18 Fretless Questions: Joseph Patrick Moore
1. FB: At what age did you start playing fretless bass, and how long have you been playing?
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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. FB: Who are your main fretless bass influences?
Joseph Patrick Moore: Sting, Jaco Pastorius, Marcus Miller.
5. FB: Who is your favorite fretless bass player and why?
Joseph Patrick Moore: It 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!
6. FB: Do you play Stand-up, acoustic, electric, or all? 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.
7. FB: What was your very first fretless bass? Do you still own it?
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.
8. FB: What is your favorite fretless bass you’ve ever played?
Joseph Patrick Moore: It is my signature MVP Pentabuzz 5-string bass!
9. FB: What fretless basses have you owned, which do you still own?
Joseph Patrick Moore: My Fender Custom (Stu Hamm model), The Pedulla and I also own a Kohler Double Bass.
10. FB: What types of strings and fingerboard combinations do you like?
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.
11. FB: What playing styles do you use – finger, thumb, or pick (or other)? What do you like about those styles?
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.
12. FB: What bands/projects have you played fretless bass in/on (list as many as you like)?
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.
13. FB: What is your favorite song you played fretless bass on (studio or live)?
Joseph Patrick Moore: It’s probably “Bebop Charlie” from my “live in 05” CD. My 2nd choice would be “Mystery” from the same live recording date.
14. FB: What is your favorite fretless bass riff you’ve written (if different from above)?
Joseph Patrick Moore: I would say “Bebop Charlie”. This song is dedicated to Charlie Parker, another one of my musical heroes.
15. 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.
16. FB: Are you still actively playing fretless bass?
Joseph Patrick Moore: Oh Yes.
17. 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.
18. FB: Do you have a web site address you would like to share?
Joseph Patrick Moore: Sure: http://www.JosephPatrickMoore.com.
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