Hey guys,
Anyone know how I can achieve the sound used by bassists such as Jaco Pastorious on albums such as Joni Mitchell's 1976 album Hejira, and the 80's work of artists such as Kate Bush and Japan?
Last edited by TheNinthWave at Jan 16, 2013,
You are chasing something that you simply cannot buy. Jaco Pastorius was a master bassist who singlehandedly changed the electric bass as we know it. Oh, you can duplicate his rig easily enough. As already stated, he used a stock Fender Jazz bass with a rosewood fretboard that he de-fretted and then covered with several coats of epoxy (Pete's Poly-Poxy, if you are curious. it was designed to fix cracks in boats, and Jaco bought it at a boating supply shop). His strings were Rotosound roundwounds, and his amplifiers were various Ampegs and such before he settled on Hartke amps and cabinets. But Jaco's sound and tone came mostly from his incredibly nuanced playing, and that includes his signature fretless "growl." To truly sound like Jaco, you'd have to be able to play like him.
"Maybe this world is another planet's hell?" - Aldous Huxley
I cannot concur with Fatal Gear.

Bridge Pickup to the forefront, and put the fingers about 1.5" from the saddles.

That growl you hear is the focus of the tension of the strings at that location of the string. It practically barks when pulled stacato. It growls when you are fluidly sweeping across the strings.

The smoothness beyond the attack is the decay caused by his Epoxy coated Fingerboard.

Jazz Basses do this tone better than the same Tech on the P Bass because of the location of the Pickup.

When Leo took another major swipe at the instrument you see the location of the MM Sting Ray Pup. A More Modern Tone was born, away from the Boom and thump depth of the DBV.

Levin and Flea project this design in our culture, but Levin played on all Musicians Musicians albums and tours, Crimson, Yes, Gabriel...what a carreer. It is really that neighborhood of the microphonic pickup of the string's vibration, in that first 3 inches from the bridge.

Amazing thing a String, how it is so much louder in the center, and has more depth of tambor, while brighter and growlier at the bridge, but nevertheless they are the same note, the same frequency vibration, seemingly so different, only an inch from one another from the same piece of metal.
Ibanez BTB 1006 Fretless and 405 (no Barts)
456 & 455(w/Barts)
Genz Benz NeoX400 112T & NeoX 112T cab.
Digitech BP-8 (x2)
Yamaha PB-1
Boss: SYB-5, PS-2, OD-20, EQ-20, PH-3,BF-3, CE-20, DD-20
Morely A/B