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Fretless Questions: Joseph Patrick Moore
FB: How long have you been playing fretless bass?
Joseph Patrick Moore: I started playing electric bass in 1986 and started playing the Double Bass shortly thereafter. It wasn’t until around 1994 that I started messing around with the fretless bass.
FB: What influenced you to play fretless?
Joseph Patrick Moore: We’ll I always wanted to, I just didn’t have enough cash at the time to get a fretless bass. I was listening to a lot of jaco, Sting, Tony Franklin and I really wanted to experiment with it.
FB: Are you self-taught or did you take lessons?
Joseph Patrick Moore: I took lessons from Rusty Holloway in Knoxville, Tennessee (1986-1991) as well as several other cats after I moved to Memphis, TN (1991-1997). I learned a tremendous amount from them as well as from all the musician’s that I’ve had the pleasure to work with.
FB: Who are your main fretless bass influences or favorite players?
Joseph Patrick Moore: Sting, Jaco Pastorius, Marcus Miller. Favorite would have to be Jaco. He was certainly my main fretless bass influence as I’m sure it is every other fretless and non-fretless bassist. His tone and intonation are unmatched!
FB: Do you play upright, electric, or both? Which do you prefer?
Joseph Patrick Moore: I do play Stand-up (Double bass) and electric bass as well. Each bass presents its own set of circumstances and unique approach. For me, its hard to pick a favorite as I love each bass for their own individual characteristic’s.
FB: What was your very first fretless bass? Do you still own it? Have you had or played others?
Joseph Patrick Moore: In 1994 I won a Stu Hamm Fender electric bass in a solo bass contest. At the time, I was totally happy with my electric Pedulla and decided I didn’t really want another fretted electric bass, so I decided to have the frets pulled on the Stu Hamm Fender model. In addition, I changed the capacitor and treated the neck to help with the use of round wound strings. I do still own it, however I don’t play it much anymore. I just recently got a custom signature MVP Pentabuzz 5 string bass and I’m totally in love with it. Mike Pedulla really puts a lot of love into his craft. Favorite is my signature MVP Pentabuzz 5-string bass! I also own a Kohler Double Bass.
FB: What types of strings and fingerboards do you prefer?
Joseph Patrick Moore: I love the finish on the Pedulla MVP Buzz series. It has an amazing “growl” that is unmatched in my opinion. Personally I don’t like the feel of flat wound strings so I use round wound strings (DR High Beam) and I’m happy with the combination of round wound and finished/treated fingerboard.
FB: What playing styles do you use?
Joseph Patrick Moore: I incorporate all of those techniques in my playing. However I never use a pick. If I want that sound, I’ll use my index fingernail. Typically my approach is to play the fretless exclusively. When I have a tune or situation that needs slap/pop or tapping, I’ll switch to the MVP Electric 5-string. In addition, I’ll play the double bass both arco/pizzacato in all situations.
FB: What bands or projects feature you playing fretless bass?
Joseph Patrick Moore: I tend to play the fretless (as well as the double and electric bass) on all my CD releases. I’ve used the fretless with the E.M.P. Project as well as several other sideman projects. For a complete list, you can access it at: http://www.josephpatrickmoore.com/discography.html.
FB: Do you have a favorite song you played fretless bass on or some notable songs or experiences?
Joseph Patrick Moore: Favorite is probably “Bebop Charlie” from my “live in 05” CD. This song is dedicated to Charlie Parker, another one of my musical heroes. My 2nd choice would be “Mystery” from the same live recording date.
FB: What would you say is unique about your fretless style?
Joseph Patrick Moore: That’s a tough question as It’s hard for me to judge that….um….I’ll leave that for the listener.
FB: Are you still actively playing fretless bass?
Joseph Patrick Moore: Oh Yes.
FB: Do you have any basic advice for bass players looking to take up fretless or those who are currently playing?
Joseph Patrick Moore: Practice the fretless bass with another harmonic instrument such as a piano/keyboard/guitar. For intonation sake, It’s important that you have a reference point. Unless you have an amazing ear (and even if you do), it is super important in anyone’s development to hear the fretless bass in relationship with other instruments. Treat the fretless bass like a “horn” instrument”. You’ll always have to adjust your intonation and pitch! In addition, don’t rely on vibrato to get you out of trouble. Try to be exact with your placement of each note.
FB: Do you have websites or social media sites you would like to share?
Joseph Patrick Moore: Sure: http://www.JosephPatrickMoore.com.
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