Bass guitar

Bass phenomenon Cody Wright presents his masterclass at the London Bass Guitar Show


London Bass Guitar Show star Cody Wright and his funky rhythmic styles have been in the spotlight since he first gave up his acoustics as a bassist with the Jonathan Scales Fourchestra in 2011.

A very new millennium bassist, Wright combines the know-how of the Youtube era with solid and technically impressive playing – attributes that have helped him land a tutoring spot on Scott’s Bass Lessons, among other projects.

His fan list is an anthology of bass legends, with everyone from Victor Wooten to Felix Pastorius singing his praises. We took ten minutes with the Florida prodigy before the London Bass Guitar Show to find out what it’s all about …

Hi Cody. We’ve heard that your masterclass show at LBGS is likely to be a crowd-pleaser. Do you have a specific plan in mind?
“The technical side of things will play a big part, but what I really want to do there is find a guitar and play guitar stuff and show how a person who plays guitar can switch to bass but also the reverse – showing how a person can take bass ideas and use them to become a more unique guitarist. “

It’s the same move you made, isn’t it?
“Yeah, I played electric for about nine years, then around 2008 I started playing more acoustic. And I was actually going to put out an acoustic EP – kind of a demo – around the time. where I joined the Jonathan Scales Fourchestra. But I had to cancel it because I took a gig with him. ”

Sounds like you maybe nostalgic for the guitar then? Not about to cross the dividing line?
“No, not really – I still really enjoy writing for the guitar, like listening to how chords relate to each other. But you can bring that to the bass.

“There is something about guitar chords that is different from double stop bass chords and if you can understand guitar chords and how to relate them to each other, it’s a little more interesting, textually, d ‘bring that to bass. “

You are a bit of a polymath. Do you see yourself primarily as a musician, or is bass your only true love?
“I love bass and would say it’s my favorite instrument for playing with people. But I love playing everything, all the instruments I play with, guitar and piano too. I would consider myself first. as a music fan, i just really had fun listening. ”

Who are some of your favorite artists? I’ve had your cover of Skymall (Vulfpeck) in my head all afternoon after listening to it – ridiculously catchy!
“It’s such a cool song. It was one of the first songs I’d heard from Vulfpeck and I couldn’t believe the way he sped up at the end! Whew! Crazy!”

A bit of a challenge in terms of the game?
“Definitely a challenge! ”

In younger players, the emphasis is sometimes on speed – what do you think?
“A lot of people feel the need to prove themselves when they first buy a guitar. It all ended when I first heard of this guy, Shawn Lane. After hearing his work. , I just gave up on this competitive side of things.

“I started playing acoustics and focusing on writing and being myself. A lot of people say they want to be unique but they don’t realize that being yourself. same is unique. There is only one of you! ”

You have a very characteristic style. How did you “refine” this or was it natural? Did you base your approach on the work of a particular artist? “When I first picked up a bass, I was just playing my guitar licks. It sounded a bit like a hybrid of Stevie Ray Vaughan and, say, guitarists studying Charlie Parker. So it was a blues. with bebop style licks in there. It was a mix of those two worlds coming together.

“So I took a bass and I could already play mean solos because of my guitar playing – but I didn’t know how to groove, feel the time, play with a band. Really the guy I admired was Bobby. Vega. Because he chose the technique and put all that groove and all that tone into it. I knew I had the technique but I didn’t have that kind of approach.

How do you learn this? Is it just about copying and seeing what comes naturally?
“No, I copied the shit over [Bobby]! I violated! I copied it very closely for a while. Still, when I play rhythmically, I’ll sound a lot like him – you know, the funk thing. There are also huge elements / influences in my style of guitarists in there. Some of the most notable are Stevie Ray and Frank Gambale.

“I do a lot of what is called hybrid and economy picking. Economical picking is basically a kind of sweep and a lot of the close sweeps I do on bass come from Frank Gambale’s study. Also Tommy Emmanuel and of course, as Shawn Lane mentioned. ”

How did you come to these influences? Is that what you would listen to on a day off? What styles did you listen to as a child? Blues, rock, heavy metal. “When I was very young, the style that circulated a lot was hair metal. A mix of hair bands and just… the 90s.

“Van Halen, Guns N’Roses, Alice in Chains. I loved White Zombie, Pantera, Extreme. Nuno Bettencourt had a huge influence on me.”

Let’s talk about equipment. What is your usual tour setup? What will you bring to the show?

“My normal touring bass – which I’ll also bring – is a Zon Sonus Special. It’s a four-string – a ’97 – but the neck is from 2015 that they basically rebuilt for me. Bubinga wood top and ash body.

“It makes the difference between a full range bass but also handling like a guitar. I have light strings on it so that I can really bend over with the graphite neck and articulate in a way that a lot of electric basses don’t. can not because the action is too high and the strings too thick.

“Which is also a really nice thing of course – you can get a really big sound like that. But that’s not what I particularly want …”

The LBGS obviously has a large market area – are you looking for a good deal? What are you looking for in a bass?
“I always like to play other basses and instruments. My thing when I plug in a bass is that I want the action to be low and the playability to be very comfortable. But I also want to hear the sound, I want to hear the mics.

“I don’t really want to hear the amp. An amp should not color the sound too much. I can understand the coloring of the sound a bit, but I just want bass. ”

What is your attitude towards using the pedals?
“This is something that I will be talking about a lot in my masterclass: how I approach the effects. type the sound like a chorus or a phaser on my chords.

“That way the chords don’t all sit there sterile, they get vibrant and shifting and for recordings I also like to have a little panning with my chords.”

Dmitry Lisenko (one of the other LBGS artists) said he was really looking forward to seeing your show. Is there someone you particularly look forward to seeing yourself?
“Oh man – everyone! Obviously Ida [Nielsen]. Very happy to meet her. The groove challenge she took on – wow! So it’s gonna be cool. But yes, everyone really! “

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Are you a Glen Matlock / Sex Pistols fan? He has just been added to the line-up. “Yeah, I saw that! I’m interested to see what everyone brings to the table! “

Do you have any tips for partying in a guitar store?
“That would probably be what tapping I’m doing, it’s a sus chord on a dom bend … the top note goes from fourth to third. [Emulates a very complicated, fast bass-line with his voice.]

“When I was a kid and had nothing to do, I just saw how fast I could go with it and it seemed like something people… felt a certain way. [Ed. note – he’s being modest, but what we imagine he means here is that people were wowed by it…] It starts on a funny note, it starts on the seventh. [Starts singing again] Ah well you’ll see! “

I’ll listen to him in the halls! Finally, if you could only have one bass for the rest of your life, what would it be?
“Basically the Zon, the same one I have now, but if I could have it in my pajamas with a precision mic.”

Did you suggest it to Zon?
Oh yes! In the future, we will see what will develop. “

Cody Wright will perform and speak at the London Bass Guitar Show 2017 on March 4-5. For more information visit, Where @bassguitarshow.

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