The 10 James Jamerson basslines every bass player has to hear

James Jamerson
(Image credit: Getty)

From 1958 through to 1972 the studio musicians at Motown Records, who later became known as The Funk Brothers, cranked out hit after hit. In fact, they played on more number 1 records than the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Elvis and the Beach Boys put together, all while remaining mostly anonymous.

One thing evident on every recording was the signature, mid-range bass tone that carried all of Motown’s hits, which from 1962 to 1968 was almost entirely down to James Jamerson. “Jamerson became my hero,” Paul McCartney once said. “Although I didn’t actually know his name at the time.”

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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.