BASSISTS
STUART H A M M
I
"SOMETIMES
I THINK A
GOOD BASS
PLAYER IS
E
THE ENTIRE
SONG SOUND
AMAZING
WITHOUT
YOU REALLY
NOTICING
THEM"
up correctly, and I have the right Hartke head and
cabinet, and the strings are broken in enough, then
there have been times in my life when I've played
well and I've been able to coax something new out of
the music”
Asked if he feels that he is improving as a bass
player, Hamm tells us: “I'm definitely getting better
in every way. Maybe I've slowed down a little bit, but
compositionally I'm really pleased with the way I'm
going. I'm playing upright bass now for the first time,
for example. People ask me 'Who's your favourite
bass player?' and I say 'Me!' because if I didn't like the
way it sounded when I played bass, I'd play it some
other way. I'm not trying to be egotistical! There's
no competition among bass players: we're a band of
brothers. As you get older, taste kicks in a little bit and
you don't feel the need to show off any more.
“Sometimes I think a good bass player is invisible
and they make the entire song sound amazing without
you really noticing them. Versatility is important:
there's work for bass players who show up on time
and can play with their fingers and a pick, and they
play upright and sing and so on. I'm always happy to
hear from ex-students of mine who are working on
cruise ships and so on, because they're working, and
work is good.”
Asked for some final words of wisdom, Hamm
explains: “It's great to see in the UK that there is an
environment where bass players can get work by
reading music. When I do clinics here I'm able to bring
students up and they can play from charts. But the
power of music is what's important: to me, the point is
to create music with other people, and if you can make
people dance by playing a simple bass-line in 'Poker
Face' by Lady Gaga, that's just as important as nailing
all the changes in John Coltrane's 'Giant Steps'.”
The Book Of Lies
is out now. Info: www.stuarthamm.net.
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