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Electric Bass Guitars

Les Paul became a leader of his own trio in the 1930s, playing mostly popular music, and also accompanying artists like the Andrews Sisters and Bing Crosby. He was never satisfied in any single genre, however, and his playing encompassed country, jazz and blues.  Paul reached the height of his performing fame in the 1950s, when he teamed up with his then-wife Mary Ford on vocals. They enjoyed the success of hits such as How High the Moon. But Paul wasn't just a guitar player - he was also a guitar inventor and recording innovator. He's credited with being the first American to produce (8 track) multi-track recording, thus making overdubbing possible. Unsatisfied with the sounds of the guitars he was using, Paul invented the first solid-body guitar. He invented the first bass guitar. The use of echo. Delay. Reverb. Phasing. The man not only commanded his instrument, he literally came up with completely new ways for his instrument to sound. "I had this drive, this curiosity that absolutely fascinated me," he said.
At 90, Paul's hands and fingers are badly ravaged by arthritis, but it has barely slowed his love of playing music and enjoying life.

In 1951, Leo Fender independently released his Precision Bass, the first commercially successful electric bass guitar The electric bass was easily amplified with its built-in pickups, easily portable (less than a foot longer than an electric guitar), and easier to play in tune, thanks to the metal frets. In the 1960s and 1970s bands were playing at louder volumes and performing in larger venues. The electric bass was able to provide the huge, highly-amplified stadium-filling bass tone that the pop and rock music of this era demanded, and the double bass receded from the limelight of the popular music scene.

The electric bass guitar an electrically-amplified string instrument similar in appearance to an electric guitar, but with a larger body, a longer-scale neck and (usually) four strings tuned an octave lower in pitch than a guitar. Electric basses may be fretted or fretless, although fretted basses are far more common in most popular music settings. Fretless basses are more common in jazz-fusion music. As well, there are also hollow-bodied acoustic bass guitars.  Since the 1950s the electric bass has largely replaced the double bass in popular music as the instrument that provides the low-pitched bassline(s) and bass runs. The electric bass is used as a soloing instrument in jazz, fusion, Latin, and funk styles, and bass solos are sometimes performed in other genres.


Solid Conklin Bass

The man who inspired the Fretless Bass Guitar

 Jaco Pastorius  

 - his solo on 'donna lee', beyond being astounding for just the fact that it was played with a hornlike phrasing that was previously unknown to the bass guitar is even more notable for being one of the freshest looks at how to play on a well travelled set of chord changes in recent jazz history - not to mention that it's just about the hippest start to a debut album in the history of recorded music. that solo, along with his best compositions like "continuum" reveal a melodic ingenuity (that rarest and hardest to quantify of musical qualities amongst improvisors) that comes along only a few times in each generation. Then there is just his basic relationship to sound and touch; refined to a degree that some would have thought impossible on an "electric" instrument.  Jaco was the one and the only of his kind, without predecessor; the only post 1970 jazz musician known on a first name basis with all music fans of all varieties everywhere in the world. from the depths of Africa where he is revered in almost god-like status to the halls of most every music university on the planet. to this day, and maybe more than ever, he remains the one and the only. Having watched a number of his String basses explode in the Florida humidity extremes - he tore the frets out of his Fender and filled the slots with plastic wood - that's all it took to change bass history.

Jaco Pastorius may well have been the last jazz musician of the 20th century to have made a major impact on the musical world at large. everywhere you go, sometimes it seems like a dozen times a day, in the most unlikely places you hear jaco's sound; from the latest TV commercial to bass players of all stripes copping his licks on recordings of all styles, from news broadcasts to famous rock and roll bands, from hip hop samples to personal tribute records, you hear the echoes of that unmistakable sound everywhere. (it may even be more imitated at this point than the previously most pervasive jazz sound to escape into the broader culture beyond the local borders of jazz, the moody harmony mute stylings of miles davis). for all the caterwauling that has gone on about new musicians that have shown up in recent years being toted as the "next miles", or the "duke ellington of their generation", or whatever, jaco outranks all of them and all of that by being the one and the only of his kind, without predecessor; the only post 1970 jazz musician known on a first name basis with all music fans of all varieties everywhere in the world. from the depths of africa where he is revered in almost god-like status to the halls of most every music university on the planet. to this day, and maybe more than ever, he remains the one and the only JACO in Action and on Vocal

Weather Report Jaco

Harvey Brooks

Raph Mizraki

(here in a spoof pose) also blows amazing fretted and fretless Electric Bass

 - he is a phenomenal percussionist

 and Oud player,

to say nothing of his Double Bass prowess to boot.




Washburn AB20 Acoustic Bass Guitar

Resonator Bass Guitar


The Music of Laurence Cottle - Welsh Wizard & Bass Ace


Tom Mason - Jazz Warriors- Pendulum
Tom began his musical career as a classical violinist, switching to bass in 1998 at the age of 18. In the same year he was accepted to study jazz bass at the Royal Academy of Music. Since then, he has performed, recorded and toured in the UK and internationally with an eclectic array of artists including Robin Eubanks, Robert Mitchell, Micheal Cain, Marty Ehrlich, Gerard Presencer, Famadou Don Moye and James Newton to name but a few. Tom is a member of London-based piano, bass and drums trio the Jonathan Idiagbonya Trio  Electric & String bass


Ben Crosland (bass) Having studied with Jeff Clyne, Crosland became a busy freelance bass player, playing in various bands during the '80's with Northern based players including Nikki Iles, Mike Walker, Rod Mason and Pete Fairclough and working as a sideman, supporting leading UK and American players including Dick Morrissey, Ronnie Ross, Ken Peplowski and Harry Allen.In 1990, he formed his Quintet, a band that worked extensively across the North, working with a variety of guest soloists including Jean Toussaint, Peter King, Guy Barker and Gerard Presencer. The Quintet collaborated closely during the '90's with Alan Skidmore and Steve Waterman, touring and recording. Crosland formed his Octet, featuring Alan Skidmore, Mark Nightingale and Steve Waterman, in 2000, touring and recording. Crosland has recorded with Jim Mullen and is a member of John Etheridge's Trio North. Steve Waterman (trumpet/flugelhorn) is acknowledged as one of the top jazz trumpet players both in UK and on the international scene. “Ben is like a rock” JOHN ETHERIDGE

Leo Ijebor - Electric Bass is a name to look out for.18yr old prodigy.

Neville Malcolm - Electric & Double bass - is one of the most in-demand bass players in the country. Known as ‘Level-Neville’, he is an understated star on both acoustic and electric bass, combining an earthy, soulful feel with effortless technical ability.
Coming from a background in Gospel music, Neville started out playing organ and guitar, switching to bass as he developed an ever greater interest in jazz and other music.
Turning professional in the early ‘90s, he worked with Philip Bent and Steve Williamson and became part of London’s Acid Jazz scene.

He has since performed all over the world and recorded with Billy Cobham, Gabrielle, Tom Jones, Carl Orr, Alex Wilson, Nathan Haynes, Marlene Shaw, Dave Valentin and Jack DeJohnette. Most recently he has been touring and recording with two of the world’s best known jazz crossover groups, Incognito and Us3.

Julian Crampton an avid Bass player for the last few years, and one of the finest bass players to come out of the United Kingdom. His CV includes recordings with Citrus Sun, Down to the Bone, Jakatta, M People, Maysa, Terry Callier and The Pasadenas. His finest work, though, is to be found with Incognito; the pioneering UK Jazz-Funk outfit.




Local Tuition for Bass Guitar

Finger Fret String
Jordan’s Courtyard, 8 Upper High Street, Thame, OX9 3ER
Tutor - Kevin Lucas
01844 217712 - Mobile 0783 436 3276
Kevin Lucas

Chiltern Music Services & Studio
Tuition, Sales, Service - email Alan Peppett, Walters Ash, nr High Wycombe, Bucks
 - for beginners or improvers 01494 562 048

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Last modified: 18/02/2012