Top 10 Bassists (Who's Your Favourite?)


What do you reckon to the Rolling Stone list of top 10 bassists?

Pretty solid list. I’d add Tim Commerford though. “My bass is my weapon…I want to destroy people with my instrument…in a good way” :crazy_face:

Who would be on your top list?

What's your DREAM bass line to learn?

Fun list - and I love the addition of Tim! Those Rage lines were some of my favorite things to learn growing up.
It’s hard - I don’t want to get a music historian hat on and argue about best… but there’s a big gap in this list that also happens to be one of my favorite all time players… Mr. James Jamerson! — so much groove, so much melody, so many brilliant rhythm ideas and EVERY TIME he’s on that root note on the downbeat. So brilliant.


Not a bad list! I have to admit to not caring for The Who / Entwistle all that much. Maybe I’ll reconsider someday though.

There’s so many more bass players on my list… popping to mind is Sting - the way he engages in polyrhythm between his singing and bass playing is so unique and gnarly.

Second the Jamerson thing! Not to mention Chuck Rainey! Most humans have probably heard Chuck Rainey even if they didn’t know it, he is all over records from Elvis to Aretha to Steely Dan. Like his awesome playing on Rocksteady -


Rocksteady is the musicians’ reference bible! I have never heard a casual Aretha fan call for the song, or mention it in any way… but drummers and bass players? It’s like The Holy Book Of Rocksteady.
It’s so, so, so, so, so good.


Guilty. Please do a thread with some youtubes of his top tunes, pretty please I need educating


I learned to sight read from his bass method book! Does that allow me to legitimately say that Chuck Rainey was my bass teacher? heh.



Fun list, Victor Wooten stands out to me far and above the rest, just in terms of pure enjoyment to my ear. Funkiest anyway. I hope to see Tal Wilkenfeld on this list some day. And Esperanza Spalding. I think I mentioned in another chat topic Tina Weymouth…love love love.


I love the lady power that is showing up here.
On my list of rad lady bassists - Kim Deal of The Pixies!! Such a rocker.
Also - the bass teacher in my life I connected to most was Karen Zimmerman - a classical teacher in Josh and I’s neck of the woods.
Killer player, great person.


Oh yeah, love the Pixies!!!


Just had to go back and re-read the Rolling Stone thing to make sure Cliffy was on there.

Stand down, folks, stand down. He’s #9.

Now… what was I doing again…?


Haha I didn’t know you took lessons with Karen! I studied with her almost every week for like 4 years, I think. Still have fond memories of being stabbed in the elbow with a pencil when I dropped it too low. :stuck_out_tongue:


Ha! Seriously? I gave her number to Captain Kent Fossgreen himself. Back in the good 'ol Zone days. She’s rad.


Much love for that top 10, but no mention of folks like Larry Graham? No love for Bootsy Collins, Meshell Ndegeochello, or Ida Nelson? Perhaps RS has a heavy rock bias, but it seems like a really strange oversight.

Thanks, @Jill for giving a shout to Esperanza Spalding. I got to see her live, about 3 feet away from her, and I was totally blown away. Such energy!


Absolutely. And, when it’s a vote by readers, it is 90% band popularity contest. I remember when I was in high school, and it didn’t matter the instrument, the contest, or whatever. But I voted Metallica and Soundgarden and their respective members for EVERYTHING.

But - for actual favorite bass players - I LOVE Reed Anderson from The Bad Plus. his bassline on the (Theme From) Chariots of Fire track is still one of my all time favorites.


Yes! Love those 3! Bein a P-Funk fan I love Bootsy and Lige Curry. Was Stanley Clarke on that list?


Oh yeah good call. Seriously. The dude invented slapping.

Which also brings to mind Louis Johnson! Most people who don’t know anything about music or play an instrument probably know at least one of his bass lines from his work with Michael Jackson.


I saw her show here too! I was blown away. She is so impressive in so many ways. I recommend her live shows to everyone.


I’ve really taken a liking to John Illsley of Dire Straits recently. I love his simple approach and how he supports the rest of the band with a rock solid bass line that really drives the song while leaving room for Mark Knopfler to do his think on guitar.


If anyone is interested…Victor Wooten is currently touring as the Victor Wooten Trio. Saw him in January in L.A. His band has some legendary musicians as well. It was amazing. This list could probably be much longer lol. I feel like Chris Wolstenholme of Muse deserves honorable mention at least. I didnt see Bootsy on there I dont think? The late Bernard Edwards (chic) wrote some amazing stuff including the most sampled and influential bassline in existence (Good Times) that spawned a zillion other basslines.


Yes! I bought tickets for their shows in Oakland in August! I’ve already seen the trio show a few times, so good.