Charnett Moffett

Discussion in 'Bassists [DB]' started by ImAGoodDuck, Jan 14, 2006.

  1. A friend just showed me Kenny Garrett's Standard of Language with Charnett on bass. I'm was, still am, so floored about his playing I looked kind of like this:hyper: lol. So after listening to it twice today I went and bought 2 of his c.ds, Planet Home and For the Love of Peace. The playing is UNREAL, I've never heard anything like it, you can hear clips on amazon. But anyways hearing how just stunningly fast he is, does anyone know anything about his setup? My thought would be his string height would have to be incredibly low but the way he sounds when he walks it sounds like he can dig in really well. I'd also think that he would be using the three finger like NHOP like when he blows. I've been told that he has some weird techniques too, like slapping like you would on an electric bass. So any insights?
  2. TomSauter


    Dec 22, 2004
    Kennesaw, GA
    I played on Charnett's bass once, and he has super low action. I forgot what kind of bass he plays (maybe a Pollman), but he was using Spirocores, a Barbera pickup that was built into the bridge, and he was using SWR amp and speakers. He plays really hard with his right hand, and I remember his bow having so much rosin on it that I had trouble playing notes without the bow getting stuck.

    When he plays the really fast stuff, he uses the index and ring finger of his right hand. There's a Stanley Jordan dvd where you can see him doing that. He also tries to get house by any means necessary--he slaps like an electric player, he plays Van Halen-esque licks, he does this fast tremolo thing with the bow, he beats on the bass with the stick of the bow, uses a distortion pedal, etc.

    I recently saw him with McCoy Tyner and he sounded awesome. The dude just has superhuman endurance and intensity--it's incredible to see somebody that's been on the scene for twenty years that still plays that hard.

    Aside from the parlor tricks and chops, he really is a great bassist. Has a huge sound and pulse, walks great lines, can play great bebop and blues solos, and he has lots of great rhythmic ideas. Someone else may know more abot this, but didn't Tony Williams say that Charnett was the best bassist he ever played with?
  3. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    He was in Bass Player Magazine a little while back and does slap like an electric player someitmes. I've never seen or heard him play, but that article was plenty cool and there was a (very) favourable review of his album "For the Love of Peace" in Jazz Improv Magazine a few months ago.
  4. Wow, index and ring? Thats kind of crazy weird. So does he leave that middle finger in the air or what does he do with it? I wonder why that is, it doesn't really feel faster than index and middle but it obviously works really bad a$$ for him lol. I've only heard him play on that Kenny Garrett c.d. but I'd totally believe he's atleast one of the best modern jazz bass players alive.
  5. bassgeek


    Oct 19, 2000
    Asheville, NC
    I saw Charnett yesterday at the IAJE festival. He was at the Kolstein booth. Apparently he did two demonstrations there. When I saw him, he was playing Kolstein's travel bass. He was pulling out all the stops, too. Slapping like an electric, blindingly fast runs, etc. He definitely should be more well known than he is.
  6. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    I saw him, Ornette, Denardo Coleman, and Don Cherry in Rotterdam about 10 years ago... he was playing the upright through an octave pedal at times... that concert was (from the first note) a here's-your-soul-on-a-plate kind of performance... simply mesmerizing.
  7. It seems to me that a lot of the times when a bass player has that amazing speed he tends to not really study the harmonic side of the playing or at least not to match his speed. BUT, this is totally not the case with Charnett which is one thing I really love about his playing. He really developed both sides of the brain for that one.
  8. jdombrow

    jdombrow Supporting Member

    Jan 16, 2002
    Colorado Springs, CO

    I lost the tip of my middle finger when I was a child and have been playing bass with my first and third finger since my teens. It affects my ability to play upright the way most players do (with their first and second fingers in a hanging position), but I have plenty of coordination, strength and speed.

    By the way, I see that you are in Denver. I'm in Colorado Springs.

    Jim D.
  9. I'm not sayin that is a bad way or anything I'm just curious as to why he would go about that way. If there was an advantage we just don't know about. Cus from pictures Charnett has all fingers intact.
  10. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    San Francisco, CA
    Porkchops eat your heart out!

  11. bottomzone


    Oct 21, 2005
    Charnett is definetly not mentioned enough!!! On one of his early projects, Nettman, he plays the heck out of both the electric and acoustic. With regard to slapping on the acoustic bass, Stanley Clarke has been doing that for quite a while.

    Keep God First!:hyper:

    A Groove is a Terrible Thing to Waste!:cool:
  12. Ben Rolston

    Ben Rolston Supporting Member

    Aug 30, 2006
    Ann Arbor, MI, USA
    The way I understand it is that his using the index and ring fingers is because they are roughly the same length (as compared to index and middle). He also, as is shown in the video that hdiddy posted, doesn't always play like that.

    By the way that video is monstrous!

    Nick: How's it going? It's been a while. I can't even imagine that concert.
  13. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    I saw him by accident a few years ago. I forget who he was playing with, maybe Tyner. But, I was in awe. He's off the hook.

    I haven't bought his albums because I suspect that they may not really be my thing, but I'll try not to miss a chance to see him play when I am able.
  14. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    San Francisco, CA
    Yeah but you should see Charnett's arco chops. Killer! The man's got it all. :cool:
  15. mike mcd

    mike mcd

    Dec 11, 2002
    He is one of my favorite bassists, especially on the album "Ask the Ages" by Sonny Sharrock w/ Pharoah Sanders and Elvin Jones, and his other stuff with Pharoah is incredible.
  16. All I got to say is he ruined the gig with McCoy Tyner for me at the Montreal jazz fest a few years back. Sorry but I don't like hearing fast sextuplets runs on the bass while I'm trying to listen to McCoy solo. Play some quarter notes once in really doesn't hurt! I've heard some stuff of his I liked, but seeing him live just wasn't enjoyable, other than obvious pyrotechnics.
  17. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    San Francisco, CA
    Check out the EB style slapping.
  18. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Heheh... great clip. Frickin' Bobby Hutcherson! :D

    McCoy looks to still be in good shape in this clip ('02), his right hand is still strong here. I saw him last year, he's lost a lot of weight, and the right hand lines weren't there. At the end of the show, he said "Thanks, Maui, I'll try to play better next time". It was still great, and he's a lovely guy. He had Gerald Cannon and Eric Gravatt, I think I prefer that lineup.
  19. Jeremy Allen

    Jeremy Allen Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2002
    Bloomington, IN
    That clip with Stanley I'm going to go listen to Sam Jones for the rest of the night.
  20. damonsmith


    May 10, 2006
    Houston, Tx
    The best Charnett I have heard is on Sonny Sharrock's "Ask the Ages". Obviously, I am all for playing the whole instrument and using all kinds of extended techniques, but I am still for playing to the context, Charnett very often fails to do that.
    He still plays the sh** out of the bass, though.
    I am more a fan of his dad.