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Jaco Gear Article

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by Rev J, Sep 23, 2017.

  1. Rev J

    Rev J

    Jun 14, 2012
    Berkeley, Ca.
    I just saw this article on Reverb and thought I would share:

    Remembering Jaco Pastorius: A Tribute to His Favorite Gear

    The one surprising part was on the Guild Pilot bass. I knew he had something to do with Hartke. Also the part about "The Bass of Doom" sitting in a pawn shop bought for $400 was kind of a trip.

    Rev J
    Jay Rodewald and DiabolusInMusic like this.
  2. devnulljp

    devnulljp Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2009
    BC, Canada
    Admin on the D*A*M Forum
    There's a pic of him with the Pilot, which IIRC is an ad for Hartke, so I wouldn't be at all surprised if it was just a prop bass for the photo shoot.
    Jay Rodewald and JimK like this.
  3. Plutonium244

    Plutonium244 Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2015
    Guild Pilots are a an open secret -- a very underrated bass tho I don't own one. Seems like a lot of studios have these on hand even today, you can reliably get a good sound out of them for recording purposes. Dave LaRue was a big Pilot guy too.
    Artman likes this.
  4. Rev J

    Rev J

    Jun 14, 2012
    Berkeley, Ca.
    Jerry Peek also used one with the Steve Morse Band.

    I can't help but wonder if there was an endorsement deal going on.

    Rev J
  5. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    Guild approached him with the Pilot, and while working with Guild, he told them about the Hartke speakers. Guild became the first distributors for Hartke, and Jaco did play a fretless Pilot on occasion. Guild was working on a video release to dealers (I was a Guild dealer from '77-'88) with Jaco, Jerry Jemmott, and a third bassist I don't recall, although I want to it was Jeff Andrews. They never did finish it, Guild was sold again, and Sam Ash/ Samson took over Hartke distribution.
    nixdad and DiabolusInMusic like this.
  6. Rev J

    Rev J

    Jun 14, 2012
    Berkeley, Ca.
    It wouldn't surprise me if it was Jeff Andrews as I remember seeing some Mike Stern videos with him playing one.

    Rev J
  7. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    I remember seeing that ad in Guitar Player...looked totally out-of-character for Jaco.
    Also, from back in the day-
    Darryl Jones, too, sported a blue Pilot bass in his Guitar Player feature.
  8. Larry Hartke is the floor manager at the Sam Ash store in NY, I believe he has in the store Jaco's original Hartke cabinet.
    trothwell and Artman like this.
  9. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    The first cabinet was an SVT with Hartke speakers replacing the factory ones.
  10. He still has to work a retail job?! Did he get a bad deal for his amp company or something?
  11. IPA


    May 5, 2010
    It's like a hartke store built into the Sam Ash. It's pretty nice.
  12. Guild had really bad luck endorsing artists. If you look back at their Ads, most people were never "popular" artists - and if they were, it is impossible to find real life pictures of the artists with Guild products... ie. Jaco and the Pilot bass, Johnny Smith and George Benson with the Artist Award, the most successful may have been Slash and the double-neck Crossroads. I've been watching some old Blood, Sweat and Tears videos to see if I can actually see Jim Fielder actually playing a Quantum Bass Amp, but amps are usually hard to spot, even with distinct bi-colored grilles. And who was Allan Montoya?
  13. So there is an interview on the "Jaco" site between his son and Larry Hartke of aluminum speaker cone fame, and they reference the Guild/Hartke & Pilot Bass Ad. Johnny stated "Actually, I was always a little confused when I saw that ad with my Dad holding a Guild bass." and asked "He was playing his Fender jazz in New York during the period you knew him wasn’t he?". Larry replied "Jaco did like the pilot bass that Guild made for him, and he did play it live a lot during that period." Unfortunately for us, cameras still used film, and not everyone had a camera in their backpocket - so I have not come across a single image of Jaco playing a Pilot bass, except of course the Ad. If there would have been a Jaco Signature Guild bass, that was the one in the Ad, would the requirements be that it had to be a Black, PJ, Passive V/T/Blend, foot headstock, fretless? And would a Guild import that matched those descriptions qualify to be called a Jaco Bass (similar to Epiphone having the Zakk Wylde series of guitars)? Would other Guild basses like the cake server headstock, active electronics or 5-string fretted with a modern graphic paint job be able to be called a Jaco Bass? (like this one: GUILD Pilot Bass SB604 Jaco Pastorius 1983 With Hard Case | eBay)
  14. They can call it whatever but I don't see Jaco ever playing anything that ugly. IIRC that bass belonged to a Japanese hair band rocker, sorta their version of Gene Simmons, but not Jaco.

    *Thank you for reminding me of a story for my memoirs.
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2019
  15. Rev J

    Rev J

    Jun 14, 2012
    Berkeley, Ca.
    The only 4 I can think of off the top of my head are Kim Thayil (Soundgarden), Bob Weir (I think), Slash playing their acoustics on G'N'R Lies, and Jerry Peek with the Steve Morse Band.

    Rev J
  16. dougjwray


    Jul 20, 2005
    Also, Mike Mills of R.E.M.
    8guy and Rev J like this.
  17. eastcoasteddie


    Mar 24, 2006
    Larry has been kind of “hanging out” at Sam Ash a couple days a week for decades. I met him at the newest (at the time) rendition of the 48th street store (which used to be Manny’s) on a Thursday afternoon.
  18. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    John Denver sold more Guild guitars than all the other endorsers combined.

    Robben Ford got a Starfire IV when he took Larry Carlton's place in the LA Express. He and Carlton went looking for a Gibson ES-335 together , but the Starfire won. Then there's Lesh and Casidy with the Starfire basses.

    But Guild always had marketing problems, no matter who owned them, but especially at the time of the extensive Pilot promotions, they dropped the ball. The video that was advertised but never released was a problem. I found out about it when a customer came in to ask about it, and I hadn't heard anything about it as a dealer. Besides Jaco and Daryl Jones, the only other endorser I recall seeing ads with was Alec John Such before he got fired from Bon Jovi. Not the best marketing.

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