James Jamerson - the dude that never changed his strings claimed it #$# up the tone..

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by TRIODEROB, Feb 9, 2010.

  1. TRIODEROB

    TRIODEROB Senior Member

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    there was this jazz bass player who never changed a string or took care of his bass.

    he said it messed up the tone:


    James Jamerson used La Bella heavy-gauge (.052-.110) flatwound strings that he never changed. He never took care of the instrument, and it is possible that the neck eventually warped, as many claimed it impossible to play. While this made it more difficult to fret, Jamerson believed it improved the quality of the tone. On occasion, Jamerson also tucked a piece of foam underneath the bridge cover to lightly dampen the strings' sustain. Early in the '70s, a producer attempted to modernize James Jamerson's sound by asking the bassist to switch to brighter-sounding roundwound bass strings. Jamerson politely declined.

    James Lee Jamerson (January 29, 1936 - August 2, 1983) was an American bassist. He was the uncredited bassist on most of Motown Records' hits in the 1960s and early 1970s (Motown did not list session musician credits on their releases until 1971), and he has become regarded as one of the most influential bass players in modern music history and the "father of modern bass guitar." He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2000.



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  2. Flyin' Brian

    Flyin' Brian Member

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    He played some iconic lines for sure.

    Duck Dunn is another guy who doesn't like to change strings.
     
  3. GuitarsFromMars

    GuitarsFromMars Member

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  4. shredtrash

    shredtrash Supporting Member

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    One of my favorites.


    I still like to change my strings every now and then though.
     
  5. HammyD

    HammyD Member

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  6. TwoTubMan

    TwoTubMan Member

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    I've had the same set of Dean Markley Ground-Wounds on my P-Bass since '78. Still going strong.
     
  7. BuddyGuit

    BuddyGuit Supporting Member

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    Joe Osborne wasn't a string changer either.
     
  8. Baxtercat

    Baxtercat Member

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    Yeah, I remember reading him say that in a '70s GP interview.
    [I've been reading this jargon that long? When am I going to grow up?]

    (my '64. Has a wide thin neck like an airplane wing)
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  9. mg550

    mg550 Supporting Member

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    A friend of mine has a '64 Fender Precision bass that his parents bought him brand new in '64. Still has the original strings on it!
     
  10. GA20T

    GA20T Member

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    I've never changed them on my bass. I'll give them a cleaning once in a while though...
     
  11. The Last Rebel

    The Last Rebel Member

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    I'm pretty sure Jamerson used LaBella flats, which I have heard of lasting for years. Really, any well made flatwound should last years.
     
  12. fretless

    fretless Silver Supporting Member

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    While I play guitar, I have been a bassist since 1984, and it's always been my number one instrument. I can say, without a doubt, that a good set of quality flats basically will last forever and in fact they do "sweeten" up given time. You could almost think of it as a solid top on an acoustic guitar, the way it ages and mellows.

    I've had the same set on my fretless Jazz bass for over 3 years now. Still going strong....
     
  13. Relayer

    Relayer Member

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    I had redRotosound nylon flats the entire 8 years I had my Rick 4001. Talk about anti-twang! The bass had a geat upright-like tone for trad jazz, back before all the trumpet-heads demanded an 'authentic' doghouse was 'the look', even if it sounded like...
    Ya want authentic. Fine. Let's all shoot up!
     
  14. The Golden Boy

    The Golden Boy Member

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    I used to change my strings as soon as that new string "zip" was gone- like a month or so. That was expensive. (especially considering that it takes 2 weeks for strings to break in.)

    These days I'm cheap- I've had the same strings on each of my basses for years. My main project these days is a band that is most suited to a more "thuddy" tone.

    Keep in mind Jamerson also had a really hard time finding work with that bass sound after "Rock The Boat."
     
  15. kimock

    kimock Member

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    Phil Chen also.

    From one of those "bass player" websites . . .


    Legendary producer George Martin achieved Chen’s sound simply with a DI and a miked Ampeg B-15. In perhaps the ultimate homage to the phrase “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” Chen’s P-Bass has been his one and only main axe for as long as he’s been playing, and it’s had the same La Bella .052–.110 strings on it for—wait for it—45 years. “It’s still sounding amazing and still going strong,” he proclaims.
    Those strings may or may not make it another 45 years, but Phil Chen’s work on Blow By Blow is guaranteed to last that long, and probably longer.
     
  16. Shiny McShine

    Shiny McShine Member

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    Roundwounds will pick up finger oil and lose some of the tones I like. So I used to just remove them and boil them with a drop of dish soap. They came out spotless and sounded like new. You can do this quite a few times before they get a little fatigued at the tuners.
     
  17. andycaster

    andycaster Member

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    His playing on Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On" is outstanding. Marvin Gaye later said that he should have given him more credit for his role in making the album the classic it is - possible even songwriting credits.
     
  18. R13D

    R13D Supporting Member

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    A good set of flatwounds seem to last forever and improve with age.I have a '57 Precision w/Fender Flats that have been on the bass over 40 years. I'm sure in Jamerson's case,he could play on twine and sound amazing. One of the best!:bow
     
  19. arthur rotfeld

    arthur rotfeld Member

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    Jamerson is a major influence on my bass playing. My flats haven't been changed in maybe ten years.


    Kinda remarkable, because I change strings religiously on guitars.
     
  20. BlindLUCK

    BlindLUCK Member

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    I'm not going to lie, I quickly glanced at the thread title and thought it said Jenna Jameson...*slowly backs out of thread*
     

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