Jump to content
Please note: You can easily log in to MPN using your Facebook account!

A Bass Hero ... JIM ROBERTS


Recommended Posts

Hi Lowdowners,


I don't post much around here (more of a listener than a talker anyway) but I was thinking about this and really wanted to share.


For me and other bassists in my city/scene, we originally read a ton of Bass Player magazine stuff, especially when it was just getting started. I think it helped shape our perception of what bassists are and helped develop a sense of community. We had our own magazine and could throw away all those fluffy guitar mags with flavour of the month artists.


At the heart of that mag was Jim-freakin-Roberts, the original editor. Now, I've never heard the man play bass but I certainly feel his writing and contributions as editor influenced my playing and musical philosophy. In fact, I'd wager the man has had a huge impact on bass players everywhere, even if it isn't immediately visible.


I feel like we all pay our respects to the players who've helped shape us. Everyone has their Flea, Steve Harris, Scott LeFaro, Family Man Barrett, etc. But it's time to acknowledge the people whose insight and passion are just as much of an inspiration.


So here's to Jim. One of my heroes. :thu: Thank you for everything you have given us bassists (and that's a lot).


Jim Roberts interviews Charlie Haden

Jim\'s book... "How the Fender Bass Changed the World"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 7
  • Created
  • Last Reply

I couldn't agree MORE! I've actually been thinking a lot about this very issue over the summer and have been close on several occastions to posting these very comments. Jim Roberts was, in my opinion, instrumental in helping to frame how we view the bass and the players who play the instrument and has helped shape the identity and expansion of the bass guitar over the last 20 years.


The early product reviews in BP (much like those in Guitar Player around the same time) were REAL reviews. Reviews that were lengthy, comprehensive, educational, informative, and helpful. They were written with humor, but were also written with an understanding that the reader was intelligent and intersted enough to demand more from a product review than was previously available.


I'm sad to say that the product reviews in BP are virtually worthless, no real attempt is made to educate the reader, and the selection of products reviewed is almost TOO broad. On top of that, the articles, while interesting every once in a while, just don't seem to be written with the same passion and interest as they once were. I have to sound like a "remember the good ole days" BP reader, but that's the feeling I've had toward the magazine over the last several years...complete disinterest. I belive that one of the major reasons why the quality level of instruments today is so high (for both U.S. made and foreign assembled basses) is because the early BP product reveiws were so critical and honest. If you didn't have your game together, the guys at BP didn't pull any punches and they didn't sugar-coat things. THOSE were useful and informative articles!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, I have to chime in about Jim. I think Jim is one of those people that embodies the soul of the bass. He's done a lot for the instrument and our perception of what it is. He gave me my start in the business of bass writing, and I'm forever grateful for that. He'll be at BP Live next month, we'll be at the Backbeat Books booth with Chris Jisi doing a little meet/greet/signing. Come on down and tell him in person!
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I came late to the magazine - when Jim had stepped down as editor. I loved both the content and attitude of his back pages on interesting bass makers. I see the legacy of his work, and the type of people he worked with and encouraged. The preface of his American Basses hints at what he went through to get things started, and we're all the better for his work.


I very much enjoyed American Basses. I corresponded with Jim about a few points in the book, and he is knowledgable and willing to help.


I'm looking forward to meeting him in October!!




Acoustic Color


Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars and keep your feet on the ground. - Theodore Roosevelt

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wholeheartedly agree.

I bought bassplayer for over ten years and loved everything about it, especially the honest gear reviews. (not saying they are dishonest now.)


I stopped buying it because of a couple of reasons, it's often difficult to find and I can read a lot of great interviews on the net, without paying for stories on musicians I don't care for.


Who else could we add to this list. People who have progressed the world of bass in other ways than playing...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi there Lowdowners,


My friend (and the guy who hired me here at Bass Player in the first place) Jim Roberts asked me to post this on the forum for you all:


Many thanks to my fellow bassists for all of their kind comments. Helping to launch BP was one of the great experiences of my life, and I'll always treasure my time there. Getting to know so many bass players, from world-famous ones to just regular guys, from veterans I greatly admired like Jack Bruce and Charlie Haden to young kids just starting out, was incredible. I frequently found myself saying, "I can't believe I've got this job."


In retrospect, I don't think that everything I did was on target, but one of my most important goals was trying to build a sense of community among bass players, and I'm glad that seems to have been successful. It really is, as Milt Hinton said, a brotherhood. For those of you who wish BP was like it was in the "good old days" or who have stopped reading it recently, I encourage you to look at the magazine again, with fresh eyes. It's changed because the world as changed and music has changed -- but it's still THE essential resource for bass players everywhere. I don't even get to play much anymore, but I still read every issue so I can stay connected, is some small way, with all of my fellow bassists.


Unfortunately, I won't be able to attend Bass Player Live in New York City, but I look forward to attending other BP events in the future. Hope to see you when I do.


May you always be in the groove . . . Jim Roberts



Best wishes,

Greg Olwell

Assistant Editor

Bass Player

Best Wishes,

Greg Olwell

Managing Editor

Bass Player magazine

1111 Bayhill Dr., Suite 125

San Bruno, CA 94066


650-238-0261 Fax


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow!! Thanks so much Greg for posting that.


And my biggest thanks to Mr. Roberts for actually responding. It means a great deal. :wave:


In response to the comments on BP, I don't think the changes have been that bad. I stopped reading a few years ago but not because of any perceived changes to the mag. I simply found the more experienced I became as a bassist, the more individual my tastes and opinions. I outgrew my curiosity about whatever the pros were doing or what the latest gear was.


I have a younger brother getting started in music though. He picks up BP occasionally and he sees it as brilliant resource. To him, it's brimming with brand new information.


So I really think it's a matter of perspective. If I was beginning now, I think I would see Bass Player in the same light I did eight years ago.



Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...