Reader Spotlight: Sean Geist

Sean Geist

While in the earlier part of his life, Sean Geist knew his dad was a bass player, but he didn’t exactly know what that meant. Fast forward to middle school, a band was formed without a bass player. Sean decided to follow in his dad’s footsteps, and the rest is history.

Sean is No Treble’s reader in the spotlight for the week of April 13, 2015.


Greetings! I’ve played electric bass since 1982 (13 years old), getting more serious about it by the time I was 15. My most prevalent influences then, are the same (generally) that they are now: Jaco Pastorius, Geddy Lee, Stanley Clarke, John Paul Jones, Sting, John Taylor, and others.

For two years (1989-1991), I was a “pro” (aka starving, debt-ridden) player, playing the college and club circuit of the northeast states (before returning to college myself). Later on, John Patitucci made me yearn for a 6-string fretted, and I’d eventually get one in 1998, making it a big part of my sound and performances. A 6-string fretless wasn’t far behind, and I made that a part of my sound in 2003.

Early on, it was my slap style that set me apart, at least insofar as what my peers and family told me; “Hey mom! Look, I’m slapping!” Nowadays, I believe it’s my fretless playing that has become my trademark.

I play for fun and personal gratification and fulfillment; original music is what most inspires me, but I love to thrown down a “barn burner” in the repertoire, like those from Chick Corea and Weather Report/Jaco, as well as Return To Forever, and the like. I also play traditional jazz at night clubs here in the Triangle area of NC (relocated from Long Island, NY, 2008). Thanks so much for reading!


Cary, NC, USA

Day gig:

I work for a large technology company.

Years experience:

32 years.

Bands & Gigs:

I play mostly original, but also jazz/fusion covers with the “MPS Project,” here in The Raleigh area of North Carolina. We also perform as “MPS Trio,” whereby we play traditional jazz, and I am mainly featured on the upright bass. I also started the “Fusion Collective South” (FCS) here in Cary/Raleigh, once I relocated to this area. (I was a member of Fusion Collective “North” in NY! The bandleader (Rich Rivkin) gave me his blessing to start the Southern rendition of this collective.) FCS had success, having performed about ~200 gigs since its inception in 2009. (This in addition to my other musical meanderings.) Last, but not least, I am a member of the original prog-metal band, Bruteus. Gotta keep it interesting!


  • New York Bass Works Deep Jazz 6 lined fretless, passive.
  • Zimmerly Bass Guitars 4-string fretted, passive.
  • Carvin LB76 6-string fretted, active/passive.
  • Anthem Basses 4-string fretted; Audere preamp, Suhr pickups, translucent blue.
  • Emmanuel WIlfer upright Bass, Model 300.
  • Genz Benz Contour ctr500-210t (and extension cab)
  • Carvin BX500
  • GK RB800
  • Carvin BRX10.2 2 X 10 Inch Bass Cabinet
  • GK MB200
  • Eden 1×10 Cab

Why I play the bass:

A few reasons: For one, my dad was a bass player. Early on, I really didn’t know what that was… I thought it was another guitar, with less strings and longer neck. So, knowing my dad was a bass player, was a huge influence to go that direction once the time presented itself. But it was also my best friend, Ivan Jaffee (RIP), who also steered me in the direction, as well. We had a “band” in 7th grade… 3 guitarists and a drummer. None of us had instruments just yet, but we had a band. So Ivan said, “Hey, we have to have a bass player, we can’t all 3 be guitarists.” So I said, “My dad was a bass player!” And that was it, right there and then…I was the bassist. I was thrilled to run home and tell my dad I needed a bass for Christmas!

My bass superpower/claim to fame:

As I mentioned, my slapping can take a head off! I don’t use it anywhere near as much as I did when I was (much) younger; but I like to keep it at high octane, in case it’s needed, and/or I find myself in Guitar Center.

My fretless intonation is something I am proud of.

My influences:

Jaco Pastorius, Geddy Lee, James Jamerson, Chuck Rainey, Jerry Jemmott, Jimmy Johnson, John Patitucci, Stanley Clarke, Flea, Les Claypool, John Taylor, Marcus Miller, Mark Egan, Jeff Berlin, Sting, Richard Bona, Victor Wooten, Adam Nitti, Anthony Jackson, Justin Chancellor.

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  1. I was truly thrilled to be profiled some weeks back! Many thanks, we bassists all truly appreciate what you do! Cheers, SG.