Joe Dart: the hottest bassist on the planet. It’s not just our opinion — but also the verdict of this summer’s poll by Bass Guitar Magazine, whose readers voted in the thousands to salute his four string expertise. Fresh, fluid, and floor-shakingly funky, Dart’s chops have powered Vulfpeck’s four acclaimed albums and led the band from their roots as a California college circuit hot-tip to the top of the pile. That same desire to push the envelope has also brought the bassist to Ernie Ball Music Man — and sparked the Joe Dart Artist Series Signature Bass.
It’s very much my childhood dream,” Dart said. “It’s cool to see something that’s only in your mind come into being and be a physical thing.
The New Figurehead of Funk
If you haven’t heard Vulfpeck yet, you’ll find their studio catalogue to be one of most daring things to happen to the funk genre in a generation. Fan-favorite tunes like, “Back Pocket,” “Wait For The Moment,” and “Animal Spirits” achieve that rare musical magic trick, showcasing the band’s dazzling instrumental chops while serving up the kind of irresistible hooks that hijack radio playlists. Additonally, at the heart of everything Vulfpeck does is Dart’s fist-tight, low-end grooves inspired by everyone from Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers to Tower Of Power’s Rocco Prestia.
The one thing you absolutely can’t skip on is developing a great time.
Joe Dart, MusicRadar.
Joining the Family
Like all of the best partnerships in rock ‘n’ roll, Dart’s Artist Series Signature bass was born from a series of happy accidents. Back in 2011, while tracking an early song called, “It Gets Funkier,” Dart borrowed a cheap Ernie Ball Music Man copy, and was so impressed that “we thought we should get the real thing.” After spotting him rocking a StingRay and a Sterling Classic bass onstage, CEO Sterling Ball called up and invited Dart to demo the latest models in our San Luis Obispo, California factory. And so began a partnership, a firm friendship, and a fateful conversation about a very special custom bass.
What if we could build one that felt and looked like that Music Man copy — except good?” Dart told Sterling Ball. “We took that idea and ran with it.
Less is More
Some basses blind you with features and finishes, but Dart and our designers took the exact opposite approach on a stripped-down model without an ounce of fat. He opted for nothing but a lightweight ash body, a velvet natural finish, and svelte contouring that ultimately puts the player in charge. Each body on his bass is unique and one-of-a-kind based on the different variations of wood grain that come through our factory doors. Add a set of Ernie Ball flatwound bass strings for that “old-school disco tone” and the Joe Dart bass is a minimalist masterpiece that ensures nothing stands between a bassist and their groove.
The look of the one knob, one pickup, white on wood,” Dart said. “I haven’t seen anything like it. We feel like we brought something new into the world…
The Joe Dart Artist Series Signature bass sold out within minutes of it being released on Vulfpeck’s website! However, Ernie Ball Music Man will be making announcements soon on what’s to come for this partnership and the future of this instrument for bassists and fans everywhere. Stay tuned!
*Header photo courtesy of Dara Munnis