In Memoriam: Jim Stinnett

Jim Stinnett

It’s a sad day in the bass community. World-renowned bassist and educator Jim Stinnett has passed away after suffering a heart attack. The news was confirmed by his family via Facebook.

“Yesterday we said goodbye to Jim. His heart was not able to recover from the massive attack he had last Friday, in spite of all the efforts of the best medical experts in Boston. He had been sedated for quite a while, so his passing was not painful,” they wrote. “Some of Jim’s final words and wishes were to encourage and inspire us all to carry on and keep striving. So we wanted to share with you that his parting is not the closing of a door but the beginning of a new path. As we navigate next steps we appreciate your kind words and support. We will continue to use this page as a space for anyone to connect and share memories.”

Stinnett originally hails from the Northwest, where his music career flourished as a producer, writer, arranger, and – of course – bassist. He performed with a who’s who of jazz artists including Clark Terry, Ernestine Anderson, Phineas Newborn, Jr., Sam Rivers, and many more. He graduated from New England Conservatory of Music in 1986, and would eventually put down roots in New England.

He taught bass and arranging at Berklee College of Music for three decades, fostering many talented players as they honed their craft. Steve Bailey, who now heads the Berklee Bass Department, shared his thoughts on Facebook.

“Jim was a BIG part of my path, early on, pointing me in good musical directions, the importance of playing good time, and sticking to ones convictions…. always learning,” he wrote. “Jim taught bass the way that would get the MOST out of a hungry student. I know this from my experience as his student, and by watching him with countless others ,both at Berklee and at his Camps and Clinics. He will be missed by so many people, both those that he knew, and the countless that he has influenced. ”

Stinnett also published many education books for bass players: The Music Of Paul Chambers, Arcology, Creating Jazz Bass Lines, All Cows Eat Grass, Reading in Bass Clef, Slap Bass Workout, and 12 Keys to Success. In recent years, Stinnett had been building basses and continuing to teach online.

Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Jim Stinnett.

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  1. Eric

    Wow! So sorry to hear this. I have the Slap Bass Workout, & the 12 Keys to Success. Excellent books and he was a great teacher. My condolences goes out to his family and colleagues.

  2. Thank you Kevin! in shock about Jim and thankful for your thoughtful write up! Jim won the Lord of the Low End Bass Competition in 2019 and I was honored to hear him play there. He was so happy he won. He sounded amazing. My heart goes out to his family, the Berklee Bass department and the bass world at large.Thanks again

  3. Shmulik

    RIP jim stinnett

  4. Peter "Boom Boom" Beulke

    RIP Jim to have helped out so many bassists and to have published a bass book All Cows Eat Grass says it all Cheers PB

  5. Matt Springer

    I never met Jim, but was a great fan of his teaching and video lessons. Condolences to his family and friends and he will missed by so many. Thanks, Jim!

  6. Phillip

    I discovered Jim’s channel about 2 months ago and had been watching a few videos a week. He taught me so much in such a short time. Never seen a teacher with a kinder persona. And I work in education.

    Jim has helped thousands and thousands of us. Not just with bass or music, but with life. His disciplined, “hard work first” approach really resonated with me on many levels. And he always taught with a smile.

    I’m so thankful that he tirelessly created content. I mean, how many dozens of books has he written? And several hundred videos. Those will continue the instruct and inspire others for a long time.

    For one, I’m going on a Real Bass Lessons marathon, starting immediately.

    Sincerest condolences to his family and friends.

  7. Stu

    Jim was a passionate teacher and a great guy. I never studied directly under him but he would sub for other teachers while they were out, and sometimes he would just sit in on a class just for fun. His presence was a huge asset to the Berklee Bass Department and he will be remembered well for years to come. RIP Jim

  8. Brad Johnson

    At a loss for words. Jim was my instructor at Berklee 1998 &1999. I still reflect fondly on our 1 on 1 instruction and have passed many of his teachings onto students of my own. A great loss to the music community and my deepest condolences to all of his family and friends.

  9. Paul Traynor

    A sad loss to us all condolences to his family
    I loved Jim’s enthusiasm
    Paul from Liverpool UK

  10. Mark Karwan

    A bass friend here in Oregon just gave me the news that Jim had passed. Having attended two of his “bass workouts” in NH in the early 2000’s, he was a huge influence on me. He is probably the first person to really show me a comprehensive approach to practice and meaningful improvement on the bass. He was a fantastic teacher and a kind soul. My personal JS memorial ritual will be a reading of Song #5 from reading bass parts volume 3 (it just popped into my head when I heard the news). I suppose I should get out my Rob Allen fretless (I believe Jim’s introduction to RA basses occurred when I brought one to his camp). Love and Condolences to Jim’s family and friends.

  11. I like the article! I wanted to know more about Jim after following him on YT, and hearing of his passing. I’m wondering why the book references are not linked?

  12. John Sefner

    I just learned today that he died. I only discovered his videos a few months back. I was going to try to get a lesson from him next time I was out East. He seemed like such a great teacher and a nice guy. What a loss.

  13. So sad to hear of Jim’s passing. He was by far my favorite bass teacher online. His, “Go on. Get your bass out and play with me!” was so motivating to me. He was an amazing teacher and luckily for us bassists, a prolific creator of both written, video and audio content. Therefore, he will always be there for us. I’m going to stock up on a few more of his books, and of course, get my bass out and play along with him. My condolences to his family.

  14. Luis Miguel Cué Avalos

    I just found his videos last week, after looking for some bass free lessons.
    I am just starting on taking his classes and today, I decided to digg in a little more on who”s this guy I like so much and I read he is fucking gone…..
    What a pitty. He sure looks like a very nice man and a good teacher.
    I’ll try to honored the man by going deep into his teaching.
    Wish me luck
    My condolences to family, Friends & students

  15. Jake Crossland

    So sad to hear about Jim’s passing. He made learning fun with his wonderful smile and enthusiasm. He was so encouraging and made you feel like you were sitting in the room with him. After buying my Fender Player Precision in buttercream, it was so cool to see that he bought the exact same bass! It sort of validated my purchase. He was a good man, great player and wonderful teacher. I will miss him very much.

  16. When I was in Berklee, Jim was the one who taught me how to play Jazz. He was tough, he’d make you work. But if he believed that you could do it, then you could do it. I wouldn’t be the bass player or the person I am today without him.

  17. Basgor

    Will it be possible to buy and download his books?

  18. Philip Ramsey

    His enthusiasm for bass playing was infectious.His style of teaching gentle and encouraging. A great communicator and player who will be greatly missed.