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Stuart Hamm

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Stuart Hamm
Hamm performing with the Carl Verheyen Band at Paradox in Tilburg (November 16, 2013)
Hamm performing with the Carl Verheyen Band at Paradox in Tilburg (November 16, 2013)
Background information
Born (1960-02-08) February 8, 1960 (age 64)
New Orleans, Louisiana, US
Years active1984–present

Stuart Hamm (born February 8, 1960) is an American bass guitar player,[1][2] known for his session and live work with numerous artists as well as for his unconventional playing style and solo recordings.


Born in New Orleans, Hamm spent his childhood and youth in Champaign, Illinois, where he studied bass and piano, played in the stage band at Champaign Central High School, and was selected to the Illinois All-State Band. Hamm graduated from Hanover High in Hanover, New Hampshire in 1978, while living in Norwich, Vermont. Following high school, he attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he met guitarist Steve Vai and, through him, met Joe Satriani. Hamm played bass on Vai's debut solo album, Flex-Able, which was released in 1984.[3]

Hamm has performed and recorded with Steve Vai, Frank Gambale, Joe Satriani and many other well-respected guitarists.[4] It was his playing live on tour with Satriani that brought Hamm's skills to national attention.[4] Subsequent recordings with Satriani and other rock/fusion artists, along with the release of his own solo recordings, solidified his reputation as a bassist and performer.[4]


Hamm's first solo album, Radio Free Albemuth, inspired by the Philip K. Dick novel of the same name, was released in 1988.[4] On it, Hamm demonstrated his abilities on a number of original compositions spanning a variety of genres including fusion, country, and classical. On solo pieces like "Country Music (A Night in Hell)," he demonstrates his slapping and two-handed tapping proficiency as well as the ability to make the bass imitate the sounds of a wide range of instruments; the piece has since become a popular live piece. On the same album, he performs an arrangement of Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata".[4]

Early in his career, Hamm was associated with Philip Kubicki's Factor basses. Later, Fender musical instruments produced two signature model electric basses designed and endorsed by Hamm himself, the first artist model bass ever made by Fender: the "Urge Bass" and the "Urge II Bass" upgrade with a D-Drop Tuner. Features include a sleek alder body, a graphite reinforced maple neck with a 2-octave rosewood fingerboard, a pair of dual-coil Ceramic Noiseless Jazz Bass single-coils (neck/bridge), a custom-wound split-coil Precision Bass humbucking pickup (middle) and a 3-band active EQ with 18V power supply. These basses were discontinued in 2010. Hamm then had his own Washburn signature models since 2011, the AB40SH acoustic bass and the Hammer, featuring EMG pickups, Hipshot bridge/tuners and a 3-band active EQ - followed by a fretless version (SHBH3FLTSS) and the Stuart Hamm Electric Bass series, introduced on January 20, 2012. In 2014, he moved to Warwick basses and started work on a signature model based on his Washburn with the Warwick Streamer model shape.[5]

Hamm's slapping, popping and two-handed tapping techniques are demonstrated on his solo recordings, as well as in his instructional videos, Slap, Pop & Tap For The Bass and Deeper Inside the Bass. A popular part of his live performance often includes a two-handed tapping arrangement of Vince Guaraldi's "Linus and Lucy" (from the animated television special A Charlie Brown Christmas).

Since March 2011, Hamm has performed with "The Deadlies," houseband for KOFY-TV's Creepy KOFY Movie Time.

In July 2011, Hamm accepted the position of Director of Bass Programs at Musician's Institute in Hollywood, California. For the past two decades, Hamm has also toured as one of the world's premier bass clinicians.[6][7][8]


Solo albums[edit]

With Frank Gambale[edit]

With Frank Gambale and Steve Smith[edit]

With Joe Satriani[edit]

With Joe Satriani, Eric Johnson, and Steve Vai[edit]

With Steve Vai[edit]

With other artists[edit]

Instructional videos[edit]


  1. ^ J. W. Black; Albert Molinaro (2001). The Fender bass: an illustrated history. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 109. ISBN 978-0-634-02640-9. Retrieved 11 January 2011.
  2. ^ Steve Hall; Ron Manus (1992). Scales & Modes for Bass: Handy Guide. Alfred Music Publishing. p. 12. ISBN 978-0-88284-546-3. Retrieved 11 January 2011.
  3. ^ "Stu Hamm". NAMM.org. Retrieved 2021-07-30.
  4. ^ a b c d e Colin Larkin, ed. (1999). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Heavy Rock (First ed.). Virgin Books. p. 200. ISBN 0-7535-0257-7.
  5. ^ Jordan, Waylon (May 20, 2014). "Behold! Be Among the First In the World to Glimpse the New 'Stu Hamm' Signature Bass". KEKB. Retrieved February 7, 2015.
  6. ^ "Stuart Hamm". Gitarre & Bass Magazine. Archived from the original on December 4, 2013. Retrieved November 27, 2013.
  7. ^ Falkowski, Jens (September 20, 2013). "Bass Camp". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved February 7, 2015.
  8. ^ Herrera, Jonathan (September 30, 2013). "Warwick Bass Camp 2013: The Best of the Bass". Premier Guitar. Retrieved December 4, 2014.
  9. ^ "Bass Guitar Lessons - Bass Basics - Stu Hamm". Truefire.com. Retrieved 2011-07-09.
  10. ^ "Bass Guitar Lessons - Fretboard Fitness - Stu Hamm". Truefire.com. Retrieved 2011-07-09.

External links[edit]