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The Latin Bass Issue – Guillermo Vadalá


The Latin Bass Issue – Guillermo Vadalá

Guillermo Vadalá, Argentinian Fusion Master and Driving Force for Fito Páez Band for 20 years…

BMM Please share with us a little of your personal background… 

GV My name is Guillermo Vadalá and I was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I started playing guitar at age 9 and electric bass arrived at my home at age 14, via my old brother. We didn’t know how to tune the bass and fortunately we did it correctly according to the low strings of the guitar. My strong hobby at that moment was being a tennis player, but music hit me in a strong way so I became a very enthusiastic bass player.

BMM What was your first bass, and how did you come by it?

GV One day my older brother bought a bass. As soon I arrived home from school, that was the first time I had ever seen one. The brand was “Caiola Mobel,” an Argentinian 4-string electric bass.

BMM Tell us about that very first day you had a bass in your hands.

GV The first thing I did with it was to think how to tune it, and then I started to play some Deep Purple, a couple of lines like “Smoke on the Water.”

BMM As a bassist born in Latin America, do you find this to be an advantage or disadvantage?

GV When I was younger, as an American and British music fan, of course among other styles of music, I thought it was kind of a disadvantage. But as I continued to gain skills, including accuracy and knowledge in music (and life!) I really think it wasn’t. Once you discover how to learn and to use your own voice, inspired from your particular country, city, even neighborhood, you lead yourself to a better “you” in all possible ways.

BMM What are your main musical and bass influences? 

GV Hard rock first: Roger Glover, John Paul Jones, Jethro Tull’s John Glascock. Then Geddy Lee, Lee Sklar, Greg Lake, among others. After that, Rock ’n’ Roll bass players like Bill Wyman, Paul McCartney, John Entwistle, and the day I listened to Jaco changed my life forever! My favorites for many, many years were Marcus Miller, Darryl Jones, Pino Palladino, Stanley Clarke, Sting, Nathan Watts, among many others.

BMM How do you define the music style you play?

GV A very huge mix between Rock, Funk, Jazz and some Tango stuff also. My current project is a solo album featuring instrumental music with a touch of Funk & Jazz. I have recorded two albums called “Bajopiel” and “Alumbramiento”.

BMM How important is reading and studying music theory?

GV From my point of view, both are very important in order to get your playing more confident and strong enough. At this point, the more you know the more opportunities you’ll get! So be ready to share your skills with different musicians along your life.

BMM What do you consider the differences that technology and the Internet have made for you as a musician, compared to the previous generations that didn’t have these tools?

GV I think the Internet is a very important tool. You have unlimited access to a lot of information, but never rely on it. Be always studying and taking lessons because nothing will replace a bass teacher. In addition to this, it’s not the same to ‘play along’ with YouTube. I grew up without Internet at all, but I did play with all musicians available in a real way.

BMM Tell us about your gear.

GV My bass is a 5-string Signature Dean. I also play fretless bass and a bit of upright bass. My amp is an Ampeg SVT-7PRO, through a 4×10 PRO NEO cabinet. I also use effects like Octaver delay and loop pedals.

BMM Who are your favorite Latin American bassists?


From Argentina: Pedro Aznar, Javier Malossetti, Diego Arnedo, Nerina Nicotra, Machi Rufino

From Brasil: Arthur Maia, Marcelo Mariano

From Uruguay: Francisco Fattorusso, Andrés Ibarburu, Popo Romano, Daniel Maza

From Chile: Igor Saavedra, Christian Gálvez, Marcelo Córdoba

From Colombia: Luis Ángel “El Papa” Pastor

BMM Please leave some motivational and encouraging words for the next generation of Latin American bassists.

GV Always play with love and passion, and know that God gave us a gift to share with all of the people on Earth… this is a must! Don’t play only at home, instead go out and play to everyone. It doesn’t matter how prepared you are, as we’ll always be learning and that’s very important, but more important (for me) is to share it with all people over the world!

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