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The 100 greatest bass players of all time are revealed in the new issue of Bass Player

Bass Player 418 cover
(Image credit: Future)

What makes a great bass player? For most of us, the concept of greatness probably means technique, tastefulness, influence, or just doing something useful on bass that no-one else has done before. All those elements apply to this issue’s long-awaited results of the 100 Greatest Bass Players poll that we ran online last year, and to which an astounding 100,000 and more of you responded.

Of course, there’s more to greatness than just being good at what you do. There’s another factor, too: whether a bassist stood their ground in the face of opposition, or persevered with their art in impossible circumstances, or went above and beyond in their search for excellence. Add those into the mix, too, and what you come up with is something very close to true greatness.

Note that in this poll, unlike earlier attempts to define a single GOAT bass player, we’re neither foolish nor egotistical enough to suggest that an individual bass player is the greatest ever. That just leads to negativity: believe me, we’ve witnessed it. Instead, we’ve broken the world of bass down into musical genres, listing 10 bass players in each category: that’s a much more arguable, and therefore more reasonable, approach to take. Still, who knows if the results will hit the right spot with the bass-playing community? Let us know!

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Joel McIver is the Editor of Bass Player magazine. A journalist with 25 years' experience in the music field, he's also the author of 35 books, a couple of bestsellers among them. He regularly appears on podcasts, radio and TV and occasionally teaches at BIMM.