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Stuart Clayton - September 2003

Stuart Clayton
Biography: I was born in 1976 in Barnstaple, England, where I still live. I began playing the bass when I was 13 after being inspired by a video of a Level 42 concert. Seeing Mark King slapping away at his bass and making such wonderful music was an inspiration both then and now. I self-taught myself for five years and made good progress technique-wise. I decided to pursue music seriously at that point and studied A Level Music which helped get my theory together. I went on from that to complete a three year Graduate Diploma in Popular Music at Leeds College of Music, which opened my eyes to lot of other styles and players. Following this, I went to work on cruise ships for a while, although the monotony of the gig almost drove me nuts! It was a rewarding experience in many ways however, and I certainly learned a great deal.

I had always been keen on transcribing other people's bass parts and had noticed a lack of Mark King transcription books available. So in 1997 I decided to write one myself. It took some doing but was well worth the effort. I decided to self-publish the book, which turned out to be a small scale success, and has led me to writing three more volumes. The latest, Level 42 - A Physical Presence, was released in August and is a complete transcription of the live album of the same name, which is essential listening for any bass player! My transcription work eventually caused me to cross paths with Adrian Ashton, who asked me to come on board as a member of the writing team for a new UK bass magazine, Bass Guitar Magazine. Bass Guitar Magazine has gone from strength to strength and is currently running as a bi-monthly publication. I contribute in the form of interviews and gear reviews as well as writing the monthly advanced techniques column. It's a job I enjoy very much, especially since it's led to me interviewing some great players like Mark King, Stanley Clarke, and Stu Hamm to name just a few. Through the magazine, I have also begun to work as a demonstrator at trade shows, both for Bass Guitar Magazine and for GB Guitars. It's a lot of fun and has enabled me to meet and jam with a lot of excellent players. Through my connection with the magazine, I was approached last year by Sanctuary Publishing to write a bass method book for them. I happily obliged and my first book, 100 Tips For Bass Guitar You Should Have Been Told, is now on sale. I have since followed it up with a second book, Crash Course for the Bass Guitar, which will be released towards the end of the year.

I am currently concentrating on writing, both for the magazine and for Sanctuary Publishing and am attempting to get a small home studio together to record demo tracks on. I have been working with Cubase for a few months now, which I have found to be a great tool for creating music.

Gigs: One of my main gigs is writing, and it's one that I fell into unintentionally. I have so far written and self-published four volumes of Mark King (of Level 42 fame) transcriptions which I sell through my website and the various Level 42 sites. I also write for Sanctuary Publishing and for Bass Guitar Magazine. Band wise, I consider myself a freelance bassist, although I have several bands that I am committed to. These include Zamba, a Reggae/Ska Caribbean band, which we bill as the "Ultimate Party Band." We make a good noise, and it's a lot of fun. We also go out and play functions under a different name, Beats Workin'. This evolved as a ploy to gig more often and therefore make more money, and it's been quite successful. I have to admit that I do enjoy playing chart material and am becoming particularly fond of Disco! I also play for a couple of jazz groups including The Amanda Jay Band in which we play female vocal led material which is a lot of fun. In addition to all this, I teach both privately and in correspondence form via my website.

Recordings: In the last year I have written two bass method books, 100 Tips For Bass Guitar You Should Have Been Told and Crash Course For Bass Guitar for Sanctuary Publishing. They are book and CD packages. I also record with my current bands: Zamba, Beat's Workin', and Disfunkshun. I am currently in the process of recording audio examples of all the material I have written for the Advanced Techniques column in Bass Guitar Magazine, which will soon be available for download on my website.

Gear: My main instrument is a GB Guitars 4-string Rumour bass, built by Bernie Goodfellow. I met Bernie at the 2001 Music Live show and was blown away by his basses, particularly when paired with EBS amplification. They are beautiful instruments and have the only LED controller available anywhere, which is fantastic, if a little ostentatious! This is my only bass because nothing else really comes close so it seemed pointless owning another instrument, although I have got my eye out for a nice Fender Jazz at the moment! Amplification-wise, I have tried most things and have ended up with EBS. I use a HD350 head with an Evolution Pro Line 2000 4x10 cabinet. The sound is great, particularly in combination with the GB.

Contact Information: You can visit me on the web at

Stuart Clayton
P.O. Box 182
North Devon
EX31 7WA
United Kingdom