distortion(&maybe tape saturation?).

    not that it takes anything away from the awsome.
     
  7. I've been fortunate to have had some interesting conversations with Mike McLean, who set up Motowns first studio with $1500 that Berry Gordy gave him to build Studio A. Mike was still a teenager when he went to work for Motown. Mike later rebuilt the studio with more upgraded equiptment and added additional tracks. Mike is retired and living back in the Carolinas.