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Player Spotlight: Glenn “SmittyG” Smith

Glenn 'SmittyG' SmithMeet Glenn “SmittyG” Smith, a bassist from Texarkana who can play the spectrum of music from country to punk to jazz and everything in between.

The player spotlight is one of our favorite features on No Treble, and it is people like Glenn who really make it extra special. I’m sure you’ll enjoy his sense of humor as much as we did. Not to mention his impressive range of music and gig experience.

Glenn is our player in the spotlight for November 22, 2011. Be sure to drop him a note in the comments and say “hi”.

Bio:

I’m an Army brat who wound up dropped off in Texarkana with a love for large variety of experimental and improvisational music and absolutely no local market for it.

Add to that I have a wife and two kids in school, and I’m the only provider, and you have the perfect storm to create one frustrated musical artist.

Location:

Texarkana / Texas / USA

Day gig:

I am an out of work database engineer who currently can only find work as a bookkeeper/accountant. (Yep, I’m just lovin’ the economy right now.) I also work part time at Mic’d Music in Texarkana to support my string habit.

Years experience:

30 years

Bands & Gigs:

I just got hired on as the bassist for Ms Mac and the Groovetones. We do classic rock with a focus on Heart, Fleetwood Mac and Joan Jett.

I also have my solo improvisational groove jazz project called Narada Weeps. (I’m betting you can guess which one gigs more often.)

Gear:

I use a Hartke 112c HyDrive combo amp.

While I have a lot of pedals, I almost never use them live. The exceptions are a Seymour Duncan Paranormal DI that was given to me by Bass Player Magazine for a quick lesson of mine they published, and my Digitech Jamman loop pedal.

On the bass side, I have a Fender Standard Jazz Bass loaded with EMG JX pickups, an Ibanez SR405 five string, and a relic’d (yeah, I said I would never own one of these things) Indy (Indiana) custom shop jazz style bass with the best neck I’ve ever touched in my life.

My strings are all over the map. I’m still looking for a favorite.

Why I play the bass:

I started out strumming guitar when I was eight and writing my own little songs. (My first gem was about a misunderstood dragon.) When I hit school band, there was not much use for balladeers of misunderstood dragons so I became a drummer. I thought I was pretty good, but I wasn’t any good at all. While working with a wannabe metal band in high school, I would have to learn to the bass parts to songs to teach them by rote to the bass player because he hated learning songs. One day the guitar player and I were jamming around (I was playing with the bass) and he turned to me and said, “I’ve been trying to figure out how to tell you this for a while – you suck as a drummer, but you flat rock as a bass player!”

I took his words to heart and never looked back.

My bass superpower/claim to fame

I guess that would be that I have the ability to drop into a band with little or no prep time and get the show done. Most of the bands I’ve been hired to play in, my introduction to the group came with an unexpected departure of a bassist (or, in Ms Mac’s case, an unexpected shoulder injury that left her unable to play bass for a full gig). I have had as little as six hours notice and up to two weeks, with the most common being about one to three days warning that I’m needed.

I have done blues gigs, country gigs, rock gigs, punk gigs, jazz gigs, cover bands and all original bands. A good ear and deft fretwork have helped me get the job done.

My influences

I started out with Steve Harris (Iron Maiden), Geddy Lee (Rush), and John Taylor (Duran Duran). But I never played like them – my fingers just ain’t that fast. Then moved on to Stanley Clarke, Jeff Berlin and Dann Glenn. I can’t play like them either.

Lately, I listen to a lot of solo musical artists like Michael Manring, Steve Lawson, and Trip Wamsley. Nope, can’t play anything like them (I wish).

But if I had to narrow it down to the ones who really showed me what to do with the instrument in how I use it on my primary gigs, I would have to go with Carol Kaye, Todd Johnson, and local bass hero Jimmy Sparks. Of course, I could just name every bass player on the planet! I do my best to learn from everyone.

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