Book review: The Fretless Bass. Edited by Chris Jisi

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Book review: The Fretless Bass. Edited by Chris Jisi

Post by joppo » Sat Feb 21, 2009 1:25 pm

Not sure how many fretless junkies there are out there other than John and Foal, but got a copy of this book and thought it was worth a review.

Bassplayer Presents the Fretless Bass [Paperback, 114 pages]
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Bassplayer Magazine has, over it's 20 year history, interviewed many of the fretless greats. This book is a compilation of the articles written for Bassplayer Magazine on those players. Chris Jisi has editted the articles to give them all a consistant feel so that it does seem like you are reading a book on the evolution of an instrument rather than a collection of one-off articles on some amazing players.

The book is divided into three sections ("Rock Slide", "Jazz Giants" and "Liquid Lessons"), with individual chapters for each player in each section. The players presented include:

Rock Slide: Jack Bruce, Sting, Les Claypool, Pino Palladino, Bakithi Kumalo, Bill Wyman and Mick Karn

Jazz Giants: Jaco, Gary Willis, Mark Egan, Jimmy Haslip, Percy Jones, Alain Caron and Bunny Brunel

Liquid lessons: Steve Baily, Michael Manring and Marcus Miller

The chapters all follow a similar format: an introduction on the player for those like me who picked up the bass later in life and so didn't know who some of these legends are; sections of the interview in a question and answer format (influences, styles, intonation); a section with a description of the various players unique styles with tabbed examples to illustrate the description; and finally the instruments/amps etc used and a selected discography.

The chapter on Jaco I found especially good. Rather than being based on an interview with Jaco, it is more an essay on the rise of Jaco, and then a very detailed look at the layers of the Jaco classic "Havona" (based on a Bassplayer article written for the 20th anniversary of his death). To give you a little excert :
"On the other side of the glass, an equally youthful Jaco pastorius had just plugged in for his weather Report audition track "Cannon Ball," from the album Black Market. As Risner relates, Ron [legendary engineer Ron Malo] said, All I have is maybe 3dB of peak limiting and almost no EQ, and it not even going into limiting. There's only one other player I've ever worked with who got this great a sound from his hands, and that was James Jamerson"

Overall, the book is very readable, and has lots of great insights into the playing of some outstanding bass players

There is a fourth section with an illustrated step by step guide to defret a fretted bass, which you'll want to do when you finish :D

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Re: Book review: The Fretless Bass. Edited by Chris Jisi

Post by foal30 » Sat Feb 21, 2009 7:01 pm

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Re: Book review: The Fretless Bass. Edited by Chris Jisi

Post by beagle » Mon Feb 23, 2009 7:29 am

Yeah that's a good review Nev 8)

foal.... 'It's the sort of Bass I imagine a plasterer from the Wellington region would like.' Classic :lol:
Musicman Sterling, Fender Jazz, GK 800RB, 400RB, Neo412, Neo112, 410T

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