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Comparing Favorite and 'Best' Bassists

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by Jason Harris, Mar 5, 2017.

  1. Jason Harris

    Jason Harris

    Jan 17, 2017
    How would you compare who you consider your favorite bassists to who you think are actually the best?
    My favorites would be:
    1.Jason Newsted
    2.Steve Harris
    3.Roger Glover
    4.John Paul Jones
    5.Geezer Butler
    But who I consider best are:
    1.Steve Harris
    2.Geezer Butler
    3.Paul McCartney
    4.Geddy Lee
    5.John Paul Jones
    How and where would you draw the line between the two? And we could go even further with who is actually the best without bias but lets not jump down that rabbit hole...
  2. lowplaces

    lowplaces Got Punch ?

    Dec 20, 2015
    Louisville Kentucky
    I honestly don't think there is anyone who is the best. I kind of look at it as there being a certain level of proficiency on the instrument and once that level is reached, the player has simply become a fantastic player. At that level each player is only separated by his or her individual style.
    Newsted never caught my interest and Chris Squire made my jaw drop. But that is just a reflection of my preference of one genre over another.

    When I look at players who reach that level, I see them as equal. I don't see any of them as being better than the others.

    I will say I have seen some interesting discussions on who is best threads.

    Rock on
    joebar, JJR58, Plectrum72 and 3 others like this.
  3. Jason Harris

    Jason Harris

    Jan 17, 2017
    I agree, but you know the people who think cliff burton or some other metal bassist is the one and only 'true' bassist and all others must bow down to.
    But it is fun having an argument over a common interest sometimes
    lowplaces likes this.
  4. btmpancake

    btmpancake Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2015
    Apollo beach, Florida
    Only based off the music that I like and how they played/play it and not in order by listing. Creative writing of great basslines never get enough credit because it's not always the player IMO.
    (1)James Jamerson
    (2) Bernard Edwards
    (3) Chuck Rainey
    (4) Nathan East
    (5) Louis Johnson
    (6) Carol Kaye
    (7) Ed Friedland
    (8) ''Bootsy''
    (9) Verdine White
    (10) Robert ''kool'' Bell
    (11) Marcus Miller
    (12) Jaco
    (13) Larry Graham
    (14) '' Family Man''
    (15) Leon Sylvers
  5. Badwater


    Jan 12, 2017
    I agree, there are a lot of best bass players. In fact, all the bass players listed above in this post I considered the best. Some are my favorites. And here're more of my favorites in no specific order.

    Andy Irvine,
    Brushy One String,
    David Santos,
    Miki Santamaria,
    Remco Hendrix,
    Anna Sentina,
    Davie 504,
    Jermaine Morgan,
    Marta Altesa,
    The guy who does Coversolutions on YouTube,
    Filipe Marks and Reginaldo Naldao of Cifra Club,
    Bruno Tauzin,
    Nik West,
    Kinga Glyk,
  6. Clef_de_fa

    Clef_de_fa Guest

    Dec 25, 2011
    Creativity doesn't have any limite nor any expiration date. But player from today sure are more either technically advenced or do the minimalism thing.
  7. Pirate Captain

    Pirate Captain Elitist Jazz Snob ********

    Dec 22, 2016
    Upstate, NY USA
    James Jamerson
    Tony Franklin
    Pino Palladino
    Esperanza Spalding
    Mark King
    John Taylor
    Mick Karn
    Jack Bruce
    Ron Carter
    Bob Babbitt
    Bernard Edwards
    Walter Becker
    "Ready" Freddy Washington
    James Genus
    Nathan East
    Tony Levin
    Greg Lake
    Nick Begg
    Johnette Napolitano
    Jackie Fox
    Suzi Quatro
    Dan K. Brown
    Richard Page
    Richard Drummie
    ...and a lot more

    James Jamerson
    Pet Sounds likes this.
  8. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2008
    I try not to rank players. One could argue that Victor Wooten is a better bassist than X player, but perhaps X player never cared to learn all the flashy things that Vic does. Does that mean X player is worse? In my mind, if they are happy where they are at then who am I to judge?
  9. lowplaces

    lowplaces Got Punch ?

    Dec 20, 2015
    Louisville Kentucky
    Lest we forget to mention him...

    Carl Radle
  10. Clark Dark

    Clark Dark

    Mar 3, 2005
    My favorites are:
    Abraham Laboriel
    Stanley Clarke
    Paul Jackson
    Doug Rauch
    Cordell Mosson
    Lamont Johnson
    BB Dickerson
    Ralphe Armstrong
    Paul Jackson
    Lee Sklar
    Nathaniel Phillips
    Linley Marthe
    Guy Nsangue Akwa
    Jaco Pastorius
    Aaron Mills
    Mark Adams
    Larry Graham
    Louis Johnson
    Bootsy Collins
    Tony Levin
    Jamereo Artis

    Best is totally subjective to one's personal views.
    If I was choosing best bassists because there are certainly hundreds of top tier players that fill that niche, I'd go Ron Carter, Charles Mingus, Scott LaFaro, Eddie Gomez, Hutch Hutchinson, Monk Montgomery, Ray Brown
    and... Stanley Clarke (dude is bad)
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2017
    Mr_O'B likes this.
  11. KillerEddie


    Aug 10, 2016
    Doug Wimbish is my favorite, the off the wall stuff he does combined with his sheer proficiency with the instrument makes magic. Doug is what I aspire to be as a bass player. Obviously there is correlation between best and favorite but not completely. Steve Harris comes in a close second along with Victor Wooten. I'm a died-in-the-wool Maiden fan though and I can sit and listen to Victor play for hours just watching the insane stuff he does.

    That said, I don't like to rank bassists in terms of skill, i simply can lsit those that I feel are in the upper echelon, but they all have their own unique qualities. That said, in terms of that upper echelon:

    Doug Wimbish
    Victor Wooten
    Cliff Burton
    Robert Trujillo
    Jason Newstead
    Tony Levin
    Suzy Quatro
    Stu Hamm
    Steve Harris
    Geezer Butler
    John Paul Jones
    Paul McCartney

    Note that Geezer and Wimbish aren't the same in terms of proficiency but while geezer's work is more simple than Doug's, his playing is tight and I respect that. McCartney may not fly all over the fretboard but his sheer skill in terms of songwriting as a whole and playing shouldn't be discounted. Stu Hamm has to make any list for being able to work alongside guys like Vai and Satriani. You'll also note I included all three of Metallica's bassists. Even if you don't' like their music, it's hard to deny the volume of musical talent in that band. Cliff was a maestro and wrote some of their biggest songs but also was an amazing bassist. Jason was no slouch and in terms of raw skill I'd rank him the best of the three. Trujillo is a bit more like Cliff in terms of style, a bit more wild and rough but still very proficient.
    lostreality likes this.
  12. jerry

    jerry Too old for a hiptrip Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    Whatever player's playing speaks to YOU is always different than a player that speaks to others, there is not a "best".
  13. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    No such thing as best. It doesn't even make sense to go there without multiple qualifiers. I wouldn't want to hear Chris Squire play ZZ Top and I wouldn't want to hear Dusty Hill play Yes. I love Victor, but I can think of situations that he wouldn't be the best in.

    Just stick with favorite. ;)
  14. s van order

    s van order

    Oct 4, 2012
    How does one decide who is best? Easier for me is who positively influenced my pop-related electric bass playing, even if I do not use that style. Who do I really dig listening to. They include for me:
    James Jamerson
    Ronnie Baker
    Larry Graham
    Louis Johnson
    Bernard Edwards
    Verdine White
    Steve Harris
    Geddy Lee
    Mr_O'B likes this.
  15. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Well said.
    lfmn16 likes this.
  16. madbass6

    madbass6 Inactive

    Jan 13, 2009
    I do not give consent to use any of my photos ! please respect that. thank you.
    awsome!! Finally somebody who didn't include Victor Wooten on a list of Best Bassist ever or his God on Bass! see how long that will last with the rest of us TBs out here if not to late already!

    my favorate unfortunately is no longer with us! Would of been James jamerson!!
    Jason Harris likes this.
  17. NortyFiner

    NortyFiner Drunken Sailor Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2008
    Portsmouth VA USA
    Best at what? "Best" implies some kind of absolute scale or measurement, but there's so many ways to play the bass in so many types of music, how can anyone say what's best? There is no absolute, no fixed scale; we can only identify what we like as individuals, and that's the "best" for each of us.
  18. My favorites and "best" list would probably line up closely, because I think the best bassists serve the song and don't necessarily engage in pyrotechnics. I appreciate the skill/talent/dedication-to-craft of the flashy guys and gals, but my favorites and "bests" would be people like:
    Paul McCartney
    Carol Kaye
    James Jamerson
    Duck Dunn
    Bob Babbitt
    Jim Fielder
    David Hayes
    Carl Radle
    Chuck Rainey
    David Hood
    and many more
    madbass6 likes this.
  19. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Inactive Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    Today, in 2017, the only bassists making new music I care to hear is Marcus Miller, Gary Willis or Esperanza Spalding; I'm sure there are other folks out there I have yet to hear - but I cannot name a single rock and roll bassit that done anything I care to listen to in at least a decade. At least. Sure, I'll listen to old Yes or even Rush and admire the bass playing, but otherwise? Nah.
    Thumb n Fingers and Mr_O'B like this.
  20. bassstrangler


    Mar 2, 2015
    For me it's Geddy Lee and Tony Levin. Every time I listen to them or see them play I want to be like them. I never will be, but they truly inspire me.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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