Wednesday Question: Best Rhythm Section?

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

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Ultimate Guitar
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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

    cemerson2012
    Bill Ward and Geezer Butler
    third(-)eye
    Justin Chancellor and Danny Carey
    third(-)eye
    Les Claypool and Tim Alexander
    third(-)eye
    Bill Bruford and Tony Levin
    uncletobycolour
    Not sure if anyone has said this yet. Jose Pasillas and Dirk Lance from Incubus. The tightness in the grooves on SCIENCE are unbelieveable
    GCanuck_39
    Geddy Lee and Neil Peart, just look at all those time changes
    ibanez124
    Just listen to YYZ, and they win
    dan.zoum
    Flea and Chad Smith
    Barricade_28
    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.
    PoloSG68
    Yes! On an alt.rock note, Chris Wolstenholme and Dominic Howard I find incredibly underrated... Not the best ever but definitely a worthy mention.
    PoloSG68
    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.
    KaleviHagqvist
    YES! anybody who disagrees don't know sh*t about REAL sh*t!
    N7Crazy
    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.
    N-D
    But for me one of the best are: Rage Against The Machine (Tim Commerford and Brad Wilk creates something really groovy)
    KerNeL_KLuTcH
    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.
    Sneezguitar
    John Bonham and John Paul Jones
    WowSuchGuitar
    oh, nice, this is gonna win just because THIS IS LED ZEPPELIN OMG THEI WROTE ZA BEST MUSAC EVAR
    PoorePlaysBass
    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.
    TheLiberation
    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.
    leo4sf
    How did it take so long to get to this? We got freaking Gojira before JPJ and Bonham. What is this world coming to?
    scorpio2billion
    John Paul Jones never stood out, to me.
    Hungry_Hameds
    that was kinda the point, rock solid groove, knitted to Bonzo's beat airtight... RHYTHM, not lead...
    MaggaraMarine
    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
    JSmith38
    Brann Dailor, Troy Sanders and Bill Keliher from Mastodon.
    blackwingbat
    Mastodon's rhythm section is one of most incredible things in modern rock music. This can't be understated.
    SstanN
    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.
    DEG_III
    Absolutely. One of the greatest drummers to have ever lived and my personal favourite bassist of all time. So innovative.
    withoutanyname
    Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell
    theclassicrock
    Noel Redding never struck me as anything extraordinary but Mitch Mitchell is the king of underrated drummers.
    mattjamesrenn
    what? hope you are joking about Noel.
    theclassicrock
    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.
    Maiden95
    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.
    KBI2113
    Petrucci/Myung/Ruddess of Dream Theater. The ending part of "The Fatal Tragedy" to be exact.
    Maiden95
    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.
    henrihell
    Except that dream theather doesn't have a rhythm section, they all play lead.
    TheLiberation
    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.
    Linkerman
    Martin Mendez + Martin Lopez.
    TheLiberation
    Also Martin Mendez + Martin Axenrot, both are awesome. PORCELAIN HEART
    Linkerman
    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".
    ilayer6
    Well... Jon Theodore and Juan Alderete play real hard.
    qrEE
    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!
    PoorePlaysBass
    If it's not John Bonham and John Paul Jones, it's wrong.
    third(-)eye
    No it's not.
    third(-)eye
    Most popular rhythm section =/= best.
    led_matt
    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.
    songbird64
    Paul and Ringo- The Beatles
    bifteksupernova
    +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.
    NvizoN
    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.
    sweathog14
    Unmatched? Not trying to dog the guy here, but playing in a 4/4 pocket with a 60bpm song isn't exactly extraordinary.
    Lord_Doku
    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.
    NvizoN
    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.
    iommi600
    Also John Entwistle and Keith Moon, but we don't even need to mention this one, do we?
    Kueller917
    Colin Greenwood and Phil Selway.
    Kueller917
    Oh damn, missed the post further above. Thought I had searched all the comments.
    Dazalator88
    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
    Abacus11
    Colin Greenwood and Philip Selway (Radiohead)
    N7Crazy
    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!
    Abacus11
    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.
    Kueller917
    Definitely. They're so incredibly groovy and very tight as musicians. They really know how to be the foundation for the band.
    Playtodie
    The Duplantier brothers from Gojira! Joe on vocals/lead and Mario on the drums.
    N-D
    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.
    TheLiberation
    I was just looking for this. <3 This is my absolute personal #1 spot. Anesthetize explains everything.
    Fatfox51
    Alex Van Halen and Michael Anthony.
    maliceheart18
    finally someone said it. amazing skills they have
    Fatfox51
    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.
    Icky101
    All of mine has been said but oh well... Either -Tim Commerford and Brad Wilk -Geddy Lee and Neil Peart -Flea and Chad Smith
    ChucklesMginty
    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.
    seance
    Not only was it tight, but incredibly effective to serve the songs. Listen to "Rain" - the drums and bass mix so perfectly.