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Al Garcia - October 2003

Al Garcia
Biography: I started playing the bass guitar when I was thirteen. My first instrument was actually the flute, but that didn't last very long. Shortly after, a friend of mine got the bright idea to put a band together. Since he had already started to learn guitar, I became the bass player by default, a fate familiar to many bassists I suppose. My very first "bass" was a plastic toy guitar. I removed the high E and B strings to simulate the feel of a real bass. That and a Mel Bay method book got me started.

My earliest bass influences were Jack Bruce and Felix Papalardi, two bass visionaries who helped expand the role of the bass guitar in rock music. Later on my musical horizons were broadened to include jazz, classical, and Indian music after hearing John McLaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra. Other influences on my playing and composing include the music of J.S. Bach, Charlie Parker, Bela Bartok, Eric Johnson, Jaco Pastorius, Jeff Berlin, and pianist Bill Evans.

I developed an unusually strong melodic sensibility for a bass player right from the start, which led me to develop an interest in the guitar. I dabbled but didn't take it seriously until years later when I saw Allan Holdsworth play with I.O.U. I was so blown away by his guitar playing that I couldn't sleep that night. I kept thinking, "it's impossible, it's impossible." I believe that my bass playing influences my guitar playing and vice versa. Being a bass player makes me more aware of rhythm and feel when I play guitar. Being a guitar player makes me more aware of melody, harmony, and the importance of using a wide range of techniques when I play bass. Each instrument allows me to express myself in different, yet complementary ways.

I have performed and recorded many types of music including jazz, rock, afro-cuban, fusion, blues, country, and classical. I believe this varied experience is responsible for my desire to create music that transcends musical boundaries yet remains respectful of tradition.

Gigs: I play bass with the jazz/rock fusion group Continuum and with the world music improvisational ensemble Quarteto Nuevo. I also play rock and jazz gigs on guitar.

Recordings: In 2002, I released my first solo CD, Make It So. The CD is a compositionally diverse collection of music that features my playing on 4, 5, and 6-string fretted and fretless basses, various 6-string electric and acoustic guitars, and guitar synthesizer.

Other recordings that I have appeared on include:
Quarteto Nuevo - El Musico
Continuum - You Tell Me
Ilyana - Mi Isla Tropical

Ken Smith BSR 5MW 5-String
Rob Allen MB-2 Semi-Acoustic 4-String Fretless
G&L L2500 5-String
Ibanez SR608 6-String (BEADGB)
MTD Kingston 5-String Fretless

MusicMan Axis Sport
G&L Commanche
Fender Stratacaster
Roland GR-33 Guitar Synth

Live Setup:
Aquilar DB 659 Bass Preamp
SWR Stereo 800 Power Amp
SWR Goliath III Speaker Cabinet
Roland GT-6B Bass Effects Processor

Recording Setup:
Demeter VTBP-201s Bass Preamp
Line6 Bass Pod
Monster Cable
Avalon 737sp Preamp/Compressor

Contact Information: You can visit me online at

Al Garcia
P.O. Box 10305
Burbank, CA 91510-0305