Stuart Hamm Biography
Stuart 'Stu' Hamm (born February 8, 1960) is an American bass player, known for his session and live work with numerous artists as well for his virtuosic 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 High School, and was selected to the Illinois All-State Band. Following high school in Norwich, Vermont, 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.
Hamm has performed and recorded with Steve Vai, Frank Gambale, Joe Satriani and many other well-respected guitarists. It was playing live on tour with Satriani that brought Hamm's skills to national attention. 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.
Hamm's first solo album, Radio Free Albemuth, inspired by the Philip K. Dick novel of the same name, was released in 1988. 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 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.
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: the "Urge Bass" and the "Urge II Bass."
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 performace often includes a two-handed tapping arrangement of Vince Guaraldi's "Linus and Lucy" (from the animated television special, A Charlie Brown Christmas).
Hamm currently lives in San Francisco with his wife and daughter.