TOP TEN Most Exciting Bass Players

Emerging Bass Players of Distinction — Here is the Class of ’15

Sometimes bassists do not get the attention they deserve — but all musicians will tell you that it’s the bass-player who keeps things real. And the music motoring.

And it’s not all about technicality either… Sometimes the most unassuming players give more to the ‘team’ than some of the virtuoso performers out there. This list also includes players who do not limit their musical skills to bass-guitar. Many are multi-instrumentalists, singers and songwriters.

Ben McKee
Ben McKee – 2nd L







1: Ben McKee

Band: Imagine Dragons

Category: Rock

Place: Las Vegas, USA

Instrument: Stambaugh Musical Designs Mahogany Fossil, Sadowsky 4-string, Fender American Standard,

Raw tension and awesome energy are the hallmarks of this band. Although at school he was a violin player, Ben was happy to get thumbing on four-slack-strings as soon as he could. Although muted (and sometimes subdued) the bass finds its place amongst the lovingly composed Imagine Dragons numbers. And it is sure that, without the bass, those sounds would be thin. Ben is the perfect team player. A total performer, he is also at home covering synth, percussion and acoustic guitar.

Compare with: Coldplay for Prodigy lovers

bg 12 Step Rockets Anthony Schulz 3rd from left
Third from L







2: Anthony Schulz

Band: Step Rockets

Category: Dance Rock

Place: Minneapolis, USA

Instrument: 5-string Rickenbacker Bass plus Keys

Turning Tides (By Your Side) has a thumping bass groove that lays low in your muscles before fermenting into your pits then — at last — speaking to your inner soul. But although Anthony might seem a minimalist – all that raw groove and dynamic reggae atmosphere has to come from somewhere… And it comes from those Ricky strings!

Compare with: Glass Animals

Image by © Neil Mach
Image by © Neil Mach









3: Justinas Tamaševicius

Band: The Skys

Category: Prog Rock

Place: Vilnius, Lithuania

Instrument: Fender Jazz Bass

Try ‘When The Western Wind Blows‘ for that authentic Floyd meets Jefferson Starship experience. And relish that burbling bass. Bliss!

Compare with: 1970’s Pink Floyd

Image by © Neil Mach
Image by © Neil Mach









4: Matt Young

Band: HeKz

Category: Prog Metal

Place: Bedfordshire, UK

Instrument: Rickenbacker Bass & Lead Vocals

It’s great to see another Geddy Lee/Phil Lynott (style) rocking bass/vocalist. Matt has the looks, the hair, the energy and the discipline. The perfect riff has to have solid foundations. That’s why this authentic and exciting band cover Black Knight so tight and so emotionally. Matt is a perfect fit.

Compare with: Iron Maiden crossed with Dream Theater

Image by © Neil Mach
Image by © Neil Mach









5: Ása Dýradóttir


Category: Post Punk

Place: Reykjavík, Iceland

Instrument: Fender

Some glamour is always welcome – Ása (sister of Sigur Rós’ Orri Dýrason) is a looker. But she is also a busking grafter and a fluid plucker. Check “Blóðberg” where the spiky shines of lean guitar and angelic vocals drape over her exquisitely neat bass-play. [See vid below]

Compare with: The Sugarcubes

Image by © Neil Mach
Image by © Neil Mach







6: James Gamage

Band: Coasts

Category: Rock

Place: Bristol, UK

Instrument: Fender

We know all about those sweet harmonies but the bass-riffs are pulverizing, intrepid and magnificent too. Just listen to the bumps, slides and gurgles on Stay.

Compare with: The Lumineers

bg8 Circa Waves
Seated L







7: Sam Rourke

Band: Circa Waves

Category: Rock

Place: Liverpool, UK

Instrument: Fender

We know that the band write indie-songs that prove irresistible and their new album [Young Chasers] simply bursts with ideas and energy, but the bass-play at their SXSW showcase was so enthusiastically hot that Sam blew-up the bass amp.

Compare with: The Libertines

bg10 Royal Blood
With hat L









8: Mike Kerr

Band: Royal Blood

Category: Garage Rock

Place: Sussex , UK

Instrument: Manson Custom, Fender & Gretsch G2220 Electromatic Junior Jet II

They have just played Coachella and they won a Best British Group Award presented to them by (their big fan) Jimmy Page at the Brits. Bassist/singer Mike Kerr is one half of the duo and provides intricacies as well as rumbles. Try ‘Out Of The Black’ for something that screams as well as broods.

Compare with: White Stripes

Image by © Neil Mach
Image by © Neil Mach









9: Wyatt Shears

Band: The Garden

Category: Punk, Vada Vada

Place: Orange County, California

Instrument: Fender

Twin brothers Wyatt and Fletcher create one helluva noise. Wyatt is the bassist and vocalist. Often sounds come out of the speakers that are brutal and dark — then they turn fancy free. He articulates the guitar in ways you cannot even imagine!

Compare with: Slaves, Deap Vally

© Neil Mach
© Neil Mach









10: Jamie Lally

Band: City Of Thieves

Category: Classic Rock

Place: London, UK

Instrument: Fender

Front man and bassist Jamie Lailey (formerly this band were known as Four Wheel Drive) stands out as a (tall) icon of common sense and propriety in between his berserk & frizzy partners. He holds his guitar high and shakes his black locks. His voice is so large it needs its own planning permission. His bass adds another huge layer of rhythm to those crisp sounds and textures going on in the flurry of activity around him.

Compare with: AC/DC


Words: @neilmach 2015 ©
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