Bassist Of The Year 2019
Bassist Of The Year 2019
At the London Bass Guitar Show UK back in September, we crowned the winner of this year’s Bassist Of The Year competition, in association with Orange Amplification. It was a close-run contest between our three finalists, who were chosen by Robert Trujillo, Stuart Hamm, Joe Dart, and Mark King—but in the end the victor was Leo De Santi, whose performance narrowly outdid the equally talented runners-up Marine Courtin, and Andreas Oxholm. All of them took home a much-deserved haul of Orange bass gear, but before they headed off to celebrate, we got interviews out of them!

WINNER Leo De Santi

How does it feel to be our Bassist Of The Year, Leo?

It’s fantastic, of course, but I will say something controversial—I always tell my students that to me, talent does not exist! The word talent comes from Greek and can be roughly translated as ‘force of will’. Of course, you have to be lucky to born and live in an environment that allows you to harvest your passion, but in the end it all comes down to doing what you do with passion, and having something to say. I strongly believe that I have no talent whatsoever—I just studied and played a lot, and I enjoyed every single second of it. The cool thing is, I still have a lot to learn!

What are your current projects?

I’m focusing on my solo bass album, Meraki, which will be out in a few months. There are a bunch of other projects on my mind, but I’m trying to concentrate on one thing at time.

How did you get into playing bass?

Before I was 16 years old, I had very little interest in music, and for sure I didn’t expect music to be my job in the future. Then one day I was bored at the home of my cousin, who was and still is a bass player, and found an old, rusty, cheap bass of unknown brand. I picked it up and started fiddling around with it—and I’ve never stopped. I still have it. Maybe someday someone will help me identify that old piece of wood.

What bass gear do you use nowadays?

I found my sweet spot with a custom-made five-string bass, strung EADGC. It’s the right configuration for my current style. I’ve never understood the conflict between four-string basses and other string configurations—it just depends on your style. I played four-strings for something like 10 years, but now I feel that I need a five-string, and I have a six-string that I occasionally play too. I try as much as I can to use gear engineered and produced in my country, so I use Wood & Tronics basses, Sansone strings and Reference Cables, all made in Italy.

What is good bass playing, as you see it?

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