The Bass Geek - Words about Music, Circuitry, and New Orleans
The Bass Geek
14Dec/090

Charlie Hunter Gets It

Two great quotes from Charlie Hunter on playing an extended-range instrument (in this case, the 8-string guitar, where he plays both basslines and the chordal and solo parts normally reserved for higher, tinny six-string instruments):

I wouldn’t recommend it unless you want to do something different. I think I’d recommend it to bass players more than guitar players. Because bass players would do the right thing and guitar players would do the wrong thing with the instrument. Which is what I did in the beginning — the wrong thing, trying to make it sound all like a guitar and flashy and impress everybody.

Whereas bass players would do the right thing, which is what I’m doing now, which is taking care of business. Whatever is left over is the contribution that you’ll make to the rest of the sound. You grow out of the dumb guitar thing after awhile.

And a gallows-humor take on the job security of musicians:

My friend Bobby Previte said it best. Someone told him, “Oh, it must be awful for you musicians, everyone is getting fired.” And he said, “What do you mean? We come pre-fired.”

Read the entire article here - I'm going to keep taking care of business.

30Sep/070

Charlie Hunter Trio Review, 9-29-07

This weekend was a tough choice for shows. I hated to miss Peelander-Z at the Mel, but it'd been awhile since I'd seen Charlie Hunter, and the Jazz Kitchen is a great venue to see him at.

"But Ryan, he doesn't have a bassist! And you HATE bands that don't have bassists! I've heard what you've said about the White Stripes!"

Nameless Quoted Internet Devil's Advocate, you are correct. Charlie Hunter earns a pass, though. At a guitar workshop lo those many years ago at an Indianapolis studio, he was asked that, if forced to split his trademark guitar/bass style (he plays both on a specially constructed Novak guitar), which instrument he would choose? He replied bass, because it grooves more. He's declared his loyalties, and thus should be respected.

He's traded in the 8-string for a 7-string now, and he's travelling with an organ, so that didn't bode well for the low end. That boding was wrong - he still held down the bass lines and added the chords as necessary. The organ fulfilled more of a melody/pad function, and Hunter kept the groove going. He's travelled away from his organ-like sound to a more precise, agressive guitar tone, but it's still his trademark music that pleased the audience. Hunter may have switched band members and labels multiple times, but he hasn't lost a step. Excellent show, and I highly recommend it.

Just remember, though - if you're going to come through without a bassist, you'd better be as good as he is. I'm watching you.