Jack Casady

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by edmidlifecrisis, Aug 4, 2015.

  1. edmidlifecrisis

    edmidlifecrisis Registered mediocre bass player

    I just got back from a great weekend class with Jack at Fur Peace Ranch. On Saturday night Hot Tuna did an electric show that set the place on fire. First set was a trio, just Jorma, Jack and their drummer, Justin Guip. They were amazing. Then second set they had Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams. Brought it to another level, if that was possible. Jack's tone was like pure beautiful thunder. It was one of the best Tuna shows I have seen and I have seen a LOT of them. These two guys are in their seventies and rock it like no one else. Please catch them while you can. They even brought back "Feel So Good" from the Jefferson Airplane days. Look for their tribute to the Airplane for its 50th anniversary at the Lock'n Festival this September.

    Hot Tuna at FPR.jpg
  2. Do you have any bass playing tips to share with us, from the master?
    Glad you got there. They guys are great, and Theresa is a treat.
  3. edmidlifecrisis

    edmidlifecrisis Registered mediocre bass player

    He stresses generating proper tone (right hand technique) (partly due to the presence of primarily guitar players who use the wrong attack method on bass); knowing how to vary the tone when needed (shorter versus longer notes and sounds); slowing down to learn the note sequence with proper left hand fingering as well as alternating two finger right hand technique; and learning the structure and chords of the tune in order to get a big picture of the song, which makes it easier to work through it and add embellishments and variations without getting lost. AND NEVER MISS THE ONE!! And most of all, LISTEN to what the others are playing.

    That's it in a nutshell!!! Sounds easy, right?

    Ha!. This was my third class with Jack since 2007, and the best. I have gotten over being nervous and intimidated like I was at the first one and just relaxed and did great and had a great time. I wasn't even nervous playing "Water Song" as part of a quartet at the student peformance with Jack and Jorma standing just to my right. Not a bit. That's a long way from the first time.

    My wife took Teresa's singing class and was blown away by what she was taught and how using what she learned will improve her singing. It improved markedly over the weekend and she's been singing all her life!! It was her first trip to FPR and most certainly will not be her last, she loved it!! And she's not a guitar player, but a piano player.
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2015
    heynorm and Michedelic like this.
  4. Do you play a Jack Casady bass also? I have one and its a great bass to develop dynamics and clean articulate playing! Thats one bass that won't let you get away with any sloppy playing at all. Not to mention they sound great especially with Jacks recommended DM Blue steels on it! What a blessing to be able to attend a workshop like that!
    edmidlifecrisis likes this.
  5. edmidlifecrisis

    edmidlifecrisis Registered mediocre bass player

    I do have one and there were several in the class, including a gorgeous white one, but I brought my Fender Road Worn Precision to this class since I have a hard flight case for it and not for the JC. And you are exactly right in your description of the JC. Unforgiving but great. I have flats on mine now, first time I ever have liked flats on a bass after years of trying on others. The Blue Steels are a nice match, for sure, I just wanted to change things up. It sounds great with the flats too.
  6. PeteInIowa


    Jul 23, 2014
    I had the pleasure of taking Jack's class in 2005. Being primarily a guitarist who had to do the occasional bass detail in my band while bass dude played something else, I wanted to learn how to approach the instrument the correct way. Jack Casady changed my bass playing forever. Now that I am the band's full-time bassist, my comfort level is where it needed to be, thanks to Jack's lessons (haven't picked up a guitar in a few years). Oh, and it's true what Jorma says about him - even though he rarely ever talks onstage, if you get him in a conversation, you can't shut him up, lol!

    A clip of my band's former bassist, Ken Kemper, on his '72 T'Bird, and yours truly on guitar, performing "Water Song" for the student concert at Fur Peace Ranch, Sept. 11, 2005 - Jack was the stagehand, and Jorma's wife Vanessa ran the board:

  7. edmidlifecrisis

    edmidlifecrisis Registered mediocre bass player

    That was Awesome!!!. I did this same tune last Sunday night at the student show as a quartet with two guitarists and a mandolin player!! It was so much fun!!! I think your bass player did a better job than I did. I think someone video'ed it. If so I will post it on this thread.....great guitar, BTW.
  8. PeteInIowa


    Jul 23, 2014
    Thanks! That was my fifth trip - long overdue for another. Songwriting with Chris Smither, dobro with Sally Van Meter, fingerstyle with Mary Flower, a Jorma class, and Jack's class. Breaking bread with Rory Block, Peter Rowan, Mary Gauthier, Barry Mitterhoff, the Box Set guys, Dan Erlewine and Patrick Sweaney. Bringing the Iowa music compadres along on the trips. Is there any place more magical than FPR...
  9. edmidlifecrisis

    edmidlifecrisis Registered mediocre bass player

    No, it is special. Mary and Barry were there during various times, as were Happy Traum (great guy and amaxing player), Toby Walker, Roy Book Binder and others. This was my fourth trip, first in five years. Can't wait to go back again.
  10. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    Jack's instructional video is terrific too. Jorma is with him the whole time, and they do about a half-dozen tunes (or at least parts of them), and after each Jack goes through the various parts of the tune and explains what he was doing and thinking, and why. I think I learned more from that video (and continue to learn more each time I go through it) than from all my other instructional videos combined.
  11. PeteInIowa


    Jul 23, 2014
    Yes, great video! What's amazing is that as great as these guys are at their craft, they are equally great at imparting their wisdom to others. Teaching this stuff isn't necessarily intuitive, but they do a wonderful job. Jack is a taskmaster in the classroom! He helped me to "be a bassist" (in my approach and through my hand technique), rather than just "play the bass". If you want to learn about control of your instrument, take a lesson with Jack - money well spent, and has paid for itself many times over.
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2015
    edmidlifecrisis likes this.
  12. edmidlifecrisis

    edmidlifecrisis Registered mediocre bass player

    Well said!
  13. edmidlifecrisis

    edmidlifecrisis Registered mediocre bass player

    Listen to Jack's tone here. They did a Jefferson Airplane set at the Lockn Festival last weekend. They also did an acoustic set the next day. His tone with the JA tunes is just monstrous. He does a really great solo bit with Bill Kreutzmann of the Grateful Dead about halfway through, his sound is just thunderous and beautiful.

    Here he is the next day with his new acoustic bass which I saw up close and personal at Fur Peace

    joe vegas and 1stnamebassist like this.
  14. Marcury

    Marcury High and Low

    Aug 19, 2007
    Mid Hudson Valley, NY
    Jack is my God! I only hope I can afford a visit to Fur Peace ranch before he stops teaching.
    edmidlifecrisis likes this.
  15. I'd love to play that acoustic bass. It sounds great.
  16. rufus.K

    rufus.K Supporting Member

    Oct 18, 2015
    I just saw Jack & Tuna at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival in Golden Gate Park. Jack held it together, Jorma was so winded... he could play, but he hadnt the breath to run around and sing.
    Happy Traum is fantastic... Head Jonathan Wilson's cover of the Brothers Traum's "Trials if Jonathan"?
  17. jerry

    jerry Too old for a hiptrip Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    I broke out this album yesterday, nice instrumental Casady.
  18. dougjwray


    Jul 20, 2005
    What a great experience! Thanks for all of the info.
    What's interesting to me is how Jack's sound in that clip is not very different at all from how he sounded with the Airplane when I saw them in 1972! He found his "voice" and has stayed with it. Also, it's interesting how he plucks with the entire weight of his right hand behind it. I'm sure that heavy attack is a vital component of his tone.
  19. Since I'm new here on TB, and a huge Casady fan, thought I'd bump in (up?) and offer my 2 cents.
    I first saw Jack with Jefferson Starship's 'Acoustic Explorer' outfit in 1993. Just bass, acoustic guitar, and keys, and Jack really carried the whole thing, musically, playing his 70's Gibson Les Paul Signature bass (the prototype for his current signature one). That was pretty much my inspiration for getting a hollowbody bass, and getting into a 'bass guitar' style of playing, which was, and still is, not really the trend.
    After I found a Gibson EB-2, I then got his bass instructional video (on VHS, no less) which really gave me a rock solid foundation, and a certain approach to playing, which serves me to this day.
    I have since seen Jack several times, mostly with Electric Hot Tuna, and he never disappoints. When I saw them in Portland OR with Steve Kimock a few years ago, I was dancing off to the side with a few others (I'm also a Deadhead who loves to boogie), and for a minute or so, I could see that he could see I was 'in the groove' with him, and we were kind of interacting with each other. Definitely a moment to cherish.
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