FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Do you have any? Feel free to write in.
WHAT GEAR DID JACO USE?
:::: Guitar Player, August 1984 Interview ::::
"My fretless, which is probably what I'm most noted for, is a
Bass that I got in Margate, Florida, for $90.00 with a case. My
fretted bass is even older - it's a
'60 Fender Jazz Bass that I got
$90.00 from a saxophone player in Florida named Ben Champion."
[re pickups] "Nope. Totally stock. The only things that weren't there originally
are the potentiometers. I've replaced them, but they're still Fender pots"
"I just used standard Rotosound strings - the round-wound Swing Bass set."
"When I got the bass, the cat who had it had taken the frets out himself,
and he did a really bad job of it - left all kinds of nicks and chunks taken
out of the fretboard. So I really had to fix it up. I filled in all the chunks
with Plastic Wood. Hell, when I was a kid, I used to make a living by fixing
and dealing old, beat-up instruments. I was the first cat to use epoxy on
the neck of a fretless bass so the strings wouldn't eat the neck away.
I used Petite's Poly-Poxy; it's boat epoxy. You can find it in any
boating supply store around Florida. It's the toughest epoxy they make.
You apply it with a brush, and it takes several coats. I used about six
coats on my fretless, and it took about a day for each coat to dry."
"I use two Acoustic 360s, which is the same setup I've been using for
the last 13 years. Same amps - old reliables. I usually put the bass
setting all the way up and the treble about midway up, depending on
the condition of strings. The older your strings are, the more treble
you have to have, because the fidelity of the string really starts
losing it after a while. In the studio, though, I just go direct.
"I have an old makeshift fuzztone. There's no brand name at all.
You can hear a good example of it in action on the title cut from
the Word Of Mouth album, my last studio album. It's got a
built-in delay that I can put on infinite repeat whenever I want
to lay down somekind of track to play on top of in concert."
"I've got an MXR Digital Delay, which I put through one amp, leaving
the other amp clean, to cause a natural sort of vibrato. It's almost
like an organ Leslie [rotating speaker] effect or like a flanger. A
good example of that effect is the title cut from the 8:30 album, or
the tune 'Continuum' from my first record, or 'Reza' and 'Continuum'
from the live Invitation album. I also used that effect a lot on the Joni
Mitchell records, particularly on 'Coyote' and 'Hejira' on Hejira, or
'Goodbye Pork Pie Hat' and 'God Must Be A Boogie Man' on Mingus."
For more about his gear in his own words, click here.
DID JACO MEET JIMI OR MILES?
:::: Jimi Hendrix ::::
Sadly, the answer is no. (but we can dream?)
:::: Miles Davis ::::
In the late 70's Miles came to a Weather Report concert at
the Beacon Theatre in NYC. The following day Zawinul, Jaco,
and I went to Miles' apartment, where we spent a few hours
socializing. At that time Miles was coming out of a sabbatical,
and played us his recent compositions for the new album.
Miles later recorded Mr. Pastorius for his Amandla CD.
WHERE ARE THE BASSES?
:::: Fretless ::::
We have no clue where the "famous" fretless is.
Many rumors are
floating around, and we invite you to tell us your "fretless" story.
Kevin Kaufman, Jaco's main luthier, told
us of the following experience with the bass:
Jaco had called him from New York about the bass and had said
couldn't get the "right sound out of it" and asked whether Kevin could fix it.
Kevin told Jaco to send the instrument down to Florida,
which he received
in a medium sized, square box. The bass was in pieces,
the body had been
After reassembling the parts, he re-lacquered the neck,
added 1/8 of an inch of flamed maple on both the front and back of the
and possibly replaced the electronics, including a Badass bridge.
photo by Shigeru Uchiyama
:::: Fretted ::::
The fretted one will hopefully some
day be in the hands of the family,
a museum, certain variables permitted.
Read more about it in the NEWS section.
DO ANY OF JACO'S KIDS PLAY?
Julius plays drums with his brother
Felix on bass in the band Way Of The Groove.
Felix also ventures on piano, Julius on guitar, they both compose.
John plays drums and piano for fun, and Mary sings in a band.
LIVE IN NEW YORK RELEASES
There are artistic differences in the family regarding these releases where some
feel that the recording quality is not deserving of Jaco, yet others feel that
archival purposes these tapes are invaluable, especially considering they
live gigs Jaco thrived on in his later years, which we now will never have
opportunity to witness except via these Live In New York releases, with many
more to come, I hope. I suggest when you listen to them to turn off the lights
to set the mood, and enjoy the sounds of the laughter, clanking of the glasses,
and the reaction by those who were lucky enough to have been there. Regardless,
the series are not to be considered bootlegs, because not only did Jaco agree to the
taping of those nights,
Big World Music
has been generous, giving the heirs $1.00
per CD manufactured over and above the necessary
mechanicals and royalties,
and has been accounted for compensating Jaco's children in the amount
six figures to date.
The royalty of one dollar per CD, distributed equally and
directly to all four heirs, have been a blessing.
Most importantly, because of
these releases Jaco's bins have not been empty these past 16 years.
For obvious reasons I am sad over the way Bill Milkowski portrayed Jaco.
Considering that Bill and I never had a legitimate interview, my name is
often mentioned, and mostly out of context. However,
I am pleased to note
that one important correction was made for the softcover version of the book.
here for more about my feelings regarding the book, as well as corrections.
WHERE IS THE GRAVE?
Jaco's resting place is at the Queen of Heaven cemetery, located on State Road 7,
north/west Fort Lauderdale.
1500 South State Road 7
North Lauderdale, Florida
For a more detailed explanation go
CHICKEN GREASE & STRINGS
Quoting Fender Players Club:
"Lubricant: Jaco was legendary for coating his fingers with
fried chicken grease before going on stage, in order to
lubricate his playing. However, some of Jaco's friends
have disputed this legend, saying it is just a myth."
While on Weather Report tours, or on the Joni tour, I never saw
Jaco purposely coat his fingers with chicken grease before going
on stage. Mostly after soundcheck the band munched backstage.
Jaco at some point would change the strings on both his basses,
which he did before every show. There were times when I heard him
say to a group of inquiring minds around him at the time, that leaving
chicken grease on his fingers helps....laughing heartily and playfully.
The truth is, there were times he left chicken grease on his fingers.
Jaco....always giving something to think and talk about...entertainment.
Website created by Julius, Felix, and Ingrid Pastorius