Top 10 Best Bassists of All Time

The bass guitar is the unsung hero of the band, providing the foundation and groove for every song. And while the instrument may not always take center stage, there are countless bass players who have left an indelible mark on the music world with their innovative techniques, incredible skill, and undeniable influence.

In this top ten list, we will be exploring the greatest bass players of all time, from pioneers of the instrument who helped shape the sound of entire genres to contemporary bassists who continue to push the boundaries of what's possible on four strings. So sit back, turn up the bass, and join us as we celebrate the masters of the low end.
The Top Ten
1 Cliff Burton 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 after the driver of the bands tour bus lost control on a patch of black ice and crashed at the town Dörarp in Sweden whilst promoting Metallica's third album "Master of Puppets" Cliff fell out through a window during the chaos and when the bus rolled over the last time it crushed him.

Cliff Burton is the reason I love and play bass, and he's my inspiration and all time favorite bass player. No, he's clearly not a god, but he's certainly one of the greatest. I don't think we will ever be able to pick the best bassist because each one brings something unique to their particular style of music and their band. But personally, Cliff Burton, Geddy Lee, Paul McCartney, Flea, and John Deacon are my favorites. I'm not saying their the best, because I can't pick that, there's too many good bassist out there. But out of anyone I think Cliff does deserve the #1 spot. He dedicated his short life to bass. He practiced for 4 hours every single day. And he was so knowledgeable of music. Many people think because he played metal that he was a dumb pothead who just followed the guitarists with his basslines. But that's not always that way. Sometimes he WAS the guitar like in For Whom The Bell Tolls. Sorry for the rant, I just thought I'd put my opinion out there. R.I.P. Cliff ...more

Cliff was an amazing metal bassist... and that's where it stops! Being great does not mean you have to play fast. It means you have to complete the song with that certain something that makes the song that much more distinguished. Cliff never had that... The best one will always be Flea, ALWAYS! This is not "choose your favorite band", this is "who is the best bassist"! Flea would run circles around Cliff on pure innovation and adaptation of any style and give it his signature touch to it... People need comprehend this : being able to adapt to any genre makes you the best. Flea does this with relative ease... not even Jaco, Entwhistle, Wooten, Claypool and yes even Burton do that!

This list has it problems, but it's the first one to have the right person on top (although my vote tied Jimi as #1 guitarist so hopefully he'll also be #1 soon). I grew up as a Headbanging, Mosh-Pit addicted, metalhead; but my musical taste has matured, immeasurably. However, there never was, nor with the downward path music is taking, will there ever be, a bassist in the league of Burton. It was said best on an independent biographical show, Burton was wearing bell-bottoms and listening to REM when it wasn't cool. All of the mature harmonies on Ride the Lightning and Master of Puppet's was all Cliff, despite the megalomanical attempts of Lars to control everything. The guy was a fan of Bach and other classical music; so musically diverse, so talented, so incredible, Cliff RIP, you were the man! Claypool rules too, and I think Cliff would be pissed to see Mike Mills (REM) isn't on here.

I'm not just voting burton simply because he's the most popular, and I'm sure nobody else has voted him simply because he's currently number 1. he was in Metallica for seek and destroy, ride the lightening and master of puppets, and wrote to live is to die, which were Metallicas best albums and nothing other than death magnetic have really come close to their 80's albums, after burtons death, Metallica went rapidly down hill, theyve never really been the same since... that just shows that with burton, Metallica were one of the best thrash metal bands of all time, without burton Metallica has become lesser known for their newer stuff... that's how much of an impact burton had on Metallica and his talent is shown in their 80's music

2 Geddy Lee 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.

While Geddy certainly isn't my favorite bassist or someone who influenced me to the extent of John Paul Jones and Steve Harris, he IS the greatest rock bassist of all time and has been for over 30 years (even if his tone isn't my cup of tea). Most musicians stop progressing on their instruments once they achieve some level of fame, but Geddy just gets better and better as he incorporates new techniques (like his flamenco-style plucking) while maintaining the old ones. I just saw him a few months ago, and while his voice is shot, his bass-playing is better than ever (and he was pretty damned good 30 years ago)! He played "YYZ" with such efficiency and accuracy that I actually laughed out loud in amazement.

Again, he's far from my favorite. However, objectively-speaking, he's the best there is or was, combining jaw-dropping technique with outstanding note selection like the boss he is.

Geddy Lee is simply an excellent musician. I argue that the main reason that Rush doesn't get as much radio play in the USA as bands like Metallica is that they are from Canada instead of California. It doesn't help that they write proportionately more songs about science, adventure, and intellectual pursuits rather than sex and drugs. Geddy's ever-evolving bass throughout the band's career shows his superb musicianship, even if radio in the US seems to only feature his screechy songs from the early 80's instead of the band's fantastic recent albums. You really ought to check out his solo album "My Favourite Headache" for a full tour of his abilities not just as a bassist but as a singer as well.

As a bassist, I have to place Geddy Lee at the top of my list. There are many capable bass players we admire and appreciate but for raw skill and range of playing I have to say Geddy all the way. When I first started listening to Rush (around Fly by night) I would ask people to tell me how many pieces the band had. Never got 3 as an answer until later when they were well known. From the early works like Working Man, Bastille Day, 2112, or La Villa Strangiato, through later works like Driven, Ceiling Unlimited, Ghost Rider, or Carnies, shows range, evolution, and skill like no other.

Some others on this list I like and have played many of their songs but I was still really surprised to see them in this list. Some others I expected to see higher in the ranking. It would be interesting to see a to 10 done by a bass player group where everyone knew the instrument and could appreciate the relative skill.

There is no way Geddy is third. Cliff was a great bassist and all, but he didn't do anything else. Geddy goes around, playing bass as well or even better than Cliff, not to mention singing with amazing range and vocals, while playing the keyboard and stepping on bass pedals or synthesizers. Rush may not be the most popular band, but if everyone just took 10 minutes of their life and listened to some Rush and notice how legendary this trio is, the world would be a better place. Geddy and Alex are extremely underrated, they should all be getting noticed like Neil, who might become the best drummer ever.

3 John Entwistle John Alec Entwistle, was an English singer, songwriter, composer, musician, film and music producer. He is mostly known as the lead bassist for the rock band The Who.

Rating anything #1 is usually a very hard thing to do, but in this case, it is quite effortless. Also being ranked the best bassist in the world by Rolling Stone Magazine and voted the Bassist of the Millennium, I fail to comprehend how another bassist is seen as better. It is simply impossible. What is truly amazing is that he can play the most amazing solos without seeming to put in any effort. No bassist can replicate him, let alone come up with the solos he came up with. When it comes to sheer contribution to the instrument, John also ranks #1. He taught himself how to play an instrument (that was relatively new at the time) better than anyone can play it today.

I don't understand how John Entwistle can be placed anywhere but 1st. If this a ranking of how technically proficient bassists are, John wins hands down, and I don't really think anyone could argue against that. He is also one of the most influential bassists, he completely changed what the bass guitar is. Type in Fanfare for the Common Man and watch him perform that with his supergroup "The Best" where he has a solo 4 minutes in. He plays clusters of notes and complex basslines that boggle the mind. He has many other good examples of solos as well. Victor Wooten should be number 2, he may not be able to play bass quite at the level that John Entwistle did, but he is certainly the most technically proficient bassist alive today. Stuart Hamm is also pretty impressive.

This man influenced most of the people on this page. He started from scratch with little people who inspired him and was the first bassist in rock history to write a bass solo. He was also played with THREE fingers. Billy Sheehan, Geezer Butler, Victor Wooten, Kris Novosellic, and TONS of other bassists wouldn't have set their standards so high if it wasn't for him. All I'm saying is if you had any of these bassists came into fame before John than practically everyone would be as slow as a rock UNDERGROUND. He is and always will be the greatest bassist of the world or as Guitar magazine calls him "The Bassist Of The Millennium".

! How in the hell is John Entwistle 4th on any list? This is one of the greatest rock bassists of all time we are talking about here.

Geddy Lee is ranked #1 and I can get behind that. When you concider that Lee sings lead vocals, plays keyboards and is still arguably the best bassists in rock music, he clearly deserves the top spot, but Geddy Lee has always sighted John Entwistle as his main inspiration and you can certainly hear John's influence in many of Geddy's favorite riffs.

Geddy took much of what he learned from John and brought it more to the forefront by using the tools he learned from another of his inspirations, Chris Squire. Geddy began using a Rickenbacker bass and round wound strings to replicate Squire's sound.

Much of the early Who music drowns out Entwistle's awesome bass riffs because he was using flat wound strings and his quick triplets were often lost as a mumbled growl, rather than a crisp sound making those riffs pop.

Much of the ...more

4 Flea Michael Peter Balzary (born October 16, 1962), better known by his stage name Flea, is an Australian-born American musician, best known as the bassist, a co-founding member, and one of the composers of the rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers with whom he was inducted in 2012 into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

I think given the fact he is an entertainer and a complete bassist in almost every major style of music proves that he may not be the greatest in terms of ability, but his complete treatment and mastery of the bass places him the greatest as such, much like Hendrix on guitar. Burton is a wonderful bassist yes, but he never showed elements of funk or jazz, genres that are important to be a complete bassist. Same goes for Wooten.. He is probably the greatest in terms of ability, but that does not warrant any kind of greatness in terms of band musicmanship and showmanship, as essentially music is a form of entertainment, and flea probably embodies more of a complete entertainer than anyone else on the list. Tetsuya Ogawa is brilliant yes but lacks the influence that western world bassists have over the next generation, how many bassists can say they were influenced by flea and/or the chili peppers.

Therefore Flea deserves the top spot for those reasons..

Hey Metallica fans. Playing with speed is something anyone can do with practice. I mean look how many metal guitarists there are who just shred. The real talent comes when a person can create a feel and atmosphere with their ability. Flea projects life, beauty, and rhythm with his incredibly talented playing. You want fast? "Nobody weird like me. " "Stone Cold Bush. " basically any song off mother's milk is quick by flea, but look at the stuff he does on Californication. That's actual talent. He's got a feel and rhythm in his playing that will never be matched or replicated. SexFunk forever. Flea will never die.

Are you kidding me? I just saw the tokio hotel bassist at number 2 while flea is at number 3 and I would very much like to ask you people.. WHAT? First of all flea has been around for more than 20 years and has provided so much to the musical industry with his unique talent(s). Secondly his live performances are all so eargasmic and wonderful to listen to provided you have at least some musical taste.

He's also a superfun guy to hang out with from what I have seen on some youtube videos. But the main reason I'm here is to tell you fanboys you jog off outta here since most of the comments I've seen talk about how beautiful a bassist is or how great his offstage life is when that has nothing to do with how great a bassist or some other musician is! The end..

I'm gonna go watch some flea videos.

Love the fact that Trevor Dunn (Mr. Bungle) never made this list. The world seems to have become so obsessed with mediocrity that it seems the more popular you become, the less talented you're considered to be. Flea made the conscious decision that instead of being a show pony he would slow down his playing. You have to admire a musician who cares more about making a song meaningful and affective than about people telling him how awesome he is. It's such a common misconception that if you're unpopular you're more talented.

5 John Paul Jones John Baldwin, better known by his stage name John Paul Jones, is an English multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, composer, arranger and record producer. He is best known as the bassist for the English rock band Led Zeppelin. Years after Led Zeppelin split, Jones joined supergroup Them Crooked Vultures, featuring Dave Grohl and Josh Homme. He is also part of the folk band Dave Rawlings Machine.

I tend to rate a bass player by the skill and presence associated with an unmatched style with their sound and music and not so much by their fleeting popularity..JPJ needs no comment.. his long run with Zeppelin attests to his unique stamina..

Jones was a solid bassist who had a few impressive performances but that doesn't mean he should be near the top 20 bassists of all time. There are so many more skilled bassists who are better composers and players all around. All of his stuff is really simple with the exception of The Lemon Song. The comment a few below this one says that if bassists chose this, jones would be in the top 5. That is completely wrong, most real bassists wouldn't have him in their top 10 because there are so many bassists better than him. One thing about him that is extraordinary is his ability to play a multitude of instruments. Other than that, he's just a good bassist, not great

First of all, his licks were tastefully done to compliment the song he was playing on. Virtuosity among other things was a major bonus with John Paul Jones how many other bass could achieve his virtuosity. Not to mention being well versed on the keyboards, Mandolin, acoustic guitar, basically in a band where every song they ever made was great or creative. Every player must be great. That would be Led Zeppelin always changing styles thing a front runner creative, it's not all about speed, Jimi Hendrix wasn't really that fast but everybody thinks he is one of the greatest guitar players of all time, it's about the melody in coordination with the song are not the speed and so John Paul Jones, always Played just what was needed not a penny more or less that's what bass playing is about accommodating the song. Now if you're talking about bass solos that's a whole different story that has nothing to do with this conversation.

I don't know why he is in number 5 bellow John Entwistle! I mean come on! John Entwistle is really good but he cannot compare to John Paul Jones' bass lines in songs like Achilles Last Stand. His style and symmetry with his other band members in Led Zeppelin is simply unmatched by any other bassists. However, there are a couple others who I believe just slightly beat him out. Here is my top 10:

10. Roger Waters

9. Chris Squire

8. Geezer Butler

7. Steve Harris

6. John Entwistle

5. Les Claypool

4. John Paul Jones

3. Flea

2. Cliff Burton

1. Geddy Lee

6 Steve Harris 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 surely the best bassist. Just listen to how his melodies blend in with the guitar in the Powerslave solo. Unlike other bassists, you can actually hear him, and he's not super fuzzy. Not to mention that he is an excellent songwriter for Britain's most beloved Heavy Metal band, and that his presence is very commanding. He can play as fast as a picked bassist and adds almost as much treble as a slap bassist. His high notes resonate beautifully and his low notes have a characteristic galloping theme. He commands the band through his musicianship. He is the most capable bassist and surely deserves to be number one. I hope you vote for Steve Harris, songwriter and bassist for Britain's most beloved heavy metal band, Iron Maiden.

Steve should be number one. I myself am a guitar player but I have to say Steve has shown me how much a bass player contributes to the band. I have covered and played tons of Iron Maiden songs to date but it's a laid down fact that unless it's Steve's actual bass lines ringing out in the backing, no matter how hard I try or how well I play the song never sounds the same. It never has that maiden sound unless I use Steve's actual bass backings. In my opinion Steve is better than all other bass players in metal and hard rock and his galloping style is simply infectious. He is a complete genius when it comes to composing and his way of playing the bass sometimes makes me wish I had started learning the bass instead of the guitar. Because of him, I've played my guitar as a bass countless times. Up the Irons forever!

Not only is he the great composer behind 90% of Iron Maiden's music and words (either as composer/co-composer) he's also a damn good and very influential bassist. He has come up with a lot of memorable and incredible bass lines such as the ones in "Wrathchild", "Powerslave", "The Phantom of The Opera", etc. His speed is incredible even though he hardly uses a pick and he's got a natural knack for making great melodies. Also, that galloping style. You can try to play his songs, but it won't sound the same. His style of playing is unique to him.

Usually, the bassist would be the cool, relaxed guy hanging at the back of the stage because let's face it, the bass doesn't really have a reputation for being a flashy-sounding instrument (unlike the guitar), but the fact that Steve is the commanding force at the very front of Maiden is a testament to his incredible skill as a bassist. The sound of his bass even manages to push through Maiden's heavy guitar trio without him ever having ...more

My first huge bass influence, no question, was Steve Harris. His playing actually caused me to take bass lessons instead of guitar because for the first time, I heard the bass as the lead instrument and loved it. For that alone, I will always consider him one of the greatest. His technique is no longer top-drawer like it was; Cliff Burton pretty much blew him away as soon as he entered the scene with "Kill 'em All", and someone like Flea or Les Claypool could play circles around him. But his note selection is still as good as it gets, which is why I consider him greater than either of those funk-inspired bassists.

If technique was all that mattered, it would be a battle between Les and Billy Sheehan with everyone else pulling up the slack. Thankfully we have to consider note selection (or at least should), and Steve Harris wins by a landslide on that "note" (haha).

7 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.

Dude is a monster on the bass. Listening to him play with Primus got me into actually listening to bass lines, and I don't even really like listening to Primus.

You can not rate a musician when they are all prolific players of there chosen instrument because lets face it, once you become as good as the players on this list, all are as good as each other.

But why I rate this man as the best is because only claypool can produce a sound that is way different to any other bass player on the planet.

I describe claypool as the pluto of bass (most out there) and this is why he is number 1 in my opinion.

Cliff burton is only number 1 on this list because he basses for Metallica. It's like saying ringo starr is the worlds greatest drummer because he drummed for the beatles.

Each of the others are great in their own way, but when this man has that bass in his hand, it's like it is part of him. It's like breathing for us normal humans to him. He can play any genre. Any genre. To be able to play like he does and sing at the same time, let alone play and move around like he does is just amazing. Plus he keeps the whole band together with his playing. Not the other way around where bass is usually more of a backup instrument. You take all these guys and let them play the same thing without seeing them, most you probably wouldn't know the difference in, but Les, you know instantly. At the same time, he's so good he could fool you into thinking he was one of the others. Any list that doesn't have this man at the top as the best bassist, is just wrong. in my opinion

I personally disagree with the existence of these kinds of lists, I don't think that there's a way to say who is the better human doing something of all time. It's even weirder to do that in a wide and deep area, like music. I mean, you might play with a flawless technique, or you may be a very original and unique bass player. But, what makes a playee better than the other one? I know like ordering and ranking every field of our lifes, but some people take these kind of tops very seriously. I've chosen Les as the best bast player, not because he's the best, but for me the most talented. He is a very unique bassist, and he plays weird bass lines in a 6-strings bass while singing.

8 Geezer Butler 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.

A legendary figure in the scene for over 40 years.The best. No question. No Discussion. He was and still is the teacher for all (including me). Under the umbrella of the well known and deeply respected musical style of Black Sabbath he incorporated different approaches and techniques in his arsenal. Generations of musicians were influenced by him. Several tried to copy him but no one can really beat him.

Geezer's not top 5? Or top 10?
WHAT!? Why?
Ok 1st of all, he is the best finger pick using bassist of all time, I'm not counting slap bassists that pick during some segments.
He has so much influence on the sound of Black Sabbath and draws his influences from jazz while playing in a metal band, which is really unique for any bass player.
Also he and Bill Ward as a duo... Probl'y the best bass 'n' drum duo of all time

One of the must influencer bass player in the history, you can hear covers of Sabbath but you will never hear the powerful sound and blasting rhythm of this God who touch the earth with a bass in his hands...

I don't know about the other bassist in this list.. But no bassist made me feel true effects off a bass guitar the way geezer does.. Just listen to the bass solos of N.I.B or Sweet Leaf and you'll know what I am saying... Not to forget he's an awesome lyricist too!

9 Paul McCartney Sir James Paul McCartney (born 18 June 1942) is an English singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and composer. With John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr, he gained worldwide fame with the rock band the Beatles, one of the most popular and influential groups in the history of pop and rock music.One of the most successful composers and performers of all time, he is known for his melodic approach to bass-playing, his versatile and wide tenor vocal range and his musical eclecticism, exploring styles ranging from pre-rock 'n' roll pop to classical and electronica. His songwriting partnership with John Lennon remains the most successful in history

One of the most important and at the same time underrated bassists ever - everyone knows he's one of the best songwriters of all time but his revolutionary bass playing is often overlooked.
I mean he's Paul McCartney! Has to be top 5 at least!

What is funny is that people are quick to call the Beatles the Greatest Band Ever, but on one will say that any of them are the best in their fields. John seems to get the most recognition, with Rolling Stone ranking him in the top 10 of all time Best Singers (Paul is 11, I know it's so wrong), and he's ranked on the Best Guitarist list too. George is only listed as the 11th Best Guitarist ever, a total rip off. What's worse is that Ringo doesn't rank on anyone's list of best drummers, and that really is a shame. The Beatles as individuals deserve recognition, because if they didn't have prodigious and top tier skill on their own, how could they be the Greatest Band ever?

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.

A lot of people may not really realize this, because the Beatles genius songwriting and general creativity sometimes dwarf other aspects of their music. But you have to see, that behind those brilliant songs was a bass player who could connect the most abstract of chords, using his intricate melodies. Most bass players just sit up there and slap out the basic chord progression. Paul's baselines on the other hand are constantly moving all over the spectrum, changing octave, playing small arpeggios, and adding flare and groove to the song. And when he's not playing melodically, and is just playing a single note, he plays it like a sledgehammer. He blows almost every other bassist out of the water. Don't believe me? Listen to the bass of "Hey Bulldog" "Lovely Rita" or "Yer Blues".

10 Roger Waters George Roger Waters is an English singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and composer. He is mostly known for being the secondary lead vocalist and bassist of Pink Floyd.

In terms of technique, he is no-where near top 10 (even top 100). But in terms of ART, he is simply the best. His immense talent of song-writting & music composing make him unique.

He is like the best bassist in my rock world I mean we are talking about Money, Comfortably Numb, Another Brick In The Wall Part 2, Wish You Were Here, Hey You, Young Lust, Time, Us + Them, Breathe, Brain Damage, Eclipse, Pigs (Three Different Ones), Dogs, One Of These Days, Echoes, Run Like Hell, Waiting For The Worms, Happiest Days Of Our Lives, Have A Cigar, Welcome To The Machine, Shine On You Crazy Diamond Parts I-V, Mother. I mean seriously this guy is awesome, hear the bass in the songs it's awesome and cool at the same time. As a matter of fact I seen him at the Bridgestone Arena TN for his Us + Them Tour 2017 and he sung Mother and nowhere else in North America in this tour. He is a bass hero in my book of rock and roll. You all need to listen to Pink Floyd songs, there awesome. Another awesome thing is that The Dark Side of the Moon was a commercial and critical success. It topped the Billboard Top LPs & Tapes chart for a week and remained in the chart for 741 weeks from ...more

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.

The Real 60s Hard Rock/Psychedelic/ Blues All-Star Band=Waters is the best bass player in many ways on several dimensions! Hendrix and Clapton on lead and guitar, Page on 12-string, sitar, and other instruments. Perhaps double drummers are needed: Bonham & Baker. Organ: Arthur Brown. Cow Bell: Iggy Pop of course. Lead singer: Morrison. Back-up Chorus: Jagger & Bruce & Burdon & Plant & Winwood. Writers: Lennon & McCartney & Davies. Female Dancers: Slick & Joplin. Now for some soul …?

The Contenders
11 John Deacon John Richard Deacon (born 19th of August 1951) is a retired English musician, who is best known as the bassist for the rock band 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.

Anybody in QUEEN is the greatest because Queen is the best band in the universe!
So, naturally John Deacon is the greatest! Very under-rated, just like Queen is extremely under-rated, same as Brian May and Roger Taylor are for their respective instruments which they are totally brilliant at!
Even Freddie Mercury is not as respected and recognized as The Number One singer like he ought to be, which is a sin! Anybody w/ ears & just a bit of common sense will readily admit that Freddie has the best voice ever!
It's a shame that none of these phenomenal musicians, all geniuses in their craft, have received enough attention & admiration. Yes, they quietly make the list of the best this & that, but they are so far superior than what people give them credit for!
They're simply MAGNIFICENT... Beyond belief! If people could just get past Queen's greatest hits and delve more into their hidden gems, they would find a treasure trove of sheer ecstasy! Unlike most bands whose best stuff ...more

John Deacon is the best bassist who does the job of a bassist. He provides the base well, and listening to his basslines feel like someone is singing backing vocals. Yet he doesn't consume any limelight (pardon for Another One Bites The Dust and Under Pressure - Ice Ice Baby stolen from the latter). He was the one who made me love the bass. Another One Bites The Dust is of course legendary, but listening to the bass playing from other songs of Queen - mind blown. He's invisible yet omnipresent. My inspiration of course is this guy. He doesn't sticks out, since he's the glue. And he's horribly underrated for his job, which is an underrated job anyway.

Lest we forget, he also wrote several of Queen's big hits, including "Another One Bites the Dust", inspired by his early love of Soul. He also co-wrote songs with Freddie Mercury as well as collaborations with the band. Included in the hits he alone wrote are: "You're My Best Friend" & "Spread Your Wings". He was also a multi instrumentalist & played rhythm guitar on several studio cuts, and with his background & formal education as an electrical engineer, he built the so-called Deacy Amp which both he & Brian May used. It was the amp used to create the guitar orchestras present on many of Queen's recordings.The guy's brilliant. He may be retired from music but he should still be ranked among the best.

12 Chris Squire Christopher Russell Edward Squire was an English musician, singer and songwriter. He was best known as the bassist and founding member of the progressive rock band Yes.

Chris Squire took bass guitar to a level it never was. He combined power, counterpoint, rhythmic precision, timbre and sound contrast, he was innovative almost in every field. He's the mastermind of great riffs and bass parts like "No Opportunity Necessary", "Heart of the Sunrise", "The Fish", "Close to the Edge" Besides he was a brilliant composer, hist solo album "Fish out of Water" is among the greatests of the era with superb use of the symphony orchestra.

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.

Chris is easily the best pick style player out there. His technique is extremely difficult to recreate, (I cannot do it, my friend cannot do it, his grandfather who has been playing bass semi-professionally for 47 years can only come woefully close) and he did a great deal to bring the bass into the foreground of music. The sound he creates on Roundabout is absolutely brutal, and his level of musicianship was, I dare say, the equivalent of Hendrix.

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.

13 Jaco Pastorius John Francis Anthony "Jaco" Pastorius III was an American jazz bassist who was a member of Weather Report from 1976 to 1981. He worked with Pat Metheny, Joni Mitchell, and recorded albums as a solo artist and band leader.

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...

This is merely a popularity contest instead of a top bassist list (based on skill and influence). The fact that Jaco is not in the top ten (much less the number one spot) proves that the majority of people are uncultured in the ways of bass.

I love flea, les claypool, geddy lee, and especially victor wooten (who I think is the best living bassist) but all of these players pale in comparison. And mark hoppus should not be on any top 100 list... Ever. And no way is he better than Billy Sheehan. Do your homework and than vote.

My top 10
Jaco Pastorius
Victor Wooten
Billy Sheehan
Ric Fierabracci
Les Claypool
Marcus Miller
Geddy Lee
Stanley Clark

If you're going to vote for "The Best" you should know more than just Rock/Slappin' Bass Players from the past 20-30 years. "If" you actually listen to Jaco compared to Flea, and we're to ask Flea himself about Jaco, even Flea would put him at #1 because Flea was influenced by Jaco. Every great Bass Player was. Because he was a Jazz player, in fact, his work was more disciplined and complex and at times more bizarre & crazy than Flea. Listen to "God must be a boogie man" and you'll get it!

Its funny that this guy is where he is on this list because every. Pro bassist ever knows jaco has the most unique sound and basically paved the way for modern bass playing. He wrote a whole song exclusively with harmonics, he was the first bassist ever to be a bass virtuoso and not just the bassist in a band. He was the first to have a solo album as a bassist and ontop of all that he has the best groove and rhythmic feel ever. He was the first to write bass melodies.

14 Jack Bruce John 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.

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.

Why is Jack Bruce not in the top 10? He is an incredible bassist, he was the one who wrote "Sunshine of Your Love" which is arguably Creams most famous song. His string bends are incredible and he slurs his notes the way that all blues rock players should. Being with Clapton and still managing to shine is a very inpressive feat.

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 Bruce #16?! Who is the deaf, dumb and blind kid who put together this list, anyway? You can argue between Entwistle and Bruce for #1, but that's where the debate stops. Christ--half the people above him on this list probably learned the instrument from listening to Jack Bruce note by note...

15 John Myung John Ro Myung is a Korean-American bassist and a founding member of the progressive metal group Dream Theater. He is one of the two longest-serving members of Dream Theater along with John Petrucci.

That is insane that Myung is not number 1! Not too many people can compete with his technical skills! I would say his closest competition would be from Les Claypool, Geddy Lee, Ryan Martinie (another one that surprised was so low on the list). I mean, most of the people voting for this, don't even understand what goes into playing bass. I have been a bassist for over 25 years, and NOBODY can compare to Myung.

John Myung is probably one of the biggest inspirations to me when it comes to playing bass. He plays with such technical proficiency at such high tempos and yet still manages to maintain clarity from each note. His basslines are incredible and his solos are such amazing feats of bass playing that it really surprises me he is not at the top of this list. Not many come close to his skill.

I try it this way...I guess JM can play everything, 'cause he has the background in theory and a lifetime of practice (still to this day he practice a couple of hours a day! )...and, of course, the technical skills to do it...besides's not the point, that he has to prove it, 'cause he surely can it, but he could do it, if he want's to...and I think that others just can' that's it...He has so much more to offer to the's not his flawless technique itself...the note's he doesn't play, are as important as the notes he play...and that makes the difference! I hope you know what I mean, 'cause my english is not the best:)...enjoy music!

This guy is a GOD compared to most of those in the top 10 list. He has the most amount of technical skills compared to them. He and all the DT members deserve to be in the top 10 AT LEAST.

The level of technical achievement from John Myung gives him the position to teach a Ph. D course in music theory. If you see his solo instructional videos and interviews, you know he LOVES music over the fame that it provides.

16 Lemmy 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.

Not only is Lemmy a ' God! He is the most genuine Rocker there is. His style is Rythme Bass with a Punch in the face. He is completely part of all of the songs that Motorhead make and to top it off he has influenced everyone in the metal scene. This still living legend needs to be way up there I mean come on! Johnny Christ From "Avenged Sevenfold" is Number 7! I'm sorry but he does not even belong... it should be Cliff Burton, Geddy Lee, Flea, Steve Harris, John Entwistle, Les Claypool, and Lemmy KILL-MASTER! Speed, Sex, Whiskey and Rock N' Roll!

Other people might have been better at playing, but Lemmy rocked harder than many other bassists dared to dream. Face of true speed metal and a complete badass. Ian may have passed on, but Lemmy is forever making the world of music a better place.

He is actually much better bass player than people give him credit. There is so much more to his playing than simple: "He plays bass like a guitar." Listen to Stay Clean, I'll Be Your Sister and Ace of Spades

This is not cool. Lemmy should be in the top 5. Easily one of the greatest Bassist of all time and has inspired so many other bassists. Lemmy is God. No mortal being can touch him.

17 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.

When I was a teenager in the 1970s, the hottest local band was Talas, featuring Billy Sheehan on bass. They were a great band, but Sheehan went on to bigger things.

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.

I honestly cannot believe he isn't #1, Talas, David lee Roth, Mr. Big, Steve Vai, he has proven his worth. He was wanted by DLR as the original drummer for van Halen, but Alex thought he "overplayed" laugh out loud Alex was scared at the thought of trying to keep up with him. Ok it's a fair fight with him and Les Claypool, but it is a fight of popularity not one of skill. They are both totally awesome, I was following his career when he was put with Steve Vai to back David Lee Roth and made some of the besr RnR songs I've ever heard. (Seriously people, listen to "Eat em and Smile) The concert was not to be believed and his solos both studio and live are so clean and at that speed is not easy. #1 and #2 Billy Sheehan and Les Claypool, they switchout but one is always in one position or the other, same with Steve Harris and Geddy Lee at #3 and #4, I'll give props to Jaco but I just wasnt into that music but the man was great, but face it, if the bassist isn't doing his job as bassist ...more

I think bassists (just like anybody) should be rated based on a no. of factors, I.e., individual ability, contributing to band chemistry, innovation, etc. I haven't done justice to the greats (Squire, Entwistle, Waters...) by analytically listening to enough tracks but Sheehan is surely above Cliff Burton, Flea, and co. Big Metallica fan but never felt that their bassists were exceptional... did like their sound during Newstead's tenure that showed his contribution to the chemistry.

While maybe not at the very top, some other good ones are Pat Badger of Extreme, Nick Beggs of Kajagoogoo, and Brian O Connell of Junoon.

18 Duff McKagan Michael Andrew "Duff" McKagan is an American musician, singer, songwriter and author. He is best known for his twelve-year tenure as the bass guitarist of the hard rock band Guns N' Roses, with whom he achieved worldwide success in the late 1980s and early 1990s. McKagan rejoined the band in 2016, following more.

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

I have learned so much from watching him play. His lines are a great learning tool for anyone who wants to be set for success and have their band on top. He really knows how to create excellent motifs.

Duff is the best bass player ever. Not because he takes so many solos and stuff but just listen to his playing! The way he plays. I bet you can't copy that. He is much better than Cliff.

Duff is one of my favorite bassists, hands down. He was great in Gn'r. I always liked when he did the backup vocals and the start of "patience" and "I used to love her" + he's occasionally funny.

19 David Ellefson 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 2010-2021.

I think he deserves my vote. He is my favorite bass player. My favorite being one I listen to. I'm sure the majority can agree that one particular person is good. However, I can not agree to that if I don't actually listen to the music. I listen to David, and that is why he deserves my vote. I respect his work

My favorite bassist ever and very underrated! Steve Harris, Lemmy, Wooten, Squire, McCartney and everyone are all amazing as well but Ellefson is just as creative and talented as any of them!

David Ellefson is one of the best. His bass lines gave the perfect structure to most Megadeth songs and he also knows how to make great solos. He should be in a much higher place.

Perfect bassist, not only because he's of the Megadeth!
He can make the bass appear on the music with grace and weight, and, he make perfect solos, for sure, the best of all the time!

20 Robert Trujillo 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.

Robert is WAY better than most of the people on this list. In my opinion only Cliff can beat him. He is the most skilled of all of metallica's members these days, but no one seems to realize that (come on, Lars isn't that good at all, he just gets the job done, but everyone seems to love him). come on, this guy can fingerpick fight fire with fire at LIVE speed! That is something most of the guys in this list can't say. And, come on, Tokio Hotel? Seriously, that's the biggest crap out there, by far. Be smart people, and if you don't understand anything of music, get out!

Whatever ass hole said Lars just "gets the job done" go to HELL MF Trujillo is talented but cliff is better. Newstead and Trujillo are about the same. But Metallica is by far the best metal band of all time and one of the BEST BANDS EVER. Kirk hemmet is incredible and James hetfield is an insane guitarist not to mention a great and truly talented singer. R.I.P cliff. Metallica is the BEST!

Whats is wrong with the world!
Number 30 seriously!
He is way better than most of the people before him on the list.
He is the only one who doesn't struggle in playing with Metallica.
He just seems to be perfect in playing any song.

Kill me guys... Robert truijillo of Metallica is that much low in this list... Only name of Metallica is enough... In every list Metallica or members of Metallica are at top but I think he is added late In this list that's why he is so low...
Metallica fans forever

21 Victor Wooten Victor Lemonte Wooten is an American bass player, composer, author, producer, and recipient of five Grammy Awards.

I'm voting purely off technical ability here, and I've never heard anyone come close to what this man can do. I understand that some of these other guys may be great songwriters, or play other instruments, etc, but this is a list for best bass player, and he has to be top 3.

I've been at Geddy Lee fan since I was a kid. But when I got older I started listening to more and more jazz, funk, fusion and other styles. I have seen Victor play live many years ago with Bela Fleck. Since that time I am convinced there is nobody who comes close to the talent of this man on bass. Victor Wooten should be number 1. No question about it. On slap bass this guy puts Flea to shame. In just about every category of music this guy is an absolute monster. The simple fact that he is not number one shows the immatureness of people in society when it comes to music. Don't believe me, listen to this man play Amazing Grace. Enough said.

Let's just be honest. Although the bass players on this list are good, even great, techniquly speaking no one can do what Wooten can. I love all of these bass player and to each of them they lend there minds and personalities to what they create. Wooten my never think to create something that sounds like what claypool or flea would create but anything any of these bass players can think to play Wooten could probably do it better. But there is not a single bass player on this list with the technical skills to play some of wooten's creations. A Show of Hands. Every bass player alive when that album came out has tried to recreate or cover every track and 99.9% of them put there bass down and just say "there is no way"! Victor Laumant Wooten is technically the greatest bass player to this date!

Most people on this list vote based on what their favorite band is. For me, my favorite band is Dream Theater, but to say that even a great bassist like John Myung being above Wooten is outrageous. As a bass player of 10 years myself, Victor could blow most of these bassists out of the water with one hand tied behind his back. He is the most innovative and technical bass player in the world, and, in my opinion, of all time, Jaco Pastorius a close second. He can create polyrhythms using chords simultaneously, and make a tear-jerking solo without having any extra music in the background. P.S. Johnny Christ doesn't even belong on this list.

22 Krist Novoselic Nirvana's bassist for the entirety of their lifespan before the group was disbanded in 1994. Nowadays, Krist is a humanitarian and a human rights activist.

Krist should be higher on the list than he is. I'm not saying number 1, but he deserves more credit than he gets. He had some awesome basslines that sounded great with Kurt's guitar playing. Krist keep great rhythm and threw in some nice fills in between lines. He is very talented and is often overlooked in my opinion. If you don't know much about Nirvana and Krist's bass playing, then listen to Lounge Act, Love Buzz, Stay Away, Lithium, and The Man Who Sold the World.

What can I say? His bass lines were very clearly and great. Especially in Smells Like Teen Spirit, In Bloom or Lithium. Very good bassist, it is a big pleasure to listen his doings. What else I could say? Just listen some Nirvana's songs. People who knows Nirvana, will know what I'm talking about. Sorry if my English wasn't clearly enough.

He doesn't get the credit he deserves, he kept nirvana together all of those years before Kurt Cobains death. It's a shame when his name is brought up people don't know who he is, or is called the "bass player for Nirvana" Maybe he isn't the most talented bassist but, he does know how to keep you interested with his basslines!

How can Krist not be in the top ten. Are you kidding. Ok the bassists from Avenged Sevenfold, trivium, and all those other poop bands are just not as good. He totally innovated the bass tone of grunge. Love Buzz, Lounge Act, etc like seriously he is number 45...

23 Nikki Sixx Nikki Sixx is an American musician, songwriter, radio host, and photographer, best known as the co-founder, bassist, and primary songwriter of the band Mötley Crüe.

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!

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.

He's my hair band hero! Nikki is not only the bassist for my favorite band, Motley crue, but I also listen to him on "The sixx sense" at 7 every night. The only thing better than his bass playing is the lyrics he writes, listen to the lyrics he writes, you may be shocked how deep they are. thank god he didn't dies from heroin overdose... That'd be one of the biggest disasters in rock'n'roll history.

He inspired me to play bass. He is often underrated in comparison to his peers, but at the end of the day his bass lines get your ass rocking out! My favorite bass lines:
MF Of The Year (Motley)
Lies of Beautiful People (Sixx:A.M. )
Life After Death (Sixx:A.M. )
Pray For Me (Sixx:A. M)
Dr. Feelgood (Motley)
Too Young To Fall In Love (Motley Crue)
Primal Scream (Motley Crue)

24 Jason Newsted 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 LOVE Jason. His energy while playing? Making it look effortless? Smiling and looking like he genuinely loves doing his job? All of this makes him definitely top 10.
I'm not a technical person but I love music. I want to feel music not just hear it. A great bassist and drummer truly transport you on a trip riding in a plane of melody and lyrics.

I was reading this list, just scrolling down, wondering at what position Jason Newsted would be. And..35, really? Allright, Flea, Cliff Burton, John Enwhistle, these are all great players, and muisicians of immense talent. But, Jason Newsted should not be this far down. I feel like this mani s overlooked, for all his acclomplishments, nit just in Metallica, but in Flotsam and Jetsam, in Voivod, and with his new solo band, who just last year released an amazingly great album. Jason is a great player, just listen to the bass in the Black album, or even Load. There are a bunch of versions of And Justice For Al with enhanced bass. Just listen, and see his great tone and vibe he gets on the bass. And he is a great live performer as well.

His Bass style fit so well into Metallica. They lost something when they lost him. Yes, Rob is technically the best, not just bassist, but the best musician metallic have ever had, including Cliff and Mustaine. However, Jason was such a great fit, he felt like a member of the band, not just an (admittedly, otherworldly talented) hired gun like Rob. Also Blackened is my favourite Metallica song - the main riff of which, was written by Newstead.

Personally I think Jason is one the best bass players ever, he just didn't get chance to show that in Metallica or Flotsam etc. Also in my opinion he is better than Cliff Burton as a "Metallica" bass player. Not take anything away from cliff his solos are amazing but his actual bass lines sounded a little sloppy for example listen to the isolated bass track for ride the lightning and compare that to say the isolated track for Wherever I may roam and you'll see what I mean. GOD BLESS JASON!

25 Justin Chancellor 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.

Laugh out loud Justin at #30... I have always listened to the detail in music... two years back I heard tool for the first time. And it was really annoying at first because I was new to metal, but NOW... I don't believe that their is a single Musician or band who has worked so beautifully ever... The Bass and the drums in tool are just too much... You know when You are really really inside music like living in it... in the beats there is a silent beat that is parallel to the music and that Pattern of that music is extremely beautiful. and they have actually achieved those patterns in their music.. And Justin gets a #30

Oh my God! The best, the most creative and the unique quality of rare breed of talent is standing alone at 29! I can't believe that in the lamest ever joke. There's no match TOOL and there's no match of Justin. He is the alien bassist of extra ordinary philosophy and bass grooves. HE IS THE BEST and should be there at the number one position. I do understand why is he so much behind because of the looser listeners who has no sense of music and will never be able to comprehend the logic and philosophy of TOOL.

The man is a virtuoso on his instrument and a key component of his band's sound. 25? Really? 25 This far back behind Duff McKagen? Behind Nikki Sixx?!? Don't get me wrong I love Guns N' Roses and Crue... But I think even Nikki Sixx would agree he shouldn't be ahead of Justin Chancellor. And then I look aruond here on the list... Victor Wooten... John Myung... Here? Deep in the 20's? Are any bassist actually voting on this? Or people that know what a bass guitar is? Or they just voting for the bassist of their favorite band or something?

I just don't get it.

He is with out a doubt the greatest bassist out there. Way better than Cliff Burton. He is one of the only bassists I know that is NOT hidden behind the guitarist. Just listen to songs like The Patient, Schism, and Vicarious. He is legendary, and deserves to be #1 on any Greatest Bassists list.

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