Paul Kowert

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Paul Kowert
Born (1986-07-18) July 18, 1986 (age 36)
OriginMadison, Wisconsin, US
Progressive bluegrass
Instrument(s)Double Bass, Mandolin, Guitar, Violin, Piano
Years active2008-present
LabelsNonesuch Records, Padiddle Records
Kowert (center) with Punch Brothers.

Paul Kowert (born July 18, 1986) is an American bassist and composer. His styles include classical, bluegrass, and progressive bluegrass. He is a member of the progressive acoustic quintet Punch Brothers and a founding member of Hawktail, an acoustic supergroup composed of Kowert, fiddler Brittany Haas, guitarist Jordan Tice, and mandolinist Dominick Leslie.[1]


Kowert grew up in Middleton, Wisconsin. He transitioned to playing bass from violin at age 9. He studied under Edgar Meyer at the Curtis Institute of Music, graduating in 2009.[2][3] While still pursuing his degree at Curtis, Kowert was recruited to join Punch Brothers. Though Kowert remains the only non-founding member of the ensemble, his arrival in Punch Brothers has been cited as the seminal moment in the band's artistic formation. As bandmate Chris Thile recalls, "that’s when the band really became a band."[3]


Kowert plays a double bass made by luthier Daniel Hachez in 2006 ("Daniel Hachez Bass #28").[4] Inspired by mentor Edgar Meyer, Kowert plays in an unconventional tuning that combines orchestral tuning and solo tuning.[5] In orchestral (or "standard") tuning, the bass is tuned in ascending fourths from E to G (i.e., E, A, D, G). In solo tuning, the bass is also tuned in fourths but begins a major second above orchestral tuning, running from F# to A (i.e., F#, B, E, A). Kowert's tuning adheres to solo tuning for the instrument's three highest strings but reverts to orchestral tuning for the lowest string (i.e., E, B, E, A). Additionally, Kowert regularly uses a C extension, resulting in an even wider range of pitch (i.e., C, B, E, A).[6]

In addition to his Hachez bass, Kowert regularly plays a Shen SB-180 bass modified by luthier Arnold Schnitzer to include a removable neck.[7][8] This modification, Kowert claims, has proven indispensable for the demands of touring, particularly with Punch Brothers. "The way we traveled on the Who's Feeling Young Now? tour," Kowert explains, "would not have been possible without this thing."[9]

Kowert uses a bow made by Reid Hudson.[10]


With Punch Brothers
With Mike Marshall's Big Trio
With Haas Kowert Tice
  • You Got This (2014)
With Hawktail
  • Unless (2018)
  • Formations (2020)
  • Place Of Growth (2022)


  1. ^ "A Long, Musical Friendship: A Conversation With Hawktail". The Bluegrass Situation. May 18, 2018. Retrieved October 18, 2021.
  2. ^ "Back to Aspen, and playing with new Punch |". Archived from the original on August 10, 2016. Retrieved January 6, 2012.
  3. ^ a b Allen, Dave. "Meet the Alumni - Endless Curiosity." Overtones, Fall 2019, 26-27.
  4. ^ "Daniel Hachez #28 2006 —". Retrieved October 18, 2021.
  5. ^ "Daniel Hachez #28 2006 —". Retrieved October 18, 2021.
  6. ^ "Daniel Hachez #28 2006 —". Retrieved October 19, 2021.
  7. ^ "Arnold E. Schnitzer, luthier". Retrieved October 19, 2021.
  8. ^ "Shen Removable Neck Bass —". Retrieved October 19, 2021.
  9. ^ "Shen Removable Neck Bass —". Retrieved October 19, 2021.
  10. ^ "Reid Hudson Bow —". Retrieved October 18, 2021.
  11. ^ "Punch Brothers' 'Hell on Church Street' Due January 14 on Nonesuch; Reimagining of, Homage to Tony Rice's 'Church Street Blues' - Nonesuch Records". Nonesuch Records Official Website. Retrieved October 18, 2021.