Zazzle Shop

Screen printing

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

10 legendary bassists and bass solos


For most rock bands, singers and guitarists get the majority of the spotlight. The bassist is usually pushed to the back, keeping the groove with a drummer who can hardly be seen behind the drumset.

But once in a while a bassist comes along with the skill and personality that forces him to the front of the stage. When that happens, look out!

Here are TEN kings of the four-string everyone should know about. Some of these guys are groovy, some of them are fast. Some think they’re guitarists, and a lot of them like to slap and pop. But one thing they all have in common: it’s fun to watch them play.

(Reminder: if you’re a music fan, you should browse our record release catalog – we put out limited edition releases by talented artists. good stuff! and make sure to add us on twitter.)

Larry Graham: Credited with inventing the slap/pop bass technique. Played with Sly and the Family Stone and his own group, Graham Central Station. (More Larry Graham here)

John Entwistle: Bassist from The Who. Fast, furious basslines played with an almost effortless look on his face. (More John Entwistle here)

Victor Wooten: Bassist extraordinaire with Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. (More Victor Wooten here)

Billy Sheehan: Best known for his work in Mr. Big. A lead guitarist in a bassist’s body, watch how fast he can play. Often paired with superguitarists like Steve Via and Paul Gilbert. (More Billy Sheehan here)

Les Claypool: Primus frontman who kept the 90’s “silly” with his charmingly goofy persona. Bay Area native; auditioned for Metallica after Cliff Burton died. (More Les Claypool here)

Buddy Hankerson: Grammy winner, played with Steve Arrington and and Young and Company, providing bass on their 1980 disco hit “I like What You’re Doing to Me.” (more Buddy Hankerson)

Jaco Pastorius: Legendary jazz bassist. Known for his skill with the fretless electric bass, use of harmonics. (More Jaco here)

Cliff Burton: Bassist with Metallica until his death in 1986; helped shape the heavy metal/thrash soundscape. (check out the Cliff ‘Em All documentary)

Flea: Red Hot Chili Peppers’ funky bassist. Along with Claypool he helped keep high school kids slapping and popping through the 90s; sticks closer to the Larry Graham fundamentals than his Primus counterpart. (More RHCP here)

Geddy Lee: Singer and bassist for prog-rock superstars Rush.

Of course, this is just ten of the greats. Who else would you include on the list?