Reader Spotlight: Brian Dawley

Brian Dawley

Meet Brian Dawley, a bassist from Boston who seems pretty well grounded in life (his list of “important things” is not only short, it is one-third “bass”).

And I believe that for the very first time in our Reader Spotlight history, the answer to our “superpower” question also included the “Kryptonite,” which is a pretty humble thing.

Brian sounds like a good guy to us. Read on and I bet you’ll agree.


My name is Brian and I consider music to be the most important thing to me next to my mental and physical health. I started learning at a young age with a 4 string bass doing my best to learn the songs I liked on the radio. As time went on I gradually became more obsessed with other styles of music and all the different techniques and approaches you could do with a bass. I play in a few bands and I am in the process of writing and recording some solo material as a personal challenge to myself, as well as, give a home for all of the ideas I have that don’t transfer over well into a band situation.


Boston MA, United States

Day gig:

I work for Apple, I teach privately, and I sub/session/play as much as possible. Music is my true passion and escape.

Years experience:

15 years

Bands & Gigs:

Lattermath: Progressive metal for fans of Periphery, Karnivool, and Protest the Hero.

Triphon: An internet-based metal project the combines the melodic elements of European power metal (Symphony-X / Kamelot) with the aggressive elements of American metal-core (Killswitch Engage / As I lay Dying). We have a new album coming out soon.

Even though they are both “metal” bands, they both require their own approach, tone and subtlety. I enjoy the task of finding the subtle ways I can make each project – or the people I play with – sound better.


Over time I have become fortunate enough to own the following:

  • Dingwall ABZ 6 string
  • Dingwall Combustion 5 string
  • Spector Ns 2000 – 4 strings – EMG 35 Dc 18v upgrade (aftermarket)
  • Spector Euro Lx – 6 string
  • Conklin Gt7 – 7 string bass
  • 1986 MIJ Fender Precision Jazz – 4 string bass
  • Aguilar DB 2×12 & DB 4X10 cabinets
  • Aguilar Db750 head
  • Aguilar: Octaver & Agro
  • Electro Harmonix: Small clone chorus
  • Boss: DD7 Delay & GEB7 EQ
  • Aguilar Tone hammer DI
  • Sans Amp RBI
  • Mix of DR – Circle K – Dean Markley strings, along with some Gruv Gear FretWaps

Why I play the bass:

It was something I naturally gravitated towards. I remember being a little kid and whenever I would hear my parents playing music I would always be tapping the bass line on my leg without knowing what it was or what created that sound. Once I figured out what the instrument was I quickly began nagging for a bass and I haven’t stopped playing since.

My bass superpower/claim to fame:

My practice regimen and willingness to push myself. I have spent a lot of time in my life practicing so that in any situation I could provide anything that was being asked of me. whether it be slapping, tapping, playing finger or pic style, subdividing, playing at high speeds, playing melodically, etc. etc. I never want to say to a fellow musician “I can’t do that,” so I practice accordingly and rigorously.

It is only fair to talk about my Kryptonite if I talk about a super power (it keeps the universe in balance).

My biggest struggle as a player is that I judge myself very harshly and never give any credit to what I can do. This has made for some very tough practice sessions as you can imagine. I have made a conscious effort over time to remind myself that when I can’t do something… I can’t do it YET. It’s always about what you CAN do not what you can’t and as long as you are willing to keep making an effort to getting better everyday thats all you can ask of yourself.

My influences:

Ryan Martinie (Mudvayne), because he was my first glimpse into all the different things a bassist could do. The guy was slapping, tapping, playing chords, all while moving and engaging the crowd. It was a a truly captivating and inspiring experience for me. I started practicing as soon as I got home and didn’t sleep at all that night.

Les Claypool (Primus), because of his unique bass sound and style. You know him the minute you hear him and that is something I , and most bass players, search for their entire playing careers.

Miles Davis. I am doing my best to study jazz and get a better handle on its complex nature as a I get older. Listening to Miles shows me that you can make incredibly difficult things sound easy and smooth. He also shows that all you need is one note to turn the listeners world upside down. The man truly embodied what musical power and control was.

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

  1. Steve rosati

    Apple is the part time gig of many musicians.