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Extraordinary solo bassist Steve Lawson joined us for an exclusive masterclass at our Guildford campus recently, where he shared his tips and tricks to our talented students.

ACM / Steve Lawson Bass MasterclassHosted by Ace, Steve took time out to speak to our students ahead of his performance at local music venue The Boileroom.

While he started off his career as a session musician back in the 80s, Steve would regularly experiment with solo performances on the bass. Once he performed his first solo set he was hooked, and that became his career going forward.

The class ran in an informal format with lots of open discussion and several performances. Following a question from a student about the extended range of his six-string bass, Steve replied that it’s not actually about having higher and lower notes, and the reason he chose the instrument was to play chords.

Showing our students his extensive bass rig, he shared that he likes to make irregular beats on his drum machine as he loves the sound of the tension and it enables him to jam with himself. When speaking about live performance preparation, he revealed that he would never re-learn a song for a live performance because he prefers improvisation.

ACM / Steve Lawson Bass MasterclassWhen asked about his current show, Steve explained that it sees him collaborating with an artist who has synesthesia (the phenomenon in which a person can see colours when they hear different sounds). The artist draws what she hears and Steve then looks at the art – drawing inspiration from it in his performance, thus creating a creative feedback loop!

On the process of releasing his music, he said that he chooses to release it instantly on Bandcamp and in the physical form of USB sticks at gigs. He went on to explain that streaming services require a lot of streams to generate revenue so rather than change his music, which appeals to a particular niche, he’d rather use different avenues of distribution.

The masterclass wrapped up with a final performance and more questions, leaving everyone very keen to try out some solo bass material of their own!

“A lot of my former students come here and a lot of people I work with have studied here, so there’s an amazing track record of musicians that come out of here which is great.”
Steve Lawson

We’d like to thank Steve for taking the time out to visit us; we can’t wait to welcome him back!

If you’d like to study at ACM, please call our Admissions Team on 01483 500 841 or visit to book a place on an ACM Open Day today.

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