Best Bassists Ever

List of the Top 10 Bassists. Add your bassist here....

The Top TenXW

1Geddy LeeGeddy Lee Weinrib, known professionally as Geddy Lee, is a Canadian musician, singer and songwriter best known as the lead vocalist, bassist, and keyboardist for the Canadian rock group Rush.

Yes best ever! And rush have the best drummer ever too!

When discussing "The best 'x' of all time" lists, I think people rarely TRULY assess the bassist position in a band. The lists for best guitarist or drummer (albeit the ORDER rarely exactly the same), typically have the same names in the top 10.

But with bass guitarists, people tend to know the name of the bass guitarist of their favorite band & go
with that person. THAT'S A SHAME!
"Inspirational" is one thing (& definitely should be considered), but proficiency, skill, creativeness, & style are the real indicators to examine. Not to mention the genre of music they play may or may not grant them certain "latitudes" to show off their abilities!
But when a particular musician can portray &/or excel in ALL of these... There's your winner!

EXAMPLE: Ringo Starr... Inspirational? YES! Greatest drummer? Not EVEN close! With that said... Mike Dirnt, Cliff Burton... Inspirational? NO question! Best bassist? Come on!

Now on with my ...more

Um... Ok, this is confusing, first of all, Cliff Burton was a good bass player, but he wasn't that great, second of all, how is some weird dude named Tetsuya Ogawa above Geddy Lee? , and third of all, all the dudes above Geddy Lee, currently just have to play bass, Geddy Lee can sing, play keyboards, AND play bass

Cliff bitten to back to number 14 where you belong. I want talent. Not who can play the loudest.

V307 Comments
2Cliff BurtonClifford Lee "Cliff" Burton was an American musician, best known as the second bass guitarist for the American thrash metal band Metallica from December 1982 until his death in September 1986.

R.I. P
I like Zombie-man and Trujillo, but no one can ever be as good as Cliff was...

Cannot the Kingdom of Salvation Take Me Home

R.I.P.

Bass god- listen to the solo he does on 'Kill 'em All', then tell me he doesn't deserve to be here!

Calling a bassist best of the world based on a solo makes you lose all credibility.

He is easily the bast bassist in the world because he has fingers like picks! No wait... THREE PICKS! Like Kirk Hammett said.

He is a good bassist

V326 Comments
3Flea

I've been playing bass all of my live and I never stop learning new things of him

In my honest and personal opinion Michael 'flea' balzaray is the best bassist ever because of his technique and his style. Don't get me started about sound because what I have too say would be too long too read but short and simple flea has a sound no one can beat. He keeps the best beat and has the best slap. End of story

Unbelievable the things he can do with a bass guitar. Revolutionized the bass several time. Basically founded the slapping technique and with one of the best bands in the world now

Flea at #3? This list is derived from mindless twits. Flea is garage band at best

V291 Comments
4John EntwistleJohn Alec Entwistle,, was an English singer, songwriter, composer, musician, film and music producer.

Come on all you kids who vote on these lists... Look for John Entwistle on YouTube. See the magic he does. There's even a video taken from a cam fixed on the neck of his guitar just to show people what's going on. The man does things with his fingers that, well, are not supposed to be possible. Love you John, rest in peace.

Entwisle is a god, and that's as plain as that. So many good bass players, still, in what he did, he has shown mastery and virtuosity beyond understanding. That guy never needed to do antics on the stage. Calm and composed at all times, he lets his fingers talk for him. God knows how many times he had to pick up the whole rhythm section in show because Keith Moon was busy doing something else than playing.

Not present on this list, but should be: Paul McCartney, a truly under-rated bass player; Tony Levin, an amazing session bassist besides playing with King Crimson, Chris Squire, who did incredible things with his Rickenbacker and showed what amazing varieties of tones you can get from that instrument. And Jaco Pastorious, from Weather Report among others. Stanley Clarke, from Return to Forever and others. Peter Hook from New Order. And yes, Myung from DT. JPJ from LedZep. But there are too many...

The absolute best. Look at the ox bass solo. If anything it should put him at number one for sure.

John Entwistle is the bassist of the millennium come on people

V193 Comments
5John Paul JonesJohn Baldwin, better known by his stage name John Paul Jones, is an English multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, composer, arranger and record producer.

Should in Top 5. Backbone of greatest rock band of all time. Totally understated and overlooked.

Should in top 10.
Many bass player influenced by him,
flea, geddy lee, and many more..

If every bassist on this list voted for the best then John Paul Jones and James Jamerson would be taking the cake.

He's great with his fingers as with a pick. Most bass players do only either one.

V108 Comments
6Les ClaypoolLeslie Edward "Les" Claypool is an American musician, singer, songwriter, composer, author and actor best known as the bassist and lead vocalist of the band Primus.

JOHNNY CHRIST BEING BETTER THAN LES CLAYPOOL IS THE MOST ABSURD THING I'VE EVER HEARD! IT'S UNACCEPTABLE!

You can't tell me that a man who plays a 25 freat 6 string fretless bass, and TAPS most of it WHILE SINGING at such a rate most other bassists can't compete with, isn't number one
Even Metallica, after newstead quit admitted he was better then anyone they had ever seen while he auditioned for them. He wasnt given the job because he was "too good"

Les Claypool all the way

Hands down the most talented bassist to ever pick up an instrument, Entwistle is his closest competition...

No band out there to this day sounds like Primus and every Primus album is so different from each other. Primus is in their own genre because of Les.

V223 Comments
7Steve HarrisStephen Percy "Steve" Harris is an English musician and songwriter, known as the bassist, occasional keyboardist, backing vocalist, primary songwriter and founder of the British heavy metal band Iron Maiden.

I don't even know where to start, the technique, the speed, the fact that a bass guitarist is the frontman of the greatest band in history just makes me wonder why not everyone is voting for this man of british steel. I think cliff burton gets many sympathy votes due to his early passing, but he was NOT a better bass player, he was not a better songwriter (harris has written and co-written over 90% of maidens songs)and no one has ever had a stronger passion than steve. I hope people read this comment and consider voting and listening to one of the great men of metal.

Cliff was only decent. Steve Harris has co- written 120 songs out of the 150 Maiden songs and out of them 57 of them are solely written by Harris.
Steve Harris IS Iron Maiden. Cliff Burton was never Metallica.

Phantom of the opera licks are simply awesome, as all have noted his speed is simply stupefying. Could be wrong but it seems as if the whole band is following the tempo that he's laying down. Absolutely fantastic

Deserves to be ahead of everyone

V230 Comments
8Paul McCartney

it is arguable whether Paul McCartney is the best Bass player ever. What is beyond dispute is the fact he is the Greatest of all time. Who else can claim
i) To have been around (And still gigging at the highest level) for five decades
ii) Will go down in musical history as one of the greatest composers of all time. Up there with Beethoven, Chopin, Brian Wilson, Lloyd weber et al
i) Has probably made more money than the rest put together.
iv) Has been knighted 'Sir Paul McCartney' by the Queen for services to music
v) Has met and entertained Kings, Queens, Presidents, Mandela etc (And impromptu free gigs at his local pub in England)
vi) His music will still be around in 100, or 1000 years time
vii) Is the most recognized, worldwide of any on this, or any other musical list you care to come up with. Before you argue with this, get a list of names or photographs of your top 10, 20, or 100 of top bassists and show them to the first random 10 people you meet. Check ...more

Jimi Hendrix called Paul his favorite bassist of all time. More finger dexterity than any of the names mentioned here. Just listen to his performance in "Something"

McCartney is one of the most influential and innovative bass players of all time. Practically all of the others listed here are directly or indirectly influenced by McCartney's clever bass lines. His sense of melody really gave the bass lines their own soul and completely changed the songs. His sense of timing created some really classic riffs. Listen to "I Want You (She's so Heavy), "Only a Northern Song", "Something", "Rain", etc... Awesome stuff. He proved that Bass lines don't have to be an afterthought and follow the base chords.

Some of these others above Macca are silly. I like Green Day, but come on. Dirnt is no McCartney. And James Jamerson at #58? That pretty much invalidates this list.

First place cute!

V140 Comments
9Geezer ButlerTerence Michael Joseph "Geezer" Butler is an English musician and songwriter. Butler is best known as the bassist and primary lyricist of heavy metal band Black Sabbath.

Geezer Slaps That Bass Like A Madman He Should Be #1 - OzzyVanHalen

God This People Need Some Knowledge. Butler is the greatest bassist of all-time. This is Geezer we are talking about should be 1. This is Geezer we are talking about should be 1. This is Geezer we are talking about should be 1

Butler is the greatest bassist of all-time. Listen to Sabbath's Heaven and Hell album if you want to hear how a bass is supposed to sound. - hardrockfanatic

Huge Black Sabbath fan, so naturally, I love Butler's work. NIB is masterpiece

V33 Comments
10Roger Waters

Him, john entwistle and john paul jones should be on the top 5 with cliff burton! - abbytoledo1293

Roger waters made some of the most memorable bass lines ever. So in that case he is better than john paul jones, but not as good as john entwistle. He just sounds better on bass than anyone else because he digs into your soul. Just listen to Money, Time, Childhood's End, Comfortably Numb, Another Brick In the Wall, Echoes, and Let There Be More Light. He is SO unique.

Money, another brick in the wall, comfortably numb. Yeah, roger waters is one of the best, under cliff burton and steve harris - pauler94

Not only is Roger the best bass player but he is the greatest songwriter and composer of our time.

V39 Comments

The Newcomers

?Dameon Ash
?Matt Wendt

The Contenders

11Chris Squire

If you saw Squire live in concert you would realize that he needs to be much higher up on this list. I would have to think at worst he would be in the class of the top 20 bassists, but I guess when you play in a Progressive Rock band, you cannot stack up to the likes of a P-Nut or a Mikey Way. I like Journey, but come on... Valory is no Squire.

Listen to Heart Of The Sunrise. Shows how a bassist should be part of a band, not an exhibitionist! (Although he has his moments - watch out for his triple neck on the video of Awaken). There are parts where the bass is the lead instrument and parts where it adds to the melody and harmony. And what a sound from that Rickenbacker! Chris's musicianship is illustrated by his syncopation, ability to cut through or blend in, as neccessary, the notes he chooses and the way he plays them. Also check out the bass lines in Siberian Khatru. So much to explore and learn from.

The fact that Chris is this low is utter. I love Floyd, but Roger is not even close to this man:s level. Same with McCartney. There are so few who rocked like Chris did. Roundabout, Heart of the Sunrise, all of Drama, every Yes song has that unmistakable Squire stamp on it. Should be in the top 5 easily, one of the greatest there ever was

Simply #1. Listen to Fish out of Water. Or his work with Bruford on Close to the Edge and the jam session on "A Venture" an unknown Yes song.

V59 Comments
12John DeaconJohn Richard Deacon is a retired English musician, best known as the bass guitarist for the rock band Queen.

Grossly underrated. His bass parts are like little stories, yet he never gets in anyone's way. With all the guitars and vocals going on, he finds the spaces and plays basically what he wants. He's loose, fluid, and quite busy at times, but I can't find one song where he stepped on the vocal or guitar parts.

With John's bass the music flows and is full of hidden intricacies. You need to listen to understand the pure detail and appreciate how he supports and develops each song without diistracting from the work of the rest of Queen

Someone wake up the world and knock Paul McCartney off of the 8th place label. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against Paul or The Beatles, it's just John deserves more than 13th place. He deserves 8th, if nothing. Most people forget that he was the mastermind behind the most iconic bass lines from "Another One Bites The Dust," and "Under Pressure." Vanilla Ice definitely agrees with my feelings about the fantastic bass line from "Under Pressure." To shorten my entire "essay" of the point that John deserves much more recognition and credit into a couple of sentences, his bass lines are very simple yet beautiful, that's the best kind of beautiful; and not only were those two songs mentioned earlier had amazing bass lines but all of Queen's songs do too. I rest my case, John Deacon truly is one of the best bassists the world will ever be able to be lucky enough to have hear; and douse into a whole 'nother world while listening to John's simple yet beautiful bass lines.

He is really underrated, he is the best bassist ever! He made some awesome riffs and performed them outstandingly well.

V122 Comments
13Victor Wooten

I can't believe that most of the people on this survey have no appreciation or understanding that Victor Wooten should be at the top--not far down on this list. The others who voted for Wooten and left comments--I thank you. The only thing I might add is that Vic is super good guy, humble and a great speaker--I had the opp to meet him at a clinic at the House of Guitars in Rochester NY. There is more to bass playing than heavy metal--Vic has command over many venues and he never stops advancing.

Most people think that just because you can play fast you're a great player. Such is many of the examples above. But to have a high understanding of a would be simple instrument as Victor Wooten is a great feat.
I'm a die hard fan of Metallica Cliff Burton is the best bassist Metallica Have had, but he never demonstrate the versatility that Victor Wooten has.

Victor Wooten is by far better than everyone in front of him on this list. I love Avenged Sevenfold but there is no conceivable way that he should be in top 100 let alone above a man like Victor Wooten. I have seen both A7X live as well as Bela Fleck, and outside of maybe Synyster Gates, who actually is a jazz guitarist by trade, none of the A7X crew can hold up against the sheer skill and talent of the men in Bela Fleck. Metallica is also great, but Cliff Burton is no where near the bass player of Vic Wooten.

Victor should be Number one, I can't believe he is down here

V150 Comments
14Jaco PastoriusJohn Francis Anthony Pastorius III, professionally known as Jaco Pastorius is a multi-instrumentalist and influential bassist.

Jaco is hands-down the number one most influential, he brought the electric bass out of the box and put it in the forefront. Teen Town and Portrait of Tracy are prime examples of how bass can take over and be the leader if need be. He did for bass what Bach did for all of music: he figured the darn thing out and brought it further than anyone else has. He had incredible amounts of talent, and used 100% of it, all the time. Victor Wooten is without doubt the most innovative bass player, and most likely the best living bassist. Victor started playing bass when he was 3 or 4 years old, so he has that skill literally built into his brain. I would say Steven Bailey is up there too, along with Sheehan, Clarke, and Geddy. Also, someone needs to keep an eye on Jaco's son Felix, he might be a force to be reckoned with in the future...

Jaco would be first if people understood that jaco was the influence for every single bassist on this page

25? Green Day at 11? I guess that's what happens when anybody can vote :/ Jaco is and extremely well bass player and incredibly unique style

Without Jaco, nobody else on this list would be here. Just listen to Portrait of Tracy and you'll understand what makes him so legendary.

V131 Comments
15Billy Sheehan

This list is crazy. He should at least be in the top 5. Looks like bands that are popular even though have good but not virtuoso bass players (guns roses, Kiss, Cheap trick, Journey, etc. ) seemed to be listed high based off of people just liking those bands. Billy along with John Ro Myung, Mark King and stanley clarke deserve to all be pushed up to the top ten. Also I didn't see him on the list bu Stu Hamm also should be on the top of
This list. Don't believe me? Do some youtube searches of some of these guys in action and you will no doubt change you mind.

Why is he not top ten? Compare his solos to anyone else and he will beat anybody.

Fantastic! Have you been to a concert of the Mr. Big? When a bassist takes the luxury of having his solo, the guy has to convince. See and hear Billy Sheehan is to have a bass lesson like no other because he abuses his unique technique. But I do not need to be here saying this. Someone who understands to know the guy is a monster.

Why is he not top ten?

V42 Comments
16Georg Listing

Georg ich liebe dich!
I'm a fan of Spain and for me you are the best bass of the world.
i love the music and I made music too. Kiss for you and for gustav, bill, and tom.
we are the best!

George is a beautiful man, is the best, is a excellent person and He plays the drums and piano as a angel! I LOVE GEORGE! THE BEST...

He's too underrated, but Georg is actually a very talented bassist.

He is the best! He should have won the 1st place!

V125 Comments
17Chris WolstenholmeChristopher Tony "Chris" Wolstenholme is an English musician. He is the bassist and backing vocalist for the alternative rock band Muse.

Mikey way is a good bassist, from one of my fave bands, My Chemical Romance is in my top 3 bands, but hysteria, the groove, futurism, hyper music... The list goes on. Muse is in my top 1 - mattbellamyisagod1234

There's no one that writes bass-lines like he does, from really complicated to really simple, using a withe range of effects to get unique sounds and always making sure a song does not feel empty

Just listen, to Futurism, Hysteria, The Groove, etc, and you'll KNOW, why Chris has to be in the top ten.
He always tries his very hardest to get the bass line sounding the BEST it can, and the songs wouldn't be the same without it!

Pushes the bass to the front of the mix like no-one else I have seen in a while. His technique is amazing and so diverse. A bass player who's biggest fans are bass players, oh and those crazy people they call drummers.

V107 Comments
18Duff McKagan

My favorite bassists but not the top, a lot of it is his band, but he's still awesome, go on youtube and type in slash solo, click on the one on him live in Tokyo and it starts off with a duff awesome bass solo them to a bass line

Maybe the perfect bass tune.. Not the best technical level but definitely he has an awesome sense of bass playing and generally melody.. One of the main factors of the guns n' roses commercial and not even succes... If he's not the best bass player he's for sure one of the best bass line composer.. A bass line can't be noticed often from a not musician, duff is one of the bassists that have achieved the attention of all kind listeners with his special tone and his melodies.. You can recognise him.. In first place he's a musician and then a player

ohhhhhhh. c mon duff should be in the top 5. in his songs you can actually hear the bass. hottest bassist by the way ;)

He is the best

V43 Comments
19Jack BruceJohn Symon Asher "Jack" Bruce was a Scottish musician, singer and songwriter known primarily for his contributions to the British supergroup Cream, which also included guitarist-singer Eric Clapton and drummer Ginger Baker.

The Greatest! Should be #1. He was innovative, particularly when paired with Clapton their 3 piece banded sounded like 4 or 5 pieces. He was one of the few rock bassists playing "lead bass" at the time, borrowing from jazz greats. He should be closely followed by McCartney and Squire!

Jack is the master. His incredible playing and ground-breaking sounds have influenced many of the other bass players listed here. His constant growth and change and adaptation to new ideas is apparent in everything he plays. His song writing and collaborations are always unique, powerful, and intriguing. And he's still playing in many different venues and bands. Spectrum Road, his tribute band to Tony Williams, has won best jazz album of 2012 from many publications. The 'old soul' of the bass.

This is a shame. He's a musical genius! He has a great voice and can play like a good! Just listen to "Badge", "I Feel Free" or "Crossroads". And he made the Gibson EB-3 (now named the Gibson SG Bass) famous. Thank you, Jack Bruce! I can not think about a better bassist! You're nr. 1!

One of the best ever. Obviously the voters are to young to appreciate the greatness of Cream

V30 Comments
20Nikki Sixx

On top of his work as an amazing bassist, he's also the main songwriter for Motley Crue. He is the twisted mind of the Crue and should be respected accordingly. For those that turn up their noses at "80's hair bands" please remember this. The most played song of 2008 was "Life is Beautiful" by Sixx:A. M. Now, where do you think they got part of the band's name? That would be from their hair band veteran bassist.

Nikki is the best bass guitarist ever, hands down! And I don't know of anyone who can out-play Nikki on the bass guitar. He's very dedicated, and anyone who can survive what he has, and be in two bands that kick ass, plus do everything else he does, deserves to be in the #1 spot! This man has been giving everything he's got for over 30 years! Come on people! Nikki deserves much more than to be 39th on this list! Let's help put him in the #1 spot!

What the hell? How is Nikki only number 39?
I'm sorry, but this is just not right. Nikki is AMAZING as a bassist, I'd kill to be able to play like him. And looking up the list, I mean, My Chem is my favourite band ever, but there is no way Mikey is a better bassist than Nikki.
Move Nikki UP! - ExesAndErin

Crue's older songs were the best

V50 Comments
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List StatsUpdated 24 Jul 2016

68,000 votes
455 listings
9 years, 232 days old

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Best Bassists list sucks
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