Wednesday Question: Best Rhythm Section?

You wanted it, you got it! Which pair delivers the best groove?

Ultimate Guitar

As voted by you, beloved UG community, this week's Wednesday Question will focus on drums and bass.

So we already got to crown the best drummer and the best bassline in rock, but we never got to combining the two and reach the matter of all-time best rhythm duo. Therefore, this week's Wednesday Question is:

What is the best rhythm section ever?

To make everything clear, we're not pairing up bassists and drummers from different bands, we're looking for a specific duo from one group. Plenty to chose from here, but only one pair can make it to No. 1.

Same rules as always apply - only one suggestion per comment, vote up the ideas you support and vote down the ones you dislike. We'll sum up your votes by Friday and bring you another traditional UG Top 10. May the best groovers win!

455 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Bill Ward and Geezer Butler
    Justin Chancellor and Danny Carey
    Les Claypool and Tim Alexander
    Bill Bruford and Tony Levin
    Not sure if anyone has said this yet. Jose Pasillas and Dirk Lance from Incubus. The tightness in the grooves on SCIENCE are unbelieveable
    Geddy Lee and Neil Peart, just look at all those time changes
    Just listen to YYZ, and they win
    Flea and Chad Smith
    Flea, Chad Smith, and John Frusciante. You can't just separate them and say just Flea and Chad Smith. They were a true rhythm trio, and were a perfect unit together. Their epic live improvisations just show how synced all 3 of them were together, always in the groove together.
    Yes! On an alt.rock note, Chris Wolstenholme and Dominic Howard I find incredibly underrated... Not the best ever but definitely a worthy mention.
    And the stuff that Tony Kanal and Adrian Young from No Doubt do on their earlier stuff. The self titled album and 'Tragic Kingdom' are a masterclass in superb rhythm sectionism.
    Danjo's Guitar
    I was gonna be sad if this wasn't one of the higher up comments. But I know theres a lot of chilis fans on here, so I'm sure they'll place well.
    YES! anybody who disagrees don't know sh*t about REAL sh*t!
    I disagree - They're insanely great, not a shred of doubt about that, but they're not THE best in my opinion. I prefer the raw power and groove of say Tim Commerford and Bradwilk if we have to talk in a (sort of) similar musical style. Then again, that's just music for you - Through and through subjective.
    But for me one of the best are: Rage Against The Machine (Tim Commerford and Brad Wilk creates something really groovy)
    and audioslave too, amazingly tight rhythm section, especially when you take into account the fact that Tim is playing lead when Tom starts his crazy leads.
    John Bonham and John Paul Jones
    oh, nice, this is gonna win just because THIS IS LED ZEPPELIN OMG THEI WROTE ZA BEST MUSAC EVAR
    As someone who isn't the hugest Zeppelin fan, I just give respect to rhythm section. You can't deny it. Arguably the two best at their respective instruments in rock music, playing together.
    I have a great respect for Led Zeppelin and like them a lot, but agreed and find this frustrating that this has to inevitably happen in every rock music "ranking" ever. Many awesome bands have happened in those 40 years.
    How did it take so long to get to this? We got freaking Gojira before JPJ and Bonham. What is this world coming to?
    John Paul Jones never stood out, to me.
    that was kinda the point, rock solid groove, knitted to Bonzo's beat airtight... RHYTHM, not lead...
    JPJ's got the groove. Just listen to his basslines. You may not pay attention to them when you listen to the music but when you play attention to them, they are just great. IMO basslines don't need to stand out. They need to support the song. JPJ didn't overplay and he had really cool lines in many songs.
    Agent 00Awesome
    Steve Harris and Nicko McBrain
    Brann Dailor, Troy Sanders and Bill Keliher from Mastodon.
    Mastodon's rhythm section is one of most incredible things in modern rock music. This can't be understated.
    Easiest question yet! Danny Carey and Justin Chancellor (TooL) TooL has some of the most complex rhythms i know, without the song turning into a showoff track. Plus Carey is the superior drummer.
    Absolutely. One of the greatest drummers to have ever lived and my personal favourite bassist of all time. So innovative.
    Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell
    Noel Redding never struck me as anything extraordinary but Mitch Mitchell is the king of underrated drummers.
    what? hope you are joking about Noel.
    Don't get me wrong. I don't dislike him, I just wouldn't put him in the same category as John Entwistle or Flea.
    You're absolutely right about Noel Redding, and no disrespect to him, he played some good stuff on 3 classic records. He was a guitarist by trade. Playing wise Mitch Mitchell is in another tier of players. He's with Bonham and Moon and Baker and guys that.
    Petrucci/Myung/Ruddess of Dream Theater. The ending part of "The Fatal Tragedy" to be exact.
    Portnoy and Myung certainly deserve a spot.Because of the longevity, creativity and dexterity of each of their playing, but always being on the same page with one another.
    Except that dream theather doesn't have a rhythm section, they all play lead.
    Both the Mike Portnoy and the Mike Mangini version of the band absolutely deserve a spot. Both guys have different styles but both carry DT in an awesome way.
    Martin Mendez + Martin Lopez.
    Also Martin Mendez + Martin Axenrot, both are awesome. PORCELAIN HEART
    Martin Axenrot is much more precise and his technique is much more developed than Martin Lopez, but Lopez brought something... "exotic" to Opeth's sound, he played soulfully, if you know what i mean. All that was lost and is irreplaceable. Martin Axenrot is an amazing drummer, sure, but there are many just like him, with insane speed and precision. He's way too cold and clinic for my taste, so i wouldn't consider him a part of one of the "Best Rhythm Sections".
    Well... Jon Theodore and Juan Alderete play real hard.
    Holy crap I was about to mention these guys and I'm so glad someone already has. Listen to the rhythm section on Cassandra Gemini. End of story!
    If it's not John Bonham and John Paul Jones, it's wrong.
    No it's not.
    Most popular rhythm section =/= best.
    I agree with you, but I mean, these 2 were on a different level together. There are many live moments between them that for many, including myself, make them number 1. Popular yes, but it's deserved.
    Paul and Ringo- The Beatles
    +1 Its funny because the band used to joke that Ringo wasn't even the best drummer in the band. Just goes to show you don't have to be the best at an instrument to make the best music.
    Ringo knew exactly how to stay in the pocket. As a fellow drummer, he's unmatched in time keeping and playing exactly what a song needs.
    Unmatched? Not trying to dog the guy here, but playing in a 4/4 pocket with a 60bpm song isn't exactly extraordinary.
    Indeed, but I know alot of drummers who would get bored and started making mistakes, or throw too many fills into the mix. Ringo didn't try to excel, which is why he was perfect for the music they made. So it may not be extraordinary, but it was perfect for the job.
    Ringo knew exactly how to stay in the pocket. As a fellow drummer, he's unmatched in time keeping and playing exactly what a song needs.
    Also John Entwistle and Keith Moon, but we don't even need to mention this one, do we?
    Colin Greenwood and Phil Selway.
    Oh damn, missed the post further above. Thought I had searched all the comments.
    Share your thoughts? Why? Theres like 30000 posts here XD JUst for the record Flea and Chad Smith are not only great for studio work, their little improvs onstage are something really special. Especially when John would come in with a little genious to spice it up. I'm think Stone Castle Concert
    Colin Greenwood and Philip Selway (Radiohead)
    I was hoping to see them mentioned! Though they're not insane virtuosos on their instruments like some of the other people mentioned, no matter what Thom Yorke and/or Jonny Greenwood throws at them, they can make it groove, and sound completely unique at the same time - Be it within the realms of eletronica, rock, funk, jazz, or something else, you name it, they can do it, and they can do it damn good!
    Exactly! Radiohead have been consistently experimental (understatement) for so long now and no matter how strange the songs and arrangements get Greenwood and Selway always hold it together with some excellent grooves... and they never repeat themselves from song to song.
    Definitely. They're so incredibly groovy and very tight as musicians. They really know how to be the foundation for the band.
    The Duplantier brothers from Gojira! Joe on vocals/lead and Mario on the drums.
    Oh, agree with you about Gojira. The only thing that rhythm section means drums + bass, not lead guitar) - so then Gojira's rhythm section are Mario Duplantier (drums) + Jean-Michel Labadie (bass) (as well as Alexandre Cornillon - band's bassist from the beginning until 2001).
    Kill A Kitten
    Gavin Harrison and Colin Edwin of Porcupine Tree are just about the coolest cats on their instruments.
    I was just looking for this. <3 This is my absolute personal #1 spot. Anesthetize explains everything.
    Alex Van Halen and Michael Anthony.
    finally someone said it. amazing skills they have
    They are often overlooked because of Eddie's virtuosity. Also, Anthony's backing vocals are invaluable to the classic VH sound, one of the most iconic sounds in rock.
    All of mine has been said but oh well... Either -Tim Commerford and Brad Wilk -Geddy Lee and Neil Peart -Flea and Chad Smith
    Paul and Ringo.I know a lot of people take the piss of Ringo's drumming, but it was tight. Edit: Not the best of all time but I'd put them in the top 10.
    Not only was it tight, but incredibly effective to serve the songs. Listen to "Rain" - the drums and bass mix so perfectly.