Learn from the Best – Louis Johnson

Study the Best – Learn from the Best – Louis Johnson

Louis Johnson Best Bass Player
Image Credit – Wikipedia

Improve your bass playing by learning from the best. Part of learning to play bass should include listening to and watching other great bassists. Try to incorporate their techniques, skills, styles, and sounds in to your own playing. In this Learn from the Best series we highlight Louis Johnson – undeniably one of the greatest bass players of all time.

If you are interested in taking online bass lessons we also highly recommend JamPlay Bass Lessons. Bass Player Center provided a review of their site and services - click here to check it out!

Louis Johnson – Career Highlights

Learn from Louis Johnson – Skills, Methods, Techniques and Innovations

When it came to funky thumping, popping, and slapping – Louis Johnson ruled! Along with Larry Graham, Johnson is considered to be the originator of this funky, slap-style of playing. Appropriately nicknamed “Thunder Thumbs” he used his bass as a percussive instrument, while also emphasizing notes and tones with uncanny placement and timing.

Pay attention to Johnson’s innovative right hand technique. He used both his thumb and all other fingers to slap and pop the strings. When popping he would often pull more than one string at a time. Using his custom MusicMan Stingray – designed by Leo Fender himself – he was able to produce a distinctive funky, punching sound.

Johnson used his left hand equally to produce percussive basslines. He muted strings to play rhythmic dead notes, while also using his left hand for chokes, hammer-ons and pull-offs. Gifted with long fingers, Johnson could use his left thumb to fret the E string up and down the neck. This allowed him to use the E string as an anchor for his thumb thumps, while also playing triplet, octave-root-octave patterns – all over the fretboard.

Johnson was able to reach unparalleled levels of success both as a studio musician and as a superstar bassists for chart-topping artists and bands. His influence can be found throughout multiple genres of music including funk, R&B, jazz, hip-hop (rap), and Rock-N-Roll. Accomplished bassists such as Victor Bailey, Nathan East, Bootsy Collins, and Flea all give nods to Louis Johnson as one the greatest bassists ever who had a profound influence on their playing.

Impactful Quote

“When I play, I become the bass. I’m no longer Louis Johnson, I am the bass – so the bass is in trouble!”

Louis Johnson Videos – Incredible!

Louis Johnson Instructional DVD for Bass

Louis “Thunder Thumbs”Johnson Solo – Live in LA August 22, 1981

Louis Johnson Bass Solos Mix 1970’s and 1980’s

If you are interested in taking online bass lessons we also highly recommend JamPlay Bass Lessons. Bass Player Center provided a review of their site and services - click here to check it out!

Michael Jackson – Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough Live 1979 – Louis Johnson on Bass

Louis Johnson best bass players of all time!

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