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Reader Spotlight: Kaitie Sly

Kaitie Sly

Meet Kaitie Sly, a bassist from Victoria who plays both electric and double bass. Kaitie is our player in the spotlight for February 7, 2012.


I am an electric and upright bassist. I have been playing music since I was eight years old. I started playing music on the piano, taking private lessons, and when I was a teenager, I switched to (and fell in love with) the bass. Since then, I have been playing bass, and recently completed my degree in bass from the Musicians Institute in Los Angeles, CA, where I won the outstanding student award. I have worked as a freelance bassist, and bass teacher primarily, and have also done some composing and sound engineering projects.



Day gig:

My current job(s) include, teaching bass, performing as a freelance bassist and working for a music marketing company.

Years experience:

Over 10 years

Bands & Gigs:

Yes, I do a lot of freelance type gigs for artists/groups looking for bassists, but am currently also playing with a jazz ensemble, a Mandolin Orchestra (different forms of folk, Balkan and other world music), a latin group, and an instrumental latin/rockabilly group.


My current gear:

  • Custom Classic Fender Jazz Bass
  • Markbass SA450 Head
  • Ampeg 1×15 cab
  • An old (about 40 or so years old) 3/4 size upright bass that I bought from a guy who had it sitting in his basement for years. It sounds great!!

What I’d like:

  • An Fbass 5 string BN fretted bass with a nice wood finish. Perhaps an exotic Macassar Ebony.
  • For amplification, definitely would want to go Markbass all the way. I just checked out the new Markbass Big Bang amp, which (like all their other products) is killer!!!

Why I play the bass:

I could never get into piano because I always felt that I was sort of playing on “top” of the band, and this was not satisfying to me. I somehow wanted to become more a part of the foundation of the band, so I narrowed my decision down to bass, drums or guitar. I ended up choosing bass because I was inspired by other female bassists and have also grown to love the deep sound of bass instruments (i.e. cello, bass, baritone sax, upright bass, etc.). It’s what I like best! I then got into James Jamerson from playing bass in a Motown band for several years, and he pretty much solidified my love for bass.

My bass superpower/claim to fame

I strive to be as versatile as possible. Because I love so many different styles of music, I listen to, and dabble in, many different styles and techniques on bass. Other people have said that I am very solid and still others have labeled me as a “jazz bassist”. I don’t like to be labeled in that category, because first of all, I play many styles and have played everything from country to jazz to metal, and secondly, jazz is so complex and one of my favorite things to work on. I will probably spend my whole life just trying to get decent at it!!

My influences

I like a lot of different styles of music, but some of my favourite bass players are: James Jamerson, Marcus Miller, Pino Palladino, John Paul Jones and Rocco Prestia.

Other Musicians I really like: Herbie Hancock, Ahmad Jamal, Miles Davis, Bill Evans, Stevie Wonder.


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