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Humbled (badly) by the man, JACO

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Tim Cole, Dec 24, 2002.

  1. Tim Cole

    Tim Cole Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2002
    Findlay, Ohio
    Well, I just picked up my first fretless last week. I had been using it for whatever, just playing along with my normal tunes to try to get used to the pitches, and the more accuracy it obviously requires. When that became boring, and not too much of a challenge, I decided to look into some recordings that were done with a fretless to further explore the possibilities. While I had always heard a lot of Jaco Pastorius, I had never bothered to find any of his music, until now. I downloaded "Portrait of Tracy", and decided I was going to learn that. Wait a minute.....I didn't even know 80% of these harmonics existed, or were usable!!! This is the first time in many years I had to set my instrument down due to frustration, due to an inability to figure it out instantly. I even went so far as to look up tabs on it, which is something I always refused to do! Still struggling with the intro and the first measures, haven't even attempted anything past that yet. I don't know whether I will ever make it through this piece without giving up, and that is something I haven't done in years. Jaco was nothing short of a musical genius, and anyone who hasn't looked into his music, is missing out. Such a shame he had to leave us so early. What were your thoughts the first time any of you started learning Jaco's compositions? Please share!
  2. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta (Grant Park!)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    You wanna know frustration? Try to cop the live version of "Continuum" from the Invitation CD. I tried to play it on my fretless Ric. It was after that, I thought I'd have my friend ol' Jack console me.

    Daniels, that is.
  3. Tim Cole

    Tim Cole Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2002
    Findlay, Ohio
    This is my fisrt (of I am sure many) attempts to learn a Pastorius piece. I have ever actually heard 2 of his compositions, so don't worry.....Jaco has shown me promise of years of frustration and mental anguish to come! I have already learned a lot more about my instrument I had been overlooking for years, just since the 12 hours or so I decided I was going to learn that piece. If it is frustrating to you, chance are you are breaking new ground, and bettering yourself as a player IMO.
  4. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta (Grant Park!)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    Another one that will get you is "Opus Pocus". It sounds easy eneough until you try to play it. It took me about 45 minutes to learn it. And let's not mention his version of "Donna Lee", that's a whole 'nother bottle.....er....I mean story!
  5. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    As great a bassist as he was, I think the real tragedy is that we didn't get to hear where he'd be today as a composer. There's some beautiful stuff packed into just a few years.
  6. Stupidnick


    Mar 22, 2002
    ...my room...
    the first jaco song i learned was blackbird.. I just learned Teen Town just not too long ago..
    I am fooling around with Chromatic fantacy.. I can play the intro part.. just ..well not up to speed..
    Im playing on a fretted bass so im kinda cheating but so far i can play blackbird just as well on fretless. and I can get into some classical thump on fretless.. well it just doesn't sound like classical thump lol..

    Is it just me or do lines make it harder to play?? cause you pay attention to the intervals??
    Ive noticed on that Cort 4 String fretless.. its well really easy to play pretty much anything and i really dont think about it. But I played a lined fender jazz fretless and it just seems like hell even to play the simplest things because im worried about the lines and stuff. Maybe its just me.

    Hey man goodluck with your jaco explorations.. Id try to get into blackbird though as a start if you would like to learn something easier to get your feet wet and get used to his style of playing and everything. Ive learned also imagining yourself as the bassist in the song also can help sometime.. I pretend im dickey betts sometimes =D and i pretend im les claypool sometimes.. sometimes i pretend im jaco.. and try to bust out something.. it usually doesn't sound as good... sometimes though i like to wear plaid and try to be mike watt!
    Experament.. You will get it though man
  7. Wxp4759cb


    Nov 23, 2000
    Kansas City, MO
    I think lined fretless is alot harder to play than unlined too.
  8. Tim Cole

    Tim Cole Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2002
    Findlay, Ohio
    Yesssssssssss....after a whole day of messing with it, I finally got the harmonic intro up to speed lol. I'd guess for some this would be easy. I consider myself a decent player, but up till now this kind of thing wasn't my bag. I feel like a whole new world of bass exploration has been opened up by discovering Jaco. And how could lined be harder to play than unlined? Unfortunately, SX doesn't offer a choice for the unlined. Surprisingly, the sx does get pretty close to the Jaco tone, even through my computer speakers.
  9. the best I ever did was Birdland in 11th grade in Jazz band and Come on come over a few years later. never tried anything beyond that. only because I know Id be wasting my time trying
  10. Yeah, I've kind of thought that, but of course it's all a mental thing. After playing some lined and unlined fretless basses in the shop last week, I've decided that I wouldn't be so bad off without lines, but I'd want some kind of smaller marker for a safety reference (at least on my first fretless, whenever I decide to go that route).
  11. odie

    odie Supporting Member

    Kinda not sure where to put this.



    I know the catch all. Misc!!
  12. ANB, you ain't the only fisherman in this boat!

    I was turned onto Jaco in 1976 when a friend pulled the frets on his bass and swore that I needed to get into this guy. One listen and I immediately traded my fretted neck for a fretless and I was off.
    Like you though, I was almost immediately disappointed at my lack of skill - to the point that I really couldn't understand how I could be holding and playing the same instrument as Jaco and not be able to make ANY of the same sounds he did. I later learned Birdland and that's pretty much where I gave it up. :rolleyes:

    I've read that Marcus Miller put Jaco's solo album on his turntable when it came out and didn't take it off for over a year. Just a small indication of how he changed the face of modern electric bass.
  13. Skorzen


    Mar 15, 2002
    Springfield MA
    i have been working on a couple of Jaco pieces, Teen Town and River People. I just about have River People down, but Teen Town is going to take awhile :D River People is relativly easy if you want something a little easier.

    Edit: you can get a whole bunch of Jaco trascriptions here
  14. I think that the hardest thing of Jaco's you can try to learn is not this song, or that song, or harmonics, all that stuff is just technical. The real challenge is to get that soaring, singing quality on every single note you play. Every single note has conviction and purpose, and more soul and feeling than many of todays so-called "bass gods" have in their whole repetoire. His vibrato was prodigious, his trumpeting tone not to everyones taste, but the vocal-like quality of his every note is what will inspire me for the rest of my life. Not because I want to sound like him, I dont, but because to me this is the ultimate musicianship, the Holy Grail.
  15. stephanie


    Nov 14, 2000
    Scranton, PA
    Beautifully said, Marty! Every note has purpose and that's what I strive for in my own playing and composition. To pour all my soul into one single note and follow where that road leaves me.

    This is what I admire in Jaco. I can't really play any of his songs and some of his music I don't really even care for (I prefer my Jaco tastes more along the lines of "Continuum" or "Portrait of Tracy" instead of, say, "Come On Come Over"), but none of that matters to me, because he was such a passionate musician and a master at his art. He was the one who first showed me there was no limit to what can be done with the bass.
  16. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    A friend of mine Johnnie helped me when I tried to learn Junior Walker's "Home Cookin'."

    Anyway, without Mr. Walker, I never would've gotten through that.

    (Still can't play the tune).