5 Amazing Female Bass Players

The deep, rumbling rhythm, the popping, bouncing groove, the sheer, thunderous, rolling beat. The bass, often overlooked, ignored, cast aside...

Justin Riley

Contributor

Je

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The deep, rumbling rhythm, the popping, bouncing groove, the sheer, thunderous, rolling beat. The bass, often overlooked, ignored, cast aside as a boring instrument, carries every song, propelling it to greater heights. And when you think of the bass, it brings a masculine, testosterone heavy feel. Great bass players come to mind: Flea, John Paul Jones, John Entwistle, Paul McCartney. However, some of the greatest bass players had no testosterone at all, yet could bring just as much muscle, just as much grit.

While most female musicians are associated with the piano and the guitar, one area where women have effectively held their own is the bass guitar. The deep, low end of the music spectrum, the bass was historically a predominantly male instrument. While there were a few females rocking four strings, not many reached high levels of popularity and recognition. This greatly changed during the alt-rock boom of the late ’80s, early ’90s. Acts such as Sonic Youth, Pixies, Smashing Pumpkins, Hole, My Bloody Valentine and many more all featured female bass players.

Women have always played important roles in music history. From Aretha Franklin to Stevie Nicks, from Madonna to Beyonce, women are an integral part of music. Their contributions can be heard in every genre, the deep soul of R&B, the balladry of classic rock, the dance floor punk of the ’80’s, and the power vocals of pop music. But one area often unnoticed is the influence they have had on a new generation of young women. Great bands such as Haim, Silversun Pickups, Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks, all feature excellent female bassists, many of whom were likely inspired by the women before them. Inspired to break the mold, push the boys aside, and pound the four strings like the hammer of god.

Women bring a marvellous element to all aspects of music, and the following female bassists are no exception. Trailblazers in their art, these women bring it all, a little funk, a little attitude, and a whole lot of rhythm.