What do you consider the worst bass line you have ever heard?

Inspired by a thread on another site - what is the worst baseline you have ever heard, either technically or artistically?

On the other site there were some examples that I agreed with (everything by Sid Vicous is terrible, the awful repeated bass loop in ‘Fly Away’ by Lenny Kravitz - seriously listen to it - its terrible!), plus some that I didn’t agree with at all (‘Disorder’ by Joy Division (huh?), everything by Talking Heads (what - less can be more?!), everything by U2 ( I mean its U2, their bass lines are pretty good…listening to some songs now to confirm…wait…they might have a point actually…)!

So what are the bass lines you subjectively consider to the the worst? And why.


An excellent question @simonpwood !

The problem is that it’s difficult to distinguish between ‘oh I hate that bassline’ and ‘oh I hate that song’. I personally can’t stand aimless overplayed jazz noodling (I’m looking at you, Kinga Głyk) but what really jangles my gears is bad bass production. Oh God I still weep when I hear ‘… and Justice for All’ and think what might have been…


I’d agree I don’t like incessant noodling, which, is very different from what is (to me) Jazz. There’s a difference. I like some of Kinga’s YouTube covers but agree it’s really hard to watch her performances. Not calling her out though as much as that style. And that style goes across many many instruments, sax included (may be the biggest offenders).


Some of Noob Josh’s basslines weren’t so good.


lolwut? Disorder is one of the best basslines of all time, at least when it comes to pure driving energy. I’m guessing someone hates picks and put it on the list because they couldn’t make it work fingerstyle :rofl:


uh oh :rofl:


Already there :rofl:

This has to be talkbass. Only talkbass is ever this wrong.


Tina is a goddess


This is such a strange question.

The worst bass lines are the ones that we never hear because they are so bad, the bands collapsed - having no foundation to build upon.

The worst bass lines are the ones I played in my early 20s when I thought that (to quote Yngwie Malmsteen) more is more, and the reason people hired me was to hear more notes from the bass player.

The worst bass lines are the ones played by a bassist who just learned slap and is going to be playing it on everything until all of his friends stop calling him, and he wakes up to find his strings mysteriously cut one morning.

Good bands who made records with good producers (or even bad ones) and had the momentum and charisma and longevity to make records don’t have the worst bass lines.
“Choose your least favorite professionally created bass line from a massively popular song that everyone knows (probably in part because the bass line is really good/effective)” is a better way to approach this topic.

But I already know the real answer.
It’s me.
My basslines. My anti-groove, pro-noodle basslines at a covers dance band gig in the year 2003. That was the pinnacle of bad bass playing.
Everything mentioned above? Gold. Pure bass line gold.


Anything off the album …and Justice for All


Yes, I think its fairly implied with any best/worst list that we don’t include stuff like what we hummed in the shower one time 15 years ago that no one else heard, because that would stifle the debate somewhat!

In the other site people were talking about the worst bass lines that they had heard and that other people would also recognise, and then discuss the pros and cons of them. Obviously its all highly subjective.


It really kinda is.


I think most people get the gist of it - for the sake of discussion you would choose songs that other people have heard of. It would be kind of pedantic to choose stuff that no one has heard of.


I know, I know.
It’s just that I feel baited by these questions, and in trying to avoid taking the bait, I still rise to the bait… Curse you, internet!

In actually trying to think of a well known song with a terrible bass line…
I can’t think of one?
I can think of a heap ton of glorious bass lines… but no bad ones.
I’ve never really hated a bass line before… other than things I’ve played.
To quote Michael Jackson, I’m a lover, not a fighter.

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:rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

how do you know it’s bad if you can’t hear it ? :joy:


The first White Stripes album.

Every song has a bad bass line.

Because it’s absent.

And absent bass is the worst bass.

(Don’t @ me - I love the White Stripes :rofl: )

Is there anything by Sid? I mean, he didn’t write the lines, didn’t play on the album (AFAIK) - yeah, he couldn’t play for shit, but does he have any actual recorded bass lines?

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My brain doesn’t work this way. I might be listening to a song and not like it, but if someone asks me to name a song I don’t like, I’m usually stumped on the spot. I usually remember things I like.

I can think of genres I don’t like; soft rock is an easy low hanging fruit there. But even there there’s gems and those are what I think of when someone asks me how I like the genre. So if someone asks me how I feel about soft rock I would probably say something like, “well, generally not for me, but Rumors was an amazing album for Fleetwood Mac.”

Oh yeah. Aqualung. I hate that song. NAMED ONE! Now I can remember this if it ever comes up. Eh, nah, I’ll forget. I just tend to remember things I like more than things I dislike.


Sitting on a park bench,
Listening to bad songs with discontent