Reader Spotlight: Gaines Cooper

Gaines CooperMeet Gaines Cooper, a bassist-turned-guitarist-turned-bassist who got his start when he was 10 years old. He now stays busy playing in two bands.

Gaines is this week’s No Treble reader in the spotlight. Here’s his story…


The first thing I ever learned on bass was when I was 10. After that, I started playing guitar and in 6th grade, I was finally given a guitar for Christmas after proving I was willing to put effort into it.

It took me until I was 15 to actually move to bass, but I joined my first real band as soon as I did. Since then I’ve played bass in everything from cover bands to originals and I’m currently playing bass for two bands on a regular basis, The Cunning and Sound & Shape. I’m actually filling this form out in the van on tour with Sound & Shape right now!


Nashville, TN US

Day gig:

I was until recently driving for Uber.

Years experience:

Bass I’ve been playing consistently for 15 years. I’ve been playing the guitar for close to 20.

Bands & Gigs:

I’m currently on a short run with the band Sound & Shape and we are on our way to NYC to play at Rockwood Music Hall as I fill this out. It’s a progressive rock/alt rock band where I get to have a lot of fun on bass and the Micro Korg. We’re about to release a new EP on vinyl in March. I also play bass for a band called, The Cunning, which I’m very excited about! We’re currently writing/demoing new songs like mad men and I can’t wait to release more awesome music!


  • I could be wrong about the year, but a 1962 reissued Fender Jazz Bass
  • SWR Working Pro 700 with a 4×10 cab and 1×15 cab (the 15 stayed in Nashville this tour)
  • Boss Bass Overdrive

Why I play the bass:

When I was in 6th grade, I heard Primus for the first time. It took me some time to realize that a lot of what I heard as just crazy noises were actually coming from Les Claypool playing the bass, but when I found out I started learning more bass material through friends that had a bass I could play. After messing around enough I was sold!

My bass superpower/claim to fame

I try to vary my abilities and I’m not sure that I could personally answer this question due to if I find out I’m lacking in an area I work on it until I feel I have it down. When I asked Sound & Shape just now I received these answers: my melodic generosity and my ability to move the crowd. I guess I’d also say my usually energetic/head banging performance.

My influences

As far as just bassists go I’d say in no particular order: Chris Squire, John Wetton, Tony Levin, Greg Lake, Colin Greenwood, Geddy Lee and John Paul Jones. The list for just bassists, artists, and artists in other mediums could go on for far too long!


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