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100 Greatest Bassists of All Time

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Consequence’s Bass Week kicks off with a list of 100 Greatest Bassists of All Time. Keep checking back throughout the week for lists, artist-driven content, and more.


“None of us wanted to be the bass player. In our minds he was the fat guy who always played at the back.” –– Paul McCartney

While Macca’s quote may be a bit harsh, it is true that bassists primarily stay out of the spotlight. However, they can often be the driving force in the band, whether keeping rhythm with the drummer or delivering a groovy line all their own. Or, as in the case of McCartney, they can be among the most beloved musicians ever.

When Consequence set out to determine the greatest bassists of all time, we didn’t want to just go on skill alone — otherwise the list below would look a lot different. Sure, technical ability plays a big part, but influence, songwriting, innovation, stage presence, and more were all factors.

Not to mention, we got a lot of help. We surveyed more than 30 bass players from various bands across genres. Each one of them gave us their own personal Top Five, and we factored in their selections with our own staff picks. We also asked them to tell us why their choices deserved recognition, and included those testimonials in final list.

What resulted is a list that features the old-school jazz and Motown players who set the foundation for the rock bassists to follow, alongside notable musicians from classic rock, punk, heavy metal, pop, R&B, new wave, disco, and more. Wherever they made their name, each one of these artists has left a deep (literally) mark on music.

So, take a ride along the low-end as we count down the 100 Greatest Bassists of All Time. We’ll be keeping the rhythm rolling all week with contributions from more artists throughout Bass Week, so check out all the content here.

-Spencer Kaufman
Managing Editor, Heavy Consequence

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