Stu Hamm – a Living Legend

It was the era of teased hair and spandex, drum machines and shoulder pads. Progressive rock and jazz fusion had gone deep underground. But with the emergence of “shred” guitarists, advanced technique came back into the rock and roll fold and a whole new generation of ambitious players emerged. Playing with the likes of Steve Vai and Joe Satriani, bass virtuoso Stu Hamm quickly became one of the most admired and imitated of this new progressive wave.

Stu’s use of techniques such as finger-tapping, harmonics and arpeggiated chords belong more to the world of six-string guitar than that of the bass. He brought the art of string “slapping”, previously utilized mostly in funk music, to a whole new level.

Stu Hamm Solo Albums

His solo albums are impressive in their stylistic sprawl, from the epic progressive rock of Kings of Sleep (1989) to the song-driven The Urge (1991); every Stu Hamm album is a departure from the expected. Stu’s solo pieces are legendary, particularly his cover of Vince Guaraldi’s “Peanuts” theme and his original “Country Music : A Night In Hell”, taking the bass guitar into genres not usually associated with the instrument. As an accompanist he can be heard adding his arsenal techniques to guitar luminaries like Ritchie Kotzen and Frank Gambale.

Stu has played a wide variety of bass guitars. He was the first bass player to have a signature Fender bass guitar, Fender Urge II Bass Stu Hamm, and he still plays Fender basses live and in the studio. Stu has also played Washburn basses. He has had several basses built for him, including a B.C. Rich 8-string. When Stu endorses an instrument he gets involved in every aspect of design; he has an aversion to treble and a love for solid-state electronics. He’s currently favoring a Stu Hamm Signature Model Warwick bass.

Stu Hamm has definitely taken his place among the greatest bass players of all time.

Stu Hamm Recommended Listening:


Stu Hamm – Kings of Sleep


Stu Hamm – Outbound



Stu Hamm as an Accompanist:


Joe Satriani Live in San Francisco


Steve Vai – Passion and Warfare

About the Author

Vincent Asaro


Vincent Asaro is a freelance writer and musician living in the Pocono Mountains Pennsylvania. His books Carrot Field and Something In the Dark are available through He's also Batman.