50 Incredible Bass Players To Check Out

A question I get all the time is “what’s the best way to learn the bass guitar”?

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

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

Use Your Ear

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

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

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

Blues

Jerry Scheff

Russell Jackson

 

Jazz

Jaco Pastorius

Marcus Miller

Victor Wooten

Jimmy Haslip

Hadrien Feraud

John Patitucci

 

Rock

John Entwistle

Chris Squire

John Paul Jones

Geddy Lee

Stu Hamm

Billy Sheehan

Chris Wolstenholme

Fusion/World

Dominique DiPiazza

Mohini Dey

Richard Bona

Funk

Bobby Vega

Francis Rocco Prestia

Bootsy Collins

Joe Dart 

Rodney “Skeet” Curtis

Flea

Session Players

Carol Kaye

Tony Levin

Gail Anne Dorsey

Anthony Jackson

Leland Sklar

Nathan East

Pino Palladino

Motown/RnB/Soul

James Jamerson

Donald “Duck” Dunn

David Hood

Joe Osborn

Willie Weeks

Gospel

Andre Gouche

Sharay Reed

Justin Raines

Metal

Cliff Burton

Adam “Nolly” Getgood

 

 

Solo

Squarepusher

Saturnino

Michael Manring

Steve Lawson

Cody Wright

 

Pop

Mark King

Sting

Paul McCartney

Bernard Edwards 

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