Bassically speaking: Todd Smallie

My bass style is as diverse as possible. I own several contrabass guitars and have always enjoyed my Greg Curbo and Modulus basses. I mostly use them in jazz fusion or organ trio gigs. It allows me to play more of a lead role in the melodies while the organ player kicks the bass. With Mofro, I play a 78 Fender Precision and have a Jazz on the road as well. I’ve always preferred Fender instruments and, like many bassists, I started learning and playing with Musicman and Fender guitars. One of my first influences was Louis Johnson. I had his Hotlicks instructional video when I was a kid and got my first dose of the Brothers Johnson. I always loved the rhythmic possibilities and tones of slap techniques.

Todd Smallie

I believe that learning to play in a Larry Graham-type style has helped my timekeeping immensely. Hearing Louis Johnson turned me on to the sound and a lot of other great musicians like Larry Graham, Mark King, Byron Miller and Stanley Clarke. The secret of playing bass well is practice, dedication and intention. I am still consumed by music and the love of learning its history, techniques and theory. Surrounding yourself with the type of musician you want to become is very important, as well as listening to their compositions and seeing them perform. I always feel inspired to practice and work hard after hearing a performance from one of my musical heroes.

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