Level 42 legend Mark King on his 5 most famous bass guitars

Mark King bass player of UK jazz funk group Level 42 in London 31 July 1981. He is holding a Jaydee Supernatural II bass guitar.
(Image credit: Photo by David Corio/Redferns)

Echoing the likes of Stanley Clarke and Louis Johnson, Mark King’s slapped-bass grooves have directed Level 42 to record sales of over 30 million since starting out in 1980 and he remains one of the UK’s most prominent bass guitar exports. “40 years on it all seems to pale into insignificance,” he says. “It was a long time ago, but at the same time it seems like only yesterday.”

Having moved to London in 1979 from his home on the Isle of Wight, King, along with Mike Lindup and fellow islanders, brothers Phil and Rowland ‘Boon’ Gould, played their first gigs as Level 42. They were soon spotted and signed a major record deal with Polydor Records in 1981. 

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Nick Wells

Nick Wells was the Editor of Bass Guitar magazine from 2009 to 2011, before making strides into the world of Artist Relations with Sheldon Dingwall and Dingwall Guitars. He's also the producer of bass-centric documentaries, Walking the Changes and Beneath the Bassline, as well as Production Manager and Artist Liaison for ScottsBassLessons. In his free time, you'll find him jumping around his bedroom to Kool & The Gang while hammering the life out of his P-Bass.