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Bass Musician Magazine: Feb/Mar 2010 Featuring Jonas Hellborg

jonas hellborgJonas: For me, all of life is a meeting of beings. I don’t go anywhere with a preset curriculum that I want to teach people. I don’t want to tell anybody anything in particular, I just want to establish a communication. And if I do have information that can benefit other people, then it becomes a discussion instead of me just telling them something. As we go through life, the sum of the inputs and the outputs that we have are fairly similar…everybody has something to give, and something to take. If my life experience has made me collect information that is usable for people that are trying similar things, then I can be very helpful. But I have to know who they are, I have to know what they need in order to be able to contribute to their lives. That’s basically what my clinics are about.

Jake: I know you’ve used acoustic bass guitar on some of your earlier recordings, and now you spend a lot of your time on your Warwick signature bass, which I believe is an electric-acoustic. What drew you to this type of sound?

Jonas: Basically, my Warwick is an electric bass. It borrows some features from an acoustic, but it’s mainly about the size and the body position while playing it. I made it a huge body because what I found from playing acoustic instruments is that it doesn’t screw up my back as much while I’m playing compared to a smaller solid body, because you hold your arms and shoulders in a totally different way. And what I’ve done with the pickup is give it a much wider frequency response which of course also emulates nature in a sense…if you hear all of the frequencies, then it starts sounding more like an acoustic instrument. And in addition, it’s a much more dynamic pickup, meaning that if you play soft, it’s soft, and if you play louder, it actually gets louder. A normal pickup will compress what you put into it because it only has a certain dynamic window, so if you push it, it actually doesn’t get much louder. So in a sense, this bass actually emulates acoustic qualities and sounds more like an acoustic. It’s “my” idea of an electric sound. But then again, my idea of an electric sound is close to an acoustic sound. Actually, it’s a little bit contradictory.

Jake: Did you find it to be more challenging when you’re playing a regular acoustic?

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