Reader Spotlight: Oliver Leonidas Tsakonas

Oliver Leonidas TsakonasMeet Oliver Leonidas Tsakonas, a bassist who has enjoyed some nice Youtube attention thanks to his playing. Oliver is our player in the spotlight for May 22, 2012.


I’m a bassist from Leeds UK. In my time, I’ve played on all shapes and sizes of stage in an endless amount of styles. I’m aiming to build my name in the music world by playing with the best talent I can find and Leeds alone has a lot to offer. I also post videos under my YouTube channel ‘oliplaysbass’. So far I’ve had over 300,000 views with a growing number of subscribers and contacts.


Leeds, UK

Day gig:

I’ve been studying a BA (hons) in Popular Music studies the past three years so as I’m about to enter the ‘real world of work’, I’m looking to do anything within the music industry. I currently play with a range of different talented acts.

Years experience:

Since I was 13 (so just over 8 years)

Bands & Gigs:

At the moment I’m playing with my new band ‘The Animus’ who are about to break the Leeds gigging scene. I also play in Craig Lees as well as the many deps coming my way.

I also play with Leeds leading grunge Revivalists, Arizona Bay. I recently left Leeds based band Coral Caves due to other music commitments I had coming my way.


My regular basses are:

  • Custom Fender Precision (SD Bassines, Badass II & Hipshot D-tuner) it’s also been signed by Stu Hamm, Billy Sheehan & Marcus Miller!
  • Fender Aerodyne Jazz Bass
  • Fender Fretless Jazz Bass

My bass amp:

  • Hartke HA5500 amp head
  • Hartke VX410 & Hartke VX115


  • TC Electronic Polytune (of course)
  • Taurus T-DI preamp pedal
  • Boss Bass Overdrive
  • Boss Bass Limiter/Enhancer
  • Electro-Harmonix Little Big Muff
  • Electro-Harmonix Octave Multiplexer
  • Ashdown Engineering Envelope Filter

Why I play the bass:

I only really started enjoying music around the same time I started playing bass and I had been learning saxophone & piano since I was 9. At the time, everyone was playing guitar so obviously someone had to do it. I really enjoyed playing it and haven’t really put it down since.

My bass superpower/claim to fame

The powerstance, it has to be the powerstance! Lower the guitar strap, legs far apart, God Mode: [on]

I also like to use a variety of techniques including a hybrid 2+3 finger picking style. The reason for that is every finger sounds different regardless of how much you practice to get an even sound between them and being able to add in an extra finger builds up your speed and a different type of sound. Its about ease of playing

My influences

My influences are constantly changing. I’m currently listening to a bands like Soundgarden, Foo Fighters, Radiohead and Pearl Jam. I’ve turned into an absolute grunge-head if I’m honest.

Bass influences are Stu Hamm, Billy Sheehan, Marcus Miller, Victor Wooten, Jaco Pastorius. I’d say more for their techniques than their music although I still enjoy listening to them. I’ve never had a massive interest for what we’d call ‘Music for bassists’, but it’s great to expand your musical knowledge.

More on the web:

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  1. I hate to be a stickler for detail but oliplaysbass has only had 66,137 views, not 300,000.