Jack Bruce on Fretless

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by Dr. Cheese, Nov 3, 2019.

  1. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    Who loves Jack Bruce’s fretless playing? I know Bruce became famous as a pioneering hard rock bassist with a distorted tone on a Gibson bass. I especially love what Jack Bruce did with Cream, but his sound left me cold. His fretless work, however, was wonderful! As legend himself, I do not think he felt pressure to sound like Jaco. If anything, he reminds me just a bit of Tony Franklin. My absolute favorite Jack Bruce album is A Question of Time (1989.) I was just listening to last Thursday.

    Here he is distorted and fretless:
  2. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis

    I love this man’s playing. I try to approach fretless in a similar way.
    stuntbass77, GKon, okcrum and 13 others like this.
  3. BakedMaple

    BakedMaple Inactive

    Oct 6, 2019
    Jack is the single greatest influence on my attempting fretless.
  4. joebeadg


    Sep 1, 2010
    eustis fl
    Jack Bruce never tried to sound like anyone but himself. Always loved this man with cream, and before and after cream as well. He sounded like Jack no matter what he played, Gibson, aria spector, Warwick. Songwriter, vocals, multi instruments, this man was the whole package. Was a time he played through pierce amps or preamps, I think maybe aria basses, and I don't know what speakers, but sounded so good, loved all his years though, tonewise and of course his playing.
    ajkula66, The Owl, woodyng2 and 8 others like this.
  5. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis

    This is some cool fretless Jack Bruce from long ago. I used to have this album when I was in college.
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2019
    okcrum, woodyng2, TN WOODMAN and 7 others like this.
  6. Wisebass


    Jan 12, 2017
    Lost in Space
    Hi Doc :)

    One of my favs!

    I wish I could sing like Jack!


    woodyng2, TN WOODMAN, 31HZ and 8 others like this.
  7. team was the essential power trio, and Jack was the blue that held it together. He was also an accomplished organist and cellist as well. Check out his BLT project sometime (Bruce, Lorden, and Trower).
  8. Bob_Ross

    Bob_Ross Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2012
    If the gatefold photo is to be believed Jack played a fretless Ampeg Dan Armstrong bass on that track.
    TN WOODMAN and Dr. Cheese like this.
  9. The Thinker

    The Thinker

    Sep 17, 2003
    Chicago, IL
    Totally agree Dr Cheese! His fretless playing (especially on that album) is amazing and wildly under-appreciated. Oh, that tone...just wow. Wow.
    TN WOODMAN, Dr. Cheese and dramatwist like this.
  10. dramatwist


    Sep 27, 2019
    D***! Excellent!
    Wisebass likes this.
  11. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    Everyone forgets Jack Bruce was a studio call player in London in the '50's and early '60's, including playing double bass as well as electric bass, that he was for a time bassist for Blues Incorporated as the British Blues and R&B scene was developing in the UK, and that is where he met both Ginger Baker and Eric Clapton originally. So of course he has a wider range of repertoire and chops than most people realize.
    31HZ, Dr. Cheese and dramatwist like this.
  12. I listened to Cream quite a bit as a teen, then not as much later, as was the case with a lot of music I had on vinyl when the CD took over. Most of my listening shifted from sitting in the living room while smoking hash, to listening while driving to the office, as we adults do. I was very adamant that the record companies were not going to get me to pay again for music I had already purchased, so my records were overlooked for years.

    Anyway, I respected Bruce as a player because how could you not, but as has been mentioned, I didn’t really care for his tone.

    Fast forward to a decade ago, learning a couple of Cream songs for my band, I used the Albert Hall reunion shows as a reference. Really liked what I heard there.

    But when Baker died a few weeks back, I watched a bunch of pro shot videos of those reunion shows, with the audio piped through a proper stereo, and I really liked his playing and tone, but the stand out for me was when he switched to fretless. Loved everything about it. I’ll be doing a deeper dive into it and likely try to absorb some of his vibe for my occasional fretless playing.
    woodyng2, Dr. Cheese and dramatwist like this.
  13. BassBrass


    Jul 6, 2009
    Boston MA
    Ever heard this stuff? Jack with Kip Hanrahan Kip Hanrahan - Wikipedia (sometimes 2 or 3 basses, Jack included and singing) nice titles too Desire Develops an Edge, Vertical's Currency, Days and Nights of Blue Luck Inverted the good old days in NYC
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2019
  14. Davidg

    Davidg Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2009
    Saw Jack with Kip Hanrahan several times. Talked to Jack a bit at one gig at a tiny venue in New York. He was friendly and nice but after a few minutes of my blubbering he politely said "Nice meeting you. If you'll excuse me I have to find a beer."
    Those shows were great! Don't remember but he might have been using that clear plexi Dan Armstrong fretless at those shows. He certainly used it on the "How''s Tricks" tour (with Simon Phillips) which is even earlier.
    dramatwist, Dr. Cheese and mikewalker like this.
  15. JJR58

    JJR58 Dirty Bird

    Dec 2, 2010
    Brooklyn, NY.
    Great stuff right there Doc.
    Dr. Cheese likes this.
  16. Eddie LeBlanc

    Eddie LeBlanc

    Oct 26, 2014
    Beaumont, Texas
    Don't create no problem, won't be no problem.
    here is one for the memory banks:

  17. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    Also remember that at least one of his EB3 basses he played with Cream had a diode inserted in the signal chain which clipped the signal kind of like a distortion box or overdriven amplifier:
    Jack Bruce, an EB3 and a diode.

    Off subject: Vox did the same thing with their Pathfinder PR15 and PR15R guitar amplifiers to give wannabee guitar players a "bedroom metal" tone. I have one of these amplifiers for personal practice, and after you clip the diodes out they actually have a really nice tone.
  18. Eddie LeBlanc

    Eddie LeBlanc

    Oct 26, 2014
    Beaumont, Texas
    Don't create no problem, won't be no problem.
    Jack was one of the first fretless players to do rock music. Cutting edge to say the least. Always loved what he did, and his ability, to kick some butt on the bass. No matter "what my politics are"........ LOL.
    dramatwist likes this.
  19. Eddie LeBlanc

    Eddie LeBlanc

    Oct 26, 2014
    Beaumont, Texas
    Don't create no problem, won't be no problem.
    Oh yeah....... Mr. Bruce, Mr. Baker, and Mr. Moore. This kicks it.....
  20. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    I can sing and play bass - if the parts are both simple. But on my fretless? I can play that pretty well alone, but singing and playing fretless simultaneously is not something that I have enough time left in my life to learn to do well. If, in the next life, we have 10,000 years or more (and if there are bass guitars), then I'll work on it.
    dramatwist and Dr. Cheese like this.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Jun 23, 2021

Share This Page