Groove – Episode #114: John Ferrara

John Ferrara

Photo: Stephan Pruitt Photography

John Ferrara, a bassist and composer, has made a name for himself with his innovative tapping bass playing style and his work with his world fusion band, Consider the Source. Known for his unorthodox approach, John utilizes a two-handed tapping technique that transforms the bass into an instrument capable of piano-like and classical guitar textures. His technical prowess is always in service of creating emotionally resonant music, making his compositions both relatable and engaging.

Born with a passion for music, John’s early influences included legends like Jimi Hendrix and Primus. This eclectic mix of inspirations helped shape his unique sound. Over the years, John has developed a signature style that blends elements of classical, jazz, rock, folk, and minimalism. His music evokes the brooding moodiness of Philip Glass, the improvisational spirit of Chick Corea, and the melancholic undertones of Radiohead.

John’s journey in music has been marked by his dedication to pushing the boundaries of what the bass can do. He has gained recognition across various music scenes, from progressive rock and jam bands to metal. His skills earned him a finalist spot on NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Contest, where his jaw-dropping performance stood out among thousands of entries.

In addition to his live performances, John is a respected educator. He has been featured on No Treble, Scott’s Bass Lessons, and more, where he shares his techniques and insights with a global audience. Hundreds of bass players have sought his expertise through private lessons, eager to incorporate his methods into their own playing.

In our conversation, John delved into his musical journey – including his latest project Mono Means One – and the evolution of his tapping technique. He talks about the challenges he faced in developing his unique style. John also discussed the importance of practice and the concept of learning how to learn, a crucial skill for any musician.

John’s approach to the bass goes beyond traditional playing. He incorporates pedals and effects to create layered, dynamic sounds, transforming the bass into a versatile instrument capable of a wide range of expressions. His compositions are built like intricate puzzles, with each layer adding depth and complexity. Currently touring with Consider the Source, John continues to captivate audiences with his innovative playing and engaging performances. His story is a testament to the power of dedication, creativity, and the endless possibilities that come with pushing the boundaries of the electric bass. Through his music, John invites listeners to experience the bass in a whole new way, proving that the instrument can be as expressive and versatile as any other in the musical spectrum.

Enjoy the conversation…

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