The Real World: Brian Masek

Home base Sioux Falls, South Dakota
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Home base Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Occupation Computer programmer
Gigs Brian Masek & Friends (original jazz/rock/fusion/blues), solo performances, Gail Pifer Big Band, backing up touring performers
Basses Two Bossa OB-5 basses (main bass is maple/walnut, backup is ash)
Rig Hartke HA3500 amp with Hartke XL 4x10 and 4x15 cabs, each with added 5" driver
Effects Line 6 POD Pro XT Bass, DigiTech JamMan Stereo Looper Pedal, Boss Bass EQ, Alesis SR-18 drum machine (solo gigs only)
Strings Elixir Nanowebs
Heroes & inspiration Too many to list, and I’m inspired more by great songwriting than great playing. A few players I greatly admire are Ric Fierabracci, Rufus Philpot, Rocco Prestia, Paul McCartney, Anthony Jackson, Alex Al, and Hussain Jiffry.

How did you come to play bass?

I started on bass because my friend was a guitar player. I quickly got involved with the music scene playing in rock cover bands. I had always wanted to get into jazz, and in 2005, I decided to focus on that exclusively. My first jazz gig ended up being with Mike Miller (currently with Boz Scaggs), Tom Brechtlein (Chick Corea) and Steve Weingart (formerly with Dave Weckl) at a big jazz festival. Over the years, I’ve tried to catch up, fill in the gaps, play honorable gigs, and do the best that I can.

What’s a lesson you’ve learned along the way?

No matter how much better other players may seem than you, you can nearly always win everyone over by being prepared. Knowing the arrangements and having good feel and tone means more to most people than being an amazing soloist. Do your homework and go after every opportunity, no matter how crazy it seems. Sometimes the rare opportunities work out, and when they do, they are amazing!

What are your musical goals?

To continue to work to be a better player, fill in my many gaps of knowledge on jazz and theory, and continue playing with others who inspire and push me to be better.