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Ray Pohlman
Ray Pohlman
(Fender Bass)

(Born in Iowa and raised in LA., the late Ray Pohlman started out playing jazz guitar, worked as a back-up singer for Kay Starr, and during the 1950s, he toured with Billy May's Big Band. He got his first big studio break playing on Four Preps records and by the end of the decade, he was established as a top studio musician.

Considered to be the first studio player to actively use the new electric bass on records, by the early 1960s, he was the dominant electric bassist in LA., playing on hundreds of sessions including those for Herb Alpert, Jan & Dean and most of Phil Spector's early work. In 1964, he became the musical director of ABC's "Shindig," which cut back on his studio activity. When it went off the air in 1966, he returned to session work on bass, guitar and as an arranger. His arranging credits include his Grammy Award-winning work on the Association's Insight Out album.)


In conversations with music historian Russ Wapensky, Ray recalled that he started playing on sessions with Brian very early on in the Beach Boys' career, and he often told Russ how much he enjoyed working with Brian. Brian, according to Ray, treated studio musicians with great respect, rather than as hired help. Ray explained that his job on Beach Boys sessions was to listen to Brian's ideas, write out guitar parts and work out chord arrangements and voicings with the other guitarists.

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