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PBS: Jamerson Amp is Legit; Jamerson Jr.: Nope

Ampeg Amp said to be owned by James Jamerson

The legend continues.

Last week, we reported on the story that PBS’s History Detectives were investigating an amp believed to be owned by Motown legend James Jamerson, in an attempt to determine its authenticity.

Well, the folks behind the PBS show deemed the amp as legit (leaving room at the end that the evidence wasn’t conclusive). Jamerson’s son, James Jamerson, Jr. however, is quite convinced the amp didn’t belong to his late father.

During the show, Jamerson, Jr. told Eduardo Pagan, the host of the PBS show, that he thought there were too many knobs on the amp.

Two days after the PBS show aired, Jamerson, Jr. told the Detroit News that the on/off switch on the amp wasn’t right. He said the amp in question had turned on from the right, but that his dad’s turned on from the left.

Allan Slutsky, who wrote Jamerson’s biography Standing in the Shadows of Motown, told the paper that the evidence presented on the show was inconclusive, saying “It’s either a planned forgery, or a mystery. But it’s hard to argue with James Jr., who knew that amp intimately and played on it, or saw it in the house a gazillion times.”

Jamerson, Jr. said his father’s Ampeg B-15 was stolen from a storage facility in Los Angeles, along with the “Funk Machine,” – his father’s legendary Fender bass. Of course, the bass has never emerged.

“A little controversy is OK,” Jamerson, Jr. told the Detroit News. “But that’s not the amp.”