bass lesson



“The Joker” is a song by the Steve Miller Band on their 1973 album of the same name. The basic track is heavily influenced by the Allen Toussaint song, “Soul Sister”.  Take a listen to both on youtube.

This is a great sing-along song with great lyrics, some borrowed from other songs and with references to lyrics to other Steve Miller songs. In the song, the singer (Steve) talks about what others say about him, but then in the chorus he says what he actually is.

The song also features one of the most classic slide guitar solos.


Gerald Johnson played the bass on “The Joker”. Steve Miller told Gerald to play the bassline exactly as written.

There’s not a lot written about Gerald. He played a Fender P-Bass left-handed.  He also played on many other records with the Pointer Sisters, Dave Mason, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, and others.

Gerald is great at laying down a groove.  Listen to his playing on Steve Miller’s “Shu Ba Da Du Ma Ma Ma Ma”, including his great bass solo.

Practice the main lick over and over at slow speed till you got it. Once you have that, you have 85% of the song done.

Gerald Johnson

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