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Jaco's sound

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by nirvanafan13, Jul 2, 2001.

  1. nirvanafan13


    Apr 14, 2000
    Austin, TX
    I have heard people talk about Jaco Pastorius like a god.. so i downloaded 2 songs and the sound is really cool.
    how does he get that sound...??i have heard he plays a fretless, but is that all ?( like does he use a processor or a amp with an effect on it or something?)

    frenfrins likes this.
  2. melvin


    Apr 28, 2001
    i dont know. he used an 8x10 harke thats all i know

    im just replying cause we have the same name
  3. Actually, for most of his career he used Acoustic brand heads and cabs. And in the studio, AFAIK, he tended to go direct.

    I'm sure many folks know more about the minutiae of Jaco's tone than I. Briefly, though, he used a fretless Fender Jazz Bass (though he also played fretted on occasion); he defretted the bass himself and put boat epoxy over the fingerboard. He tended to use the rear (bridge) pickup. He used effects on occasion (notably a delay), but that wasn't the biggest part of his sound. Mostly, his sound was in his hands--how he played.
  4. Aaron


    Jun 2, 2001
    Bellingham, WA
    Jaco's sound is a variety of things. His normal gear consisted of two Acoustic 360s and a 1962 jazz bass that he defretted himself and put in epoxy or something to fill in the holes and put ten layers of some other chemical (i can't remember the name, i'm not good at these things, obviously) on the neck so he could use roundwound strings without eating up the neck. He applied lots of pressure with his fingerstyle and used the bridge pickup. I beleive his gear made up 5% of the sound, the rest of it was pure jaco. He learned a lot of his technique from many bass players. One was the orginal bass player from Las Olas Brass, when jaco was still the drummer for them. He learned his muting technique and a lot of his funk style as heard on "Come on, Come Over." He learned a little carabean when he worked for a cruise line from Florida to some Carabean Islands. He would dock and learn some of their style. He didn't use a bunch of effects. I heard he used Bass Octave sometimes. He used the built in fuzz from his amps, and he used sampler on "Slang." It is really impossible to have jaco's sound, unless you are jaco pastorius (but he died, i think, on Semptember 21st, 1987, when he was in a coma after being severely beaten by a bouncer). He was a great bass player, and had an extremely tragic life. Fame really killed him. I have a bunch of his albums (mainly on LP, i need to upgrade to cd sometime, but cd is too sterile!!!).
  5. DaveB


    Mar 29, 2000
    Toronto Ontario
    God?? Hmmm...then God is a manic depressive. Geez, that's scary. Seriously, Jaco was manic depressive but that didn't get in the way of his genius. I believe Mozart was one too.

    Jaco's gear and tone were well covered in the above posts.

    I think that he was the first jazz electric bassist to bring real solo and lead instrument credibility to an instrument that, up until then, was widely regarded as only a rhythm instrument. His conversion to fretless and his extreme use of mid-range was, I think,a reaction to has need to bridge the gap between URB jazz tones and an instrument that could cut through the mix not only in solo form but in lead instrument form.

    He used the electric bass not unlike the way Coltrane used the sax to solo and be the lead instrument. Or the way Miles Davis used the trumpet.

    God ? Nope. Innovative jazz genius? Absolutely!

    WAKOJACO Guest

    Jul 5, 2000
    Binghamton, NY
    I wonder if Jaco ever even played through that 8x10 hartke cab. that they are flaunting in all their new adds.
  7. Aaron


    Jun 2, 2001
    Bellingham, WA
    I seriously doubt that jaco ever seriously used a Hartke Cab. Kind of how Carvin is saying that Chris Squire uses Carvin Basses. I think saying that jaco plays through a Hartke Cab is like saying Jimi Hendrix plays a Moserite. (well, but past tense, may they rest in peace.)
  8. winston

    winston Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    Berkeley, CA
    Actually, in the August 1984 Guitar Player cover story, there was a picture of Jaco playing through a Hartke system-but in the interview he said he'd been playing through the same Acoustic 360's for the past 13 years. I read an interview with Larry Hartke a while ago where he said that his very first cabinet was a converted 8x10 Ampeg SVT with aluminum speakers that went on a world tour with Jaco. Jaco was also in a Carvin catalog playing a Carvin fretless in the early 80's. Can you tell that I've always been a music dork?

    If you want to learn more about Jaco you should really check out Bill Milkowski's biography of him. Bill is a music writer who was one of Jaco's closest friends, from the glory years right up to the end. His portrait of Jaco's troubles and triumphs really gave me a better appreciation of how thousands of gritty soul, jazz, and R&B gigs honed his amazing creativity and legendary stamina.
  9. Aaron


    Jun 2, 2001
    Bellingham, WA
    When i said "seriously used one," i didn't mean jaco never used one at all, or squire didn't use one at all. I just thought that that was an endorsement thing for the money, and jaco's amp of choice (or should i say amps of choice) would be the dual 360s.
  10. Ty McNeely

    Ty McNeely

    Mar 27, 2000
    While this is somewhat a discussion of the Acoustic 360's, it more revolves around Jaco's tone....


    moved to Bassists.
  11. pedro


    Apr 5, 2000
    Madison, WI.
    >>Bill is a music writer who was one of Jaco's closest friends, from the glory years right up to the end.

    I don't get the impression that the Pastorius family feels the same way.
  12. You could go down to the Pro's and ask Dann Glenn.
  13. narud

    narud Supporting Member

    Mar 15, 2001
    santa maria,california
    im a big jaco fan but i personally think the "its all in the hands" thing in terms of tone is b.s. listen to stuttgart aria where he's using an 85 jazz and tell me his tone is as good where he's using a 60's jazz. note choice and phrasing are the same but the tone isnt
  14. I don't see where anyone said that it's *all* in the hands. I for one said that it "mostly" is, and I stand by that. If he could get very much the same tone either direct or through an Acoustic 360, then surely the amp couldn't be the determining factor, right?

    Of course gear plays a role in tone--why else would we buy different gear if it didn't? I've argued this point several times weith people on line; I don't think it's ALL in the hands, but I also know it's not all in the gear. IMO, gear doesn't play as big a role as many of us think (or hope) it does.

    As for "stuttgart aria," what record is that from? If he was playing an 85 Jazz, it must have been recorded (obviously) no earlier than 85, which was only shortly before his death. This was a time when both Jaco's health and his playing had deteriorated markedly. Also, I know of no "authorized" Jaco records from that time (at least not US releases), so I'd guess that record was a bootleg. So if you're talking about a bootleg recording of a live performance by a sick man, that could be one good reason why the tone wasn't the same. Also, if it was a bootleg, the recording is gonna reflect what the soundperson had Jaco sounding like, not necessarily the tone Jaco would have wanted if he were producing.
  15. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I agree - it's well known that a lot of the later (bootleg) recordings are poor quality and that Jaco's state of mind was pretty poor as well - this would have been the case whatever gear he was playing.

    In his instructional video they managed to "sober him up" for a few days and he is using borrowed instruments cobbled together - fretted mostly and then a borrowed fretless, but it still sounds unmistakeably like Jaco. In the video he is at pains to explain that his sound is as much to do with his note choise as anything else.
  16. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Why has this been moved to amps? It's quite clear that the discussion is not about amps but about Jaco and should be in Bassists!! :(
  17. chadds


    Mar 18, 2000
    I've been using the Thunton Pwr Bass for years and feel that it more than moves the lower recesses. If creativity is in the spirit and soul and heart then it's application through the mind and fingers is indeed continued through the equipment you use. An alder bodied Blynth bass will sound similar in the hands of three first year students and unique in the hands of an experienced player with something to say. Add a figured maple top and play old Grand Funk Railroad licks with the passion of a cruise ship bassist and you're back to the bass right out of the box sound.

  18. Phat Ham

    Phat Ham

    Feb 13, 2000
    I have a cd "Jaco Pastorious Best Improvisation" and a cd called "Jaco Pastorious Live in Italy" that I bought in Tokyo. They have a bunch of live recordings from 1986 when he went on tour in Europe. I don't think they are bootlegs because the sound quality is rather good. If I am correct Jaco actually handed some of his tapes to an engineer of his in New York before his death, and they sat in a closet for a few years before the engineer got greedy and sold them to a guy in Japan. Maybe these cd's are from those tapes.

    Anyway, there are three tracks from the album Stuttgart Aria: Stuttgart Aria II, Donna Lee, and Teresa. Admittedly his tone on that track is not the same as other tracks on the cd. But it might have to do with the fact that the different tracks were recorded in different places with different engineers.
  19. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I still don't see why this is in Amps? :confused:
  20. Any engineers from Jacos solo studio work around? I am trying to find out more about that sound. I listen to some out takes from his 1st solo album on YouTube. The tone does very drastically from track to track. Thanks, Joseph

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