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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A bass player, or bassist is a musician who plays a bass instrument such as a double bass, bass guitar, keyboard bass or a low brass instrument such as a tuba or sousaphone. Different musical genres tend to be associated with one or more of these instruments. Since the 1960s, the electric bass is the standard bass instrument for rock and roll, jazz fusion (and occasionally other forms of jazz), heavy metal, country, reggae and pop music. The double bass is the standard bass instrument for classical music, bluegrass, and Swing-era and Bebop-era jazz. Low brass instruments such as the tuba or sousaphone are the standard bass instrument in Dixieland and New Orleans-style jazz bands.

Despite the associations of different bass instruments with certain genres, there are exceptions. Some 1990s and 2000s rock and pop bands use a double bass, such as Barenaked Ladies; Indie band The Decemberists; and punk rock/psychobilly groups such as The Living End, Nekromantix, The Horrorpops, and Tiger Army. Some fusion jazz groups use a lightweight, stripped-down electric upright bass rather than a double bass. Some composers of modern art music use the electric bass in a chamber music setting. Some jazz big bands use electric bass. Some fusion, R&B and house music groups use synth bass or keyboard bass rather than electric bass. Some Dixieland bands use double bass or electric bass instead of a tuba. In some jazz groups and jam bands, the basslines are played by a Hammond organ player, who uses the bass pedal keyboard or the lower manual for the low notes.


Electric bass players

Electric bassists play the bass guitar. In most rock, pop, metal and country genres, the bass line outlines the harmony of the music being performed, while simultaneously indicating the rhythmic pulse. In addition, there are different standard bass line types for different genres and types of song (e.g. blues ballad, fast swing, etc.). Bass lines often emphasize the root, third, and fifth of the chord progression being used in a given song. In addition, pedal tones (repeated or sustained single notes), ostinatos, and bass riffs are also used as bass lines. While most electric bass players rarely play chords (two or more notes all sounded at the same time), chords are used in some styles, especially jazz fusion, progressive rock or technical death metal.

Double bass players

Classical double bass players

Jazz double bass players

See Also


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also bassist



Bassist m. (genitive Bassisten, plural Bassisten)

  1. bassist

Simple English

A bassist is a musician whose musical instrument is a bass guitar or a double bass. In rock, pop, country, metal, jazz fusion, and funk music, most bassists play a bass guitar. In some types of jazz, and in rockabilly, bluegrass, and in symphony orchestras, bassists play a double bass.


Many professional rock, pop, country, metal, and funk, rockabilly, and bluegrass, bassists learn to play by performing in groups for many years and by taking private lessons with bass teachers.

Bassists who play in symphony orchestras, or who play jazz or jazz fusion often learn to play the bass in a conservatory, music school, college, or university. College or university degrees in double bass include the Bachelor of Music degree (which takes four years) and the Master of Music degree (which takes two years).

There are fewer Bass players than traditional guitar players. Some believe the bass is harder to play, although it has fewer strings


Bassists, like other musicians, have a much lower average income than many other job categories, such as accountants or administrators. Although a tiny number of famous bassists make a large amount of money, and a small number of bassists have full-time jobs in bands or orchestras, most bassists have low incomes. Many bassists do not earn enough from playing, so they do other music-related jobs, such as teaching bass.

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