Welcome to John Rotondi's


This page is my personal Tribute to all the Great Acoustic and Electric Bassists
who have been an influence on me, and to other bassists across the globe.

In April 2005, I had an accident at work that injured my neck, and caused damage to the nerves controlling the fingers of my right hand. As a result, I have ongoing neck issues, and problems with my right elbow that have contributed to the loss of the feeling and dexterity of my right hand. I have had neck and elbow surgeries to correct these issues, but it appears that these surgeries were not productive. I have not been able to effectively play electric bass or guitar since then.
After 7 years of trying to recover, I have had to admit defeat and retire from all work and musical performance. I have relocated to Oceanside, CA, where I hope to eventually record new and intriguing progressive music via computer. Listening to these great musicians inspires me to overcome these difficulties.

If you play an instrument- use your gifts for music every day, and never take them for granted!

In the 2008, I engineered/produced a fantastic Los Angeles prog rock band named Never Wasn't. Visit the Never Wasn't CD Baby page for info, purchasing, and links to mp3 samples. I am extremely proud of the audio engineering and production work I did on this CD.


Be on the lookout for Los Angeles' premiere original Prog band Heliopolis, featuring my good friends and former band mates Jerry Beller (drums) and Mike Matier (guitars).

If you haven't already discovered them, be sure to check out:
 Tal Wilkenfeld (gigging with
Herbie Hancock, Jeff Beck, and Chick Corea!)
and Hadrien Feraud (gigging with Bireli Lagrene, and John McGlaughlin!)
These are
two of the most gifted young electric bassists/musicians on the planet, and their work is truly inspirational!

My heart has been so very sad with the recent unfortunate and untimely demise of four of my greatest musical heroes. They were all living legends:

John Wetton (12 June 1949 31 January 2017)

Greg Lake (10 November 1947 7 December 2016)

Keith Emerson (2 November 1944 11 March 2016)

Chris Squire (4 March 1948 27 June 2015)

Squire, Lake, and Wetton were the triumvarat of standard-bearers for progressive rock bass, vocals, and composition, and are amongst my greatest influences.
Keith was a peerless composer/performer/instrumentalist in a class by himself. I was very thankful to have had the opportunity to meet him and work with him.
The essence of their beings lives on in the glorious music they gifted us with. 

What can I say that hasn't already been said about the great Jack Bruce. One of my greatest influences on bass and vocals, this fiery Scottish multi-instrumentalist/vocalist/composer, he left us on 25 October 2014. I got to see him give
a fantastic performance with the legendary Cream- live at Madison Square Garden- in NYC in October of 2005- a concert that I was fortunate enough to attend, thanks to my High School rock band buddies!
With great sorrow I must report on the most untimely demise of one of the most talented, generous, and extraordinary musicians and human beings I have known: Bobby Vince Paunetto. Vinny passed away on unexpectedly on 10 August 2010, after years of struggling with Multiple Sclerosis. He was a master vibrophonist, Grammy nominated Latin-Jazz composer, and a very dear personal friend. He is sorely missed.
In January 2007, we lost a fantastic musician who should be honored for his wonderful contributions to jazz as a musician and composer: saxophonist Michael Brecker. I was incredibly fortunate to be working at Power Station studios when he and his brother Randy were recording a Brecker Brothers album- with Neil Jason on bass. Michael and Randy took to practicing in my tech shop, so I was able to hear them close up and extremely personal. My condolences go out to Randy, and to Michael's family.

On 24 October 2004, eclectic musician/composer/digital graphic artist Gil Mell passed away very unexpectedly. Gil was a fiery force of nature, extraordinarily talented, and constantly creating. I had the great pleasure of seeing one of his last live performances, and then working with him to edit and mix it at my home studio. I do not know if it will ever be released, but I have fond memories of our time together, and of being able to work with, and be treated as a peer, by this jazz and film scoring legend.

2002 was a sad year for Bassists, with the passing of Bass legends RAY BROWN, and one of my personal favorites, and a tremendous influence to my style: 'The Ox', JOHN ENTWISTLE on 24 June 2002.

On 24 October 2002, my paisano, acoustic upright & Fender electric player, live & studio bass legend, CHUCK DOMANICO, left us.
He is greatly missed, and will not be forgotten. This site is dedicated to his memory.
See more about him online at:
The Chuck Domanico Tribute Site

All were active players right up to the time of their passing. They leave a tremendous legacy of brilliant innovation at the forefronts of their respective idioms of Acoustic Jazz, Electric Rock, and Jazz & Symphonic Ensemble playing.

I am grateful to have been able to have been exposed to their musical artistry.

May their spirits create deep rumblings of peace and harmony throughout the heavens.

A little about me-

My name is John Rotondi. I have played electric bass guitar since about 1970. My first bands were started while attending The Bronx High School of Science with my buddies Stew (Dr. Z!), JohnnyZ, Mitch, (guitarists) and Alan (drums). We're all still buddies, and even though we all live in different parts of the country now, our love of music still remains a common bond! In fact, most of us gathered to attend the 2005 Cream Reunion Concert October 21, 2005 at Madison Square Garden in New York for a reunion of our own! What an awesome show- and Jack Bruce rocked as hard as ever!

I had previously played trumpet for a couple of years, but my parents could not afford private trumpet lessons for me. Through chance, I acquired a 'Zim-Gar' 6 string guitar- that actually turned out to be a 6 string (E to E) bass! Since I could not find such strings locally, I strung it using 4 strings, so it was a bit unusual! I started learning Stones and CSNY tunes by ear... I later acquired a Gibson Melody Maker Bass (quite a bit of mud, but a nice neck) and continued learning Cream, Hendrix, Iron Butterfly, The Who, and of course every Zep tune! Being a big fan of Yes, and outgrowing my muddy Melody Maker, I scraped together my hard-earned $$ and purchased a new Rickenbacker Stereo Bass in 1972! I sat down with all the Yes and ELP I could get my hands on, then got into fusion: Mahavishnu, Return to Forever, Weather Report, Brand X, etc!
Bassically, I love the electric bass as an instrument of creative expression. I also love excitement in my music- excitement generated by a quality composition executed by inspirational players- and I have been inspired! In my work as a professional sound engineer, I have had the chance to work with, meet, speak to, and be inspired firsthand by the work of musical legends such as:

Bassists: Stanley Clarke, Abe Laboriel, Will Lee, Neil Jason, John Patitucci, Anthony Jackson, Jimmy Johnson, Neil Stubenhaus, my friend and great player Glenn 'G-Man' Govier, and the late Chuck Damonico and Bernard Edwards.

Keyboardists: Keith Emerson, John Beasley, Mike Lang, Ralph Grierson, Michael Boddicker, Phil Wolfe, Grant Cooper

Guitarists: Keith Richards, George Doering, Tim May, Dennis Budimir, 'Doctor Z' (Dr. Stew Zweikoft), 'JohnnyZ '(John Zaff), Mike Miranda, Bob Miranda, Mike Matier, RickyZ, Chuck Kavooras, Joey Brasler, Bruce Watson, and the late Tommy Tedesco

Drummers: Billy Cobham, Vinnie Colaiuta, Steve Gadd, Steve Shaeffer, Harvey Mason, Alex Acuna, Jerry Beller, Alan Alhades, Keith Owings, Wendell Yuponce, Eric Chun, and my awesome cousin Keith Duran

Percussionists: Lenny Castro, Larry Bunker, Alan Estes, Joe Porcaro, Bob Zimmitti, Emil Richards

Trumpet: Randy Brecker, Malcolm McNab, and my late grandfather, Al Gonsher (who inspired me to play trumpet... he also played a mean violin as well!)

Sax: The Late, Great Michael Brecker, Gato Barbieri, Joel Peskin, Eric Marienthal, my paisano Perry Gentile, and the late great Gil Melle

Composers: John Wiliams, Bill Conti, David & Thomas Newman, Bruce Broughton, Basil Poledouris, Dennis McCarthy, Jay Chattaway, Alf Clausen, Mark Isham, Perry Gentile, Wendell Yuponce, and the late great Elmer Bernstein (who was a client of mine), Jerry Goldsmith, Gil Melle, and my beloved friend, the late
Bobby Vince Paunetto RIP.
MY TUNES (links not functional at this time):

  • My former ELP Tribute Band 'Knife Edge'!

  • Pre-Production Instrumental Demo 'Believe It' (M. Matier). A good example of my rock playing (ala Entwistle) with my Ken Lawrence 4 string direct into the desk.

  • Live bass solos Excerpt #1 using my 4 string custom Ken Lawrence, and Excerpt #2 using my 6 string Yamaha TRB-6P prototype, through my Hartke HA3500 and 2 410XL cabs. Performed with Howard Barnett's 'Stars and Guitars' at the June 3, 2001 'Salute To Recreation' Outdoor Music Festival, Northridge Park, taken from the video track.


    I am now liquidating all my gear to help pay for medical and living expenses.
    Contact me if you have a serious interest in my first-class collection.

    I am pleased to announce that I am offering for sale 2 complete stacks of extremely rare UK Trace Elliot amplification-  formerly owned by GREG LAKE of EMERSON, LAKE and PALMER, and used by him on their last two world tours! I acquired this fabulous system directly from ELP several years ago, with plans to use it with my ELP tribute band 'Knife Edge'.
    Trace StacksCases & Amps
    The system includes 2 each of:
    * 1 X 15" Bass cabinet model 1518.
    * 4 X 10" Bass cabinet model 1048H (w/Horn).
    * ELP/Greg Lake stenciled professional Road Case for each pair of Bass Cabinets.
    * 4 X 5" "Bright Box" model 4052H tweeter array.

    I have 1 RA 600 300 Watt/Channel Stereo amplifier w/BiAmp Crossover built-in left.

    There is also a large double shock mounted amp rack, and full professional cabling as well.
    I am asking $2350 for the entire system.

    Please contact me at the above email address if you are seriously interested.


    Available for purchase.
    Serious Inquiries only please:

  • Custom Made Ken Lawrence 4 String
  • Rare Yamaha Prototype TRB-6P
  • Original 1972 Rickenbacker Stereo Bass-My First Real Bass
  • Fender Fretless Jazz Bass (MIM) with Duncan Pickups
  • Fender Squier Double Fat Tele w/Dimarzio Burstbuckers (Not Shown)
  • Amps & Cabs Hartke 3500 w/2 X 4.5 XL cabs; Fender Bassman 70, Duncan Convertible 100, Duncan 84-50, Carvin/Celestion 4X12 cab, Fender Bassman 70 amp
  • Strings: I may experiment with various strings from time to time, but I generally use Alembic CX-3 Strings on my basses when possible as well as RotoSound RoundWounds. For electric guitar, I like Dean Markley strings.

  • KL4FrontKL4Back

    Custom Built Ken Lawrence 4 String 'Associate' Bass

    I joined Ken at his Arcata, CA workshop to hand select the woods for my dream bass:
    Chechen Wood Top on Swamp Ash Body, w/bolt-on Rock Maple Neck w/Brazilian Rosewood Fingerboard.
    Bartolini Pickups and matching bipolar 9VDC powered preamp w/3 band EQ, switchable mids, Hipshot D-Tuner.
    Thanks Ken! (Ken also makes awesome fretless basses!) CURRENTLY AVAILABLE

    My Yamaha TRB-6P Prototype, AKA 'The Ironing Board'!

    This 6 string contrabass guitar plays so smooth and silky, and really sings!
    Purchased at the LA Vintage Guitar Show a couple of years ago... BTW, the only non-vintage axe there-
    I really lucked out on this one!  Multi-laminated neck-through body construction.
    Looks like a bookmatched quilted maple top? Active pickups, plus piezo pickups in each bridge saddle!
    This was part of an estate sale purchase by the guitar dealer I got it from... The late owner was quite prolific, and his energy lives on in this axe. Was strung with D'addario Slow Wounds. SOLD

    1972 Rick
    My Original 1972 Rickenbacker Stereo Bass AKA 'Ricky'!

    I purchased this brand new with my hard-earned $325 in 1972 on 48th Street in NYC.
    My love of Yes/Chris Squire, Renaissance, and Paul McCartney made this the only axe for me-
    I could never relate to the Fenders of the time...

    Mods: While doing some Jaco palm slams, cracked the original face plate-
    the new face plate I made is quite unique: it follows the contour of the horns, and is hand cut from solid aluminum plate- indestructible!
    Plus, Phase Reverse switches for both pickups, and bass cut switches for each pickup to allow for different tonalities...
    Also, custom hand cut recessed string paths into the treble pickup frame to allow for extra-low guitar-style action!
    The Ricky sounds awesome through my vintage silver-face Bassman 70!

    Fender HMT
      ~1992 Fender HMT Acoustic/Electric Bass.

    This was my last bass purchase. I had not played bass in 7 years due to my injuries. I was on the east coast, and my other instruments were in storage. I decided that I needed an instrument on my travels- something extremely light (7.2 lbs.) yet musical. It is a beautiful bass! However, I was in too much pain to make use of it.
    It now resides with one of my favorite people and bassists on the planet, Glenn Govier, who performs regularly in NY/NJ.

    MIM Jazz
    Late model Mexican-made Fender Fretless Jazz Bass.

    This was purchased used for a mere $175 as a 'beater bass' to learn fretless on...
    It is actually a most excellent bass, and I feel the it is as expressive as any of my exotics!
    I took to the fretless very quickly, realizing that learning all those Jaco and Percy Jones tunes
    (which never sounded very good when I played them on frets) really sound right on a fretless!
    This bass plays very well, and has a very sensual growl... I can't help but think of Jaco when I hear it (not that I could ever play like him!)
    I replaced the stock hummy pickups with Seymour Duncan humbucking J-Bass replacements.
    Currently strung with RotoSound 'Swing Bass' Strings.

    ...They should be paying me to say that!

    I use a Hartke HA3500 MOSFET head, with TWO 4.5XL Cabs, for a full 4.5XL stack-- I top this off with a Trace Ellliot 4052H 'Bright Box'- formerly owned by Greg Lake!! The amp and cabs are clean, crisp, accurate, and project a massive, rich tone from each of my instruments. The Hartke cabs are FOR SALE. 1 is in a road case.

    For electric guitar, I have a versatile Seymour Duncan Convertible 100W EL-34 1x12" combo, as well as a Duncan 84-50 2 X 12 combo

    As a backup bass and guitar amp, I have a Fender Silver Face Bassman 70 amp. With my Ricky, this is THE Chris Squire tone!

    I Dedicate this site is to the memory of Chuck Domanico.
    He touched me with his grace, his humanity, and his music.

    This Site supports a FREE TIBET

    and is Dedicated to World Peace
    and the Benefit of all Beings!

    2017 John B. Rotondi
    Website Programmed and Maintained by John Rotondi
    Updated 31 January 2017