Top 10 Favorite Bassists

Typically overlooked to the guitarists or other melody leader of groups/bands. To me they are the propellant to the bomb of sound.

  1. Jim Glennie (James)
  2. Sebastian Steinberg (Soul Coughing, Neil & Tim Finn, Marc Ribot) – Sebastian, in an old interview, once said, “I try and emulate the [NYC] subway.” And if you know his playing style, his description is spot on.
  3. Paul McCartney (The Beatles, Wings)
  4. Carole Kaye (Beach Boys, Phil Spector, Simon & Garfunkel) – It might be better to delineate what Carol didn’t play on in the 50s, 60s and 70s. It certainly would be easier.
  5. Dave Holland (Miles Davis, Bonnie Raitt, Thelonious Monk) – His work on In A Silent Way brings me to tears every time.
  6. Kim Gordon (Sonic Youth, Free Kitten, Lydia Lunch)
  7. Peter Hook (New Order)
  8. Tina Weymouth (Talking Heads, Tom Tom Club) – If you don’t start shaking your booty to one of her bass-lines there is something intrinsically wrong with you.
  9. Charles Mingus (Charles Mingus) – Gospel jazz. Yeh-yeh.
  10. Me’shell Ndegéocello (John Cougar, Rolling Stones, Indigo Girls)

And I couldn’t have this list without mentioning the powers of Kira Roessler or Mike Watt. They are exceptional. And I know their power, but I just don’t know enough of their material to include them on my Top 10 list.

3 Responses to “Top 10 Favorite Bassists”


  • I thought I’d have a strong opinion on this one, but I really finding that I don’t. Speaking as a long-time sideline bassist, I think the best bassists are the ones you don’t really notice.

    You can probably throw together a list of Guitar World Best Bassists like Stu Hamm, Billy Sheehan, Flea, Les Claypool, etc, but I don’t know that it’s all that meaningful… they tend to play in a world where bass is the lead instrument, not the bridge between rhythm and lead that we all love in our little rock pod.

    I will throw in the guy from Live (the band), but only for their first album. Listening to Pain Lies on The Riverside and copying it incessently taught me how to slap and pop.

    And I do always dig the guy from Counting Crows. He nevers seems to do the obvious stuff. Or maybe what’s obvious to me is just really limited.

    Anyway, interesting list.

  • I hate to be one of “those” Tool worshipers, but what about Paul and Justin? Though I guess those dudes do more of a thing where they play along with the guits and not between that and the drums.

    But I’m with you on the dude from James for sure. And the guy from Live.

  • Worst list for bassist by far that I’ve read on the web. Peter Gabriel, The Who’s bassist are in the top 10 along with Geddy lee, Cliff Burton, Tool bassist, Les Claypool. Those guys have to be in the top 10, sorry. But, you did say they’re your favorite… Cheers

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