Hi everybody, my name is Noriaki Hosoya. I am originally from Japan, have studied Berklee College of Music in Boston, U.S., and now I’m based in Berlin, Germany.
I’ve been playing bass for 15 years for many different kind of occasions like gigs, recordings, tours, jingles, and TV shows.
My biggest musical influences are jazz and classical music, since my father plays cello and I used to play it (so I was already surrounded by the bass clef). After I entered Berklee, I bumped into jazz. It was so big for me to realize that “jazz” can be so versatile in terms of how it sounds. I was especially digging into the ECM style of music, like Keith Jarrett, Jan Garbarek, Kenny Wheeler, and Eberhard Weber. I mostly learned from Eberhard Weber not only from his playing but also from his compositions, which eventually lead me to move to Europe.
I mainly play jazz-influenced music including straight ahead jazz. But I also play a lot of different styles like every great musicians can play J and I’m enjoying it.
I am now playing in piano trios (including my own), duos, with singers including a job as a musical director, experimental and avant-gardes. I also start planning to make my solo album in Europe.
Wood & Tronics Chronos
This is a fantastic bass that I am kindly endorsed by Wood & Tronics bass guitars, Italy. I met Enrico Pasini, a founder of W&T bass guitars at the end of 2010, and we suddenly agreed to make my own custom bass. And this is how it came out!
It is a neck-through, 5 string tuned low E to hi C (it’s like normal 6 string bass without the lowest B string), 33” scale, and every feature makes the instrument ultra-comfortable to play. I have very easy access going to high register as well as going back to lower register since it is 1 inch shorter than normal basses. It allows you to play more comfortable to play lots of voicings because the frets are much closer to each other compare to 34” basses.
It sounds perfectly balanced in every register, very clear and transparent. You can hear everything regarding how you pluck the string. Sometimes I feel like I’m playing an acoustic bass guitar because of the clearness of the sound.
Ken Smith BSR 6 string
This is another wonderful one that I have now.
Both W&T and Ken Smith have modern tone. But they are quite different.
Ken Smith is 34”, has 6 strings, and is also a really well balanced instrument in terms of sound. It sounds very solid and tight. Just like it is known as a trademark of Ken Smith sound, this bass has more presence in mix or ensemble. This is only the one I have with low B, so I pick this bass whenever it is needed.
I am also into multi-finger picking technique, which Matthew Garrison (one of my bass teachers back in Berklee) invented and made it popular nowadays. This is a very interesting technique for “contemporary jazz bass player” such as Hadrien Feraud, Tony Grey and Janek Gwizdala. Therefore I love to have a small piece of wood in between 2 pickups, the so called “finger ramp”, so that the fingers are not going too deep to the strings when you play.
I’ve heard some people are critical about it because they think it will lose lots of dynamics and articulations. I actually have an opposite way of thinking; once you get used to playing with finger ramp, you have even more freedom about your right hand technique. You’ll have more soft and sensitive right hand touch so that you can control more dynamics and articulations as well as playing “sheets of sound” on the bass.
Of course this is totally depending of what kind of sound you’re looking for in your instrument. You need to spend a lot of time and eventually adjust your way of playing. Having finger ramp in a bass is not for everybody, but I love it!
I’m asked to play double bass in some cases. I like playing double bass as well as electric bass. I didn’t really studied double bass to play, so far what I have I learned is almost all by myself. I started to play double bass since 4-5 years ago and it has been great part of my musical ideas since.
I’m currently using a Richter Strap “Beaver’s Tail”. This is handmade strap with premium buffalo leather on top, sweat resistant microfiber lining on the other side, and there is also some padding so that you feel more comfortable to play for long durations.
Walter Woods Green Light MI200-8
This is the amp that amplifies the purest sound from the instrument I knew so far.
As it says itself it is “electro-acoustic”, there are no spices added in any frequencies. That’s how it responds very quick, and if the instrument is already good, you don’t need to add fancy stuffs.
This amp has 2 inputs and completely separated 2 channels. It is quite important for me as I switch E-bass and double-bass quite often on stage.
It is also light and small so that I can carry for every occasion.
Vanderkley 112EXT NeoLite
I went to London Bass Guitar Show 2012 and met Mark Vanderkley. He kindly offered me an endorsement and I’m very happy to have it on my gear.
I don’t know how many times I already mentioned the sounds as pure and transparent. This cabinet also has the same character, plus it has great dynamics of sound. Let’s say the other amps are mini cooper, this is like a Formula1 racing car!
Sonic Research Turbo Tuner Model ST-200 Stomp Box Strobe Tuner
I don’t have any effect pedals as I want to keep signal as pure as I can; the only pedal I have is a tuner.
This is a true-bypass tuner with an extreme accuracy: ±.02 cents guaranteed. It is important for me to have an extreme accuracy as I play lots of voicings spontaneously on my bass.
I put earplugs on my ear when I know we will play loud and intense. This earplug is designed particularly for musicians; unlike the other simple earplugs, this cuts every frequency equally -15db. Because I can hear everything with lower volume, I can hear much more clearly and distinguish every note.
Thanks for reading my article. Feel free to ask me about what I mentioned if you have any questions. You can find my contact on my website which also includes audios and videos; www.noriakihosoya.com