Joela Bassista: “The best advice I’ve ever gotten about bass was to stay in the pocket. Groove and feel are so important to every song”

Joela Bassista
(Image credit: © Collin Oliver, Dress BOAB Luxury)

“I actually played guitar first, but one day the bass player at my old church had left, so I just went and picked it up and started playing along with the music that was playing in the sanctuary. I fell in love, and have been playing ever since. I picked up the double bass in junior college. Shout to my late mother Romene who inspired me to practice every day. I’m currently playing with a new, all-female band called the Divas Of Jazz.”

“My first bass was a blue four-string Ibanez that I bought off a friend in college, shout out to him. My current bass guitar is a white Yamaha TRBX305 – I love it because the neck isn’t too wide. I also love that I can go between different tones just by flipping the switch on the bass. 

“The amp I’m using is the bold, sturdy, and faithful Fender Rumble 500 2x10 combo. The sound quality is stellar, but what really sold me is how light it is for a 500-watt amp. I also just got a Zoom B1 pedal and I’m still learning about it – a great pedal that’s budget friendly.”

“The best advice I’ve ever gotten about bass was to stay in the pocket. Groove and feel are so important to every song, and it is part of my job to establish that. 

“The two bass players that really helped form my style of playing, and who inspire me in general, are Esperanza Spalding and Derrick Hodge. I learned about Esperanza through my high-school band director after talking to him about what I wanted to do when I graduated. At the time I didn’t know about female musicians making it out in this world, and then he showed her to me, and I fell in love! 

“I hope to meet her one day to tell her what she has done for me and how much she inspires me. I learned about Derrick Hodge through one of my favorite bands, Robert Glasper Experiment. He plays with such grace, and his note choices are always so tasteful, so he has definitely been a huge influence on my playing.”  

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Bass Player Staff

Bass Player is the world’s most comprehensive, trusted and insightful bass publication for passionate bassists and active musicians of all ages. Whatever your ability, BP has the interviews, reviews and lessons that will make you a better bass player. We go behind the scenes with bass manufacturers, ask a stellar crew of bass players for their advice, and bring you insights into pretty much every style of bass playing that exists, from reggae to jazz to metal and beyond. The gear we review ranges from the affordable to the upmarket and we maximise the opportunity to evolve our playing with the best teachers on the planet.