Berklee College of Music Class of 2021, dual major in Bass Performance and Jazz Composition I have been playing electric and upright bass for 13 years and have experience playing all styles of music. I have very strong sight reading abilities and have been praised for my melodic and foundational bass lines.
While attending Berklee, I studied with Anthony Vitti, Joe Santerre, Bruce Gertz, Whit Browne, Chris Loftlin, Mike Pope, Lincoln Goines, Oscar Stagnaro, Fernando Huergo, and several others while at Berklee. Beyond Berklee, I have studied with numerous extreme metal talents, including Linus Klausenitzer, Dominic "Forest" La Pointe, Jared Smith, Arran McSporran, Jacob Umansky, Conner Green, Brendan Brown, and multiple other technical masters of the instrument. I have extensive experience playing just about any genre or style, specializing in jazz, metal, funk, R&B/soul, progressive/fusion (jazz, funk, rock), Latin/Brazilian, world (Mediterranean, Arabic), rock, pop, and country. I also have a lot of experience playing in musical theater pit orchestras and have strong reading abilities. I can play a part that you've written out yourself, or create my own bass line to accompany your song. I am capable of many different techniques, including tapping, harmonics (artificial, natural, pinched, slide, harp), slapping/popping (double/triple thump/pluck), and can play both finger style and with a pick. I can play both pizzicato and arco on upright bass. I will do as many revisions as necessary until you are satisfied with my work. If you would like me to imitate a specific bass player in my recording, please tell me and I will do my best!
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Interview with Beth McPherson
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: I get to do what I love, of course. It can be challenging, for sure, but every time I'm presented with a challenge, I know that I'm improving my skills and getting better at my craft. As long as I have a bass in my hands, I'm happy, no matter what I'm doing or what kind of music I'm playing.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I started playing bass when I was 10 years old. I got really into metal then, but the only music programs accessible to me were jazz and classical, so most of what I played was in line with that. I studied with Berklee Online in high school, which taught me how to write bass lines in many different styles and exposed me to more pop and R&B. From there, I went to Berklee College of Music, graduated with degrees in contemporary bass performance and jazz composition, and now here I am!
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: I've been told I sound a lot like the first Ne Obliviscaris bassist, Brendan Brown. Funny, because I actually took a few lessons with him when I was in high school! I've been told that I lay down a steady bass line that's in the pocket, but I keep it interesting with my note choices and creation of melodies and countermelodies, and octave unisons in the right places. I change things up just enough to keep it from getting boring, but without stepping on any other instrument's toes.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: For session work, I mostly do jazz, metal, funk, and R&B, but I've done quite a bit of pop, rock, country, Latin/Brazilian, folk, musical theater, and scoring/orchestral recording sessions. I've also recorded a lot of world music and Middle Eastern fusion, and even circus music! For composing and arranging, I mostly do arrangements for jazz band and orchestrations for metal. I spread my time fairly evenly between writing both jazz and metal for my own bands.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: Depending on the complexity of the song and the material I'm given to work with, I might write out a bass line before recording, or I might just improvise one as I'm recording. For stuff that's more riff-based than chord-based, like metal, I'll definitely write out a bass line first. If I'm sent a Guitar Pro file, I'll probably write out a bass line in that, too. If all I'm given is a chord chart or lead sheet, that's probably something I'd improvise, unless it's a little more complex. But, if I'm given a pre-written bass line, then my job is pretty straightforward and I'll usually get right to recording. That said, though, if the artist is open to suggestions, I might end up rewriting the bass line, anyways; this way I can write something in my own style, and define myself as a bass player.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Most of what I do is session work, fairly equally spread between electric and upright bass.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I will revise my product as many times as necessary until they are happy with my work. I want people to be happy with the work I've done for them, and I want to be proud of the work I've done.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: I ask them what they're looking for in my work, and ask if they have any examples for a certain sound they might be going for. I also ask them if they have any specific gear they would like me to use for this project.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Don't be afraid to ask questions, and if you are unsatisfied with the product, tell them. Ask the provider to change things if you aren't happy with the current state of the project, just don't be rude about it.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: My laptop, a bass (I can't decide which but definitely a 5 string), the necessary cables, an interface, and my pedalboard.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: I think my strongest skill is sight reading, and I've also been praised for my accurate transcriptions of bass lines and solos and the professional appearance of my charts.