*How did you get to know Sire Guitars and what was your first impression when you played your Sire Bass for the first time?
Like many others, I saw the videos from NAMM 2015 and was intrigued. A pair of published reviews by fellow Sire Friend Vuyani Wakaba really caught my attention. I started following the initial buzz on Talk Bass and ended up calling Mickey Cho at Sire USA. He was very friendly and helpful, answering all of the questions I had. While on the phone, I made the purchase as a birthday gift to myself. The process was fast and I had the bass within a week or so (back before demand skyrocketed).
Once I had the bass in my hands, I was immediately impressed by the obvious attention to detail and the finishing touches that most basses in this price range (and higher) unfortunately lack. Even before plugging in, the sound and resonance of my Sire V7 played acoustically was clean, clear and punchy. After I plugged into my amplifier, I was blown away by the depth of tone it produces. Right away I found the sound I was hoping for. I had never owned a jazz bass until now and I’m proud to say my Sire V7 fills that void and then some! It’s become an essential part of my arsenal as a professional bass player in Ontario, Canada.
*When and how did you start playing bass?
With minimal previous music education, I began playing electric bass in high school in September 1996. While it’s not the most recommended route, my journey started on a fretless 4-string. Looking back, I’d like to believe it helped develop my ears and sense of intonation which later translated to my studies on double bass. My music professors Mr. Hall, Mr. Riley and Mr. Tusz (who is also a bass player) were very supportive and encouraged me to work hard and learn as much as I could about the role of the bass player. They gave me the opportunity to play regularly in the school’s stage bands and concert bands outside of daily classes. I also began performing with friends in rock bands at various local venues.
*What or who were your early passions or influences of the music that you play?
Jaco Pastorius was the first well-known bass player I stumbled upon, almost by accident. Later came Geddy Lee, Les Claypool, Stanley Clarke, Marcus Miller and Victor Wooten, mostly driven by my desire to learn various playing techniques. In 1998 after discovering what I thought were most of the noteworthy professional electric bass players, I found one only a few hours away in Toronto, ON. His name is Mr. Orin Isaacs and since the day we met he’s been an incredible teacher, mentor and friend who opened up a whole new world to me as a teenage beginner. Orin instilled in me a hunger for learning, a love for music & performance and to always be the best I can be, no matter what I decide to focus on. Among many valuable lessons, Orin taught me that regardless of how great you think you might be on your instrument, you have to be a good person and a team player first and foremost. This is a lesson all musicians around the world should learn.
In 2000 I began jazz studies at Canada’s prestigious music school, Humber College. It is there that I began to learn and play the double bass under the instruction of Mr. Mike Downes, head of the bass department at Humber and one of Canada’s premier musicians. His inspiration, guidance, support and friendship over the years has been essential to my continued development as a person and musician.
*Are you a professional musician or a member of a local band in Canada? Kindly tell us about your musical career.
I am a professional musician and play regularly all across the province of Ontario. Most of my performing is done in bands and orchestras on both electric bass and double bass for musical theatre productions. I’ve made a career as a sideman for hire but recently spent two years as a member of a band from my hometown called Laganza. With them I helped write, record and produce their 2010 release titled “Both Sides”.
I’ve had the opportunity to study with some of the finest musicians on the planet, too many to name here. I’ve performed on hundreds of stages across North America during my career and have met some incredible people along the way. I’ve also been very fortunate to form relationships with the people behind the companies whose products I use on a daily basis. I will always be grateful for the support they continue to provide.
*How can you compare the Sire Bass with other high-end basses that you tried before?
I have been proud to own and play my Kenneth Lawrence Brase I 5-string bass for over 13 yrs. In my opinion, he is of the finest luthiers & artists in the world. Along with fellow Canadian luthiers F Bass and Dingwall, only a handful of other builders are on the same level of their craftsmanship. While my Sire V7 is also a wonderfully crafted bass, personally I don’t think it’s designed to compare with these high-end builders. Having said that, it shares similar traits and I’ve found my Sire V7 to be a first-class versatile workhorse that is able to fit in seamlessly within a number of musical styles. It takes the familiar jazz bass and raises the bar to the next level. Along with many others, I’m happy to proclaim it really is a “Game Changer.” I’m excited about it because it is a high-quality instrument that is accessible to many more people around the world because of its lower price. Students shouldn’t have to learn to play on cheap, mediocre instruments. Sire is fixing this problem for the next generation and turning the heads of the pro players at the same time.
*For you, what is the perfect bass tone?
For me, finding that perfect bass tone depends on the style of music I’m playing. I strive for that ideal fit whether I’m playing jazz, rock, blues, funk, reggae, bluegrass, etc. They all have different requirements and sometimes lead to having a variety of different instruments for each situation. What I love about my Sire V7 is that it is very adaptable in creating the tone I need for many different styles. It’s like a reliable Swiss Army Knife with a tool for most jobs.
*Lastly, what advice can you give to fellow bass players in the market for a new bass?
Find the instrument that inspires you & makes you want to play everyday. It should help you to create your own voice. For beginners, it’s ok if you start by emulating your heroes’ sound, feel, tone and bass lines. The greatest players have all studied those who came before them. The key is to evolve and discover what you personally have to offer. If you’re honest with yourself about it, you’ll always want to try to improve and become the best bass player you can be. Keep your ears open. That magical instrument could be a Sire!
Where can we catch you live?
For current news and updates, please visit my website http://www.bestwick.ca which features my music, videos, biography and links to my social media sites.