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Play Bass in the Style of James Jamerson / Motown

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by anonymous111813, Jan 1, 2012.

  1. anonymous111813

    anonymous111813 Guest

    Mar 1, 2011
  2. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    Masks, people, masks!
    Song Surgeon slow downer.
    Thanks for posting.
  3. bassfuser


    Jul 16, 2008
    There is more to Jamerson's playing than sequenced notes. His playing had heart and attitude and quite frankly I think it's an insult to post something like this. :scowl:
  4. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather Supporting Member

    I'm hearing way more notes, than Jamerson would play, in your sequences. While he did have a way of making you think he was playing more notes than he actually was playing, he didn't! Good effort though but they sound sterile and soulless to my ears!
  5. matti777


    Dec 13, 2007
    Edmonton, Canada
    Its also the timing that made Jamerson's playing great...hang back, sling shot forward - hard to replicate.
  6. anonymous111813

    anonymous111813 Guest

    Mar 1, 2011
    Of course Jamerson had his own style of playing. And there are many things that contribute to his style: sound, timing, choice of notes, the context in which he played in and more.

    My examples can help you to develop a sense of how Jamerson plays over chord changes, uses chromatic approaches and rhythm patters. These are some things that you have to understand to incorporate Jamersons style in your playing.

    DW Bass: I guess it is very hard to say what Jamersons style was all about. I am sure he used a lot of funk licks and lots of notes like in my examples, especially during the later recordings like "Aint no Mountain High Enough" by Diana Ross.
  7. ugly_bassplayer

    ugly_bassplayer Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2009
    How about you playing them instead?
    They might sounds a heck of a lot better than the programed Finale sequencer.
  8. anonymous111813

    anonymous111813 Guest

    Mar 1, 2011
    I am sure they will sound much better, and it would make more sense if I played them myself rather than programming them. I am working on a good solution for this problem right now. But I need to get a decent recording device first, and I have not decided which one works best for me. I hope to get some recordings done in the next weeks.
  9. ugly_bassplayer

    ugly_bassplayer Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2009
    Hmmm, that is opinion not fact my friend.
  10. anonymous111813

    anonymous111813 Guest

    Mar 1, 2011
  11. u84six

    u84six Nobody panic, the bass player is here! Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2006
    Playing more like Jamerson can only really happen if you learn the songs he played. There aren't many bassists out there with his style. He created his own melody to go along with the vocals while also playing percussively at the same time. His style stemmed from starting out playing upright jazz bass at a very young age (unlike most bassists today), and played with a lot of really great local jazz musicians.

    I would suggest going to youtube and listen to some of the Jamerson isolated tracks that are available. When you hear them, it seems like his timing is off, but when you hear it in the mix (the actual song) if flows so smoothly. This suggest that his style wasn't just about choice of notes, but heavy use of accents. He generally used chord tones for his lines along with chromatic transitions between perfect and imperfect consonance, and generally took advantage of open strings whenever he could (best practice for upright bass). What you'll notice as you learn the songs is how quickly he was able to pull together tasteful riffs using the basic chord tones that we all use every day.

    Have fun!
  12. Agreed. This is total crap!
    It is like James Jamerson as played by an $89 Casio keyboard.
  13. Yeah, I am so sure that you could just "play them yourself" just like Jamerson and then it would all be great... NOT!

    AQUANOVA Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Santa Monica
    Thank you for posting your work.
    I enjoyed it.

    I would add, that when studying Jammerson, it's important to listen to how he incorporated his bass line into a song in a way that enhanced the vocal.

    Many times people dissect the mechanics of his lines without taking into account the emotional interplay that he created.
  15. anonymous111813

    anonymous111813 Guest

    Mar 1, 2011
    It is my goal to give the students of mine insight in how Jamerson created his basslines. I have uploaded a little paper that deals with the construction of his basslines, but it is not translated yet.

    Motown und Jamerson - johannes-oehls Jimdo-Page!
  16. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather Supporting Member

    +1 His use of ghosting is equally as important as his note choices and groove. Before hearing the isolated track, I thought What's Going On had a lot more notes going on. I was shocked! And while many can emulate his lines note for note, it's impossible to know what he was thinking at the time of execution! It's a shame he's not with us so we can pick his brain. He was on a whole 'nutha level! I have a clip around somewhere with me playing What's Going On as a demo for a band I used to be in. I'll see if I can dig it up and post.
  17. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    Kudos to Johannes for the effort. People who are offended by a finale sequence need to chill out.
    The examples were not posted with the idea that it's "just as good as the real thing," they are an attempt to learn.
    It's not an 'insult' to Jamerson for anyone to examine, explore and strive to understand what made his bass lines so great -let alone try to share it with others.

    Jamerson's playing was undeniably great, but it's wasn't ineffable sacred magic. (and I say this as a devout Jamerson worshipper.)
    Much like the ubiquitous "groove" and "feel", his music was the sum of many parts.
    And those parts can be isolated and better understood to the benefit of all.
    It is in this spirit, I think, that these were posted.
  18. anonymous111813

    anonymous111813 Guest

    Mar 1, 2011
    Mambo04: Exactly my point :)

    The "standing in the shadows of motown" book is a good help, too!

    On Amazon
  19. ... quantized midi tracks are indeed soulless, those YouTube clips are evidence of that.

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