Reader Spotlight: Phil Wain

Phil WainMeet bassist Phil Wain, our player in the spotlight for September 22nd, 2009.


A fretless specialist who loves his Wal bass, Phil sees music as a spiritual exercise and strives for those moments when the music plays him. He can be seen in a variety of settings on the London gig scene. His heart is in jazz but he can often be found adding the groove momentum to Balkan folk, Klezmer, West African music, Reggae, Samba or any number of musics.


London, England

Day gig:

Married with a child, everyone relies on my salary as a Primary School teacher and manager.

Years experience:

Over 25 years

Bands & Gigs:

I play with LV Project (jazz, fusion and bossa nove); Luna Kalamata (Balkan acoustic music) and a range of other bands – mostly in a freelance capacity. A couple of semi-regular bar covers bands too!


  • My main bass is a 1987 Wal fretless
  • I play a Crafter fretless acoustic bass guitar
  • And a range of fretted basses
  • I’m hoping to re-enter the upright world soon
  • I use an Acoustic Image head
  • And ultralight Epifani cabs
  • And TI Jazz Flat strings

Why I play the bass:

Those low frequencies grabbed me. I grew up in reggae clubs in the Midlands and listening to guys like John Paul Jones, Andy Fraser and (from the first single I bought) Verdine White!

My bass superpower/claim to fame

I have the bass mentality. I play for audiences and I always try to connect whether I’m soloing or laying down a bassline. I’m about making the music sound good and I like to add grace notes, slides, slurs and suchlike to bring a line to life.

I have realised that the power of a bassline is in the way it is played – the way each note is shaped and sculpted precisely however simple the line.

My influences

James Jamerson, Richard Bona, Michel Alibo, John Paul Jones, Paul Chambers, Charles Mingus, Doug Watkins, Jimmy Blanton, Mark Adams, Jimi Hendrix, Prince, Miles Davis, Percy Jones, Marcus Miller, Hussain Jiffry, Steve Billman, Steve Lawson, Jerry Watts, Pino Palladino, Oscar Pettiford, Thaddeus Tribett etc…

More on the web:

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Share your thoughts

  1. And as of yesterday I have a lovely new NS WAV upright too. Thanks to notreble for the article!

  2. pickerfromBP4um

    Good for you, Phil! I think it's exceptionally cool that you're getting some notice as a bassist with a day gig. Some of the best music in the world is being made by guys who don't make their primary living from their playing, and some of most worthless stuff in the world is being played by guys who have to play stuff they hate in order to make a living at it. Of course, being a weekend warrior myself, I might be a tad prejudiced…
    Picker from the Bass Player Forum

  3. Picker, you need to read this from the excellent Steve Uccello's blog:

  4. Picker, you need to read this from the excellent Steve Uccello's blog:

  5. […] September 24, 2009 at 6:46 pm · Filed under Twitter, bass, music ·Tagged bass, bass guitar, community, double bass, elecric bass, lessons, low end, notreble, phil wain, philwbass, steve uccello, videos Corey at the wonderful notreble website is looking for bassists to feature in the sites Player Spotlight pages. I was very happy to be featured this month. You can see the article by clicking here […]