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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Bass Guitarists
PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 9:03 pm 
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Okay, doing some research. Some of the people I mentioned have stronger cases than others in terms of staying high on the list.

I'm in particular concerned that Sheehan, LaRue, Hamm, Johnson, East, Lee, Hungate, Chen, Burbridge, Washington, Watts, and Satterfield are too high. Discuss.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Bass Guitarists
PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 10:02 pm 
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Ariel wrote:
Okay, doing some research. Some of the people I mentioned have stronger cases than others in terms of staying high on the list.

I'm in particular concerned that Sheehan, LaRue, Hamm, Johnson, East, Lee, Hungate, Chen, Burbridge, Washington, Watts, and Satterfield are too high. Discuss.


I think you may be being a bit tough on some of these session and free lance touring guys ariel. I dunno...just my opinion. I think their influence is underestimated because they didn't play with a highly recognizable band, although these session guys in many cases were primary influences on many of the band boys...plus they can tear it up on a moments notice without the benefit of weeks of rehearsal on the same song...and then playing those same songs for YEARS in many cases, which in all honesty ain't all that tough. Take Ready Freddie. Move him down? I think he's a guy who ought to move up. I can readily think of 8 or 9 guys above him who would jump at the chance of touring with Steely Dan in a New York second (it's not easy stuff they play)...not counting those who just don't fit the Steely Dan style or genre. Freddie was asked...they weren't. We shouldn't hold it against a guy who played tons of rock/pop sessions (Jackson, Laboriel, Will Lee, etc)...but penalize them because they also play fusion, jazz, folk, or country as well. Most of those guys have played more rock/pop/R&B sessions than most of the band players could ever dream about.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Bass Guitarists
PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 10:19 pm 
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What a great post. I partially (like 50%) concede this argument.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Bass Guitarists
PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 11:39 pm 
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Ariel wrote:
What a great post. I partially (like 50%) concede this argument.


Thanks man. Now if I can just get you on the David Hungate appreciation bandwagon. Keep in mind that Hungates father was a US Congressman and a Federal Judge. You could get indicted AND held in contempt of Congress over this.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Bass Guitarists
PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 5:56 am 
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Ariel wrote:
Back!
Well it's definitely cool to hear from you what people actually thought back then, e.g. when you said that The Lemon Song was not considered as necessarily some masterpiece when it first came out, bass wise...very interesting. Was Bogert considered a bass genius during the Vanilla Fudge era, by people? Was Macca, in the 60s?


Yes Bogert was considered a bass genius but not so much McCartney (although I thought he was great) largely because The Beatles were such a phenomenon as a group and their song writing was so great that individual playing was generally over looked. Toward the end McCartney's Bass and Harrison's guitar began to get noticed but since they weren't virtuosos in a technical sense I feel they were underrated. Another thing to consider was that Bass players as great musicians was a fairly new phenomenon. Most of the accolades was put on the guitar players in Rock.


Last edited by Ssoyd on Wed Mar 14, 2012 6:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Bass Guitarists
PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 6:07 am 
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Ariel wrote:
Okay, doing some research. Some of the people I mentioned have stronger cases than others in terms of staying high on the list.

I'm in particular concerned that Sheehan, LaRue, Hamm, Johnson, East, Lee, Hungate, Chen, Burbridge, Washington, Watts, and Satterfield are too high. Discuss.


I've often thought Sheehan may be too high. He's rated high because he's a bass virtuoso who's mastered every technique in the book except slap and pop and he's had a lot of followers but in other categories such as musicality and versatility I think he falls short. If you actually listen to what he plays, aside from his speed and technique he is harmonically pretty basic. Certainly far from a McCartney. This is readily evident in his Fusion group Niacin where his playing isn't all that interesting IMO.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Bass Guitarists
PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 6:28 am 
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StuBass wrote:
Ariel wrote:
What a great post. I partially (like 50%) concede this argument.


Thanks man. Now if I can just get you on the David Hungate appreciation bandwagon. Keep in mind that Hungates father was a US Congressman and a Federal Judge. You could get indicted AND held in contempt of Congress over this.


The problem with a Player like Hungate is yes he is skilled and plays with metronome like accuracy but I've never heard anything by him that sets him apart in a creative sense. I guess I think greatness requires something more. Maybe you can direct me to something besides his playing with Toto and Bozz Scaggs which is all I really am familiar with.


Last edited by Ssoyd on Wed Mar 14, 2012 10:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Bass Guitarists
PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 9:56 am 
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Will get back with more on Hungate. A lot of studio work (his preferred performing environment) pre and post Toto, but he's much more than a Garry Tallent hold the bottom type of player, with tremendous versatility in genres from rock, fusion, and jazz to country and soul. Was often Jamersons standby when west coast producers wanted to catch that lightning in a bottle but didn't know if James would (or could) show up for the session.

Re "Who is Phil Chen"? Aside from being a near fanatical James Jamerson devotee, the Jamaican born Chen expanded well beyond his initial Carribean style musical roots to become one of Englands top bassists in the 60's, 70's and beyond...getting the call for a long association with Rod Stewart, Jeff Beck, Clapton, etc. His work on Becks Blow By Blow album is highly revered in British rock circles (check out Scatterbrain). More recently, he became the bassist The Doors never had as he teamed up with Krieger and Manzarek for their recent reunification projects. Chen is also one of the most in demand participants in various bass camps and other educational efforts relating to bass.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Bass Guitarists
PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 5:26 pm 
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So, to examine/take apart this in more detail (and it definitely deserves some serious analysis/consideration)...

StuBass wrote:
I think you may be being a bit tough on some of these session and free lance touring guys ariel. I dunno...just my opinion. I think their influence is underestimated because they didn't play with a highly recognizable band, although these session guys in many cases were primary influences on many of the band boys...


I'll be the first to grant that the five criteria we have for this list are hardly complete as a measurement of greatness and therefore should really more be taken as a starting point/frame for discussion than as some gospel truth way of judging players. Intangibles and other things can be highly relevant to greatness too. Again, this is why Jamerson would stay #1 even if Entwistle somehow beat him by criteria.

There are problems in terms of being able to accurately assess session players *by* the criteria we have, though. How the heck do ya judge influence? I'm more than happy - I think it's accurate, actually - to give significant influence points to a session dude who has been mentioned as an influence by later players in rock, or whose style clearly influenced future players in terms of their approach to the instrument, etc. This is why guys like Osborn, Rainey, and Babbitt will always be high on this list -- they helped shape the 'sound' and approach of rock bass, for better or worse, and knowing them is essential to understanding the history of the instrument and its use. But when we get to session players who as Ssoyd so well put it, lack a distinctive sound, it's harder for me to honestly award them a lot of points by some of the criteria we use. The exception is again with people who were there at the beginning and were omnipresent on the radio and stuff back in the 60s when bass was first being solidified conceptually by bassists.

StuBass wrote:
plus they can tear it up on a moments notice without the benefit of weeks of rehearsal on the same song...and then playing those same songs for YEARS in many cases, which in all honesty ain't all that tough.


This is one of those unspoken 'other criteria' I try to pay heed to and make note of in assessing players for this list -- something you might call 'professionalism', for lack of a better word. These guys are PROFESSIONAL musicians, can do pretty much anything they'd be asked to do in any situation, don't fuck up, and are highly adept at being consistent and keeping the creative juices flowing. They also tend to continue growing as players over their whole career and never get stagnant. All of this together is fairly significant I think.

StuBass wrote:
Take Ready Freddie. Move him down? I think he's a guy who ought to move up. I can readily think of 8 or 9 guys above him who would jump at the chance of touring with Steely Dan in a New York second (it's not easy stuff they play)...not counting those who just don't fit the Steely Dan style or genre. Freddie was asked...they weren't.


Hmmm. Thing is, while being asked to play with the Dan is a BIG deal in terms of it showing his reputation, acclaim in the industry and what I'm rather coarsely calling 'professionalism' (see above), it's hard to see how this could mean he should maintain a very high spot on this list. It's a factor for sure in assessing greatness. But does it mean he should really be above guys like Bootsy who played a considerably more significant role in shaping the instrument and its use and how players approach it and conceptualize it?

StuBass wrote:
We shouldn't hold it against a guy who played tons of rock/pop sessions (Jackson, Laboriel, Will Lee, etc)...but penalize them because they also play fusion, jazz, folk, or country as well. Most of those guys have played more rock/pop/R&B sessions than most of the band players could ever dream about.


This is a rather good point. It's definitely wrong to penalize someone for being versatile -- hell, versatility is one of the 5 criteria on here!!! The problem is in assessing 'how rock is rock', i.e. how 'rock' do you have to be to qualify for this list to begin with. Someone like Miller is on the border since he's played rock enough that he deserves consideration maybe, but his 'greatness' lies in what he did within jazz, mostly. Jaco for instance, to use a more stark example is revered by rock players all 'round, and played electric with an aggressive approach that was very 'rock' and not at all traditional jazz it seems to me...but I still wouldn't feel comfortable putting him on this list, in spite of his playing with Joni Mitchell a lot. So where do we draw the line? Laboriel probably makes it in. Does Jackson? I don't know, I don't know enough about him.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Bass Guitarists
PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 5:27 pm 
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StuBass wrote:
Ariel wrote:
What a great post. I partially (like 50%) concede this argument.


Thanks man. Now if I can just get you on the David Hungate appreciation bandwagon. Keep in mind that Hungates father was a US Congressman and a Federal Judge. You could get indicted AND held in contempt of Congress over this.


Ahaha...nice


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Bass Guitarists
PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 5:29 pm 
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Ssoyd wrote:
Ariel wrote:
Back!
Well it's definitely cool to hear from you what people actually thought back then, e.g. when you said that The Lemon Song was not considered as necessarily some masterpiece when it first came out, bass wise...very interesting. Was Bogert considered a bass genius during the Vanilla Fudge era, by people? Was Macca, in the 60s?


Yes Bogert was considered a bass genius but not so much McCartney (although I thought he was great) largely because The Beatles were such a phenomenon as a group and their song writing was so great that individual playing was generally over looked. Toward the end McCartney's Bass and Harrison's guitar began to get noticed but since they weren't virtuosos in a technical sense I feel they were underrated. Another thing to consider was that Bass players as great musicians was a fairly new phenomenon. Most of the accolades was put on the guitar players in Rock.


Awesome to be able to hear this stuff from someone who was there...knowing what people thought when the player was in his prime (what I'd call 'musical impact', myself) can definitely help create a framework in which to think of the list and its players I think.

What did people think of Bill Wyman? Heck, what do you think of Bill Wyman? Cheers


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Bass Guitarists
PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 5:29 pm 
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Ssoyd wrote:
Ariel wrote:
Okay, doing some research. Some of the people I mentioned have stronger cases than others in terms of staying high on the list.

I'm in particular concerned that Sheehan, LaRue, Hamm, Johnson, East, Lee, Hungate, Chen, Burbridge, Washington, Watts, and Satterfield are too high. Discuss.


I've often thought Sheehan may be too high. He's rated high because he's a bass virtuoso who's mastered every technique in the book except slap and pop and he's had a lot of followers but in other categories such as musicality and versatility I think he falls short. If you actually listen to what he plays, aside from his speed and technique he is harmonically pretty basic. Certainly far from a McCartney. This is readily evident in his Fusion group Niacin where his playing isn't all that interesting IMO.


Yea, we probably need to lower Sheehan. But how much lower?


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Bass Guitarists
PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 6:04 pm 
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When it comes to a guy like Anthony Jackson...perhaps yet another criteria comes into play..."contributions" to the instrument (in a rock setting). Jackson, who believed that the electric bass should be a link between bass and guitar, believed that instead of Leo Fender copying the 4 string pattern of the upright bass, should have been designed with 6 strings to begin with...thus, he personally invented the 6 string (contrabass) bass, citing that it maintains it's tune in the higher registers better than the design of the standard 4 string allows, and allows the most bottom instrument in any ensemble to go lower than a 4 string without having to tune down. Makes sense, and A.J. was about 20 years ahead of the entire industry when he built his first contrabass (which Les Claypool currently owns). THAT'S a significant contribution to the instrument and many poppers and rockers to come along after him have taken advantage of his creation. In the rock genre, his "For The Love Of Money" is a true clasic (on par with Forget Me Nots), and he played on a lot of Philly soul stuff, along with a stint with Steely Dan, Chakka Khan, and many others. Quite stylistically versatile though.His impact both as a player and a creator and innovator stretches across several genres.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Bass Guitarists
PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 7:00 pm 
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Ariel wrote:
Ssoyd wrote:
Ariel wrote:
Okay, doing some research. Some of the people I mentioned have stronger cases than others in terms of staying high on the list.

I'm in particular concerned that Sheehan, LaRue, Hamm, Johnson, East, Lee, Hungate, Chen, Burbridge, Washington, Watts, and Satterfield are too high. Discuss.


I've often thought Sheehan may be too high. He's rated high because he's a bass virtuoso who's mastered every technique in the book except slap and pop and he's had a lot of followers but in other categories such as musicality and versatility I think he falls short. If you actually listen to what he plays, aside from his speed and technique he is harmonically pretty basic. Certainly far from a McCartney. This is readily evident in his Fusion group Niacin where his playing isn't all that interesting IMO.


Yea, we probably need to lower Sheehan. But how much lower?


That's a tough one as I said he's a technical genius. Interesting thing, I saw Sheehan in a Bar in Syracuse, NY around 1979-1980 when he was playing with Talas. They were a bar band back then doing mostly covers. They were very impressive and exciting live. Sheehan had a hybrid style of guitar/bass and played most of the solos while holding down the groove. He so dominated the group that you couldn't even hear the guitar player much of the time. I remember the guitar player doing a solo, I knew it was a solo because he stopped singing and I could see him fingering the guitar. :lol: Sheehan had already developed 95% 0f what he does now and really hasn't grown much as a musician. I don't want to punish him too much though. I'd put him between 20-30. Here's a little something recorded live from around that time.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_q4oWFWN ... re=related


Last edited by Ssoyd on Wed Mar 14, 2012 7:41 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Bass Guitarists
PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 7:09 pm 
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Check out this interesting video I stumbled across.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2xJnvVN ... re=related


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