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Carol Kaye, studio musician, writer, publisher and educator of famous bassists.  

Carol Kaye was born in Everett, Washington to musician parents, Clyde and Dot Smith, both professionals. She has played and taught guitar professionally since 1949, played bebop jazz guitar in dozens of nightclubs around Los Angeles with top groups (also in Bob Neal's jazz group with Jack Sheldon backing Lenny Bruce, with Teddy Edwards, Billy Higgins etc.), accidentally got into studio work late 1957 with the Sam Cooke recordings and other big recordings on guitar for the 1st 5 years of studio work in Hollywood.

In 1963 when a Fender bassist didn't show up for a record date at Capitol Records, she picked up the Fender bass (as it was called then) and augmented her busy schedule playing bass and grew quickly to be the no. 1 call with record companies, movie & TV film people, commericals (ads), and industrial films. She enjoyed working under the direction of Michel LeGrand, Quincy Jones, Elmer Bernstein, Lalo Schifrin, David Rose, David Grusin, Ernie Freeman, Hugo Montenegro, Leonard Rosenman, John Williams, Alfred & Lionel Newman, etc. as well as the numerous hits she recorded for hundreds of recording artists.

Beginning in 1969, she wrote her first of many bass tutoring books, "How To Play The Electric Bass" effectively changing the name of Fender Bass to Electric Bass and began teaching 100s of Electric Bass students, many of them now famous themselves.

Her tutors are endorsed by such notables as Professor Joel Leach, 10-year winner of the Pacific Jazz Festival Awards with his famous Cal-State Northridge Jazz Bands, and Plas Johnson, jazz/blues studio sax legend ("Pink Panther"). She stepped out to perform live with the Hampton Hawes Jazz Trio in the mid 70s, has given many seminars all over the USA, and is a leader in Electric Bass education.

My musician parents Clyde and Dot Smith, Charlie Christian, Duke Ellington, Howard Roberts, Artie Shaw, Sonny Stitt, Miles Davis, Horace Silver, Hampton Hawes, Ray Charles, Ralph Pena.

Brian Wilson: "Carol, you're the greatest d--- bass player in the world".

Merv Griffin: "I love Carol Kaye, she's the best."

Lou Rawls: "Carol played great on all my hits (60's) and she was cool."

Howard Roberts: "Carol, you're the greatest."

Jazz singer Joe Williams: "Carol Kaye, as black as she wants to be."

Benny Carter: "Carol, you were the best on Fender bass and a large part of our music business."

Milt Bernhardt, vip trombonist, Emcee of Big Band Academy: "Carol Kaye, I forgive you for putting the Fender Bass on the map."

Plas Johnson, #1 recording jazz saxman (Pink Panther): "I enjoyed 'Thumbs Up', everyone played well."

DR. JOHN (Mac Rabbenac): "Carol Kaye is a sweetheart and a kick-a--
guitar player as well as a kick-a-- bass player!"

Taj Mahal to Carol Kaye when both appeared at the 2000 EMC Music Museum in Seattle - "Carol Kaye, you are the BEST!"

Hollywood 1960s Motown Producer Hal Davis quote from "Bass Heroes" book: "Yes, Carol Kaye did do the Motown hits she claims."

And a special thanks to Peter Kaye for help with this page.

A note from Carol...

There were around 350 really great studio musicians who played together, created lines together (especially the rhythm sections), and had the right attitude to constantly work some round-the-clock hours almost every day of the year to help create and perform in the studios. My fellow studio musicians and I had no idea this music would live on so well, but it's awfully nice to be driving in the car and know:

"oh there's Earl's fine fills, there's Hal's great tomtoms, ah nice piano Larry, beautiful trumpet Ollie, good violins you all, great percussion Gene and Victor, perfect time Don" and on and on.

I was raised by musician-parents and just sort of grew up around music, we were poor, but when music was played, you had a sparkle in your life. And the sparkle is still there years later after all the recording we did, for when you turn on the radio, there are all my fellow musicians. I grew fond of so many, we were all in it together, pulling together for a hit, and loved to groove together. The looks, the feel of the music, the inside quick joke, it was a warm feeling.

The coffee and vending machines got a work out too as sometimes we had to eat out of cans (no time to eat), sleep on our 5-minute break on the floor (get 8 hours sleep a night, are you kidding?), run to the next date. People used to ask how you got in the studios, we'd all say: "learn how to grab a parking place, don't be late, and carry a pencil, don't be egotistical, oh and yes, know how to create, read music and play your --- off".

I almost feel embarrassed about all the credits but these tunes represent the work of *everybody*, not just me, not just the star, or the tune, but of mostly family-oriented musicians who were respected, in-demand, no-nonsense coffee-driven (yes) and there were some pretty funny moments too, plenty of one-liners at times. These are some of the musicians playing on your favorite past recordings, movies, TV shows:

Drums: Charley Blackwell, Earl Palmer, Sharky Ed Hall, Hal Blaine, Jesse Sailes, John Guerin, Paul Humphrey, Panama Francis, Shelly Manne, Alvin Stoller, Irv Cottler, Jim Keltner, Louis Bellson, Ed Thigpen, Jake Hanna, Ed Shaughnessey, Jeff Porcaro, Nick Ceroli, Harold Jones, Mel Lewis, Larry Bunker, James Gadson, Ed Greene, Ron Tutt, Jack Sperling, Frankie Capp, Jackie Mills, Harvey Mason, Sol Gubin, Cubby O'Brien, Jim Gordon, Dick Shanahan, Frank DeVito.

Percussion: Gene Estes, Gary Coleman, Emil Richards, Julius Wechter, Joe Porcaro, Lou Singer, Jerry Williams, Victor Feldman, Laudir, Milt Holland, Bobbye Hall, Jack Lord, Alan Estes, Kenny Watson, Jack Arnold, Frank Flynn, Tommy Vig, Dale Anderson, Jerry Steinholtz, Larry Bunker, Hal Rees, Jack Costanza, Dick Shanahan, Stan Levey, Laudir.

Guitar: Rene Hall, Howard Roberts, Bud Coleman, Tommy Tedesco, Barney Kessel, Tony Rizzi, Billy Strange, Glen Campbell, Allen Reuss, Bobby Gibbons, Bob Bain, Dennis Budimer, John Gray, Bill Pitman, Al Casey, Al Hendrikson, Irving Ashby, Mundell Lowe, Mike Anthony, Lou Morell, Al Viola, Ray Pohlman, Arthur Wright, Nick Bonney, Toots Thielemans, Don Peake, Charles Wright, James Burton, Dean Parks, Mitch Holder, Mike D'Asey, David Cohen, Jerry Cole, Charley Chiarenza, Neil LeVang, David T. Walker, Larry Carlton, John Collins, Jim Helms, Al Vescovo, Louie Shelton, Ralph Grasso, Don Lawrence.

Keyboards: Don Randi, Leon Russell, Mike Melvoin, Arnold Ross, Larry Knechtal, Ray Johnson, Joe Sample, Clare Fischer, Larry Muhoberac, Pete Jolly, Lincoln Mayorga, Jimmy Jones, Gerald Wiggins, Mike Rubini, Don Abney, Mike Lang, Roger Kellaway, Billy Preston, Artie Butler, Clark Gassman, Russ Freeman, Dave Grusin, Mac Rabbennec, Gene Garf, Al DeLory, Gene Page, JoAnn Grauer, Pearl Kaufman, Paul Beaver (1st sysnthesizer), Jimmy Rowles, Ian Underwood, Ralph Grierson.

Saxes: Plas Johnson, Bill Green, Steve Douglas, Jackie Kelso, Jim Horn, Jay Migliori, Gene Cipriano, Abe Most, Willie Schwartz, Marshall Royal, Bob Hardaway, John Klemmer, Bud Shank, Paul Horn, Tony Ortega, Buddy Collette, Ted Nash, Bob Cooper, Ronnie Lang, John Bambridge, Pete Crisleib, Tom Scott, John Lowe, Julie Jacobs, Babe Rustin, Dick Houlgate, Harry Klee, Bill Holman, Harold Batiste, Chuck Gentry, Justin Gordon, Benny Golson, Bill Hood, Jack Montrose, Ernie Watts, Jack Nimitz, Don Menza, Gary Foster, Rene Bloch, Jack Dumont.

Trumpets: Ollie Mitchell, Tony Terran, John Audino, Pete & Conte Candoli, Blue Mitchell, Jules Chaiken, Bud Brisbois, John Best, Harry "Sweets" Edison, Cat Anderson, Virgil Evans, Bobby Shew, Chuck Findley, Paul Hubonen, Cappy Lewis, Manny Klein, Don Rader, Roy Caton, Buddy Childers, Ray Triscari, Bobby Bryant, Don Ellis, Maurey Harris, Steve Hufstetter, Oscar Brashear, Uan Rasey, Snooky Young, Jay Daversa, Al Aarons, Lee Katzman, Freddy Hill, Bill Peterson, Conrad Gozzo, Al Porcino, Jack Dumont.

Trombones: Lew McCreary, Dick Nash, Milt Bernhart, Dick Noel, Bob Enevoldsen, Harry Betts, Billy Byers, Tommy Shepard, Gail Martin, Lloyd Ulyate, George Roberts, Bob Brookmeyer, George Bohanon, Gil Falco, Bobby Knight, Charlie Loper, Dick Gould, Vern Friely, Kenny Shroyer, Mike Barone, Grover Mitchell, Dick Hyde, Lou Blackburn, JJ Johnson, Dave Wells, Curt Berg, Frank Rossolino, Tommy Pederson, Dick Leith, Chris Riddle, Paul Tanner, Dick McQuary, Ernie Tack.

String Bass: Chuck Hamilton, Joe Comfort, Don Bagley, Adlophus Alsbrook, Al McKibbon, Chuck Berghofer, James Bond, Red Mitchell, Red Calender, Lyle Ritz, Buddy Clark, Cliff Hils, Ray Brown, Joe Mondragon, Ralph Pena, Steve LaFever, Monty Budwig, Irving Edelman, Chuck Domanico, Abe Luboff, Jim Hughart, Morty Corb, Gene Cerico, Bob Stone, Frank De La Rosa, Ray Durand, Bob West, Peter Mercurio, Mike Rubin, Ed Gilbert, Nat Gangursky, Abe Siegel, Sid Weiss, Jerry Scheff, Carson Smith, Rolly Bundock, Don Greif, Ray Neopolitan, Mel Pollan, Bob Berteaux, Max Bennett, Ray Siegel, Milt Kestenbaum, Arni Egilsson, John Kitzmiller.

Elec. Bass: Ray Pohlman (first No. 1 call studio bassist LA 1957-1964+, was musical conductor of "Shindig" TV Show), Arthur Wright, Rene Hall, Bob West, Larry Knechtel, Buddy Clark, Chuck Berghofer, Jim Hughart, Joe Osborn, Max Bennett, Steve LeFever, Jerry Scheff, Lyle Ritz.

Strings: John Vidor, Harry Bluestone, Lenny Malarsky, George Poole, Ed Lustgarten, Virginia Gill, Jimmy Getzoff, Eleanor Slatkin, Fred Katz, Ray Kramer, Tibor Zelig, Erno Neufelder, Fred Seykora, Bobby Bruce, Nate Kaproff, Jerry Reisler, Sid Sharpe, Al Saparoff, Anatol Kaminsky, Ray Kelley, Jerome Kessler, Ann Karam, Arnold Belnick, Marshall Sassoon, Jerry Vinci, Henry Lojewsky, Israel Baker, Bob Sushel, William Kurasch.

Harmonica: Tommy Morgan, Toots Thielemans.

French Horns: Vince De Rosa, Dick Perissi, Bill Hinshaw, David Duke, Willie Ruff, Dwight Carver.

Harpists: Catherine Gotthoffer, Dorothy Remsen, Stella Castellucci, Gayle Levant, Verlye Mills, Joy ______

Accordian: Carl Fortina, Pete Jolly, Frank Marocco, Dominic Frontiere, Jimmy Haskell.

Synthesizer: Paul Beaver.

Sousaphone & Tuba: John Kitzmiller

Studio Singers: Jackie Ward, B.J. (Betty Jane) Baker -singer-contractor, Gracia Nitzche, Bob Alcivar Singers, Billie Barnum, Susie Tallman, Gordon Mitchell, Gene Morford, Ian Smith, Ron Hickland singers, Randy Van Horne Singers (Vangie, B.J., Mary, Hugh, Bob Zwern, Sue, Allen), the Blossoms (Darlene Love, Fanita, Jean King), Johnny Mann Singers, Jack Halloran Singers, Jimmy Joyce Singers, John & Tom Bahler, Al Capps (Eligibles), George Tipton, Ian Freebairn-Smith, Brenda & Pat Holloway, Clydie King, Ray Pohlman, Loren Farber, Thurl Ravenscroft, Tom Bosley, Betty Burke, Barbara Caton, Clark Gassman, Don Robertson, Scott Page, Merrie Clayton, Sally Stevens, Larry Hooper, Peggy Schwartz, Gwen Johnson.

There are more than this list, but this gives you a picture of the musicianship, a real family of talented people, who made 1,000s of recordings of the late 50s, 60s, 70s, etc.

I want to THANK my personal Cartage Company, Modern Van, for the great daily amplifier deliveries to various studios I recorded at each day. They provided me with terrific accurate support. ll I had to do was run in the studio and tune-up - one of my amps was always there, all set up, and turned on, ready to go.

Thanks to: Ed Van Sloten (owner), Ron Trowbridge, Ray Metz, Bill Gibson, Donny Patterson, Pat Anthony Arvonis, Bob Coco, Larry & Ron. FYI, Bill & Donny later started Superior Musical, and another Modern Van part-timer named Ken started S.I.R.!

It was an experience to be recording while 60s assassinations, Viet Nam War, racial strife, and marches were going on in the outside world. Altho' we were sort of "isolated" we were all affected by such dramatic changes in the world, the music reflects that.

We knew the music was being appreciated, and that mattered very much, plus the music helped many a film and TV Show too in those dark cavern-like studios with the big screens with a constant click-track on in your earphones in sync with the film.

Many a chase scene had the excitement of a Quincy Jones score (lots of bass), or a bedroom scene with sentimental trombone solos of a great David Grusin score, soft pop-jazz or exciting music of Michel LeGrand, or the excitement of a car-truck duel ("Dual", Spielberg's 1st film, I was the "truck" sometimes, don't laugh, it paid well).

Who can forget the "Mission Impossible" and MASH music? "Airport", "Sweet Charity" & "Thomas Crown Affair" had their own great scores. And Bill Cosby would join in on tambourine for his TV show music. These are precious memories. The contractors would hired us (at the behest of the conductor, A&R man, arranger, or ?) and sometimes be a little strict (no talking etc.), so we'd get a quick relief at the water fountain on our "five", run for a minute to wake the blood up, call into the phone service which had lines in all the studios to take more record dates etc., it was frantic. Do I miss it? You bet I do, nothing like it, and we all miss each other too, they were the best!


Studios at which I've recorded over the years: Radio Recorders, Gold Star, Radio Recorders Annex & 10-H (R. R. 10-H was later known as TTG), United, Western, El Do (El Dorado), Capitol, Harmony House, Nashville-West, Westwood, H-R (Henry Russell), TTG, Audio Arts, Moonglow, Steiners (Formosa St.), Hollywood Sound, Heider's, Conway, World Pacific (later known as Liberty), RCA, International Sound, Neophone, Ted's Studio, Crown Records, CBS, Columbia, Del Fi, Hollywood Central, Sunset Sound, Rendezvous, Ryder Sound, Stereo Masters, Whitney Studios, RPM, Glenn-Glenn, Fox, Universal, MGM, Desilu, Columbia Studios, Paramount, Disney, Warner Bros., CBS Valley, CBS Fairfax, Emperor, American, Ultimate, Louis Jackson's, Bell Sound, McGregor's, Valentine's, LA Sound, Continental Sound, Stereo Fi, Goldwyn, RJ, Original Sound, Amigo, Venture, Record Plant, Hollywood Sound, Independent, Decca, Revolution Records in Toronto Can., Sound Factory, ID Sound, A&M, Sun-West, Studio Center, Dimension, Hollywood Video, Poppi, ABC-Dunhill, MGM-Fairfax, Abbey, Haji Sound, Devonshire, Cherokee, Sound Labs. Also some various studios in Nashville, San Francisco, NYC, Kansas City, Ojai, San Diego, Denver, Golden West, Vox, and Decca.


Some Engineers with whom I've worked:
Thorn Nogar, Lowell Frank, Artie Becker, Stan Ross, Larry Levine, Al Schmitt, Ami Hadani, Henry Lewy, Wally Heider, Pete Abbot, Lee Herschberg, Bones Howe, Leo Kulka, Walter Gest, John Krause, Chuck Britz, David Wickes, Armin Steiner, Dave Hassenger, Eddie Brackett, Dick Bogart, Rudy Hill, Hank Cicalo, Joe Polito, Hugh Davies, Buddy Brundo, Larry Brown, Wally Traugott, Val Garay, Humberto Gatica, Ed Green, Bruce Botnick, Don Blake, Bill Perkins, John Boyd, Lee DeCarlo, Angel Balestier, Bud Morris, Bob Doherty, Don Geis, Michael Braunstein, John Mills, Ian Eales, Joel Fein, Tim Boyle, Mickey Crawford, Jay Lewis, Murray McFadden, Joel Moss, Don Murray, John Neal, Jim Lockert, Joe Sidore, Guy Costa, John Boyd, Andy Richardson, Bowen David, Eirik Wangberg, Hugh Davies, Hildegard Hersch, Bryan Bruderlin, Jimmy Lockert.


Some Producers for whom I've worked: Bumps Blackwell, Herb Alpert, David Cavenaugh, Lester Sill, Bob Alcivar, Sonny Burke, David Axelwood, Al Hazan, Bodie Chandler, Cliffie Stone, Joe Hooven, Mike Lloyd, Stu Phillips, Jack Lee, Neely Plumb, Brian Wilson, Phil Spector, Tommy Allsup, Sonny Bono, Ike Turner, Scotty Turnbull (Turner), Lou Gottlieb, Jim Haskell, Al DeLory, Bill Justis, Rex Dennis, Murray Wilson, Randy Woods, Art Boduhn, Larry Gordon, Fred Smith, Lou Adler, Wilder Bros., Kelly Gordon, Rich Delvy, Bob Keene, Randy Woods, Joe Reisman, Milt Rogers, Nino Tempo, Barry Devorzan, Dick Glasser, Marty Cooper, Jerry Riopelle, Nick Venet, Fred Darien, Al Allen, Dick Pierce, Kim Farley, Kim Weston, Don Crawford, Hank Russell, Joe Leahy, Jimmy Bowen, Lou Adler, Rene Hall, Joe Saraceno, Lou Bedell, Lennie Waronker, Joe Green, Barry White, Ron Shanklin, Gary Ziegly, Dick Bock, Randy Newman, Bill Justis, Don Crawford, Maxwell Davis, Jan Berry, Lee Young, Marc Gordon, Hal Davis, Frank Wilson, Randy Sparks, Dick Burns, Green/Stone, Gary Lewis, Lee Hazelwood, Mike Curb, Dennis Lambert, Al Kooper, Dave Pell, Ben Johnston, Snuffy Garrett, Jerry Fuller, Chuck Sagle, Leon Russell, Frank Zappa, Charles Stern, Lou Raymond, Kip Tyler, Russ Titelman, Gary Usher, Geo. Garabedian, Don Crawford, Richard Perry, Morty Stevens, Eddie Beal, Jerry Long.....


Some Arrangers for whom I've worked: H.B. Barnum, Perry Botkin, George tipton, Jack Nitzschie, Ray Pohlman, Bob Alcivar, Gene Page, Don McGinnis, Pete King, Victor Mizzy, Lyn Murray, Quincy Jones, Billy Strange, Howard Roberts, Johnny Manne, Harold Batiste, Frank DeVol, Henry Mancini, Tom Scott, Lalo Schifrin, David Rose, Ernie Freeman, Art Freeman, Shorty Rogers, Oliver Nelson, Jerry Long, Gil Askey, Allan Copeland, Louie Jordan, Clare Fischer, Nelson Riddle, Michel LeGrand, Michel Columbier, Harry Sukman, Billy Goldenberg, Clark Gassman, Lincoln Mayorga, Don Ralke, Joe Green, Dee Marton, Billy May, Billy Byers, Jack Elliot, Don Ellis, Benny Golson, Sid Feller, Allan Copeland, Oliver Nelson, Tutti Camaratta, Ian Smith, Billy Vaughn, Jeff Barry, Lionel Newman, Alfred Newman, Mort Garson, Don Peake, Ray Conniff, Don Costa, Elmer Bernstein, Percy Faith, Artie Butler, Jack Hayes, John Bahler, Marty Paich, Jeff Alexander, Jack Eskew, Sy Mitchell, Lex Aznevous, Ralph Burns, Bob Prince, Al Sindray, Hugo Montenegro Tony Hatch, Johnny Mandel, Roger Kellaway, Nick DeCaro, Julius Wechter, J. J. Johnson, Jerry Goldsmith, Al Capps, David Gates, Mike Melvoin, Hank Levine, Arthur Wright, Bob Bain, Sid Feller, Rene Block, Benny Carter, Burt Bachrach, John Williams, Dave Grusin, Bob Florence, Fred Karlin, Fred Myrow, Bob Thompson, Monk Higgins, Gene McDaniels, Don Piestrup, Jerry Fielding, David Shire, Les Baxter, Mickey Whelan, David Blumberg, Leonard Rosenman, Harry Geller, dick Orsoff, Syd Ramin, Harley Hutcherson, Dallas Smith, Jack Dougherty, Jewel Grant, Jerry Steiner, Marshall Leib, Nester Leavante, Gene Norman, Geo. De Barrio, Gary Paxton.... Also some vip Music Copyists: Bill Hughes, Vern Yocum. Bob Ross, Roger Farris, Bob Bornstein, Dave Ward, Duayne Tatro, George Romanis, Richard Markowitz, John Eizade, Robert Mersey, Haygood Hardy, etc.


Contractors (who hired studio musicians, usually at the behest of the arrangers/producers) for whom I worked: George Poole, Ben Barrett, Marty Berman, Jack Gruberman, Mike Rubin, Hy Lesnick, Sid Sharpe, Mike Post, Al Lapin, Urban Theilman, Ed Cobb, Jules Chaiken, Bobby Helfer, Viola and Marion Klein, Roxy Roth, Jim Bond, Don Lenier, John Vidor, Nate Caproff, Lennie Malarsky, Bill Miller, Sandy DeCrescent, Lloyd Basham, Mike Rubini, Abe Segal, Kurt Wolf, Sol Gruberman, Charles Price, Herman Berardenelli, Phil Kahgen, Jack Schulman, ___Davidson, Charlie Price, Bernard Berardinelli....

CAROL'S GEAR: Ibanez SRX700 Bass, Thomastik-Infeld Jazz Flats strings, GK MB150S-iii Amp, Ibanez RG321 with Seymour Duncan Humbucker Jazz Pickup Alnico Pro II, with Thom. George Benson Elec. Jazz Guitar Flat strings etc., TI Benson Flats Strings for Jazz playing.

Bass used in 1960s studio work: Fender Precision w/Fender Flatwound Strings, always with a pick. Fender Concertone 4-10 amp, then in late 60s, Versatone amp.


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copyright 1998-2012 Carol Kaye.

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