Show & Tell is where we get artists to tell us about a piece of gear that they cherish and use as a part of their live or studio setup. This month we chat with Sydney session player Eric Fortaleza about his favourite workhorse.
What piece of equipment do you have to show us today?
My original 1963 Fender Precision Bass (In Daphne Blue, Gold Hardware)
How did you come across this particular item?
My prior purchase before this bass was a Fender Custom Shop Pino Palladino Signature Precision Bass. This was based two of Pino’s vintage precision basses. So when it came to a vintage style precision bass, I thought I was covered. Then I saw this bass on eBay in 2013. I saw an opportunity to purchase an original vintage Fender, rather than a re-issue.
What is it that you like about it so much?
This bass weighs just under 4kgs. Through the years of buying instruments, I found that my weight threshold and preference are basses under this weight. I’ve sold many basses that were too heavy for me. The moment you have to say too many details about a P Bass, I feel I would be talking too much. I love that this is what a bass sounds like to me. All my favourite bass tones from my favourite records, nearly all of the time comes from a Fender Precision Bass. I love that this is my own P Bass. It’s part of my story and has battle scars to boot. Not a reissue, not a custom shop, not a relic. Every scratch, every ding is from me. This bass will go around the world with me.
How do you use it and how has it shaped the way you write music?
This bass has been strung with rounds & flatwound strings. It is currently in its Flats Phase. (Dunlop Flatwound Bass Strings 40-100). Very light gauges, so I let the meat of my fingers to most of the work.
Being a fan of Vintage Fender Basses also reflects on the style of music I love playing & writing. Pino Palladino is my biggest influence, so that is a big indicator of why I love P Basses so much. The P Bass is also the most studio friendly bass. Engineers and Artists almost always prefer the meaty sound of a P Bass. A lot of people say it cuts through the mix the most. I personally don’t think so. I think Jazz Basses cut through the mix the most. But the P bass carries more weight in the mix. I’m all about weight. It’s called bass for a reason
Tell us a little about what you have coming up?
When it comes to this P Bass. I am currently teaming up with Fender Custom Shop & Fender Australia to have Master Builder Jason Smith create an exact replica of my bass. Scratches and all. Jason Smith has a super long waiting list and has built basses for Flea, John 5, Michael Landau, Geddy Lee, Steve Harris just to name a few. It’s an honour for Jason to be replicating my bass. My friend Sean Hurley always says “You gotta have two P Basses, one with flats and one with rounds”. So that’s how I’m going to be utilizing the two. Eventually when people care about me enough, hopefully young bass player will eventually want an Eric Fortaleza Signature Precision Bass.
Keep up to date with Eric Fortaleza's shows here.