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BP: Thanks for the Leland Sklar article/interview!


Dan South

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Leland Sklar!

 

The TONE!

 

The GROOVE!

 

The HITS!

 

The ... BEARD!

 

:D:D:D

 

Lee Sklar is the epitome of a session bassist, which is probably why he's been so successful at it for 30 plus years. Thanks so much for the interview.

 

I was amazed to learn that a hand injury forced him to use (mostly) two fingers on his left hand (whoa!) and that he frets all of his basses with mandolin wire!

 

Fascinating stuff!!!

The Black Knight always triumphs!

 

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I really admire him for his varied contributions to artists' works all these years, as well as his attitude and philosophy. He has contributed a lot of tasty licks and lines for use to admire and steal ;)

 

Gibson made a Leeland Sklar signature bass for a short period-- it's modeled after the old bass he mentions in the article. Jazz profile neck, reduced body size, and two pairs of active EMG Precision Bass pickups in a reverse position, so the AE string ones are closer to the bridge. And yes, those slimmer mandolin frets. Basically, it's a "Gibson Does Fender" bass. I was fortunate enough to score one a while back, and it's a nice player that I very much enjoy.

 

http://www.doublebass.biz/sklartemp.jpg

1000 Upright Bass Links, Luthier Directory, Teacher Directory - http://www.gollihurmusic.com/links.cfm

 

[highlight] - Life is too short for bad tone - [/highlight]

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YES - cool article.

 

Interesting stories about his band associations in and around studio work.

 

I knew about the mandolin wire (from something I'd read), but not about the hand difficulties. While I'm sure he could "speed by me", it shows how much good music depends on the right notes at the right time and not on lots of fast runs. The songs mentioned were great walks ("Smiling Face" especially) with a touch of funk and lots of groove. Very inspiring reading!

 

The concept of endorsements was glossed over. He endorses EA, Dingwall, Yamaha, and others. Some conflicts there, and his list of current equipment includes these and more. Not exactly exclusive endorsements. If it's OK with the companies, what do I care (and I'm guessing that the companies know up front that he plays lots of different items).

 

And yes, I was happy to see the beard still in place (though if I tried to grow mine like that, my wife would cut it off while I was sleeping).

 

Tom

www.stoneflyrocks.com

Acoustic Color

 

Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars and keep your feet on the ground. - Theodore Roosevelt

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I interviewed Lee a few years back for Bassist, and catch up with him each year at NAMM - definitely one of the nicest people in the industry. It's easy to see why he's been as busy as he has all these years - an incredible, musical and diverse musician who's also a great guy to be around? I want to take him on tour with me!

 

Steve

www.stevelawson.net

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Here is a link to another thread started last year by Ben Loy.

 

Ben's thread contains a link to an online interview with Mr. Sklar. The online interview is longer and more in depth than the one in BP and features some audio clips so you'll know what Leland's VOICE sounds like!

 

:D

 

The story of his parting of ways with James Taylor is fascinating, albeit a little bizarre!

The Black Knight always triumphs!

 

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Yeah Dan, the Mike Visceglia interview! http://www.mikevisceglia.com/int012003a.htm

 

It is always funny (to me) to hear their real voice after listening to the sound of their bass playing for 20 or 30 years. I am still trying to convince myself that Marcus Millers voice isn't really that high. I guess I expect every bass players voice to sound deep and rich, like Larry Graham's singing voice. My voice is nothing like that either.

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Leland is originally from Wisconsin. He has the pinched Great Lakes accent that I would expect. He also enunciates syllables clearly, which is another aspect of Great Lakes speech.

 

Leland sounds very intelligent. He sounds like a professor of philosophy. Maybe after working on so many recording sessions, he should be. :D

The Black Knight always triumphs!

 

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I may need to actually pick up this month's BP just to read this article. Leland Sklar is a fantastic player and, from what I've read, is an excellent human being as well. I always think of him and Tony Levin on the same plane of uber-existence in the bass playing world. There is a reason why guys like that are so busy in the musical world. Good personality and the ability to play anything at any time for anyone is a skill that I think we all should really strive for. These guys have realized that being the bass player is not about getting the spotlight, it's about playing what's right for the music at all times. That is real bass playing.
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There is a reason why guys like that are so busy in the musical world. Good personality and the ability to play anything at any time for anyone is a skill that I think we all should really strive for.
You hit the nail on the head there, Bump.

There's a guitarist here in Sydney, Chris Kamzelas, who has been getting alot of good gigs over the past few years for the same reason. Very tasty player.

 

I love the photo of Lee on Phil Collins "But Seriously" sleeve where he's inside a roadcase with only his head and beard visible.

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