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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Bass Guitarists
PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2012 3:55 pm 
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CORRECTION...It's come to my attention that the terrific bassline on The Temptations "Papa Was A Rolling Stone" was actually Eddie Watkins Jr. The original version by The Undisputed Truth was Babbitt. According to Babbitt...both he and Jamerson were playing the line on the Undisputed Truths version when Jamerson walked out of the studio for some reason and Norman told Bob to keep playing, which he did. As for Eddie Watkins Jr...real good bassist. Also played on Diana Ross's Love Hangover, Peaches & Herbs "Shake Your Groove Thing", and Gloria Gaynors classic "I Will Survive". Eddie moved to Los Angeles with Motown but fell out of favor at some point. Today Eddie has a very popular local 14 piece band. and has some roots in Seattle. He plays a lot of weddings and corporate events plus some gospel stuff.. Matter of fact, my brother hired his orchestra to play at my nephews wedding a few years back and we talked about his cool bassline on Love Hangover.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Bass Guitarists
PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 7:56 pm 
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Stu --

Temptations story, fascinating. My impression is that the tightly controlled Motown acts were great, if only because the primary label songwriters were excellent, but they were repetitive and artistically not too ambitious. It seems that the greatest Motown recordings, ironically, are the ones that flouted Gordy's vision, and were released against his desire to control everything within tight artistic limits -- Stevie's 70s work, Marvin's 70s work, etc. If the more artistically bold and talented acts there had been generally given a looser 'leash', the label could have produced more masterpiece albums than it did, perhaps.

As far as Tony goes -- are there any Motown songs he played on where he *wasn't* just doubling James? Or am I misunderstanding this.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Bass Guitarists
PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 8:20 pm 
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Ssoyd wrote:
What has Steve Harris innovated? People often site his "galloping style" which really isn't that big a deal IMO.

Cliff Burton; What has he innovated and what makes him so creative? Burton is IMO one of the most overrated bassists on the list and owes his notoriety to being Being with Metallica and the fact that died in a bus crash.

Hamm; IMO by far the most versatile and technically skilled of any you mentioned due to his capability to play a wide variety of music and being one the best solo bass players around. He also is IMO much more creative than Harris or Burton. When compared to Deacon, Deacon may be more creative in a band setting but Hamm of course excels as a solo player.

That is why these break downs can get tricky as so much is subjective. Two IMO fairly knowledgeable people like you and I can look at the same player and have completely different opinions unless the difference is really obvious. Maybe when players are so close they could be bunched together and rated, for example, 25a, 25b, 25c.


For the record, I subscribe to Bassfreak's philosophy that criteria breakdowns should basically be used to roughly order the list, but they won't necessarily be the final list result, other things (what I like calling intangibles) have to come into play too in terms of doing final list ordering.

Steve Harris' 'innovation' lies in popularizing and widely using the galloping style (first person to widely use it), but it goes further: he was the first big metal bandleader who also was the band's bassist (should that count toward his placement here???), he is THE guy responsible for keeping flatwounds alive in the modern era (and showing that they can be used much more widely than just in pop/rock and roots rock, I mean he played them in speedy metal and made it work), and most importantly he was metal's second great bassist chronologically, after Geezer (it's worth noting he was the FIRST great bassist metal had seen SINCE Geezer in the early/mid 70s), and was the first 'lead bassist' in metal.

Burton is a bass god in my book, and challenges Claypool for a spot in the top 5 most creative players ever in rock (in my mind, PROBABLY Jamerson/Macca/Claypool/Flea/Squire in some order, though Squire's definitely #1). The problem is that given that he's inaudible in 75% of his recorded material with Metallica (albums), it's hard to discern what he's doing most of the time on record, though even on the albums you can hear Anesthesia fully, all of his playing on the Kill Em All album, his distorted ventures on 'Call of Ktulu', the octaved bass intro to 'Damage Inc', the distorted solo in 'Orion', and other defining moments of his career, as well as occasionally his main playing (when songs get softer, like the first half of Sanitarium, the first half of Fade to Black, the interlude in Master, etc). Listening closely and attentively to the bass parts, where audible, on the Ride and Master albums starts revealing the extent of his genius...to appreciate him fully though you have to go on youtube and listen to the remixes people have made of those songs with the original bass track boosted (courtesy of Guitar Hero: Metallica separating the tracks and boosting the bass level immensely). It's a revelation and absolutely blew my mind. His melodic subtlety, sensitivity, and note choice are on the level of Macca and Flea; he's as harmonically ambitious and sophisticated as Macca, Flea, Jamerson and Squire; and he pushes the use of distortion and effects further, with artistic merit, than any other bassist I've heard, he basically invented a 'school' of effects use and approach to distortion. No, he didn't live long enough to fully mature as a musician and refine his playing, but his genius is abundant in terms of the things I've mentioned, note choice/placement, use of the bass as a composed part of the song (like in Baroque music, his favorite genre of music), use of the bass as a countermelodic instrument by way of genius harmonic play off the guitar line. He helped push bass soloing into a completely new direction, too, and integrate solo spots into full band (all instruments) songs brilliantly. This isn't even to mention that he was BY FAR the most musically ambitious and advanced metal bassist of his generation, and more ambitious and musically advanced than any metal bassist before him. Metal bass playing can be basically divided into a 'Before Cliff' and 'After Cliff', he's the god of the genre and unanimously praised by players in metal to this day as a, or THE, primary inspiration on their playing in the genre. He was classically trained and used the bass as a thru-composed 'voice', harmonically countermelodic, in what were by and large fairly standard metal song arrangements, which was totally unprecedented and has never really been replicated since (note that the next generation of great metal bassists, like Patterson, DiGiorgio and Choy, their innovations were in using jazz/fusion style in metal songs; Cliff was the singular figure who used a classical approach, and one worthy of the classical masters, in metal songs).

Hamm is a good example to my mind of a guy whose technique and knowledge of the fretboard and internalized knowledge of scalar patterns, arpeggios and intervals are all exceptional, especially for rock, but whose actual CREATIVITY (what he DOES with all that knowledge/ability) is not on the level of the best (Macca, Jamerson, Entwistle, Flea, Claypool, Squire, Burton, Sheehan, Levin, Deacon). He's composed some outstanding solo bass pieces and deserves credit for moving that forward as an art. Creativity he doesn't touch Burton or Deacon, sorry. I'd say Harris beats him in creativity too, though maybe only slightly.

As far as ordering goes, yea its tricky, that's why this 18-28 stretch of the list is taking so long...! But it's fun! And thanks for bein' around to help me figure all this out :smile:


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Bass Guitarists
PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 8:28 pm 
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Negative Creep wrote:
Ariel wrote:
To Stu (and everyone): What do you think of Jack Casady??? Enlighten me


I fucking LOVE Casady. He is actually one of the most acclaimed rock bassists of that era.
I've always said that after Grace Slick and Marty Balin, Jack was the most talented member of the band by far (never thought much of Jorma or Spencer).

I'm probably wrong on this, but I believe Casady was somewhat of a pioneer in using heavily distorted bass, especially live.

Check out his playing on Let Me In...great shit.


As far as I know Jack is usually considered THE most talented member...!

Is their (Airplane) first album any good?


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Bass Guitarists
PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 8:28 pm 
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StuBass wrote:
Jack Casady...much acclaim...somewhat due to incorporating melodics into the San Francisco sound in the late 60's. White Rabbit is a good example of his JA period. I like some of his Hot Tuna stuff best since it allowed him more freedom to expand his style. The distortion he is known for is likely the result of the way his equiptment adapted to his playing in higher registers. I have a couple of articles I'll dig up on Jack.


Please do! Thanks


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Bass Guitarists
PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 8:30 pm 
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StuBass wrote:
CORRECTION...It's come to my attention that the terrific bassline on The Temptations "Papa Was A Rolling Stone" was actually Eddie Watkins Jr. The original version by The Undisputed Truth was Babbitt. According to Babbitt...both he and Jamerson were playing the line on the Undisputed Truths version when Jamerson walked out of the studio for some reason and Norman told Bob to keep playing, which he did. As for Eddie Watkins Jr...real good bassist. Also played on Diana Ross's Love Hangover, Peaches & Herbs "Shake Your Groove Thing", and Gloria Gaynors classic "I Will Survive". Eddie moved to Los Angeles with Motown but fell out of favor at some point. Today Eddie has a very popular local 14 piece band. and has some roots in Seattle. He plays a lot of weddings and corporate events plus some gospel stuff.. Matter of fact, my brother hired his orchestra to play at my nephews wedding a few years back and we talked about his cool bassline on Love Hangover.


Ahhhh...

Don't worry, that doesn't lessen my appreciation of Babbitt :smile: ...Mercy Mercy me is so good

Should I add Mr Watkins to the 'possibles' list??? Cheers


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Bass Guitarists
PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 8:32 pm 
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Ssoyd wrote:
Ariel wrote:
Negative Creep wrote:
.

For me, the best decades for music since the 1950's would be ranked like this...
60's > 50's > 70's > 80's > 90's >> 00's.


Naw bro its 60s > 90s > 50s > 70s > 00s > 80s!!! Lol


I'll play this game. 60s> 70s> 50s> 90s> 00s> 80s.


What's funny is everyone on the internet and otherwise (other than hipster fucks, whose opinion is irrelevant) seems to agree that the 80s and the 00s were the sucky decades...here's to the '10s being better! :cheers:


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Bass Guitarists
PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 8:40 pm 
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Ariel wrote:
Negative Creep wrote:
Ariel wrote:
To Stu (and everyone): What do you think of Jack Casady??? Enlighten me


I fucking LOVE Casady. He is actually one of the most acclaimed rock bassists of that era.
I've always said that after Grace Slick and Marty Balin, Jack was the most talented member of the band by far (never thought much of Jorma or Spencer).

I'm probably wrong on this, but I believe Casady was somewhat of a pioneer in using heavily distorted bass, especially live.

Check out his playing on Let Me In...great shit.


As far as I know Jack is usually considered THE most talented member...!

Is their (Airplane) first album any good?


You can't go wrong with any of their first 7-8 albums really.
Jeffeson Airplane Takes Off is awesome.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Bass Guitarists
PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2012 2:12 pm 
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Negative Creep wrote:
Ariel wrote:
Negative Creep wrote:
Ariel wrote:
To Stu (and everyone): What do you think of Jack Casady??? Enlighten me


I fucking LOVE Casady. He is actually one of the most acclaimed rock bassists of that era.
I've always said that after Grace Slick and Marty Balin, Jack was the most talented member of the band by far (never thought much of Jorma or Spencer).

I'm probably wrong on this, but I believe Casady was somewhat of a pioneer in using heavily distorted bass, especially live.

Check out his playing on Let Me In...great shit.


As far as I know Jack is usually considered THE most talented member...!

Is their (Airplane) first album any good?


You can't go wrong with any of their first 7-8 albums really.
Jeffeson Airplane Takes Off is awesome.


I'mma buy Surrealistic Pillow soon, looking forward to it!


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Bass Guitarists
PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2012 2:16 pm 
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Thinking the 18-28 people should go something like this:
18. Phil Lesh/Jack Casady
19. Phil Lesh/Jack Casady
20. Cliff Burton
21. Stu Hamm
22. Steve Harris
23. John Deacon

with LaRue, Babbitt, and Dunn dropping below this area. Thoughts? And where the heck does Barrett go? Definitely in that 18-24 stretch I just roughly ordered, but where? Probably above Deacon I'd reckon


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Bass Guitarists
PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2012 6:45 pm 
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Ariel wrote:
What's funny is everyone on the internet and otherwise (other than hipster fucks, whose opinion is irrelevant) seems to agree that the 80s and the 00s were the sucky decades...here's to the '10s being better! :cheers:


That's because in those decades the Record companies had the tightest control over what music was put on record. That means music that sells the most while creativity and anything that is different is discouraged. When the bands and musicians have more control there is more creativity and more chances taken. There was a period in the 60s and 70s where the record company executives had no idea what would sell so they put all kinds of stuff on record and hoped it would sell. Variety was king.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Bass Guitarists
PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2012 7:47 pm 
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I found the Bass Player Magazine article from the Bass Giants issue from 2006. Some interesting things about Jack Casady. His early influences were the upright guys, Mingus and LaFaro. His electric bass influences are the usual suspects...Jamerson, Dunn, The James Brown guys...then later Entwistle, Bruce, Macca, etc. ..Working with a non conventional jazz oriented drummer with JA...Spencer Dryden, necessitated him to alter his style and provide more fills and rhythms in the band. Perhaps his biggest part of his distinctive style was his interest in electronics and his incorporation of distortion in his output. He credits that largely to the Versatone amp he aquired and pushed to the limit.

Cliff Lee Burton...Great promise and some highly innovative stylistic innovations. Question becomes...how "great" (all-time) can a guy be (through no fault of his own) whose entire significant career was encapsulated in three short years featuring only three studio albums of note? Obviously, longevity can't be a factor, nor can growth, versatility, and consistancy be objectively viewed as career factors. Potential can't really be factored in as an element of greatness.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Bass Guitarists
PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2012 7:53 pm 
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Eddie Watkins Jr...Detroit based (and later Los Angeles) player who did play on some significant hits for several artists and boasts some very solid performances. That said...stylistically not all that versatile and really didn't innovate much if anything. Might rank on an all R&B list, but I'd have trouble making a real strong case for him on this list...not that I don't see several names throughout this list that Eddie could play circles around.

Tony Newton...a few early Motown sessions, but mostly the touring guy with Motown. Some nice tracks on Invictus though, and performed and recorded with some other significant artists.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Bass Guitarists
PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2012 8:58 pm 
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Casady > Lesh.

Am I wrong?


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Bass Guitarists
PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 5:09 am 
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Negative Creep wrote:
Casady > Lesh.

Am I wrong?


Tough to say. Lesh is really good and his melodic improvisational style was very influential. Back in the 70s he was considered one of the best bassists in Rock.


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