Reader Spotlight: Francisco Javier
Meet Francisco Javier, who has had a long and windy road down the musical path. Francisco began playing bass at an early age, putting it down, and picking it up again 30 years after.
Francisco is this week’s No Treble reader in the spotlight. Here’s his story…
I have studied and practiced music since I was eight. Initially with the soprano recorder at home, after that, I followed with an official career on the alto (baroque fingering) in the Conservatory of Madrid. Meanwhile, I learned (by myself) to play Spanish guitar and also the bass guitar for a short time (two or three years with school mates, but with no own bass nor teacher).
When I was 27 or so I took piano classes for a short time.
At the age of 44, I began to learn (tenor) saxophone with YouTube videos, and a couple of years later I took again the bass to play it in a band (Standard and Blues). Three years ago I started to play keyboards on my own and last year a soprano sax came to my life. I actually play the bass (and occasionally the sax) with my new band (Cover Garden).
I have to say that I have never lived from musical incomes. I also studied a university career and have a “normal” work.
From 14 to 16 and from 46 up to now (55).
Why I play the bass:
In both periods of my bass life, the reason has been the same: nobody else to play it.
With the time I have learned to love this instrument more than I could ever have imagined.
Basses: I started playing an unknown (at least, at that moment, for me) bass with strings covered with a thick black plastic cover (or this was the way I saw them). I really knew nothing about basses at this moment. Only that they had 4 strings.
As an adult, I bought an abandoned P-bass copy from a son of mine. I sold it to buy an Epiphone viola bass copy. After that, I bought an active 5 string TRBX Yamaha bass. I sold both of them to acquire an affordable fretless jazz bass and a Sire Marcus Miller active 5-string bass.
Amplifiers: I started with the 20 W combo of my son, I went to an 80 W wedged combo and after that to my actual Ampeg BA 115 V2 combo. I am now playing a Markbass Mini CMD 121P combo.
Pedals: The only one I have and need is the Zoom MS-60B multi stompbox. It gives me various sonic palettes I use in the gigs.
Other: I also use a pair of Bluetooth transmitter/receiver pair between the bass and the stompbox to give me more freedom of movement on stage.
Since I am a very huge Beatles fan, I have internalized Paul’s both melodic and rhythmic style. And I suppose having played diverse kinds of musical instruments it opens up the way to play, less “academic” and more heterodox.
My bass superpower/claim to fame:
Perhaps my real superpower is my lack of inhibition. I try every genre with joy and happiness.
Also, my holistic approach to the line bass. I try not to stand out but to work in the mix.
I have to mention my solid sense of the rhythm. I play with a fantastic drummer boy and we both complement each other.
And, finally, my melodic way to tackle the line bass.
Oh! I cannot let pass the fact that I can make background vocals and play the bass at the same time. It is something that I really enjoy a lot!
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