A no-frills session bassist with a deep pocket
My heart lies somewhere at the intersection of Soul music and folk music. James Jamerson, Duck Dunn, and Tommy Cogbill are some of the players who have had the strongest influence on my own playing. I have a good bit of formal music training (a master's degree in jazz studies and private lessons with renowned orchestral bassists), but the most important aspect of my development has been playing hundreds of gigs per year for the past decade or more.
My goal is always to enhance the song and serve the music. I've been working in a wide variety of settings for two decades on both double bass (upright bass) and bass guitar (electric bass). Whether it's bowed whole notes on the double bass for a soundtrack, or a busy Motown/James Jamerson-inspired electric bass line, I want to lay down the right bass line for Soul bands, singer-songwriters, composers/string arrangers looking for a real orchestral bass, and anything in between. I am a strong sight-reader and a fluid improvisor; I'm happy to give my input on creating options for bass lines if you don't have a specific line in mind, though I always play to serve the music and to never be self-indulgent.
I can't wait to play bass for you!
Contact me through the green button above and let's get to work.
4 ReviewsEndorse Tim Wolfe, Jr.
Tim is great to work with! He really did a nice job on the track! Thanks again Tim
I have had the pleasure of working with Tim for a long time. His tone and feel are reason enough to work with him, but it's a bonus that he's a nice guy who is easy to work with. Tim always understands what the project demands and consistently delivers.
Tim is an exceptional bass player. In the past few years he has performed on several songs for recording projects of mine. His creative ideas and input bumped my recordings to a higher level. Tim is professional, hard working and it was an absolute pleasure working with him.
He's a pleasure to work with and gets the job done!
Interview with Tim Wolfe, Jr.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: Brendan McGeehan for engineering, mixing, and mastering. https://soundbetter.com/profiles/240637-brendan-mcgeehan
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: Nothing beats having a client tell me that my bass line made their song better!
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: There's a certain romance about the sound of tape. Most of my favorite sounding records (regardless of style) are jazz records from the late 50's and early 60's, particularly what Rudy Van Gelder recorded for Blue Note Records. He had virtuosic technique for recording, and all of his records have a consistent warmth to them, no matter who the musicians performing were. That being said, digital can sound great (and analog can sound bad) if the project is built correctly from the ground up.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: My promise is to deliver the right bass line for you, with a short turn around.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: People sometimes think that because of my background in "academic" music (I have a master's degree in jazz studies and have taken years of private lessons with top-tier orchestra bassists), I will over play on their songs or get bored if the music isn't "challenging" (whatever that may mean). That couldn't be further from the truth, I want to serve the music. I get excited playing a 2-feel if the song is good and the other musicians are honest in their playing!
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: Do you have any reference recordings of other artists, that can give me a sense of what you're looking for in a bass part (either tone choices, playing style, or the like)? If I'm being given a chord chart, how much liberty would you like me to take with ad-libbing my part, or do you want something very stripped down and basic?
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Look for information of a potential contract provider (session musician) outside of this site, to get a more full picture of their work. Search YouTube for live footage, find albums they're on, read their website, etc.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: My five pieces of "desert island" gear would be one of my upright basses, my good bow, my early 60s Fender Precision bass, my Markbass mini combo amp, and an iPad full of sheet music and recording music with which to practice.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I started playing pick-up bar gigs in a jazz group with my father when I was about 15 (well over 20 years ago!), while at the same time jamming in blues and jam bands with my peers. I did go to college for music, and was always going out to jam sessions and then getting pick up gigs on the weekends all through school. I come from a family of musicians, my grandfathers were both professional musicians (one a jazz saxophonist, one a "society gig" bassist), my father and mother are both musical people, and my siblings are all involved in music as well. The past several years have been based around live music, with probably equal parts wedding band, theater pit gigs, pick-up jazz gigs, and orchestras.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: My playing is rooted in a foundational approach to the role of the bass in a band. I always aim for a melodic beauty to my bass lines, while focusing on strong time, good intonation, and beautiful tone.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: I would love to get to work with Chris Thile. He's an incredible musician and song-writer, and the wide variety of music that he plays, from Bach solos to Punch Brothers, all have a emotional depth and honesty to them. Even the most virtuosic things he plays sound fun and light-hearted.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Start with the best source possible. I'm a minimalist and a naturalist when it comes to recording. I believe in building everything from the ground up: start with the best musicianship possible (practice, a lot!), have the instruments sounding a good as possible with good strings and a proper professional set-up, and practice with mic placement. It's been my experience that a middle-of-the-road mic with excellent mic placement will always sound better than an excellent mic with middle-of-the-road mic placement.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: My live gigs tend towards jazz, orchestra, and theater gigs. But a lot of my studio work has been roots music: acoustic Americana / folk or orchestra/classical work.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: My strongest skill is how I hear the big picture of the ensemble. I always have my attention on the overall sound, hearing the music as an audience member. Listening in this way allows me to best serve the music, make the best note choices, and know when to lay back and when to lean in.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: My goal is to always be as supportive as possible, to make the rest of the band sound and feel good. To me, the "bass" is the "base." My grandpa was a professional bass player, and he told me when I was first getting started "never play more notes than the lead instrument, even if you can!"
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: The moment I get files from the client, I start rehearsing the music. Once I feel good about playing the music, I start tracking as soon as possible. I always run full takes, trying to avoid splicing or punching in, to get a fluid natural sounding bass track. If the client is leaving me room to take liberties with ad-libbing or improvising, I will ask if they would like for me to send them two or three different takes to choose from.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I have a modest, but good sounding, setup for remote tracking my bass. I have a couple of good condenser mics to choose from, depending on whether I'm playing pizzicato (plucked) or arco (bowed) upright bass, or miking an amp with electric bass. If the bass is going direct, I run it through a Radial Bass Bone pre-amp.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: My biggest influences are players a deep time feel, strong improvisational chops and distinct, immediately recognizable personalities, this would include electric bassists James Jamerson and Tommy Cogbill, and upright bassists Ray Brown, Charlie Haden, and Dennis Crouch, among a whole host of other players.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Most of the remote recording work I've done has been for bowed bass in an acoustic music setting. Within those parameters, there's been a variety of styles: American roots music, soul, country, folk, and even orchestra/classical.