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Louis Johnson basses and bass mods

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Muziekschuur, Oct 16, 2016.

  1. Muziekschuur


    May 25, 2009
    Louis Johnson is a bass player like I have never seen before or after.
    He was famous for the use of his Musicman Stingray he got from Leo Fender.
    But what were his basses? And what bass was his favorite?
  2. gebass6

    gebass6 We're not all trying to play the same music. Supporting Member

    Last edited: Oct 16, 2016
  3. lowdownthump


    Jul 17, 2004
    The last concert Louis did he was playing an all black Fender Precision with rosewood fingerboard .

    Regardless of what he played , Louis always sounded like Thunder Thumbs Louis Johnson .
    He is one of my favorites and by watching him I've learned that it really is the player not the bass.
    Geri O, bebi, grrg63 and 2 others like this.
  4. Muziekschuur


    May 25, 2009
    He allso used a red Yamaha.
    Vinny_G likes this.
  5. Muziekschuur


    May 25, 2009
    Fresh Eddie and getbent like this.
  6. Muziekschuur


    May 25, 2009
    Fresh Eddie, Blazer and seang15 like this.
  7. Muziekschuur


    May 25, 2009
  8. Muziekschuur


    May 25, 2009
    SirMjac28 and grrg63 like this.
  9. Muziekschuur


    May 25, 2009
    His Gibson Ripper
    seang15 likes this.
  10. Altitude

    Altitude An ounce of perception, a pound of obscure. Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2005
    Denver, nee Austin
    Yamaha BB series basses in the 80s were amazing funk basses. They had a natural compression and a nasal tone that really worked well. I had a BB1600 for 25 years.
  11. mikeswals

    mikeswals Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    Many basses came and went, but clearly the natural 76 StingRay he kept using for nearly 40 years was his favorite.

    murphy, Tbone76, SirMjac28 and 3 others like this.
  12. grrg63


    Dec 14, 2005
    Rezdog, Fresh Eddie, Blazer and 12 others like this.
  13. ferdinandstrat


    Oct 7, 2014
    The reason I actually know who this guy is:

    ZSN624 and leomilani like this.
  14. inanimate_carb


    Aug 11, 2016
    In his first instructional video, Louis mentions that his Stingray pictured above had some mods done to the pickups and electronics that likely weren't duplicated in production models. IIRC, he mentioned a bass boost or something like that. I met him a few times after shows and I always meant to ask him about this, but I always forgot - I've never seen him play that Stingray live but I'm sure many others have over the years.

    He still sounded like LJ on any bass, though. He gets the most attention for the slap thing but he was a marvelous fingerstyle player as well.
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2016
    dlmx21, SirMjac28 and Mr_O'B like this.
  15. Kukulkan61

    Kukulkan61 Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2011
    Northern Arizona
    Doesnt matter what Bass he was using,it was his thumbs doing all the magic..aka Thunder Thumbs...
    electracoyote likes this.
  16. True.

    He's a perfect example of a player who gets his hands on a bass (and clearly almost any kind of bass) and doesn't come up with a bunch of excuses why he can't play it. Sets it up and strings it his way, and he's off to the races along with his signature sound, the product of his technique.

    I try to emulate players like this. Much respect.

    That being said, I do understand why he often gravitated back to the 'Ray, and he's the main reason I acquired one.
    Kukulkan61 and climber like this.
  17. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    Louis Johnson became primarily a Stingray and Sabre player around 1978. If you listen to the early stuff he did with Quincy Jones and the first Brothers Johnson album, you can tell it is a P-bass, probably with flats.

    Right On Time (Strawberry Letter #23) was an Alembic. On Blam! and Light Up the Night, is where he goes to a Stingray or Sabre all of the time. I think most of his session work after 1978 was on a Music Man too, although I might have read that Michael Jackson preferred his Yamaha on some tracks.
  18. Muziekschuur


    May 25, 2009
    What Sabre.
  19. lowdownthump


    Jul 17, 2004

    Louis in concert September 2013.
  20. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    Louis Johnson used a Sabre on Stomp according to sources I no longer remember.
    dlmx21 and SirMjac28 like this.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    May 10, 2021

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