Joe Hubbard talks bass

I’m an improvising bassist. Improvisation is a concept of creating musical lines based on understanding the components of music which includes melody, harmony, rhythm, counterpoint and form. When learning you need to break down all of these components in isolation in order for your ideas to flow in performance.

I play five-string bass because this is the range that I hear from the B-string to the G-string. This range provides me with the functionally that I need as a bass player.

I slap, but not so much anymore. It is basically a sonic nuance in my arsenal. I feel these days too many players are mindlessly slapping with little degree of musicality. I always loved the way Marcus approached slapping, but a lot of Marcus and Victor clones lack the musical foundation that these guys have.

The secret of playing bass well is that there are no secrets! Learning to be a great bass player is very achievable by getting a great teacher who understands music, practising hard and putting in the flight-time. Developing expert status can easily be done within five to six years of proper development.

My first bass was a 1966 Fender Precision bass that was stolen from me at gunpoint when I was studying at Berklee in 1980.

My favourite bass to date is what I’m playing now which is a Roscoe Century Custom five-String. In my opinion Roscoe are the only company that really understands how to get their B-strings sounding right in all playing positions. It is simply an amazing instrument!

My bass influences are all the greats throughout the legacy of the instrument. One thing that I’ve noticed with many young bass players is that they are unaware of the bass players who were responsible historically for influencing the development of the instrument. Back in the day, everybody knew who was playing on the records that were out at the time and we had no internet! These days, young players have the greatest resource tool available, but instead of using it to create value they would rather waste their time playing games.

I run a bass video membership website called where students can join on a monthly or yearly subscription. I also teach privately through Skype.

I am currently playing Roscoe bass guitars, Aguilar amps (Tone Hammer 500 with two 112SL cabs), DR Low Rider Nickel Strings (45-125) and Pete Cornish HD Cables. For effects I use a Lexicon MX200 Effects Processor and an Aguilar Filter Twin envelope filter.

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