We've reached the final stages of the Guitarist of the Year 2020 competition. Needless to say, the standard of this year's talent has been astounding, and as such, the judges have had a hard time narrowing the entries down. But they've done it.
And now, it is our distinct pleasure to present the five finalists of the Bassist of the Year category.
Alongside star judges Scott Reeder, Tracy Wormworth and Doug Wimbish, It's now up to you to select your winner. Check out the entry videos of the five finalists below, and then head to the bottom of the article to cast your vote!
Voting ends at midnight EST on December 20, after which we’ll tally the public, judges’ and editors’ votes to make a final decision, which we’ll reveal on December 21.
Pier Piras has been playing bass for almost 15 years, and cites Steve Harris, Marcus Miller, Victor Wooten and Mark King as his primary influences. He wields a Fender American Elite Jazz Bass equipped with Elixir strings and a GruvGear fret wrap.
“I’m so excited for this opportunity!” he says. “We are all experiencing a pretty tough year, and as a 'modern era' musician, being a finalist for something so big is definitely a great way to prove that it doesn’t matter how things are going... Music never stops!”
Danny Sapko first picked up a bass guitar at the age of 17, and has been playing for around 10 years. His favorite bassists include James Jamerson, Paul McCartney, Donald ‘Duck’ Dunn, Joe Dart, Cody Wright. In his entry video, he plays a Chowny NT4 through an Aguilar head and cab.
“It’s been a tough year to be a musician, but this has been the most amazing news!” he says. “I’m very thrilled to be included as a finalist.”
Justin Cooke first began his bass journey after hearing Pink Floyd's Money on the radio at the age of 10. His favorite bassists include Alex Webster, Les Claypool, Stephan Fimmers, Jeff Hughell, Geezer Butler, Franck Hermanny, Billy Sheehan, Mike Flores, Justin Chancellor and Nick Beggs.
Cooke's primary basses of choice are his Ibanez BTB7 7-string and MTD Kingston 4-string. “I'm still in disbelief,” he says. “It's an honor to have been chosen!”
David began his music journey as a euphonium player in his school band, but exposure to grunge in his teenage years sparked the desire to explore heavier styles of music. He picked up the bass 27 years ago, and as he says, “it was love at first lick.”
His influences include John Paul Jones, Paul Jackson, Stanley Clarke, Jaco Pastorius, Victor Wooten, Guy N'Sangue and Renaud Garcia-Fons.
Says Cobb, “I am so excited to be a finalist, not just for the honor and recognition, but to have this opportunity to share my music with the world.”
Gabriel first picked up the bass at the age of seven, but his exposure to the instrument began much earlier. As a toddler, his dad would sit him on his lap and play videos of Jaco Pastorius and the Yellowjackets and many other jazz and fusion bands.
His favorite bassists include Jaco Pastorius, of course, as well as James Jamerson, Victor Wooten, Nathan East, Hadrien Feraud, Federico Malaman, Junior Braguinha and Henrik Linder.
“I was very surprised and happy to hear that I was selected to be a finalist!” Severn says. “It will be a very exciting experience.”