Top 10 Greatest Metal Bassists

The Top Ten

1 Cliff Burton (Metallica) Clifford Lee "Cliff" Burton (February 10th 1962 - September 27th 1986) was an American musician, best known as the second bass guitarist for the American thrash metal band Metallica, recording three studio albums. He died in 1986 after getting crushed by a tour bus in Umeå whilst promoting Metallica's ...read more.

Cliff was really a great bassist. Not that others on this list are bad. But Cliff was really an epic bassist. (also an epic musician).
I think Cliff is the reason Metallica is so successful today. Cliff made Metallica what it is today. If Cliff hadn't died so early, Metallica would have been an even greater Band. (not saying that jason and rob are bad).
As Flea(bassist of red hot chilli peppers) rightly said-"This* was a great moment in the history of electric bass guitar. "
*this refers to the moment when Cliff composed 'Anesthesia-Pulling Teeth'

Based on where Metallica was going musically with Cliff they could have been even bigger than they already are. Cliff Burton is the best bassist in metal history. Rest in peace, your memory will live on.

A lot of people may say that Cliff is overrated but bear in mind that he was only 24 when he passed away and he was already a beast with more years of experience he would've been unstoppable

Innovator and pioneer, he made playing bass even cooler( no knocks go to the greats Geezer and and lemmy) but what this man did with a bass guitar was epic and gave you goosebumps every time you listened to any of his eye melting solos!

2 Steve Harris (Iron Maiden) Stephen 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.

He is the best heavy metal bassist. He is most known for his "galloping" playing style. He has unique techniques which nobody can copy. He is also a great song writer.

He and Burton truely deserves to be in top 2. You can shift both players around the 1st and 2nd position and it won't matter to me. I voted for harris because Burton is already at number 1. Metallic Maiden 4 Life... I'll piss on you if you disagree!

Cliff was incredible, but Harris is essential for Maiden. His presence, career and songwriting prove why he is the best metal bassist

Cliff is the trendy pick because of Metallica.
Metallica is played on the radio much more than Iron Maiden ever has. Cliff was very good but he's not deserving of #1.
Steve Harris is phenomenal. It's hard to pull Burton's bass out of a Metallica song as it's being played. Harris on the other hand you can always hear his galloping bass.

3 Geezer Butler (Black Sabbath) Terence 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.

I get that he's not considered the greatest bassist of all time (but I still believe he's the best), he's at least without a doubt the greatest metal bassist! Most creative by far. Listen to Black Sabbath's solos in their earlier songs (Sweet Leaf and War Pigs are great examples). Geezer just goes insane and it sounds absolutely amazing. His tone is also my favourite by far. If it weren't for Geezer, I'm not even sure if Black Sabbath would be my favourite band (Iommi is still a riff god so probably). Cliff Burton is massively overrated but I admit Steve Harris comes close on this one.

These Metallica and megadeth fans seem to outnumber the traditional metal fans. They neglect Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, who CREATED HEAVY METAL. Infact, every metal band is influenced by Black Sabbath. Cliff Burton himself was influenced by Geezer Butler and Steve Harris.

Gezzer rules the best watch live and YOU WILL SEE!

AWESOME! He allowed Sabbath to pwn without a rythm guitarist.

4 David Ellefson (Megadeth) David Warren "Dave" Ellefson is an American bassist and co-founding member of the American thrash metal band Megadeth from 1983-2002 and again from 2010-present.

solid bassplayer, very underrated. Although guitarwork in megadeth is excellent, there's always a solid bass behind this. When women say: behind every good man stands a better woman, they actually mean this.

To me, David Ellefson is the best Metal bassist; the first time I heard the Peace Sells album, I was blown away, I didn't even know what he was doing, and he influenced my style with his sound and technique on albums: Peace Sells, So Far... RIP and Countdown. I met him once, he is a helluva nice dude, I even got a few emails from him; his favorite Beatles song is "Day Tripper" because it's riff driven. David Ellefson #1 for influence, Cliff Burton is tops for inspiration. John Myung may be a brilliant musician, but I don't like his bass style, it just seems to finesse and not really heavy, in attitude I mean, he always looks in a happy zone when he's playing, real Metal bassists want to kick your A$$!

Megadeth is the big 4 band that a lot of guitarist and real musicians like, because of their technical supeiriority over many other band in the era. The guitar work of Dave Mustaine and Marty Freidman or Chris Poland or whichever line the particular song has, over shadows the band bass player, David Ellefson. A very underrated bassist. It seems to me that most top 10 list leave him out or put him at the bottom, for what reason I don't know. Listen to the peace sells album, or countdown, or rust in peace. Enough Said.

Listening to David Ellefson explain his playing philosophy is a master class in bass performance. Like Geddy Lee (for example) he knows exactly how to fill in the band's sound with his instrument--from driving the drum kit's rhythm into your skull to putting a nice thick bottom end on the guitar work. Plus his tone is monstrous. Anyone that can cut through a Mike Clink "wall of sound" mix has some serious balls in his sound.

5 John Myung (Dream Theater) John Ro Myung is an American bassist and a founding member of the progressive metal group Dream Theater.

john myung has more bass playing power in his little finger than cliff burton could dream of having. I learned pulling teeth in like 2 days I have yet to completely learn a dream theater song all the way through! genious!

Imagine voting Cliff Burton or Steve Harris over John Myung

Metrolopolis pt. 1, Panic Attack, and many more! No need to list songs to tell that he's probably the best bassist ever! Followed with Markus Grosskopf (Helloween - listen to Eagle Fly Free, Halloween and Keeper of The Seven Keys, then understand what I'm saying) and Cliff Burton

No matter what others say, he is the best bassist in this list...believe it or not, he can play two bass solos at one time...isn't it great! Can steve harris or cliff burton can do that? No...because john myung is way more professional than those two players...he deserves number 1

6 Steve DiGiorgio Steve Di Giorgio is an American musician of Italian descent. Di Giorgio has played bass guitar in many heavy metal and death metal bands.

When you want to talk about actual talent and not name recognition then talk about Steve.

One of the greatest (if not the best) bass players of all time. Just take a look at the bands he's been in. A very talented guy. He has technique, speed, and diversity. Should at least be in the top 5

Why the hell is Steve at 24 and Pantera's bassist and Bullet For My Valentine's bassist are above him? An amazing bassist.

He deserves to be #1, extremely technical and beauty.

7 Justin Chancellor (Tool) Justin Gunnar Walter Chancellor is an English musician formerly in the band Peach but best known as the bass player for rock band Tool. Chancellor is of English and Norwegian descent.

I dare, never be found again in any part of the world, bassist with Justin's tone.

Just amazing. His work on schism, 46 & 2, and others is just Phenomenal. And not only is he a good bassist, but also a good writer and musician. How have I not reached minimum quality yet? Stupid computer doesn't know what quality is.

Justin plays his bass with the prowess of a lead guitarist. His bass lines are more technical than a lot of guitar riffs from other bands. He contributes so much style and musicality to the band without overshadowing the other members. You would not have the TOOL sounds without him

I find it hard to believe that Johnny Christ is ahead of this beast, Justin belongs in the first 10 just for his work in Lateralus alone, not even referencing the other amazing albums he was in...

8 Tim Commerford (Rage Against the Machine) Timothy Robert Commerford is an American musician, best known as the bassist and backing vocalist for the American rap metal band Rage Against the Machine, supergroups Audioslave and Prophets of Rage.

Why is he not on this list already? He may come from a different age but you can't deny that back in the day, RAtM delivered some of the most effective metal bass lines ever. And he was a beast live.

One of the most underestimated bass players, but has awesome funk, hip hop groove mixed with brutal and inimitable tone!

He has to be on this list, he creates great background for Tom and his stunts

One of my favourite bass players, really fun to play along to

9 Les Claypool Leslie 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.

OK kids, Primus are an alternative metal band, so I can see why Les isn't gonna be getting number 1 but jesus, he's by far the most talented bassist on this list, he should at least be top 10. Go listen to Tommy the Cat just to see how talented this guy is, and then vote Primus!

Unquestionably the best bassist to roam the earth, even though Justin Chancellor is my favourite bassist, Claypool is inarguably the most talented and innovative player on the list.

Without any doubt at all, Les Claypool should be #1 on this list, go listen to "Jerry was a race car driver" and My Name is Mud" then you'll believe why he is indeed the best bass player

He is a metal bassist, Primus isn't a metal band but he used to be in the Prog Thrash band Blind Illusion he even played on their first studio album.

10 Robert Trujillo (Metallica) Roberto Agustin Trujillo, better known as Robert Trujillo, is an American musician known for his role as the current bassist of heavy metal band Metallica.

Rob is a monster on that 5-Stringer of his! He is a veteran bass player with groundbreaking skills, but then again, you would need them to be in Metallica right?

Brilliant bassist that is totally undermined by the metal community. Please, he is much, much better than Newsted and although he might not be better than Cliff Burton, he can definitely play faster than Burton. He has added an additional heaviness to metallica and should definitely be in the top 8. Listen to his cover of Anasthesia (Pulling teeth), what a fitting tribute to Burton!

His style adds an awesome primal sound to Metallica's music. Hiring Robert Trujillo was the best thing they could have done!

Rob's galloping style has contributed a lot to Metallica's songs. Metallica's recent live performances sound a lot heavier and more brutal because of Rob. He may not be the best bassist of all time, but he's certainly one guy you can never ever write off. His name is definitely there, along with the likes of Burton, Butler, Steve Harris and Ellefson.

The Contenders

11 Lemmy Kilmister (Mötorhëad) Ian Fraser Kilmister, known as Lemmy, was an English musician, singer and songwriter who founded and fronted the rock band Motörhead. He was a bassist and a singer known for his raspy voice. He died in 2015 from cancer and other health problems.

He has one of the most unique styles of bass in the entire genre. His baselines are powerhouses, and he normalized the bass solo. While he's probably not above Steve Harris, he should def be in top five.

The face of the whole band and the speed Metal genre!

Lemmy is not even my top pic... but #10 on a list of best metal bassists? HOW? STOP IT

Has his own brand. Very best at what he does.

12 Jason Newsted (Metallica) Jason Curtis Newsted is an American metal musician, known for being the third bass guitarist with the band Metallica from November 1986 until his departure in January 2001, he was also a part of Voivod and Flotsam and Jetsam.

I think he was better that cliff and Rob because cliff played the bass like a guitar. Also Jason was able to play with a pick, fingers, slap, and tapping. He is a great frontman and played and sang. Jason wrote guitar riffs, and had a bigger impact on Metallica than Rob has. I think he should be second place to cliff Burton. Jason is really overshadowed.

Unfortunately Jason is overshadowed by Cliff Burton and therefore he is underrated as a bassist. In fact I think his bass lines are far better than cliff's (That being said Cliff's solo's were amazing) and rhythm playing over solo "Lead bass playing," if you will that Cliff used to do. And how can you argue with the guy who screams "DIE, DIE, DIE" like he's satan or something?

I do feel sorry for Newsted, for one Metallica constantly hazed him and two he had to walk into Cliff's place an impossible job for anyone no matter how technically gifted they are.

Not as good as Cliff Burton, but you have to respect him for the awesome bass lines on The Black Album, and his work on Load really is the only saving grace of a pretty lackluster album. A great live player, and his new project, Newsted, released a simply phenomenal debut album.

13 Billy Sheehan William "Billy" Sheehan is an American bassist known for his work with Talas, Steve Vai, David Lee Roth, Mr. Big, Niacin, and The Winery Dogs.

I've never heard of any bassist this amazing, ever. His playing is absolutely amazing and sheerly breath taking!

Best ever
Talas wasn't very good metal band, but bassist billy Sheehan is probably most prolific bassist ever

Should be number 1

Should be at least in the top 10

14 Frank Bello Francis Charles Joseph "Frank" Bello is an Italian-American musician who plays bass guitar for the thrash metal band Anthrax.

Take the Steve Harris style of finger playing, and apply it to thrash metal. The result is something similar to what Frankie Bello gives you: solid, pumping, bright and fluid, adding a layer beyond and behind, yet distinct from Scott Ian's massive rhythm guitar parts.

Hey guys! 21?! Seriously? Have you listened to Frank's job on Got the Time or Caught in a Mosh?

Caught in a Mosh, Got the Time, Intro to Reality, some examples of his skill on bass so he should really be in the top 10

Come On! Frank is Great.

15 D.D. Verni (Overkill)

Way underrated. He should be in the top 10. The song writing. The live presence and damn that bass tone. No one has that tone and cuts across anyone that ever listen to it. It's his sound. No one has the DD sound. He maybe not be all over with being flashy but the man can hold his own

Amazing sound, technique...other than steve harris none more ingenious

Should be much, much higher on the list.

DD at #22? Got to be kidding! He belongs in the top five, no question. Possibly top three.

16 Geddy Lee (Rush) Gary 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.

Great but this list is about metal bassists and Geddy is NOT metal.

23 - Really? Not only is Geddy an intricate bass player, from an instrument standpoint. But, he also sings & plays keys, all the while still holding firm in the structure of each song. Should be in the Top 10 at the very least.

How is Geddy Lee not already on here? He plays Bass for rush which would already be hard enough, he is the lead singer of Rush, and he also plays piano for Rush! How much better can one man get?

Simply one of the very bests. I don't know how the guy of Korn is above him.

17 Alex Webster (Cannibal Corpse) Alex Webster is an American bass player, who is best known as a member of the death metal band Cannibal Corpse.

Alex Webster's technical ability is astounding. It's not just about speed, the notes he plays are shockingly melodic and clean underneath the pounding drums and shredding guitars. The break fills in Cannibal Corpse and the solos with Blotted Science is god-like wizardry. Check out the genius of Synaptic Plasticity for further proof.
Add on his song and lyric writing ability and you've got a bass GOD.

This might a little over the top, but Alex Webster to me is Death Metals Cliff Burton. He's fast as hell, one of the only original members left, never used pick in his career, and one of the top 5 headbangers in metal today.

Great technic, great feeling, amazing composer of master pieces of metal. Co-writer of several (maybe all) Cannibal Corpse songs. Co-writer of Blooted Science music. This guy must be on the first 10, I think he is not because death metal is not main stream gender.

Alex Webster only at number 26? He should at least be number 5 or so

18 Shavo Odadjian (System of a Down) Shavo Odajian is an Armenian-American bassist, musician, and composer for the Armenian-American band System of a Down.

He has so much flair when he plays, it's just amazing, not to mention he is very good at playing his instrument. The song "Deer Dance", or "Prison song": Prime examples of his skill.

Shavo plays with his own style and even playing low like he does still delivers a clear and powerful sound

The style of this guy is unbeatable! I was on their gig and he literally made love with the bass on the stage.!

I love all the bass line he played very innovative and so refreshed.

19 Ryan Martinie (Mudvayne)

Ryan Martinie is the most underrated metal bassist of all time. He deserves to be top 10!

Ryan, in my opinion, is the best bassist there is. Cliff is good, but he's not great. Nobody would care about Cliff if it weren't for "pulling teeth" and the intro to for "for whom the bell tolls." Ryan is my favourite bassist because he is extremely technical, he stands out from every other bassist, he has a great tone, amazing writing skills, etc. He deserves to be a lot higher up on this list.

My top 3 bassists would be:
1. Ryan Martinie (mudvayne)
2. Evan Brewer (The faceless, solo)
3. Dan Briggs (Between the Buried and Me)

Incredible bassist, seriously underrated. People have a problem with wanting to fit in and be popular so usually they vote the bassist off of how successful the band is. This guy doesn't just follow the guitar. He writes bass lines that weave in and out of the guitar riffs to create beautiful music.

Can't believe he's so down in he list! I know pretty much every bassist in this list and even though Burton and Harris are better than Martinie, They're not THAT better.

20 Michael Lepond (Symphony X)

Incredible fingerstyle skills! Hardly any other bassist plays with so much precision at such a high speed. If this was an accurate list, the top three would be Cliff Burton, John Myung and Michael Lepond!

Listen to his solos in Egypt and Seven and you will understand.

The best! Listen to "Frontiers" - Symphony X (Bonus Track on The Odyssey). Tasty! Oh and everything on his solo albums (Silent Assassins)

Really unique style and incredible skills. Without a doubt, the most talented bass player I've ever been lucky enough to see live.

21 Tom Araya (Slayer) Tomás Enrique "Tom" Araya Díaz is a Chilean American musician, best known as the bassist and vocalist of the American thrash metal band Slayer.

Tom is amazing on the bass. Listen to War Ensemble or another fast track and the bass will blow you away.

Awesome bassist deservedly so and to see he outranks Jason newsted is awesome for how fast he plays he deserves it

In Raining Blood he plays the same way as the guitars. You have no idea how hard that is for a bassist until you try

Araya is the best

22 Ian Hill

Can't believe he's on number 45! I know he plays mainly simple bass line, but check out the early stuff of Priest classic, like SIN AFTER SIN, STAINED CLASS or metal masterpiece UNLEASHED IN THE EAST, he plays basic stuff but adding some incredible melodic bass note to each songs. I think he deserve on top 10 in metal.

Top metal bass player in the world of Metal. A true legend.

At #44?! You've to to be f*cking sh#tting me people. He practically started Priest and the whole heavy metal genre! He's practically the only one, apart from Steve Harris of Iron Maiden who can truly compose great bass lines that can actually equal guitar lines (let alone two guitars, lead guitars at that) in sound and greatness.

23 Jimmy Bain (Rainbow, Dio) James Stewart "Jimmy" Bain was a Scottish musician, best known for playing bass guitar in the bands Rainbow and Dio.

Very underrated bass player R.I.P.

rip

24 Marten Hagstrom (Meshuggah) Mårten Hagström, (born 27 April 1971) is the rhythm guitarist for the Swedish experimental metal band Meshuggah. Hagström, along with his bandmate Fredrik Thordendal, was rated #35 by Guitar World as the top 100 greatest heavy metal guitarist of all-time.

He isn't just a great songwriter, backup vocalist, rhythm guitarist and lead guitarist, but a badass, technical and groovy metal bassist! He played the bass in the Meshuggah masterpiece obZen and he did a great job in it!

Have you ever heard about meshuggah? Just listen and vote for Marten.

He needs to be more well known as well as the band he plays in

Bass line in Demiurge. Need I say more?

25 Dominic Forest Lapointe

Listen to omniscient perception by Beyond Creation and the solo

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