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Simple Man Bass Lessons

1) STAND BY ME. A nice simple line to start with that repeats throughout the song.

2) MY GIRL. The first (of many) Jamerson lines. A simple line with a memorable hook underpinning the soulful sound of the Temptations.

3) DOCK OF THE BAY. The song that (posthumously) made Otis Redding an international superstar. Legend has it that the whistled outro was an adlib because Otis forgot the words. A simple Duck Dunn bassline.

4) I SAY A LITTLE PRAYER. The Groovemaster himself – Mr Jerry Jemmott – underpins this Aretha Franklin tune.

5) MUSTANG SALLY. Duck Dunn again – this Wilson Pickett song is a staple in the repertoire of cover bands. Most players reference the version played by The Commitments – but the Wicked Pickett’s version is superior!

6) IN THE MIDNIGHT HOUR. Another cover band staple, another simple yet effective Duck Dunn line.

7) SATISFACTION. The only song in both the Rock and Soul 50 Song list – this version is Otis Redding’s and features – yeah, you guessed it – Duck Dunn again.

8) TIME IS TIGHT. I love Duck’s work with Booker T – Time is Tight is a great tune with a great unison line.

9) I HEARD IT THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE. Jamerson’s line on the Marvin Gaye classic. Another must know song from most cover band’s repertoire.

10) SAME OLD SONG. This Four Tops classic has a typical mid sixties soul style bass line (see also I CAN’T HELP MYSELF and CAN’T TURN YOU LOOSE below for similar), at a faster tempo than some of the earlier tunes. The challenge is to keep the picking hand technique even and consistent.

11) KNOCK ON WOOD. Another Duck Dunn tune – he truly had mastered the greasy soul 8th note feel of the period. This tune features a bit more syncopation and some higher register notes.

12) YOU CAN’T HURRY LOVE. A memorable Jamerson line. Here’s a challenge – try playing the song with a totally different bass part, different notes, different rhythms. That exercise will go a long way to teaching you about Jamerson’s genius – the bass line MAKES the song!

13) I CAN’T HELP MYSELF . See 10 above – more of the same!

14) LOST IN MUSIC. We fast forward to the late 70s for this Bernard Edwards classic – it’s deceptively simple note wise but it’s all about note length and the groove.

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