100 greatest Bass Guitar Players from Various Genres

Bassists are the guys that hold a groove in a band. The foundation is setup by bass players to take the song in a new direction. Bass players seldom get talked about. Its time Bassists hog the limelight. This space is dedicated to the best bass guitar players from various genres.

Watch a band perform, it’s either the lead guitarist or vocalist that hog the limelight. The drummer and the bassist do get the space to excel in their zone when they break into solos, however, majority of the crowds seem to fancy listening to the lead guitarist and vocalist in the band. Well, the bass guitar is not the most popular musical instrument; however, it certainly takes a creative mind to explore potential and possibility on the bass. Bass guitar players in various genres use different techniques while playing the bass. While majority of bass guitarists use their fingers on strings, a significant number of bassists use a plectrum while playing, more so in context of rock and heavy metal.

When a bassist breaks into a solo you know you’re in for a treat musically. Bass grooves enable drummers to excel, and the flow of things adds new dimension with improvised snare and cymbal work.

Bassists add textural feel to songs. Bass lines act as the foundation that cements the sound of a band. Listen to any band that is known for its ‘tight performance’, you will notice it’s the bass abilities that take the band to another level. Slap techniques are hugely popular with bassists in various genres, and are excessively used in funk. While bass guitar albums are not popular in mainstream, many bass guitarists showcase their skills on instrumental guitar albums.

Many bass players are known for their signature style bass playing. Few bass players incorporate harmonics in their bass playing taking elements in a song to thought provoking dreamscapes. When a bassist rips into a solo during live performance, the vision and creativity takes the music to unforeseen pathways leading to bits of impromptu improvisational sessions. Bass guitarists may not have earned their due, but if it wasn’t for them, music wouldn’t sound like theatrically brilliant. The list below showcases a list of the best bass guitar players from various music genres.

Please note: A segment about Double Bass Players will be coming shortly. Prominent Double Bass Players are not included in this list.

100 Greatest Bass Players from various genres

  1. Jaco Pastorious (Jazz/Jazz Fusion)
  2. Victor Wooten (Jazz/Jazz Fusion/Funk/Instrumental Rock)
  3. Bunny Brunel (Jazz Fusion/Jazz)
  4. John Patituci (Jazz/Jazz Fusion)
  5. Anthony Jackson (Jazz/Jazz Fusion/R&B/Funk)
  6. Dave LaRue (Rock/Jazz/Country)
  7. Garry Willis (Jazz/Jazz Fusion/Experimental)
  8. Stanley Clarke (Jazz Fusion/Jazz/Funk/R&B)
  9. Victor Bailey (Jazz/Jazz Fusion)
  10. Alphonso Johnson (Jazz Fusion/Jazz/R&B)
  11. Carol Kaye (Pop/Rock/Country/Rock N Roll)
  12. Jimmy Johnson (Jazz/Jazz Fusion)
  13. Billy Sheehan (Rock)
  14. Matt Garisson (Jazz/Jazz Fusion)
  15. John Myung (Rock)
  16. Marcus Miller (Jazz/Rock/Jazz Fusion/R&B)
  17. Tal Wilkenfeld (Rock/Jazz)
  18. Michael Lepond (Rock/Progressive Rock)
  19. Stu Hamm (Rock/Instrumental Rock)
  20. Les Claypool (Rock/Funk Metal/Experimental)
  21. Bryan Beller (Rock/Progressive Rock/Jazz/Jazz Fusion)
  22. Doug Wimbish (Rock/Funk)
  23. James Jamerson (R&B/Funk/Gospel/Blues)
  24. Chuck Rainey (Jazz/Rock/R&B)
  25. Doug Pinnick (Rock)
  26. Tommy Cogbill (Jazz/R&B/Funk)
  27. Alain Caron (Jazz/Jazz Fusion)
  28. Steve Bailey (Jazz/Jazz Fusion)
  29. Matt Bissonette (Rock/Jazz/Jazz Fusion/Instrumental Rock)
  30. Jerry Jemmott (Soul/Funk/Jazz/R&B)
  31. Tony Levin (Rock/Progressive Rock/Experimental)
  32. Geezer Butler (Rock/Heavy Metal)
  33. Richard Bona (Jazz/Jazz Fusion/Experimental)
  34. Freddie Washington (Jazz/Rock/R&B/Soul/Blues)
  35. Jimmy Haslip (Jazz/Jazz Fusion)
  36. John Entwistle (Rock)
  37. Jeff Berlin (Jazz/Jazz Fusion)
  38. Geddy Lee (Rock/Progressive Rock)
  39. Chris Squire (Rock/Progressive Rock)
  40. John Paul Jones (Rock)
  41. Mark Egan (Jazz/Jazz Fusion)
  42. Nathan East (Jazz/Rock/R&B)
  43. Tetsuo Sakuri (Jazz/Jazz Fusion/Rock)
  44. Michael Manring (Jazz Fusion/Experimental)
  45. Paul Jackson (Jazz/Jazz Fusion)
  46. Cliff Burton (Rock)
  47. Roscoe Beck (Jazz/Blues/Rock/R&B)
  48. Jack Bruce (Rock)
  49. Larry Graham (Funk/Rock)
  50. Brian Bromberg (Jazz Fusion/Jazz)
  51. Flea (Rock/Funk)
  52. Rhonda Smith (Pop/Rock/R&B)
  53. Willie Weeks (Jazz/R&B/Soul/Blues/Rock)
  54. John Deacon (Rock/Pop)
  55. Randy Coven (Rock/Jazz/Jazz Fusion)
  56. Colin Edwin (Rock/Progressive Rock))
  57. Jonas Hellborg (Jazz/Fusion/Jazz Fusion)
  58. Bernard Odum (R&B/Soul/Jazz)
  59. Abraham Laboriel (Rock/Pop/Jazz/R&B/ Blues/Country)
  60. Tim Commerford (Rock)
  61. Steve Swallow (Jazz/ Jazz Fusion/Soul)
  62. Donald Dunn (Rock/Soul/R&B)
  63. Steve DiGiorgio (Heavy Metal/Rock)
  64. Dave Ellefson (Rock/Heavy Metal)
  65. Jimmy Earl (Jazz/Jazz Fusion)
  66. Greg Lake (Rock/Psychedelic/Progressive Rock)
  67. Nathan Watts (Jazz/R&B/Soul/Pop)
  68. Juan Alderete (Rock/Heavy Metal/Progressive Rock)
  69. Pino Palladino (Rock/Soul/Blues)
  70. Mark King (Pop/Rock)
  71. John Wetton (Rock/Progressive Rock)
  72. Oteil Burbridge (Blues-Rock/Free-Funk/Jazz)
  73. Alex Webster (Rock/Heavy Metal/Extreme Metal)
  74. Joe Osborn (Pop/Country/Jazz)
  75. Robert Trujillo (Rock)
  76. Louis Johnson (Fink/Soul/R&B/Jazz)
  77. Bootsy Collins (Funk/R&B)
  78. Leland Sklar (Rock/Pop/Country)
  79. Mick Karn (Art-Rock/Rock/Pop)
  80. Hugh Hopper (Progressive Rock/Rock)
  81. Mike Rutherford (Pop/Rock)
  82. Andy West (Rock/Jazz/Country Rock)
  83. Mike Gordon (Phish)
  84. Bobby Sheehan (Rock)
  85. Stefan Lessard (Rock/Jazz)
  86. Thundercat- Stephen Bruner (Rock/Jazz/Funk/Psychedelic)
  87. Billy Cox (Rock)
  88. Roy Estrada (Rock/Experimental)
  89. Bob Babbitt (Funk/Soul/R&B)
  90. Trey Gunn (Progressive Rock/Rock)
  91. Bill Wyman (Rock)
  92. Norwood Fisher (Rock/FunK)
  93. Roger Waters (Rock/Psychedelic)
  94. Phil Lesh (Rock)
  95. Mike Porcaro (Rock)
  96. Aaron P-Nut Wills (Rock/Experimental)
  97. Sting (Rock/Pop)
  98. Justin Chancellor (Rock/Progressive Rock)
  99. Billy Gould (Rock)
  100. Rocco Prestia (Rock/Psychedelic)

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