Why do you think playing the bass has so many problems?
Because we want to be able to play things we cannot hear. So if you think of someone like John Coltrane, the great jazz musician, it is easy to feel like he is playing a piano, but he is actually playing a harp. So he’s not playing it and he is playing it in a way that most people can’t hear. And this is a very good thing for us and an important instrument for us. So we have to play things we may not hear that don’t make sense to us. And then at the same time we will have to play to people who don’t even have the capacity to hear or hear it in a reasonable way. So we must make it sound good and we need to have the good sound so that we can play the right way to the right audience at the right time.
What guitar tone have you built the best?
There’s a few really good tone sets over here and we just had one made yesterday. We have a few custom made instruments as well. We have a couple of other special instruments that are unique, but we are very happy with the tone and we like playing with the old-style pickups.
You recently had a changeover of your bass player. What did that change mean to you personally?
It meant a great opportunity to go to Europe for seven weeks at the end of August and play an awesome gig the month before with a very top group of guys. But, more important for me, it’s probably one of the best gigs ever. Because that gig got everybody who plays music excited about playing music again for the first time since we started. You do start to see that people start playing differently, they begin to use different parts in their solos, they begin playing their best things and we were so happy to be there.
Why do you think you are different from other high-profile jazz musicians in the world and what kind of lessons can young people take from your performances to continue their journey?
What different things do I do? Well, I am like anybody when I play. I sit and play and play and get to know the material and my guitar in a totally different way. So I am not a traditional player, I am different.
Do you think those different ways of playing jazz help to bridge the gap between the standard jazz players and the improvisationalist?
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