50 Incredible Bass Players To Check Out

A question I get all the time is "what's the best way to learn the bass guitar"?

In my opinion, the best way to learn is to play your favourite bass lines and songs; preferably working them out by ear. The bass is a relatively young instrument but, as a community, we have an incredible amount of inspirational figures to learn from.

Information overload is an issue these days and I try to organise my teaching into different categories. They are designed to work together to improve all-round musicianship. There are a handful of core skills that, if learned well, will put you on the right track. Check some of them out on this page.

Use Your Ear

I really recommend that you listen to different styles and as many bass players and bands as you can. For one thing, you'll never get bored or stuck in a rut if you are constantly discovering. The music you listen to doesn't have to be new. It's really weird that James Jamerson was one of the first guys ever to play on hit records, but he remains one of the all-time greats of bass despite starting in the 60s.

Study awesome bass players, get under the skin of why they played what they played and try to emulate their feel and tone as closely as you can. You will emerge from this as a unique player with a unique voice. You are what you listen to...

The thing about this list is that it is very short! There are so many incredible players, genres of music and bands I've missed out. Also, you will find that many of the players featured can play any style of music.

NOTE: Many of these players are ones I listened to growing up. It's an overwhelmingly male-heavy list but I don't want this to suggest that I don't think there aren't great female bass players. There are more than ever now! In the first few decades of bass, however, it was largely men. 

Blues

Jerry Scheff

Fusion/World

Dominique DiPiazza


 

Funk

Bobby Vega

Session Players

Carol Kaye

Motown/RnB/Soul

James Jamerson


Metal

Cliff Burton

There is a lot to learn from these wonderful musicians. There's also a lot more to discover. Work on your technique and your ear, figure out your favourite lines, fills and solos and you will be able to add so much to your playing.

 

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