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Bassist Stuart Hamm made a name for himself largely due to his work in the 80s, when he accompanied two of hard rock's leading guitarists, Joe Satriani and Steve Vai. Born in 1960 and raised in Indiana, Hamm was born into an extremely musically gifted family (his father is a musicologist and has penned music textbooks, his mother was an opera singer/teacher, and his brother taught Classical Northern Indian Music). After relocating to Virginia as a teenager, Hamm picked up the bass, and began studying the complex stylings of such fusion bands as Return to Forever and the Mahavishnu Orchestra (as well as prog rockers like Yes), and playing in his school jazz band. When he was 18, Hamm enrolled in Boston's famous Berklee College of Music, during which time he was surrounded by an impressive list of soon-to-be renowned musicians (Vai, Steve Smith, Randy Coven, Victor Bailey, Jeff Berlin, etc.). Hamm and Vai formed a strong bond, which would result in the bassist following Vai (who by this time was playing with Frank Zappa, and later, David Lee Roth) out to California during the early 80s, where he supplied bass on Vai's solo debut, Flex-Able.
It was through this association that Hamm would meet Joe Satriani, Vai's old friend/guitar teacher. Satriani's profile soared due to such landmark all-instrumental albums as 1986's Not of This Earth and 1987's Surfing with the Alien; Hamm signed on as Satriani's guitarist, and also played on such subsequent releases as 1988's Dreaming #11 and 1989's Flying in a Blue Dream. It was during this period that Hamm's bass talents began to be recognized by guitar publications worldwide, and even resulted in a trio of technically accomplished, yet commercially ignored, solo releases, 1988's Radio Free Albemuth, 1989's Kings of Sleep, and 1991's The Urge (Hamm also reunited with his old pal Vai, for another landmark guitar release, 1990's Passion and Warfare). Like most guitar heroes during this period, a certain instrument brand became associated with Hamm, the futuristic-looking Kubicki X Factor.
Despite all the success and accolades, it appeared as though Hamm had fallen off the face of the earth for a stretch during the 90s, but he returned in full force later in the decade, as he founded a chops-heavy trio, GHS (comprised of guitarist Frank Gambale, Hamm, and drummer Steve Smith), and issued the albums Show Me What You Can Do (1998), Light Beyond (2000), and GHS 3 (2002). Hamm also found the time to issue his first solo release in nine years, 2000's Outbound, and tour/record once more alongside Satriani (1997's G3: Live in Concert, 1998's Crystal Planet, and 2001's Live in San Francisco). Hamm has also guested on variety of other artists' recordings over the years, Richie Kotzen, Adrian Legg, Michael Schenker, Steve Fister, James Murphy, etc., and has also played on several tribute albums, including Peter Green (Peter Green Songbook), Queen (Stone Cold Crazy), Ozzy Osbourne (Bat Head Soup), Rush (Working Man), Aerosmith (Not the Same Old Song and Dance), and Alice Cooper (Humanary Stew).
Stuart Hamm (born February 8, 1960) is an American bass guitar player, known for his session and live work with numerous artists as well for his unconventional playing style and solo recordings.
Beginning career 
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 Central High School, and was selected to the Illinois All-State Band. Hamm graduated from Hanover High in Hanover, New Hampshire in 1978 while living in Norwich, Vermont. Following high school, 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 (featuring a.o. keyboard player Tommy Mars), 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 slapping and two-handed tapping proficiency as well as the 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 himself, the first artist exclusive model ever made by Fender: the "Urge Bass" and the "Urge II Bass" upgrade with a D-Drop Tuner. Features include a sleek alder body, a graphite reinforced maple neck with a 2-octave rosewood fingerboard, a pair of dual-coil Ceramic Noiseless Jazz Bass single-coils (neck/bridge), a custom-wound split-coil Precision Bass humbucking pickup (middle) and a 3-band active EQ with 18V power supply. These basses were discontinued in 2010. Hamm has his own Washburn signature models since 2011, the AB40SH acoustic bass and the Hammer, featuring EMG pickups, Hipshot bridge/tuners and a 3-band active EQ - followed by a fretless version (SHBH3FLTSS) and the Stuart Hamm Electric Bass series, introduced in January 20, 2012.
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 performance often includes a two-handed tapping arrangement of Vince Guaraldi's "Linus and Lucy" (from the animated television special A Charlie Brown Christmas).
Since mid-March 2011 Hamm has performed with "The Deadlies," houseband for KOFY-TV's "Creepy KOFY Movie Time."
In July 2011, Hamm accepted the position of Director of Bass Programs at Musician's Institute in Hollywood, CA.