Fretless Questions, player bio, photos, videos, music, and more
Fretless Questions: Bunny Brunel
FB: How long have you been playing fretless bass?
Bunny Brunel: Considering that the acoustic bass is a fretless bass, I started when I was 15. I was playing electric and acoustic bass.
FB: What influenced you to play fretless?
Bunny Brunel: All acoustic bass players like Sam Jones, Ray Brown, Ron Carter, Eddy Gomez Miroslav Vitous and Stanley Clarke. There was no fretless bass player that I new off. Somebody that I don’t remember the name told me that he had a Fender with the frets taken out to sound like an acoustic, so I wanted to do the same.
FB: Are you self-taught or did you take lessons?
Bunny Brunel: Self taught. I just went a little bit at the classical conservatory to learn the basic technique to play with the bow on the bass.
FB: Who are your main fretless bass influences or favorite players?
Bunny Brunel: Because I was playing acoustic bass and electric bass at the same time in the early ’60s I am referring to the acoustic bass players I mentioned on the previous question. Jaco was not on the scene yet. But, I love the melodic approach of Jaco.
FB: Do you play upright, electric, or both? Which do you prefer?
Bunny Brunel: I play them all. I probably play more fretless than anything else.
FB: What was your very first fretless bass? Do you still own it? Have you had or played others?
Bunny Brunel: 1965 Fender precision bought the same year. I took out the frets myself and I filled up the frets with bondo. I did a terrible job but I had the bass maker “Jacobacci” from Paris putting a clear finish on it. It sounded great! Favorite – the one that I designed for CARVIN, the BB models that I still use today. Basses I’ve had – my first Fender, the Yamaha BB 3000 that I helped design, The GIBSON Bunny Brunel Model that was made for a little while and finally the CARVIN BB series. I do have an electric upright bass (EUB) that I designed an that was manufactured by Valley Art Guitars for a while.
FB: What types of strings and fingerboards do you prefer?
Bunny Brunel: LABELLA Round wound “Hard Rocking Steel”. My ebony fingerboard has fret lines and a finish called “Hard As Nail” from CARVIN.
FB: What playing styles do you use?
Bunny Brunel: Fingers and Thumb for slapping. I cannot play with a pick!
FB: What bands or projects feature you playing fretless bass?
Bunny Brunel: CHICK COREA “Tap Step” “Secret Agent” KAZUMI WATANABE “Kilowatt” to name a few, and I released a bunch of albums that you can find on my web site: www.bunnybrunel.com.
FB: Do you have a favorite song you played fretless bass on or some notable songs or experiences?
Bunny Brunel: I like them all.
FB: What would you say is unique about your fretless style?
Bunny Brunel: As was suggested by Chick Corea, I always take a melodic approach in my bass lines and solos.
FB: Are you still actively playing fretless bass?
Bunny Brunel: More than ever!
FB: Do you have any basic advice for bass players looking to take up fretless or those who are currently playing?
Bunny Brunel: Instead of trying to look good with a fretless with no lines and never be in tune, just get a fretless with lines on the fingerboard and play in tune!