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SBL Student Spotlight – Pablo Orellana

For this week’s Student Spotlight, Pablo Orellana shares the story behind his bass approach.

Throughout the year, we’ll be touching base with a diverse set of breaking and established talent to air their thoughts and experiences about bass playing, tunes and music in general from their own vantage point (the only thing that anyone can do, really). Want to join them? If you're studying with SBL and would like to share your experiences, then please don't hesitate to Contact Us as we'd love to share your story and promote your music to the SBL audience!

Pablo Orellana - Basses Loaded

Pressed about his early years as a bass player, Pablo Orellana reveals an unusual starting point: “I started playing in 2007 simply because I liked music. I was just playing songs by The Pixies, but I didn't want to be the main guy in the band, so I gravitated towards the bass. I’m now more comfortable onstage and that’s why I play in as many bands as possible. I play in mostly rock bands that are trying to get known, but I'm not at a professional level yet.” Every player has areas for improvement, though, agrees Pablo. Asked how he’s evolved as a bass player in the time that he’s been a member of SBL, he explains: “After I became an academy member, it was obvious to me that I still had much to learn. I became curious about many things in music, not just with the bass. I take music much more seriously now than I did before and I’ve become a better all-round musician.”

When it comes to gear, Pablo is using modified Fender-style basses. “I have two main basses,” he tells us. “I got one in an auction very cheap and then modified it. The other is a Harley Benton DIY kit. I don't like brands on my instruments and that's why I went with this DIY way of choosing a bass.” A long-time Ampeg player, nowadays Pablo delivers the goods via an amp that’s made by Ermitaño, whose name you may not have heard but who have impressed him greatly. “I had an Ampeg Portaflex PF350 head and a 210 cabinet, but the head died on me, so I replaced it with an Ermitaño bass head, which is made by a local guy here in Chile.” As for pedals, he’s gone for some stalwart options: “I have 5 pedals that I always play with and they’re all covered with stickers! I have a TC Polytune Mini, Aguilar TLC Compressor, MarkBass MB Octaver, Darkglass Duality Fuzz and Z.Vex Basstortion.”

Currently sharing the stage with Parálisis del sueño, Despejado and Bosque Hawaii, Pablo has also been busy putting the finishing touches his own solo project. “I'm currently in 3 bands, which are all in the Chilean underground scene,” says Pablo. “I'm in all of them as a bass player and producer. I also have my own project that I'm working on, but it’s not ready yet.”

Parálisis del sueño


Bosque Hawaii

Who are your favourite players at the moment?

I've always liked bass players that keep it simple. My favourite players are Kim Deal from the Pixies and Adam Clayton of U2. Of the ‘big name’ bass players I would have to choose James Jamerson.There are a couple of players I follow in Chile. They are Silvio Paredes from the band electrodomésticos and SebaBala from Como Asesinar a Felipes


Como Asesinar a Felipes

How do you practice?

I used to practice by myself a lot, but lately I spend more time in band practice or composing for my solo project. I should get back to practicing by myself again soon as I miss it!

What's your best gigging tip?

Know the songs (or at least some of them!) before showing up for practice. Every time I do this, the band is really impressed and I've never been rejected from a gig. Show up with transcriptions to score extra points.

Any career highlights?

I had a gig with a very respectable musician in a big arena for a charity festival. It has a capacity of 15,000 people and there were about 5,000 at the time that we played. It was the hardest I practiced for a show and everybody on the team was happy with my performance, so I hope I get called again!

How do you unwind?

I listen to music or play my ukulele.

What would you be if you weren’t a bass player?

I have an engineering degree, so I guess I would be in a PhD program somewhere.

What’s been the best thing about 2017 so far?

That gig at the charity festival would be my number one, but also the decision to get my solo project going has me very excited.

And the worst?

I don't know, band dramas I guess!

Who would be playing on your fantasy jukebox?

That’s very hard to answer, but let's see… U2, The Pixies, Jeff Rosenstock, Kaki King, tUnE-yArDs, Bomba Estereo, Como Asesinar a Felipes, Electrodomésticos, (me llamo) Sebastián, Los Tres, St. Vincent, A Tribe Called Quest, Rubblebucket, Laura Stevenson, Open Mike Eagle and many more!

To join Pablo and our other amazing students within the SBL membership click here and grab your 14 day free trial today.