Watch Jeff Beck help a young Tal Wilkenfeld play an insane bass solo

Jeff Beck and Tal Wilkenfeld jam in Japan
(Image credit: Tal Wilkenfeld)

She probably didn’t know it at the time, but when Tal Wilkenfeld got onstage with Jeff Beck at Saitama Super Arena, Japan in 2009, she was about to make some serious waves in the bass guitar world. In fact, the very next day the Internet was plastered with video clips from that gig – her quick thinking when Beck’s guitar amp died earning her some serious fans around the globe.

“His amp broke in the middle of a concert,” says Tal. “Jeff wanted to get off the stage, but I just started playing some groove in G. I called him over and we both started playing my bass. I was soloing and he was playing the groove. He loved it and we ended up doing it every night after that."

Wilkenfeld had taken over bass duties from session stalwart Pino Palladino, who needed cover for a show during the group's 2007 European tour. Having sent Beck’s management a copy of her album, Transformation, as well as a live recording of her jamming with the Allman Brothers, Tal was soon on her way to England for an audition, and the rest is history.

Watch the full video below, which ends in Tal referencing  Freeway Jam, from Beck's 1975 hit album, Blow By Blow.

Other highlights from her tenure with Beck included a standout performance at the 2009 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony with special guest Jimmy Page, as well as her fiery bass solo on Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers from the 2007 Crossroads Guitar Festival. A lot of Tal’s licks from this solo are based around a C Minor pentatonic scale, but she also dials in plenty of chromatic lines, chord tones and vibrato. 

“Jeff’s light and power were so strong,” says Tal. “He believed in me before anyone else did. He was forever youthful, and fuelled so deeply by the muse that basic necessities were last on his list. I’d ask if he was hungry and he would say, 'Oh no, I had a huge muffin yesterday!' We've lost our favorite guitarist, and we also lost one of the most intelligent, intuitive and hilarious people I’ve ever met.”

Tal Wilkenfeld and Jeff Beck perform with Jeff Beck onstage at the 25th Anniversary Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Concert at Madison Square Garden on October 30, 2009 in New York City. (

(Image credit: Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)

In wake of Jeff Beck’s passing, countless names from the bass world have been paying their respects to one of music’s all-time greats. Read the full story here.

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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.