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3 Ways Of Modelling Jamerson For Exponential Growth As A Bass Player In 2020

In the first article in this mini series I talked about how you can potentially make exponential improvement in your bass playing by working on your Bass IQ.

And in the second article we talked about how Jamerson developed his genius level Bass IQ by combining concepts from jazz bass with pop and soul rhythms.

In the third article in this mini series I talked about why Jamerson's playing is just as relevent to you in 2020 as it was 10 years ago, or 20 years ago or 50 years ago.

In this article I want to talk about three different paths you can take to model the kind of things Jamerson was doing back in his glory days and incorporate those into your bass playing.

Before we get started I just want to point out: I’m not suggesting you try to play like James Jamerson…what I’m (strongly) suggesting is that you pick out the best ideas from his playing and learn how to use those ideas in YOUR bass playing.

Ok let’s look at the first path to model Jamerson for exponential growth.


Option 1 - The “Old School” Path

Remember back in the second article I told you that Jamerson’s bass conception at Motown - his day job remember? - was essentially jazz bass meets rock and pop rhythms?

The crucial part of that is the jazz bass part.

If you can play jazz bass already, then what you need to do is take the vocabulary you’ve developed from jazz bass and adapt it to soul and rock and pop rhythms.

You’ll need to do lots of trial and error to work out what works and what doesn’t. Plus you’ll need a bunch of gigs or jams or open mic nights to see how your conception holds up when you get into a live environment with other musicians.

If you don’t know how to play jazz bass yet - then obviously you need to work on that first. And then take what you learn from jazz bass and apply it as outlined above.


Option 2 - The “Analytical Path”

This way of modelling Jamerson is a form of analytical reverse engineering. You’ll need to buy all the commercially available Jamerson transcriptions, double checking their accuracy and then analyze them looking for melodic patterns that repeat, rhythms that repeat, the way Jamerson connects chords and so on.

Additionally there are some quality Jamerson transcriptions available for free on the Interwebz and down the years Bass Player Magazine have printed a handful of good ones too.

You’ll need to get those and analyze those too.

On top of that you’ll need to transcribe anywhere from around 20 to 50 further Jamerson performances to really get a complete picture of what he did, how it developed over time.

Then when you’ve constructed this analytical model of how Jamerson put his lines together you can start applying it to the music and genres that you like to play.

IF - and this is a really big if - you had all the resources at your fingertips AND they were already analysed then maybe you could reverse engineer what Jamerson was doing (and work out how to apply it) in 6 to 9 months. If you’ve not done the transcribing and and analysis you can probably double that time frame.

If you want quicker results....then check out Path 3:


Option 3 - “The Guided Path”

The third path is the quickest. Because I’ve done all this work already spread out over a 10 year period. And not only have I done the analysing and transcribing and cross referencing and reverse engineering…I’ve also put it into a system that you can access and make some of the exponential strides in your bass playing we’ve been talking about over the last few articles.

The next run of my Jamerson Bootcamp starts on monday, March 4th.

Tomorrow I’ll post details of what exactly I’ve got in store for you.

Before I go though, I want to share a bass line that was composed by one of my students on one of the previous runs of this learning experience.

Here’s how Leela - the student in question - self identifies as a bassist : "I’m a roots and fifths, quarter note, two beat kind of bass player…folk and country styles."

The image below is the first 16 bars of a composition that she created for Day 21 in the Jamerson Challenge. As you’ll see this is quite an advanced bass line - here’s the first 16 bars of that composition:

McCartney Day 7 - Leela's Composition from howtoplaybassdotcom on Vimeo.


For more details on the Jamerson Bootcamp - which starts on Monday, May 4th (though pre-training starts on 5 days earlier) click the blue 'CONTINUE' button below:

Paul Wolfe/www.how-to-play-bass.com/safe in lockdown