Maybe it’s because I work for a guitar company, or maybe it’s because these guys are better at claiming the spotlight, but it seems like everyone wants to discuss guitarists. Who’s the greatest guitarist ever or the best of our generation? Hardly ever do I find myself discussing a key part of my music experience, bassists. Truthfully, for me the rhythm is what makes the music. I have a deep love for funk, soul, jazz, and reggae for the rhythms that accompany.
So this got me thinking. Who is the greatest bassist? As I search through the different genres and eras of music, I start to narrow down my search. Guys like Victor Wooten, John Paul Jones, Les Claypool, and Paul McCartney were ranking quite high on my list. Yet the more I explored, the more one bassist started separating himself from the rest.
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Red Hot Chili Peppers[/caption]
For me, The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ bassist, Flea, has to be the greatest bassist of all time. Flea has a wide range of skills that overshadow almost every bassist out there. His ability to combine funk with rock, punk, and psychedelic, has made his style one of a kind. He can transition from a traditional method of playing to hard slapping with ease. It’s a skill that a huge number of bassists have tried to copy over the years, though never as good.
Not only does Flea have an incredible style, but his composing is spectacular as well. I pulled up the Chili Peppers’ greatest hits album and started listening. Almost every song features the bass. Unlike any band out there, The Red Hot Chili Peppers most recognizable riffs all come from the bassist. Go back and listen to early Red Hot as well; crazy funk, punk rock riffs that are so one of a kind and recognizable. He can blend the bass with guitar in such a unique way that mixed with Anthony Kiedis’s lyrics, it’s clear how The Red Hot Chili Peppers had such a long lasting, successful career. Truly worthy of their place in the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame.
As far as I can tell the choice is obvious, Flea has to be the best bassist out there. I know I’m not the only one who has ever thought this, however, I also know others might disagree. I’m curious to see if there’s someone obvious I overlooked or if someone has a strong argument for another bassist. After reading this article, should you find yourself in strong disagreement with me, please comment below. I am interested to see what other people’s opinions are.