18 Fretless Questions: Yves Carbonne
1. FB: At what age did you start playing fretless bass, and how long have you been playing?
Yves Carbonne: I’ve started to play fretless bass when I was 15 years old; I’m 39 now, so I have played fretless bass for 24 years.
2. FB: What influenced you to play fretless?
Yves Carbonne: Listening to Jaco Pastorius, and later Alain Caron.
3. FB: Are you self-taught or did you take lessons?
Yves Carbonne: I’m self-taught. In 1989, I took one lesson with Alain Caron in Montreal.
4. FB: Who are your main fretless bass influences?
Yves Carbonne: My life! Today I try to have my own sound and style, and what influence me a lot is all the events of my life, happyness or sadness…
5. FB: Who is your favorite fretless bass player and why?
Yves Carbonne: Today, I don’t have favorite fretless bass player – When I’m listening some music, I try to catch the feeling and I’m not listening only bass…
But I can say that I learn a lot listening to Jaco Pastorius and Alain Caron.
6. FB: Do you play Stand-up, acoustic, electric, or all? Which do you prefer?Yves Carbonne: I play Extended Range Basses: 6 string fretless, 8 string fretless sub-bass, 10 string fretless sub-bass, and soon 12 string fretless sub-bass. You can read about my “sub-bass concept” here:
A sub-bass is mainly a bass one octave lower than standard.
7. FB: What was your very first fretless bass? Do you still own it?
Yves Carbonne: It was a Leduc (a French luthier) 5 string fretless (with high C) in 1982. I don’t have it today – I don’t keep an instrument when I stop to play it.
8. FB: What is your favorite fretless bass you’ve ever played?
Yves Carbonne: Well, I love my Jerzy Drozd Legend X (10 string fretless) and also my Noguera Yves Carbonne Signature (8 string fretless).
9. FB: What fretless basses have you owned, which do you still own?
Yves Carbonne: I have use in the past (i don’t have these instruments today):
-1982: Leduc 5 string fretless (with high C)
-1984: Vigier 5 string fretless (with high C)
-1985: Jaccobacci 5 string fretless (with hig C)
-1987: “F” bass 6 string fretless
-1988: “F” bass 6 string piccolo fretless
-1990: “F” bass 6 string fretless (an other one)
-1993: “F” bass 6 string fretless (Alain Caron Model)
-1998: Noguera YC 6 string fretless
-1999: Noguera YC 6 string fretless (an other one)
-2000: Noguera YC 6 string semi-acoustic fretless
-2004: Noguera Yves Carbonne 8 string semi-acoustic fretless
-2005:Jerzy Drozd Legend X 10 string fretless
-2006: Noguera Yves Carbonne 8 string semi-acoustic fretless (an other one)
-very soon: Jerzy Drozd Legend XII 12 string fretless
I endorse Jerzy Drozd basses and Noguera basses.
10. FB: What types of strings and fingerboard combinations do you like?
Yves Carbonne: I use and endorse LaBella Super Steps and Hard Rockin’ Steel strings. I prefer ebony unfinished fingerboards.
11. FB: What playing styles do you use – finger, thumb, or pick (or other)? What do you like about those styles?
Yves Carbonne: I use 3 fingers technique, thumb technique and muting on fretless.
12. FB: What bands/projects have you played fretless bass in/on (list as many as you like)?
Yves Carbonne: Well, I’ve played fretless in all my personal projects and with all the bands I’ve played!
13. FB: What is your favorite song you played fretless bass on (studio or live)?
Yves Carbonne: My song “Holy Spirit” in the album “Carbonne Di Piazza Manring”. You can hear it on Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/yvescarbonne.
14. FB: What is your favorite fretless bass riff you’ve written (if different from above)?
Yves Carbonne: “Para un favor” – this tune will be in my next recording, my solo album; It’s a duet with Alain Caron.
15. FB: What would you say is unique about your fretless style?
Yves Carbonne: The fact that I use fretless basses with more than 6 strings, and with my sub-bass tuning.
16. FB: Are you still actively playing fretless bass?
Yves Carbonne: Yes.
17. FB: Do you have any basic advice for bass players looking to take up fretless or those who are currently playing?
Yves Carbonne: To practise scales and arpeggios in all the positions; to practise a lot intonation.
18. FB: Do you have a web site address you would like to share?
Yves Carbonne: Yes!