Reader Spotlight: Ryan Ladd

Ryan LaddMeet Ryan Ladd, a bassist from Placerville, California and our player in the spotlight for May 17, 2011.


I’ve been playing bass guitar my whole life. I’m in a progressive rock band called “Crimson Sky.” I also play solo bass, and I’m working on an album.

I’m what you would call a sonic omnivore, meaning I listen to and inspired by many different genres of music many of which I incorporate into my sound.

My fondest memory in music remains the time I met and got the privilege to jam with Victor Wooten before a one of his shows in Sacramento.


Placerville, California, USA

Day gig:

I teach bass and guitar.

Years experience:

13 years

Bands & Gigs:

Yes, Crimson Sky. We are a progressive rock band, we play regular shows (2 to 3 a month). Our sound ranges from rock, to jazz, to metal, to even reggae and electronic influences. We incorporate melodic jazz chords with obscure time signatures and funk style bass. In this band I play bass, theremin, acoustic guitar and I’m the primary songwriter. Our debut album is coming out in April!


  • Michael Kelly Club acoustic bass (my child)
  • Shecter Stiletto 4
  • SansAmp Programable DI
  • DigiTech Stereo looper
  • Dean Electric Upright
  • Ampeg BA 115

Why I play the bass:

My dad is a musician and plays many instruments. I couldn’t tell you exactly what drew me to the bass, (I was 5 years old at the time) but something about the sound drew me to it, and it still has a hold of me today.

My bass superpower/claim to fame

Around town I’m known as that guy who plays bass with a cell phone as well harmonic polytones (a technique involving holding a note down with the left hand and tapping, as would a harmonic, a higher note). Done correctly you hear two different harmonic notes. I try to incorporate unique things like this into my playing and create sounds people didn’t know a bass could make.

My influences

Jaco Pastorius, Zander Zon, Victor Wooten, Jimmy Page, Bootsy Collins, Tony Levin, Neil Peart, Robert Plant, Anthony Wellington, Posido Vega, Bob Marley and many more…

Even the sounds of other instruments like drums, guitars, horns, and even harps I hear and try to emulate on bass.

More on the web:


Want to be featured in an upcoming Reader Spotlight? Just fill out the interview questionnaire.

Get daily bass updates.

Get the latest news, videos, lessons, and more in your inbox every morning.

Share your thoughts