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Wild Speculation: What would Jaco Play Today?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by fu22ba55, May 1, 2009.

  1. fu22ba55

    fu22ba55 Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2009
    If he didn't get himself killed in a barfight...

    I know he used his Jazz, and I've seen instructional videos where he was using something "Alembic-like" but I can't remember what it was.

    I remember reading that his amp was an Acousitc with a reverse-ported 18" or something like that.

    Someone please correct me if I'm wrong.


    If he were alive today, what would he play for bass and rig?

    I have two ideas:

    1) Whatever junk he could beg, borrow, steal, abuse or destroy.

    Back in '86, I used to take bass lessons in New Jersey from a fusion guitarist who gigged regularly in NYC. He had NO LOVE for Jaco, and nothing but horror stories: Jaco passing out in the back of someone's car... borrowing amps and cranking everythng up to 11 and destroying the amp... borrowing basses and doing crude carvings in them with a screwdriver (true story. Where's that bass now?). So my first guess is, he'd play whatever someone handed him, and destroy it on the spot.

    2) Some "signature edition". He would have miraculosly cleaned up his act in the 90's and struck a deal with a famous maker (not necessarily Fender) and designed a signature edition that he felt "beholden" to play. (Warwick? Ibanez? Lakland? Mike Lull?)


    I have no idea what kind of rig this "theoretical jaco" would play today. Boogie? some Ampeg "Jaco Signature Series"? Sunn? Would Acoustic have been bought and re-distributed?

    Any wild speculation?

    Would he still be playing 4s? or would he be a 11-string tapping monster by now?
  2. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    Likely the same beatup jazz.
  3. Spinal Tapper

    Spinal Tapper

    Nov 15, 2007
    A Geddy Lee sig :bag::p
  4. Guitar.
  5. CraigG


    Mar 14, 2006
    Mechanicsburg, PA
    I think he'd still probably be playing his old fretless jazz.
  6. G&L Signature Jazz Bass
  7. Jeff Berlin signature.:bag:

    JAUQO III-X Banned

    Jan 4, 2002
    Endorsing artist:see profile.

    With all due respect you are definitely entitled to your statement but this is unfair and very negative.

    No one knows what he would have been playing or doing.

    Maybe he would be playing a bass that one of his children gave him or a bass that he got from a company.

    Every one didn't give up on Jaco.

    One shouldn't believe all the horror stories about Jaco,the vast majority were made up and many were made up by people who just feel it's kool to lie about some one they never even met to make themselves look important.

    And I'm not saying that this guitarist is not being truthful.
  9. fu22ba55

    fu22ba55 Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2009
    Aw, c'mon! In my "option 2" he comes clean and makes a full recovery!

    Just kidding. You're right.

    I just think it's fun to speculate.

    (P.S.I never gave up on Jaco, I still have my Jazz Bass, and was playing Continuum last night! That's what made me think of the topic!)
  10. artistanbul

    artistanbul Nihavend Longa Vita Brevis

    Apr 15, 2003
    it'll be a speculation at any rate, so...
    he'd play an ashbory.
  11. ugly_bassplayer

    ugly_bassplayer Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2009
    A double bass!!!!
  12. fu22ba55

    fu22ba55 Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2009
    That would be so awesome. He'd play the hell out of it. But he'd put RotoSounds on it first somehow.
  13. I think he'd stick to Fender Jazz but I'm sure he'd have endorsements out the wazoo loads of luthiers and manufacturers. I can see him playing a Ken Smith, Sadowsky or a Fodera NYC :). Now the big question is what kind of rig he'd play through! I'm thinking he would do either SWR or Ampeg but Markbass would lend more to his signature sound IMO.
  14. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    Well, if we assume he beat the demons of bi-polar and his substance problems, the speculation takes a different tack than if we assume he would still be wallowing in his own urine while passed out on the street.

    I'm going with the positive approach. First of all, the OP's mention of the "Alembic" sort of thing is pretty much off the mark. It's a Rivera and it's Jerry Jemmott's bass. If the OP doesn't know Jemmott, then I suggest you go back to learn history. Jaco once said that he used to sneak into Criteria studio in Miami and listen to JJ "making all those sound I wanted to be making". Check out the live recordings of Aretha and King Curtis' All-Stars at the Fillmore* The Riveria had a pair of Jazz bass PUPs, it was hollow, and didn't have the exotic filter EQ that Alembics have. I understand that Jaco ordered one like Jerry's but I don't know if it ever came to fruition.

    Jaco was an early endorser of the Guild Pilot, and one of Bill (I Only Write About Jaco) Milkowski's books has a photo of Jaco with a Carvin fretless. But what would he be playing today? Well, the Bass of Doom was broken and his long-time tech, Kevin Kaufman, rebuilt it so I'd assume he'd still be playing it primarily.

    He loved the sound of the big Acoustic amps with those folded horn 18"s, but given that he's the one who turned Guild on to Larry Hartke's stuff, and that Mr. Hartke says they put eight of their 10" aluminum speakers into an Ampeg SVT box for Jaco, I'd bet he'd have moved on to 10" speakers from the 18"- like most players. He also seemingly had a personal relationship with Steve Rabe (one of the founders of SWR, and also Raven Labs) so it's likely he'd have gone that route.

    But it's also likely that in the fighting of his bi-polar affliction and beating his substance abuse that money would become an issue. And given the potential benefits of having Jaco actually ENDORSE your stuff (the only formal endorsement I ever saw while he was alive was Acoustic and Guild/Hartke- and the Guild/Hartke stuff was after the downward spiral had begun unfortunately)- it's a crapshoot where he'd have wound up.

    My personal prejudice is that he'd be playing a Lakland Joe Osborn with a fretless ebony board through an Aquilar rig nowdays...


    *King Curtis' band was the opening act for those shows, and then they were Aretha's backup. The band included Jerry Jemmott(bass), Bernard Purdie (drums), Cornell Dupree (guitar), Billy Preston (keys) et. al. They made two albums of the shows, one for Curtis, the other for Arethea. They are indispensible lessons for bassists.
  15. ehque


    Jan 8, 2006
    I see Manring as Jaco's spiritual successor, so Jaco would almost certainly be playing a Zon Hyperbass.
  16. This reminds me of a drummer of mine in an old. old band. He used to claim to play with Jaco up in NY (along with a number of other bands - Kool in the Gang, Sister Sledge ...). He had all of these Jaco stories about Jaco trashing gear, being drunk, etc. He wasn't entirely believeable. After awhile things got a little .. much. At one point I asked him when he played with Jaco.

    His answer? 1991.
  17. Matt Dean

    Matt Dean Supporting Member

    Jan 2, 2007
    SF (North) Bay Area
    I loved Jaco... I think he'd be playing his bass of doom through a SWR rig; maybe he'd have a signature head like Marcus Miller.
  18. Credibility.....fail. :p
  19. fu22ba55

    fu22ba55 Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2009
    I should go back. I cut most of my history classes in high school to practice my bass. :)

    Must have been when Jaco was playing with Hendrix & Joplin (Scott)
  20. Mikio


    Feb 21, 2009
    Santiago de Chile
    that or a real signature model

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