Music

The All-Time Best Rock Bassists 

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
Updated March 16, 2020 210.2k votes 26.7k voters 407.2k views 185 items

List Rules Vote up and add all of your favorite bassists, but make sure they play rock.

Update: Follow Ranker's official New Rock 2020 playlist on Spotify!

The best rock bassists of all time are a varied bunch, and all the best bassists in rock are on this list. From the hard rockers, to the blues bassists, to the genre crossing masters of four (or sometimes five) strings, this is a list of all the top bass players in rock.

What makes someone the best bass player in rock music? Should the rock bassist with the best stage presence, or the famous bass player with the fastest fingers, or the bass player who's the best singer be considered the "best rock bassist? Should the bass player with the craziest hair should be given special consideration (although, to be fair, at one point or another in their careers, most of the people on this list were bass players with crazy habits, hair or otherwise)? Well, that would probably go under the category of bass player with the best stage presence, but still...

Who are the best bassists in rock? Who are the best bass guitarists? Who is the top rock bassist ever? The top 10? The top 100? These are some of the questions this list of the best rock bassists hopes to answer. If you don't see your favorite bass guitar player on the list, make sure to add them to this list of the top rock bassists so others can appreciate their musical gifts to rock! We can all assume that the top ten people listed here are truly the most legendary. 

If you want to hear some of the harmonious music the greatest bass players take part in, make sure to check out the best rock bands of all time.

list ordered by
1
John Entwistle is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The All-Time Best Rock Bassists
Genre: Pop music, Rock music & Rhythm and blues; Nationality: England
2
Geddy Lee is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The All-Time Best Rock Bassists
Genre: Heavy metal, Progressive rock & Hard rock; Nationality: Canada
3
John Paul Jones is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The All-Time Best Rock Bassists
Genre: Blues-rock, Instrumental rock & Folk rock; Nationality: England
4
Chris Squire is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The All-Time Best Rock Bassists
Dismalhead added Genre: Rock music, Pop rock & Progressive rock; Nationality: England
5
Cliff Burton is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The All-Time Best Rock Bassists
Genre: Thrash metal, Progressive metal & Power metal; Nationality: United States of America
6
Steve Harris is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The All-Time Best Rock Bassists
Genre: Progressive metal, Heavy metal & Progressive rock; Nationality: England
7
Jaco Pastorius is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The All-Time Best Rock Bassists
Genre: Kozmigroov, Jazz-funk & Folk jazz; Nationality: United States of America
8
Les Claypool is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The All-Time Best Rock Bassists
Genre: Thrash metal, Progressive metal & Rock music; Nationality: United States of America
9
Geezer Butler is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The All-Time Best Rock Bassists
Genre: Doom metal, Blues-rock & Rock music; Nationality: England
10
Jack Bruce is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The All-Time Best Rock Bassists
Genre: Blues-rock, Jazz fusion & Acid rock; Nationality: Scotland
11
John Deacon is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The All-Time Best Rock Bassists
Genre: Pop music, Rock music & Heavy metal; Nationality: United Kingdom
12
Paul McCartney is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The All-Time Best Rock Bassists
Genre: Pop music, Rock music & Experimental rock; Nationality: England
13
Stanley Clarke is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The All-Time Best Rock Bassists
Stanley Clarke Genre: Pop music, Rock music & Jazz fusion; Nationality: United States of America
14
Bootsy Collins is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The All-Time Best Rock Bassists
Numnuts added Genre: Psychedelic soul, Deep Funk & Funk metal; Nationality: United States of America
15
Roger Waters is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The All-Time Best Rock Bassists
Genre: Folk rock, Progressive rock & Art rock; Nationality: England
16
Victor Wooten is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The All-Time Best Rock Bassists
Genre: Rock music, Jazz fusion & Progressive bluegrass; Nationality: United States of America
17
Tony Levin is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The All-Time Best Rock Bassists
DanieleMonterisi added Genre: Progressive metal, Pop music & Experimental rock; Nationality: United States of America
18
Greg Lake is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The All-Time Best Rock Bassists
Samuel Clemens added Genre: Rock music, Progressive rock & Hard rock; Nationality: England
19
Billy Sheehan is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The All-Time Best Rock Bassists
Dismalhead added Genre: Instrumental rock, Heavy metal & Jazz fusion; Nationality: United States of America
20
John McVie is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The All-Time Best Rock Bassists
DeanGruber added Genre: Rock music and Blues; Nationality: United Kingdom
21
Phil Lynott is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The All-Time Best Rock Bassists
Genre: Blues-rock, Pop music & Rock music; Nationality: Ireland
22
Roger Glover is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The All-Time Best Rock Bassists
Genre: Blues-rock, New Wave & Heavy metal; Nationality: United Kingdom
23
Carol Kaye is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The All-Time Best Rock Bassists
24
Duff McKagan is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The All-Time Best Rock Bassists
Duff McKagan Genre: Heavy metal, Alternative rock & Punk rock; Nationality: United States of America
25
James Jamerson is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The All-Time Best Rock Bassists
Genre: Rhythm and blues, Soul music & Funk; Nationality: United States of America