Meet Charles Berthoud, a bassist living in Boston – by way of London – who is now graduating from Berklee and ready for the next step in his musical journey.
Here’s his story…
I am originally from London, England, and now, about to graduate from Berklee College of Music, I am on the brink of beginning my career as a bass player. I have spent 3 years at an incredible music school, and can’t believe how much I have learned at the school and out on gigs. I’ve attended clinics featuring incredible players like Victor Wooten, John Clayton and John Patitucci, and my mentor, Jim Stinnett, has given me the knowledge and mindset to reach levels of mastery I wouldn’t have believed I could reach. I can’t wait for the future!
My goal is to use these musical skills and knowledge to bring happiness and peace to as many people as I can, whether it’s in one of my bands, as a solo artist or as a session musician. That’s why a lot of my solo bass compositions have uplifting themes. “Resurrection” is about overcoming fear to achieve your goals. “Living in a Dream” is about being in a blissful, peaceful state.
I absolutely love seeing positive reactions from audiences to my music. I sincerely hope that you, the reader, will take a moment to discover some of my music, be it online or at a live performance.
Boston, MA, USA
I am a full-time musician, playing multiple gigs per week and doing remote recording sessions online, mainly through the website AirGigs.com.
Bands & Gigs:
I have two main projects at the moment. One is a pop/rock duo called “Skyler & The Brit”, the other is a Celtic-Bluegrass band called “Cat and the Moon”. I love both groups, and play gigs all over the US with them. As well as touring heavily, Skyler and I have been writing pop songs that feature the bass as a lead instrument. Watch out for our next CD which will include a pop song based around piccolo bass and vocals!
Cat and the Moon is an incredibly fun band that leaves everyone with a smile on their face. Our sound is similar to that of Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, and I’d say that my parts are heavily influenced by Victor Wooten’s playing. We’ve got some really great gigs coming up, playing at Freshgrass Festival and opening for Alison Brown in Boston in September.
- LeFay D-Tuner 4-string bass
- LeFay D-Tuner 4-string piccolo bass
- MusicMan Sterling 4-string
- Aguilar Tone Hammer 500
- Phil Jones 4B Cabinet
- ATS C310 Cabinet
- Behringer BUC400 Ultra Bass Chorus
- Boss Equalizer GE-7
Why I play the bass:
When I was about eleven years old, having been playing piano for four years, I came to a sudden realisation that I wanted to start learning an instrument that could be played in a rock band. At the time, I was really into Led Zeppelin, Metallica, Guns ‘n’ Roses; all those bands.
All of my friends were playing guitars, drums or singing, but no-one was playing bass! I’d always enjoyed playing a supporting role in any situation, rather than being the centre of attention, so the electric bass was a great choice for me.
Things progressed very quickly from that point. I started playing in a couple of bands in high school, and as Esat Ekincioglu said in the previous Reader Spotlight, I was “the” bassist for the school. I fell in love with the instrument and with music in general, started going to tons of gigs and festivals, and also just loved the discipline and feeling of improvement through hard work. That love has stayed with me and grown ever since!
My bass superpower/claim to fame
People are always most impressed by my two-handed tapping technique. I practised tapping technique for at least two hours every day for two years, in order to reach the level I am now at. Now I can play very freely in the tapping style. I also released an instructional book/DVD with Berklee professor, Jim Stinnett, titled “Two-Handed Tapping”. It contains many of mine and his original compositions, designed specifically to develop different aspects of tapping technique, leading to overall mastery.
My primary influences are Jaco, Marcus Miller, Michael Manring, Grant Stinnett, Victor Wooten, Paul Chambers and Chet Baker.