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Special J

The best rock bassist ever?

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The 2 guys I'll ask myself "What would _________play?" are:

Cliff Williams and McCartney.

Cliff Williams is amazing. For better or worse, (mostly for the worse,) I've seemed to have the ability to throw down some chops that people like, but that's a whole different league from being able to play.

Playing the notes of an AC/DC bass line is not challenging. Playing it and making the song groove most certainly is. He simply plays the right notes --well. ("Gone Shootin" from Powerage being one of my favorite examples.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RmayGJ4D7L8

Lots of great players listed here (the Ox paved a mighty wide trail,) but Williams has become a real benchmark for me.

Excellent thread.

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+1 one on geezer butler, john paul jones, & geddy lee, my 3 faves.

i gotta mention flea. he started out w/ the amazing yet somewhat overdone slap funk style,

yet has evolved into a very melodic old school classic rawk style, ala JPJ or sir paul.

I thought Flea was a little flashy on the early albums. For some songs it was cool, sometimes it was kind of a distraction. But on their last couple of albums, his style has really gotten more fluid and melodic. Him and Les Claypool really got a lot of kids interested in playing bass.

I'm putting in another vote for Paul McCartney. One of the most melodic bass players that I've heard. But let's face it, if you don't like the Beatles (and I'll never understand anyone who doesn't :angry: ) you won't think much of his bass playing.

Another guy I love is Mike Mills from REM. More pop than rock I guess, but still one of my favourites.

rob

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I'm putting in another vote for Paul McCartney. One of the most melodic bass players that I've heard. But let's face it, if you don't like the Beatles (and I'll never understand anyone who doesn't :angry: ) you won't think much of his bass playing.

Yeah, that's definitely where McCartney made his mark with bass--his melodic inventiveness, while still keeping the groove and propelling the song. Just the stuff he made up on Sgt. Peppers is amazing. Listen to Lovely Rita, With a Little Help from My Friends, Fixing a Hole, etc.

In an entirely different realm, how about Bootsy Collins, Chuck Rainey, and Randy Jackson?

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I'm putting in another vote for Paul McCartney. One of the most melodic bass players that I've heard. But let's face it, if you don't like the Beatles (and I'll never understand anyone who doesn't :angry: ) you won't think much of his bass playing.

Yeah, that's definitely where McCartney made his mark with bass--his melodic inventiveness, while still keeping the groove and propelling the song. Just the stuff he made up on Sgt. Peppers is amazing. Listen to Lovely Rita, With a Little Help from My Friends, Fixing a Hole, etc.

In an entirely different realm, how about Bootsy Collins, Chuck Rainey, and Randy Jackson?

Damm right about Bootsy Collins! Don't forget James Jamerson if we're talking about funk and r and b.

rob

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I got that DVD off a closeout bin for $3.99 a few years ago. Just incredible watching those clips. OX, John paul, Petersson, and Geddy would be at the top of my list.

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No list is complete without these guys:

John Waite

Bill Wyman

Pete Way

Alan Lancaster

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Phil Lynott for his abbility to play with the song, and sing so soulful at the same time. He used both his voice and the bass to ad character to his songs.

Paul Simonon - The Clash, for being on one of the coolest record sleeves ever, London Calling. One of the most classic rock pics ever taken. He is not the greatest player, but his energy contributed to the greatness of the Clash.

Lemmy - no need for further comments.

Peter Hook - Joy Division & New Order. For a totally unique playing style and sound that made the above mentioned bands two of the greates UK bands of all times.

Geddy Lee - Rush, for having a girlie voice and playing like a mofo. Killer guy, killer band. :-)

Nikki Sixx - the Crûe. For being the bad ass boy he was in the 80's. My hero back then. More a man of great ideas than a great musician, but he wrote some great tunes back then.

edit: Dusty Hill is a pretty neat bass player as well. One of his right hand fingers is stiff (from surgery), and called "The pleaser", (for reasons I can only imagine). He's got some mean thunder in that finger!

dusty_now.jpg

Dee Dee Ramone - a classic rock/punk-rock bass player. Created a new style. Great songwriter too.

Flea can drop some nasty grooves as well!

I'm sorry, but John Entwistle just don't do anything for me. He might be tight as a player, but he's just as booring. Terrible dresser, always ugly clothes. A beard(jikes!), always standing still looking dull and he also designed the ugliest bass ever made. He's as booring as that other bearded bass guy, in Judas Priest. ;-)

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Definitely the Ox !!

Him and Simon Philipps would be me prefered sidemen in my dream power-trio :-) !!

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Steve Harris is unique.

I bet Les Claypool can play anything any other bassist can, and do it a little better.

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Rudy Sarzo, sumnbitch plays wid his tounge! :angry:

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Geezer Butler for all out rocking.

Geddy Lee for artfully doing it all.

Billy Sheenan for taking a bass where it's never been.

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As someone stated earlier... individual tastes play a huge role in the responses to this thread.

While I've always appreciated the talent in the hands of guys like Billy Sheehan, Ley Claypool and the rest of the virtuoso types, I tend to favour the 'meat & potato' bassists moreso.

The Cliff Williams, Gene Simmons, Duff McKagans (es) of the rock world. Any of the guys who've played bass with The Cult over the years fit the bill.

A lot of the 80's hair band guys too... your Nikki Sixxes, Bobby Dolls et al...

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Plus 1 for Billy Sheenan. I think he takes it to another level. I use to see him back in the early 70's with Tallas. They were from Buffalo and did the Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse circuit every week. He had more toys than anybody and I remember him breaking bass strings all the time.

Saw him 3 years ago in a concert..that guy is awesome

So sheehan for me too

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Best ever? too broad, but I like the playing of...

John Paul Jones

John Entwistle

Paul McCartney

Geezer Butler

Geddy Lee

Jack Bruce

John Deacon

Carol Kay

Joe Osborn

Jerry Obern Scheff

Rock? loose interpretation

James Jamerson

Larry Graham

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My fav for years has been Squire. He actually does play bass, sing(quite well, in fact) and play pedals simultaneously often, whether solo or with Yes.

Another great player/singer that never seems to get any props is Kasim Sultan of Utopia fame.

T

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I don't think McCartney belongs anywhere near the list.

It's the most on point Hokie has been in months!

All aboard!

Now departing Minority Opinion.

Next stop, Psychotic Break.

Problem is, the topic is rock bassists. Now, had you say POP bassists...

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When I think of great bass players, I think of these guys, in no particular order:

Dennis Dunaway, from the original Alice Cooper band. This guy doesn't get nearly as much credit as he deserved. He was a monster player with a unique style and he managed to lay down some of the most amazing bass tracks ever, in my opinion. He could definitely hang with the very best bass players in the world, in my opinion.........yet no one ever thinks of him. Take the time to listen to some of the tracks from Schools Out, Billion Dollar Babies or Love It to Death and I think you'll be surprised.

Geezer Butler laid down some of the coolest bass tracks ever. His bass playing is simply amazing in Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, Sabotage and Vol. 4.

John Paul Jones laid down some of the coolest bass tracks ever, not to mention all of his other talents.

Geddy Lee is definitely an awesome player, simply one of the best bass players on earth.

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It's Patrich O'Hearn or Tony Levin. Flip a P -Bass , PUP's down Tony, PUP's up O'Hearn

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Geezer Butler for all out rocking.

+100 Geezer is my fave! there's no Sabbath without Geez

Have to add the oft mentioned JPJ and Entwistle.

One player that no one has mentioned, because he is not admittedly in the class of these other 3, but I always like listening to because of his great tone and power is Mel Schacher of GFR.

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5 pages in and only one passing mention of Carol Kaye?

Unless the definition of "best" equals fastest, or most notes played per second, I'd put her at the top of my list based on the sheer number of classic recordings she played on. Everything from the Electric Prunes and Zappa to the Beach Boys, Monkees, Ike&Tina, and (subject to debate) many of the Motown classics attributed to James Jamerson. To say nothing of the hundreds of TV and film score credits and the small library of instructional books she's written.

Of course, I'm not a fan of "lead bass" playing, so my choices are players who hold down the pocket and compliment the song. Carol is first, SirPaul second because he reinvented the role of the bass in a small combo setting and played some of the most imaginative and melodic bass lines I've heard. Next are players that tend not to stand out because they play for the song - guys like Roscoe Beck and Dusty Hill. I'll throw in Greg Lake as my token "prog rock" choice 'cause (IMO) he was as talented as OX, Squire, et al, but understood that, like the drums, bass should never be a solo instrument. :angry:

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5 pages in and only one passing mention of Carol Kaye?

Unless the definition of "best" equals fastest, or most notes played per second, I'd put her at the top of my list based on the sheer number of classic recordings she played on. Everything from the Electric Prunes and Zappa to the Beach Boys, Monkees, Ike&Tina, and (subject to debate) many of the Motown classics attributed to James Jamerson. To say nothing of the hundreds of TV and film score credits and the small library of instructional books she's written.

Of course, I'm not a fan of "lead bass" playing, so my choices are players who hold down the pocket and compliment the song. Carol is first, SirPaul second because he reinvented the role of the bass in a small combo setting and played some of the most imaginative and melodic bass lines I've heard. Next are players that tend not to stand out because they play for the song - guys like Roscoe Beck and Dusty Hill. I'll throw in Greg Lake as my token "prog rock" choice 'cause (IMO) he was as talented as OX, Squire, et al, but understood that, like the drums, bass should never be a solo instrument. :angry:

I agree.

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