Learn to Play: The Bass Techniques of Led Zeppelin's John Paul Jones

Reverb's resident low-ender Jake Hawrylak is back today with a look at another bass great's signature techniques and playing style. This week's subject is Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones, who played with the group from its inception to its disbandment after drummer John Bonham's death in 1980.

Though Jones played as a prominent session musician before Led Zeppelin and has had a career after, both solo and as part of supergroup Them Crooked Vultures, today's lesson will focus exclusively on his Zeppelin work. Relentlessly creative and classically trained, Jake highlights a lot of Zeppelin tunes that showcase Jones' virtuosity in the details.

"Maybe my favorite part [of 'Good Times Bad Times'] is what happens going into the bridge, when he plays this bass fill over the B chord," Jake says, going on to explain that what makes Jones' part exceedingly creative is that he takes the ideas from his fill and further develops in a later section of the song.

"So he's taking this moment of interest, where your attention is really drawn to the bass, and he's carrying that through the rest of the song without getting in the way, like any good bass player should," Jake says.

Jake also teaches bits of "Ramble On" from Led Zeppelin II, which illustrates how influenced Jones was by the grooves he found in the soul music he grew up on. Jake continues to move through the Zeppelin catalog, teaching tunes like "What It Is and What It Should Never Be," and "Immigrant Song."

Be sure to grab your bass and follow along with Jake's video above and the tablature below.


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