Some years ago I wrote a blog post about playing fretless. You can find it here. Recently, with New Accelerator I’ve been playing more fretless than ever, and exploring what’s possible on the instrument. That’s what’s possible for me, not what’s possible generally. I’m not that good.
A passing comment in a recent rehearsal had me trying out an octaver on certain parts of a song. If you don’t know what I’m talking about an octaver (usually) creates a note an octave below the one you’re playing. On the higher notes of a bass it creates a really pleasing, fat sound.
While mid song, octaver on, a name popped into my head. Keith Wilson. He was the bass player in a version of the seminal English band, Squeeze. Keith played a fretless Fender Jazz and produced a wonderful, lyrical growling tone from his instrument. I’d seen him in concert with Squeeze and playing in a trio with Jools Hollland and Gilson Lavis. I loved his tone and the way he played but, after that version of Squeeze broke up I never heard him again. Keith used to say, “every note is torn from me,” and I tried to put a bit of his style into my playing last night.