John Patitucci

John Patitucci

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John Patitucci playing upright bass

18 Fretless Questions: John Patitucci

1. FB: At what age did you start playing fretless bass, and how long have you been playing?
John Patitucci: Because of respect for what Jaco was doing, I didn’t even have a fretless until my early 20s.

2. FB: What influenced you to play fretless?
John Patitucci: Another sound option besides the acoustic and the electric.

3. FB: Are you self-taught or did you take lessons?
John Patitucci: I’m completely self-taught on the fretless bass.

4. FB: Who are your main fretless bass influences?
John Patitucci: I like Jaco Pastorius and Pino Palladino.

5. FB: Who is your favorite fretless bass player and why?
John Patitucci: Jaco because of his sound, touch, lyricism, phrasing and overall musicianship.

6. FB: Do you play Stand-up, acoustic, electric, or all? Which do you prefer?John Patitucci: All. I love them all.

7. FB: What was your very first fretless bass? Do you still own it?
John Patitucci: I had a 1964 jazz bass and no, I don’t still own it.

8. FB: What is your favorite fretless bass you’ve ever played?
John Patitucci: I love my Yamaha fretless basses, 60s Fender jazz basses and Pedulla. I also really like the sound of the Music Man Fretless basses.

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John Patitucci

9. FB: What fretless basses have you owned, which do you still own?
John Patitucci: I’ve owned Yamaha 6 and 5 string fretless basses and Fender jazz basses. The only ones I still have are the Yamahas.

10. FB: What types of strings and fingerboard combinations do you like?
John Patitucci: Round wound strings on ebony or rosewod fingerboards.

11. FB: What playing styles do you use – finger, thumb, or pick (or other)? What do you like about those styles?
John Patitucci: I use all different kinds of techniques for all different types of music. The music dictates the style.

12. FB: What bands/projects have you played fretless bass in/on (list as many as you like)?
John Patitucci: I’ve used it on Chick Corea Elektric Band recordings (Light Years, I think). And I used it in Michel Colombier’s film score “How Stella Got Her Groove Back”.

13. FB: What is your favorite song you played fretless bass on (studio or live)?
John Patitucci: I don’t know – I’ve used it over the years in various studio projects, but I haven’t used it prominently in any of my solo recordings, because I still consider the 6-string fretted bass to be my personal voice.

14. FB: What is your favorite fretless bass riff you’ve written (if different from above)?
John Patitucci: I don’t have one.

15. FB: What would you say is unique about your fretless style?
John Patitucci: It’s not Jaco-dominated because of my deep respect for what he did, I’ve tried to approach it a different way. Also, because I play the acoustic bass, I can draw on more of a mainstream jazz influence too.

16. FB: Are you still actively playing fretless bass?
John Patitucci: Whenever the music calls for it. I have two very fine Yamaha fretless basses that I use.

17. FB: Do you have any basic advice for bass players looking to take up fretless or those who are currently playing?
John Patitucci: The obvious priority is to get your intonation together. Your sound and your pitch should be inspiring to people, not a distraction.

18. FB: Do you have a web site address you would like to share?
John Patitucci: and there is also an unofficial website.

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