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Jessica Elalouf: “Being fancy is fun, but timing, technique, and grooving is most important to me“

(Image credit: Exigent)

Maintaining a groove is crucial for a bass player – I should be able to dance to what I’m playing – and locking in with the drummer is essential. 

In a band, you need to be able to be tight and in step with the drummer. Being fancy is fun, but timing, technique, and grooving is most important to me. 

My very first bass was a Fender Squier Jazz. I still have it and use it for performances where I need to change tuning many times during our sets. I have a lot of good memories of that bass. It’s made many trips to and from school for band practice. I’m very fond of it, it’s very special to me.  

I play an Ernie Ball Music Man Stingray through a Fender Rumble 500 these days – the bass is a Ray34 with a gorgeous mahogany body and a beautiful sound that I never get tired of. I love the feeling of it in my hands and hearing it when I play out with my band. 

Geddy Lee takes the title of world’s best bassist for me

I’m a fan of the C-shaped maple neck, the rosewood fretboard and the glossy finish. The neck is so smooth and very comfortable for my hands. I could pick up a five- or six-string bass, but I prefer to play four-strings simply because they’re the most comfortable and familiar to me. I’ve played five strings before, but a four suits my hands better.

I’m endorsed by Ernie Ball and a member of the Brotherhood of the Guitar. The Brotherhood is made up of prestigious musicians from around the world. 

It was founded by Robert M. Knight, the world renowned photographer who has photographed all the rock gods. He was one of the first to photograph Jimi Hendrix. The Brotherhood is supported by Ernie Ball and Guitar Center.  

Geddy Lee takes the title of world’s best bassist for me. As a bassist and singer, it’s astounding to me how he has such a mastery of the bass, vocals, and keys. I saw Rush live in high school and I was completely mesmerized. Even just singing background and playing bass can be hard work.

Rush songs are also quite complex, with difficult basslines and odd time signatures. To take on all of that and perform it so well is just amazing, and I admire him so much for it.

I first felt that the bass was the instrument for me after taking guitar classes in high school for a couple of years. Just before senior year, I was a singer at our local School of Rock and wanted to play bass during a song at a show.

I was given a bass tab to help me learn it, and I carried it around during school. My guitar teacher noticed that I was looking at the tab and asked if I wanted to be the bass player for the school band, since the bassist was graduating. That’s when I began to play regularly.

After I graduated, I started college and auditioned for the school band, initially as a vocalist. However, yet again, the bass player had graduated – so once again, I was the designated bass player. I guess destiny was calling!