18 Fretless Questions: Lorenzo Feliciati
1. FB: At what age did you start playing fretless bass, and how long have you been playing?
Lorenzo Feliciati: Well, I was 14 years old..I started to play a fretless sunburst precision bass a couple of years after my first run on a bass fingerboard and was quite shocking…. It was an unlined maple fingerboard…a nightmare at first…but slowly I starter to understand where the notes were.
2. FB: What influenced you to play fretless?
Lorenzo Feliciati: As 85% of fretless players the first time I saw Jaco playing (with Weather Report, it was the last tour he did with the band and one of my first live concerts) I decided to play bass and…a fretless one!!! But then I discovered great fretless players like Mick Karn of Japan and Pino Palladino on the Gary Numan record “I Assassin”…and then Percy Jones, Sting…
3. FB: Are you self-taught or did you take lessons?
Lorenzo Feliciati: I am a self-taught but I beleive that on a regular basis we all need to sit down and play in front of someone that has more experience than us and listen to his advice…I do it now and I will do it forever.
4. FB: Who are your main fretless bass influences?
Lorenzo Feliciati: As I said before first Jaco for the great music he was playing with Zawinul and Shorter more than for his chops, I still see him first and foremost as a musician and composer…he was a genius in music not only on the bass…
5. FB: Who is your favorite fretless bass player and why?
Lorenzo Feliciati: I love what Bakhiti Kumalo did on the Paul Simon cds and Palladino work with Paul Young, Steve Lawson is great and I did some bass camps together with Michael Marning and he is really a poet and a master on the fretless bass…
6. FB: Do you play Stand-up, acoustic, electric, or all? Which do you prefer?Lorenzo Feliciati: They are all different instruments to me…the Upright forces you “phisically” to play in a certain way, with a special choice of notes…I am not able to play fast and furios on the Upright so for me the rule is:SOUND and TASTE. The acoustic bass guitar lets me play the same stuff that I am able to do on the electric but with a different sound and I can add some special flavor to the music with it. The electric is my main voice and the one I think of first when I compose on the bass..
7. FB: What was your very first fretless bass? Do you still own it?
Lorenzo Feliciati: After the sunburst Precision my father gave me as a present a Fender Jazz Special with PJ pickups, I converted it to fretless and it is my main fretless live and in the studio…I love it!
8. FB: What is your favorite fretless bass you’ve ever played?
Lorenzo Feliciati: My black Fender and a Fender Jaco Pastorius relic that I tried at the Frankfurt Music Messe.
9. FB: What fretless basses have you owned, which do you still own?
Lorenzo Feliciati: I have only my Fender Jazz Special, it is all I need for my music.
10. FB: What types of strings and fingerboard combinations do you like?
Lorenzo Feliciati: I love the sound of roundwound nickel Galli strings on a Rosewood lined fingerboard.
11. FB: What playing styles do you use – finger, thumb, or pick (or other)? What do you like about those styles?
Lorenzo Feliciati: Usually finger and thumb on the fretless and sometimes pick on the fretted one…it depends on what kind of sound I am searching for.
12. FB: What bands/projects have you played fretless bass in/on (list as many as you like)?
Lorenzo Feliciati: I do a lot of studio sessions and sometimes they ask me to play fretless, I use it also on my CDs and Upright on some pop sessions…
13. FB: What is your favorite song you played fretless bass on (studio or live)?
Lorenzo Feliciati: “Thief like me” and “Horses” from my first CD “Upon my Head” on Schoots records. (“Upon my Head” and the new CD “Live at European Bassday and more” both on Schoots Records, available on iTunes and CD baby)
14. FB: What is your favorite fretless bass riff you’ve written (if different from above)?
Lorenzo Feliciati: “Thief like me”.
15. FB: What would you say is unique about your fretless style?
Lorenzo Feliciati: I dont know…you say it…all I know is that I am always checking my intonation…;-)
16. FB: Are you still actively playing fretless bass?
Lorenzo Feliciati: I will stop the day I stop playing the bass!!
17. FB: Do you have any basic advice for bass players looking to take up fretless or those who are currently playing?
Lorenzo Feliciati: The better the intonation on the fretless the better will be your technique on the fretted…the more you will work on your fretted technique and fingerings the better will be your intonation on the fretless…