We share a cup of herbal tea with FredG of SBL Academy Fame…
In our regular feature we’re going to be shining a light on a select few SBL students. Throughout the year, we’ll be catching up with a diverse set of breaking and established talent to air their thoughts and experiences about bass playing, tunes and music in general from their own vantage point. Want to join them? If you're studying with SBL and would like to share your experiences, then please don't hesitate to CONTACT US.
Fred G - Only Half Diminished
FredG is a name that SBL members might recognise from his recent posts in the SBL campus. One post in particular that caught our attention referenced Ted Gioia’s book, How To Listen To Jazz. Fred has maintained a close connection with Jazz, which is proving pivotal in his progression as a bass player. “I spend a good portion of my free time thinking about how I should be practicing,” he says. “I’ve been really focused on developing a solid technique that I can apply in a jazz context, but I don’t feel like I’ve developed any kind of unique style. I haven’t really been playing long enough.”
Gear-wise, Fred is well prepped. “About 5 years ago my wife bought what she called a ‘pretty purple guitar’ for my birthday. She didn’t realize it at the time, but she’d got a great deal on a very nice Fender Mexican P Bass. I fiddled around with it fruitlessly for a while until I discovered ScottsBassLessons in 2014, which is when I began to study in earnest.”
Check out Fred’s Academy post on ‘How To Listen To Jazz’.
""My primary instrument is a Fender Mexican P Bass.I fiddled around with it fruitlessly for a while until I discovered ScottsBassLessons in 2014, which is when I began to study in earnest.”
What do you remember about your first bass?
I don’t have to remember anything about my first bass since I still play it every day!
Who are your favourite bass players?
I admire players like Paul Chambers, Ray Brown, Jaco, Scott LaFaro, Richard Bona and, of course, the great Todd Johnson, but my musical taste is pretty eclectic so there are many players (including all of the inspiring SBL faculty) whose technical wizardry I enjoy.
What are the main challenges for you as a bass player?
My main challenge is finding time to play. When I do have time the problem is focus, playing cleanly and with precision. It’s also been difficult to find other musicians to play with. Every time I look at Craigslist the calls for bassists are primarily for millennials interested in death metal - not exactly my style. Working at nights and weekends as I do makes it even more challenging. I guess I’ll have to try the solo bass brunch circuit.
How would you describe the role of the bass?
I’m not going to talk about groove, the pocket or locking in with a drummer. I think the bass creates the frequencies that you feel in addition to hearing. It’s what makes you want to get up and dance!
Tell us about your bass gear…
My primary instrument is a Mexican Fender Precision. I also have a fretless Yamaha, a Michael Kelly acoustic and a Sire Jazz Bass that I keep at work for practicing when things are slow. I use a few pedals for fun and I have a small combo amp. I have some non-bass stuff too - headphones, PJB BigHead headphone amp, some flutes, a piano and keyboard, mixer, interface, microphones, DI - but most of my stuff is in storage at the moment pending better living arrangements with more space. For some reason my wife objects to having the bedroom dominated by music equipment!
How do you unwind?
Huh, what’s that? Mostly I talk long solitary walks and occasionally have a bit of whisky and a cigar. I read a lot too.
What would you be if you weren’t a bass player?
I just want to make music, so I’d be happy as a pianist, guitarist or a drummer. I did give up on Kalimba as that was just too hard!
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