How To Play Bass - Learning From James Jamerson Vol 1

An 80-20 Device Method Book

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What if you could use Marty McFly’s DeLorean Time Machine and jet back in time and take a lesson with one of the bass playing greats?

If so, who would you choose?

For me it would be James Jamerson, hands down.

Jamerson was a jazz bass player but in his Motown day job in the sixties he laid down literally thousands of incredible bass lines. From For Once In My Life to Ain’t No Mountain High Enough (both versions) to Bernadette to Reach Out I’ll Be There to Grapevine (multiple versions) and What’s Going On.

And hundreds of others.

But I wouldn’t ask James how to play specific lines. I’d want to know the thought process that went into the creation of some of those classic lines.

Sadly learning directly from Jamerson is just a fantasy. So I’ve done the next best thing - learning indirectly from Jamerson by transcribing and analysing hundreds of his bass lines. I’ve identified the vocabulary that James Jamerson brought from walking bass to the electric bass and used in all those great Motown lines.

And I’ve distilled that down into an easy to follow/quick to implement learning system that will teach YOU how to incorporate the foundational devices that Jamerson used in YOUR lines.

NOTE: this book isn’t about HOW to play like James Jamerson, but how to use the devices that he pioneered in his output with Motown in YOUR playing.

This book is Volume 1 of a 4 Volume Series and over the course of these 4 volumes we’re going to dive deep into the kind of lines Jamerson put together, what devices he used, what modifying devices he used. And much more.

Volume 1 lays the foundations that the later volumes build on and some of what you’ll find is:

  • How to create flow in your bass lines using devices with approach notes built in - and the 5 different types of approach notes (Section 3)
  • How to create your own bass lines - and avoid the ‘Tyranny Of Tempo’ (Section 12)
  • How to use chromatic modifying devices (Section 9)
  • The two simple devices that Jamerson used most (Section 2 and Section 4)
  • Over 100 MP3 tracks to download and practice with (Bonus Website Version)
  • The most used device in pop and rock? (Section 8)
  • Creating dynamic lines using the concept of front end of the bar/back end of the bar (Section 5)
  • Practicing a device from First Principles (Section 7)
  • Perpetual Motion practice exercises for devices using cycle tracks (Sections 2 and 8, plus Bonus Website lessons)
  • Bonus website version with majority of examples filmed at two speeds so you can see and hear how each exercise and example should sound


Start learning the foundational devices from Jamerson’s vocabulary. So you can add them to YOUR vocabulary.

Get Volume 1 now - click here for link at

Click here for link at


Paul's Note: linking to product on Amazon is an art form that I haven't yet grasped! To find the book, go to your local Amazon store and type HOW TO PLAY BASS JAMES JAMERSON in the search box and the book should turn up in your search results!




Amazon are also slow to create samples to 'Look Inside' for physical only books uploaded to their I've created a PDF you can download here:

Learning From Jamerson Vol 1 Sample


Signed Copies

Signed copies of things aren't my thang....I've only ever asked for one book to be signed by the author.


I've already had 50X that many requests for signed copies of this book.

As I don't do "tours" or teach seminars in multiple countries the only way that makes sense financially is this:

  • the book is $20 at amazon/£14.99 GBP
  • if you shipped it to me and then got it shipped back that would add probably $15/20 to the outlay. Plus a bunch of time "faffing around."
  • Instead, I'll buy a copy, sign it, and ship it to you

So that I don't lose out, a signed copy needs to be $40 USD.

I don't expect many people to want this...and that's totally cool...but if you do, click this paypal button and make that payment:


Get Your Signed Copy Here!

Paul Wolfe/