A seasoned professional who has seen and it all as a working musician in NYC for 15 years, from working with Tony-nominated Broadway singers, to recording with Grammy-winning engineers. I can play just about anything you're looking for, and be the easiest guy you've ever worked with.
I offer studio recording of bass parts for almost any genre or type of bass. I am a Manhattan School of Music trained upright bassist, who has been a part of the NYC jazz scene for the better part of 15 years. I also do string section bowed upright bass.
I play 4 and 5 string electric basses, as well as fretless electric bass.
Tell me about your project and how I can help, through the 'Contact' button above.
9 ReviewsEndorse John Gray
John Provided heaps of options, very intuitive to the style! awesome job
Went above and beyond, great pleasure working with John.
- check_circleVerified (Client)
John is so easy to work with!
Yet again John delivered on another one of my tracks. Fast turnaround, easy to go back and forth with changes, etc. Can't go wrong.
I've worked with John on countless projects both live and in the studio and known him as a colleague for years. He's one of the best bassists I know and always comes up with effective, economical bass parts that fit whatever music he's playing like a glove. I'd recommend him for projects in a variety of genres, from indie pop to jazz to singer-songwriter to whatever else!
I've shared the stage with John many many times and played a wide range of music. It has always been a great hang and a great time. We have collaborated in the past via online sessions/sending files back and forth and it was nothing but pure professionalism. He was prompt with sending and with adjusting his takes to my feedback. Solid bass player for tracking on your tunes via Soundbetter!
I have had a lot of experience with John both in the studio and on the bandstand. He is a talented professional who takes his craft seriously and can contribute to composing parts in addition to performing them. He is versatile on both upright and electric bass. A great addition to any project!
John is the best! He is definitely a talented bass player - he picked up parts for all songs so quickly and took the time to make detailed charts to make sure he got it right. He was perfect for sessions and also live shows. He's a versatile, dynamic, and creative player, and also very dependable, responsible, and trustworthy. John's great to make music with and an all around wonderful person - highly recommended!!
I have worked with John on over a dozen recording sessions spanning several genres, and consider him the first call for any projects I am involved with. His technical expertise, stylistic versatility, and unique sound are all underscored by the most important element of session work : being easy to work with. In the studio John is respectful, creative, and always open to taking direction. He is also always well prepared and nails his parts with no wasted time.
Interview with John Gray
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: What bass, what tone, how much do you want me to stick to a rigid bassline, how free am I to fill/embellish the bassline are all questions I ask.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I'm working on improving my production and commercial composition skills, so I can put myself out there for professional opportunities in those areas.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: Satellite Phone, Bottled Water, Food, Flares, Tent. It's really hard to do anything musical on a desert island alone and without power other than practicing. But seriously, I would take my upright, my 4 string fretted, my fretless bass, my computer, and my UAD interfaces.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I started playing jazz bass in middle and high school, playing local gigs in Phoenix, Arizona until I went to NYC at 18 to attend Manhattan School of Music. After graduation, I've been working as a professional bassist, playing jazz, rock, pop, funk, R&B and musical theater/session work.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: At the moment, I use my UAD Apollo Twin X to record bass parts directly into Logic. I usually just go direct from my electric or upright bass to my interface, but I also have an AT4033 large diaphragm condenser I use with my upright bass, I really like how layering two inputs can sound.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: I feel like it's kind of a tie. The feel of anything analog (a synth, recording to tape, etc.) has a feeling to it that will probably never be able to be fully captured digitally, but the convenience of digital can be so practical that it comes down to making decisions situationally.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: I'm a mix of a ton of eclectic influences. I love jazz upright players like Ron Carter, Dave Holland, and Scott Lafaro, and rock/studio guys like Nathan East, Carol Kaye, James Jamerson and Tim Lefebvre.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: I have many sources of inspiration across many musical genres. I'm inspired by Ron Carter's style on upright bass, as well as his focus and exacting attention to detail. I love Thundercat's creativity and fearlessness. I'm a big fan of T-Bone Burnett's vision as a songwriter and producer, it's amazing to me how no matter who he is working with, you can always tell that he was involved.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Be clear with anyone about what you are looking for. What bass, what tone, how much do you want me to stick to a rigid bassline, how free am I to fill/embellish the bassline are all good questions to ask.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: I would love to work with Bill Frisell. I love everything about his sound on guitar, his arrangements, and his sound in the studio.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Listening. There are so many factors that go into a great bassline and bass recording, and it's hard to know what tone, style, or type of bassline to use without good ears.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: I'm a jazz musician by trade, but I usually work on projects that are more on the pop/rock side, but could benefit from someone with my experiences and influences.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Record Bass.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: Luke Markham (https://soundbetter.com/profiles/45761-luke-markham) is the consummate pro. He has the rare combination of great energy and attention to detail in a drummer, and I would recommend him for any project.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: Every job is important to me, whether it's a huge project or just a short recording project.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Always leave plenty of time to get the work done, so that nobody is stressed before a deadline.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I bring 22 years of experience playing live and recording upright and electric bass. I know what the bass's role is in any song, and can focus on delivering that and not adding anything extra.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: I spend some time making a chord/sheet music chart from any demos I've been sent previously. I make sure to be clear on any specific basslines, band hits, or any general direction from the artist before recording.