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Chris Smith

Artist Bio

Chris Smith has been playing music professionally for over 25 years. Whether it be electric bass, upright bass, vocals, or guitar, contributing to the roots music scene is his goal as a performer, song writer and session player.

Chris Smith. Photo by John Gilhooley.

Growing up in Long Beach, California with a family full of artists and musicians, it was inevitable that Smith would be pushed into some type of artistic direction. “We always had antique radios and Victrola records playing in the house. So, I was heavily influenced by many different genres early on. Music was a major part of my everyday life,” says Smith.

While trying to find his place in the world as a working musician, and being someone who was heavily influenced by blues and rockabilly bass playing greats like Willie Dixon, Milt Hinton, Bill Black, and Ray Brown, Smith began a deep dive into the possibilities of the upright bass. This exploration ended up being lucrative as sub work with multiple bands were non-stop.

Though gigs were steady as an upright bassist, Smith eventually began feeling like he had painted himself into a corner. He then decide it was time to turn up the juice and get into playing electric bass. Studying classic rock & soul recordings that featured renown bassists Carol Kaye, Donald “Duck” Dunn, James Jamerson, and John Paul Jones, Smith started finding his own way around the fretboard with a completely different feel and approach.

Photo by John Gilhooley.

Discovering the possibilities were limitless, Smith pushed himself into even more musical situations while learning more about structure and mixing styles of slap and fingering attack for both electric and upright bass.

“For most of my life as a working musician I’ve had a fulltime job as a custom car builder,” states Smith. He goes on to say, “In doing so, I’ve learned that having the right tool for the job has always made it easier to design and fabricate a better finished product.” Like many guitarists searching for the ultimate tone, over the years Smith has owned many instruments. From cheap hand-me-downs to vintage and overpriced relics. “From the first time I picked up a Gretsch guitar 30 years ago, I knew I had to have one,” said Smith. “When it came time for me to invest the money, I wanted and needed the best. Ultimately, my heart was set on a White Falcon G6136LSB Bass. Opening the case for the first time was an experience in itself. It was everything I had imagined. The set-up was perfect and the tone was just magic.”

My Gretsch is and will always be a go-to instrument. Top quality, classic styling, modern dependable electronics, with the perfect blend of old and new.

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