For Once in My Life: James Jamerson’s Bass Line Visualized

Vulfpeck’s Jack Stratton sent us this cool video he made saying, “[James] Jamerson belongs with Bach, Debussy and Mozart, and that includes graphical scores on Youtube.”

We couldn’t agree more.

We dig this visual representation of one of Jamerson’s amazing bass lines – a bass line that is best described on the Wikipedia article about the original:

Wonder’s version of the track is often singled out by bassists as the greatest example of James Jamerson’s playing style, with no two bars of music played alike during the whole song; a completely improvisational line that is both melodic and complementary to Wonder’s vocal.

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Share your thoughts

  1. Why hasn’t Jack Stratton and ?uestlove collaborated on a funk tribute album together yet

  2. I want the app that does this! and, yeah… JAMERSON!

  3. A true Artist on Bass, Such an inspiration! Thanks for sharing.

  4. The Best Bass Player in the World!

  5. My biggest influence since 1964..and to think he only plucked with one finger..back and forth….aka “the hook”. Mr.Feel: Thank you! I paid homage to you last night when The BackUp Band played What’s Goin On.

  6. “[James] Jamerson belongs with Bach, Debussy and Mozart…”? That’s the way teenagers talk when trying to lend gravitas to a current passion.

    • Nick

      I can’t see any comments saying that. I would also say one of the most recorded musicians of all time deserves better then to be described as “current passion”. Also as a teacher, I would say teenagers deserve a little more respect too. They are capable of being far more profound than this comment implies

    • Lonster

      Donald, it appears that you are a Bass Player. As such I would wonder why such a condescending tone would be taken regarding one who has, without doubt, shown his genius to the musical world….the cats mentioned were, in their day, the HOT players who everyone aspired to and copied…..likewise, Jamerson….i suggest you cop some of his licks….or at least, TRY!!!

  7. wow! what a beatifull bass line!

  8. that is the “bomb”, really man it is the difference, excellent learning tool. should expand on it!

  9. What A GREAT BASS PLAYER/MUSICIAN. James Jamerson Rick, It’s 04:00 AM my time.
    Catch up later today.
    Love & Respect.
    J

  10. James Jamerson. AWESOME BASS PLAYER/ MUSICIAN. R.I.P. GOD BLESSED YOU. LOVE YOUR MUSICAL WORKS # 1.

  11. such a free soul..

  12. Wow! No two measures alike…AWESOME.

  13. DAMN!!! This is SO GOOD!!!!!!!!!

  14. Jamerson is Number 1 on my Mt. Rushmore of bassists along with Paul Jackson, Rocco Prestia, Jaco Pastorius and add Jeff Berlin in there too. They’re the players who helped me develop my style and find my voice when I started playing bass.

  15. Jamerson is number 1 on my Mt. Rushmore of bassists along with Paul Jackson, Rocco Prestia, Jaco Pastorius and let me add a fifth with Jeff Berlin. Those are the players who influenced my style most when I first started playing bass.

  16. Thanks For Posting, Love The Base Note Graphs And I Also Got Those kicks On The Base Drum.