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Ralphe Armstrong and Jaco Pastorius

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by dbamta, Oct 17, 2013.

  1. dbamta


    Aug 25, 2009
    I just read a story about Ralphe Armstrong and how he be beat out Jaco Pastorius for the gig with Mahavishnu. See below:

    Michael Walden told me that Mahavishnu was coming. Next thing I knew Michael had changed his name to Narada and he was wearing all this white stuff and burning incense. John McLaughlin came up there and I played with him and Narada with my fretless Precision bass. I’m pretty sure I’m one of the first musicians that ever recorded with a fretless Precision. John liked the bass so much that he invited me to join the group.

    Now, on that same day, Jaco Pastorius came with his “bass of doom.” He came and auditioned after me and John gave me the gig because he loved the sound of the fretless Precision bass. And Jaco got mad and ripped all the frets out of his bass and put epoxy in there! I played his bass like three months later, man. You’d play G on it and sounded like F. It was out. It was so out! Jaco was a good cat, but he was kind of mad he didn’t get the gig. I also found it funny that he never had a case for that bass.

    Here is the link:
  2. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    ...this has been through here before-

    I have an early picture of Armstrong from a '70s Guitar Player mag...if I remember, I'll re-visit it tonight. IIRC, it's a blonde? (it's a B&W photo) Jazz bass w/ a fretless P-neck.

    More: In the mid-'70s, Fender had a fretless P-bass within their catalog.
    I am not sure if a fretless Jazz neck was available (other than as a do-it-yourself).
    So, at the time, Armstrong's Jazz body with a P-neck intrigued me...I also noted how his plucking hand was way back by the bridge pickup in the above mentioned photo.
  3. jerry

    jerry Doesn't know BDO Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    Armstrong with Mahavishnu in 1974:

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