John Patitucci

John Patitucci

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John Patitucci playing upright bass

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John Patitucci playing upright bass

Fretless Questions: John Patitucci

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

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

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

FB: Who are your main fretless bass influences or favorite players?
John Patitucci: I like Jaco Pastorius and Pino Palladino. Favorite would be Jaco because of his sound, touch, lyricism, phrasing and overall musicianship.

FB: Do you play upright, electric, or both? Which do you prefer?
John Patitucci: All. I love them all.

FB: What was your very first fretless bass? Do you still own it? Have you had or played others?
John Patitucci: I had a 1964 jazz bass and no, I don’t still own it. I love my Yamaha fretless basses, 60s Fender jazz basses and Pedulla. I also really like the sound of the Music Man Fretless basses. I’ve owned Yamaha 6 and 5 string fretless basses and Fender jazz basses. The only ones I still have are the Yamahas.

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John Patitucci

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

FB: What playing styles do you use?
John Patitucci: I use all different kinds of techniques for all different types of music. The music dictates the style.

FB: What bands or projects feature you playing fretless bass?
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”.

FB: Do you have a favorite song you played fretless bass on or some notable songs or experiences?
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.

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.

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.

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.

FB: Do you have websites or social media sites you would like to share?
John Patitucci: and there is also an unofficial website.

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