Doug Rauch

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Doug Rauch
Doug Rauch in the 1970's.jpg
Doug Rauch in the 1970s
Background information
Birth nameDouglass Haywood Rauch
Born(1950-09-14)September 14, 1950
New York City
DiedApril 23, 1979(1979-04-23) (aged 28)
San Francisco, California
GenresJazz, jazz fusion
InstrumentsBass guitar
Years active1969–1976

Douglass Haywood Rauch (September 14, 1950 – April 23, 1979) was an American bassist most famous for his work with Carlos Santana during his jazz fusion period in the early 1970s.[1][2][3][4]

Early years[edit]

Doug Rauch was born in New York, and attended Elisabeth Irwin High School, graduating in 1968. He was the son of notable opera singer Nadine Brewer of the Metropolitan Opera. Prior to joining Santana in the 1960s, he worked with several New York-based acts including Buzzy Linhart, Voices of East Harlem, and Bunky and Jake. He arranged to record as a guest on Bunky and Jake's 1969 record; L.A.M.F. The collaboration with Buzzy Linhart also resulted in an album: Music in 1971, opening the door for him to meet and record a track on Carly Simon's debut album the same year; Carly Simon.

Accepting an invitation from Santana drummer Michael Shrieve, Rauch moved to San Francisco in 1971 where he worked with the band Loading Zone which also featured future Santana bandmate Tom Coster. Rauch and Coster also worked briefly with guitarist Gábor Szabó during this period.


Rauch teamed up with Santana in 1972, replacing David Brown. He made his first appearance with the band in early 1972. Rauch shared a mutual admiration for the music of The Mahavishnu Orchestra with his new bandleader, and was an important element in shaping the more jazz/rock/fusion oriented sound of the new Santana band. He appears on the albums Caravanserai, Welcome, Love Devotion Surrender and Lotus. During the Santana years Rauch also played with the third edition of Tony Williams Lifetime (which also featured Japanese guitarist Ryo Kawasaki), David Bowie, Lenny White, Billy Cobham, the George Duke Band, and Jan Hammer.


Doug Rauch played his last show with Santana on New Year's Eve 1973–1974. He was replaced by returning original bassist David Brown. Later that year Rauch teamed up with David Bowie for his Diamond Dogs tour for a month in September 1974.[2][5] He also did studio session-work for Japanese singer and guitarist Shigeru Suzuki's album Band Wagon. In July–August 1975 Rauch performed, wrote for and recorded with Lenny White on his solo release fusion jazz classic "Venusian Summer". The same year Rauch joined the Cobham & Duke Band. However, this collaboration was short-lived due to Rauch's increasing substance abuse problems. His later collaboration with the Jan Hammer Band was also short-lived and he was replaced by Fernando Saunders in late 1975.

Technique and style[edit]

One of the key elements of Doug's playing style was his unique and pioneering use of his thumb in a downward and upward motion. This technique is now commonly referred to as "double thumbing" and used by several high-profile bass players, most notably Marcus Miller, Victor Wooten and Stanley Clarke. One of the earliest recorded examples of Doug Rauch using this approach is the song "Attitude" on the Giants album (released in 1978, but recorded in 1971). The song "Look Up (To See What's Coming Down)" from Santana's 1972 album Caravanserai is also a good early example. Although Rauch used a good amount of conventional two-finger right-hand technique during his Santana years, he used double thumb style more or less exclusively later on, notably with the Lenny White and the Billy Cobham / George Duke bands.


In the 1960s and for some of his work with Santana, Doug can be seen using two stock pre-CBS[citation needed] era Fender Precision Basses with pearloid block inlays in the neck (a.k.a. "block neck"). One was colored sunburst, and the other white.

However, the main bass Doug used for the majority of his career was a heavily modified pre-CBS[citation needed] era Fender Jazz Bass. The instrument was one of only a handful custom modified by various technicians in the early 1970s. It contained 3 passive pickups instead of usual two as seen on a stock Fender Jazz Bass. The 3 pickups were a Gibson EB0 neck humbucking pickup (a.k.a. "mudbucker") in the neck position, a stock Fender Precision Bass humbucker in the middle position, and a stock Fender Jazz Bass single coil bridge pickup in the bridge position. A non-original knob and two white switches were also installed above the jack plate. Around 1974-1975 Doug was seen with blue lights installed in the neck. It is unknown if the lights were a modification to the original instrument, or in fact a new instrument altogether.

Another key element of his sound was his frequent use of a phase-shifter effect.

Later in his career, Doug Rauch was one of the first bass players to use a tube power amp made by McIntosh for live gigs. Notably, Jerry Garcia and Phil Lesh of the Grateful Dead also San Francisco based musicians used Mcintosh power amps for their live shows around the same time.


Doug Rauch died of a heroin overdose April 23, 1979 in San Francisco, at the age of 28.


  • 1969: Bunky & Jake: "L.A.M.F."
  • 1970: Buzzy Linhart: "Music" (later re-released as "Buzzy Linhart is Music")
  • 1971: Carly Simon: "Carly Simon"
  • 1971: Papa John Creach: "Papa John Creach"
  • 1971: Giants': "Giants"' (recorded 1971, released 1978)
  • 1972: Santana: "Caravanserai"
  • 1973: Betty Davis: "Betty Davis"
  • 1973: Bola Sete: "Goin' To Rio"
  • 1973: John McLaughlin & Carlos Santana: "Love, Devotion, & Surrender"
  • 1973: Santana: "Welcome"
  • 1974: Santana: "Lotus"
  • 1974: Jose Chepito Areas: "Jose Chepito Areas"
  • 1974: David Bowie: "Cracked Actor" (recorded 1974, released 2017)
  • 1975: Shigeru Suzuki: "Bandwagon"
  • 1975: Cobham/Duke Band: "Live at the Electric Ballroom" (Dallas TX NYE 1975 live recording)
  • 1976: Lenny White: "Venusian Summer"
  • 1976: Billy Cobham: "Life & Times"
  • 1976: Ike White: "Changin' Times" (recorded in Tehachapi State Prison CA)


  1. ^ Fong-Torres, Ben; Fong-Torres, Ben (1972-12-07). "The Resurrection of Santana". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2022-01-22.
  2. ^ a b "Doug Rauch | Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2022-01-22.
  3. ^ Wain, Phil (2010-04-09). "What Doug Did: A Retrospective on Doug Rauch". No Treble. Retrieved 2022-01-22.
  4. ^ "Auburn Plainsman, Mar 29, 1973, p. 35 | NewspaperArchive®". 1973-03-29. Retrieved 2022-01-22.
  5. ^ "Yuma Sun Newspaper Archives, Oct 11, 1974, p. 42". 1974-10-11. Retrieved 2022-01-22.