Carol Kaye, The First Lady of Bass Guitar

(via Culture Sonar) by John Montagna

The Fender “Precision Bass” Guitar first appeared in 1951, and within a few short years the bass guitar created a seismic shift in popular music thanks to a number of forward-thinking musicians. Chief among these bold explorers is female bass player Carol Kaye, born in Everett, Washington in 1935.

Initially, on the fast track to success as a jazz guitarist in Los Angeles, Kaye was thrust into the lucrative Hollywood studio scene at a 1957 recording session with Sam Cooke. One morning at Capitol Studios the bassist didn’t show up, and Kaye spontaneously picked up a “Fender bass” and took over. Plectrum in hand, she immediately seized upon the creative potential of the instrument and became an indispensable member of the now-famous “Wrecking Crew” collective of session musicians. The Crew defined the sound of American popular music in the 1960s, but Kaye’s musicality, creativity, and distinctive tone (the result of flatwound strings and a pick) helped redefine the bass guitar’s role in the rhythm section. Some might not know Carol Kaye’s name, but if they’ve ever been near a radio (or a TV set) you’ve heard her bass playing. Here is some of her signature work.

Read more:

https://www.culturesonar.com/carol-kaye-first-lady-bass-guitar/

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