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Wrecking Crew Legend Carol Kaye Gives Kiss' Gene Simmons a Bass Lesson

In the world of bass guitar, Carol Kaye is a legend.

Kaye, who'll turn 81 next month, was a member of LA's legendary "Wrecking Crew" and is known as one of the most prolific and widely heard bassists, playing on an estimated 10,000 sessions in her 56-year career.

Kaye's fretwork can be heard on several Phil Spector and Brian Wilson productions from the Sixties and Seventies; she even played guitar on Ritchie Valens' "La Bamba" and is credited with the bass tracks on several Simon & Garfunkel hits

Among her greatest achievements is her bass work on the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds.

Below, Kaye can be seen giving an impromptu bass lesson to Gene Simmons of Kiss at Sunset Sound Studios in Hollywood. The clip is actually an outtake from a 2012 documentary called Sample This. The film, which was directed by Dan Forrer, stars Simmons, Ahmir-Khalib Thompson and Roosevelt Grier.

"No, no, no, you've got to do it with the beat, though, Gene," Kaye tells Simmons. "No, no, up, down, up, down, up, down, up ... ."

Below (bottom YouTube player), for your listening pleasure, we've included a vintage Carol Kaye recording called "BassCatch" from her Picking Up on the E String album, which happens to feature Joe Pass on guitar. Enjoy!

Damian Fanelli

Damian is editor-in-chief of Guitar World magazine. From 1998 to 2014, he was one third of Mister Neutron, an instrumental rock act that toured the universe and elsewhere and released three albums via Austin-based Deep Eddy Records. These days he performs with several New York City-area bands and can often be spotted with one of his many, many, many B-bender-equipped guitars. In past lives he was GW’s managing editor and online managing editor – and he still can’t believe he got to write the liner notes for the latest SRV box set.