Top 10 Basslines Of All Time

Hundreds of you nominated for your favorite basslines. Here we present the results for you to see and hear for yourself. Do you agree with the results?

Ultimate Guitar

Guitarists get all the girls, drummers get all the jokes, and singers get all the interviews. But bassists are, as all UG readers know, the backbone to any rock track.

On Wednesday we asked you to nominate and vote for your favorites baselines ever.

Hundreds of you took part, and the result is a definitive list of awesome riffs that only UG readers could pull off.

So who were the winners, and do you agree with the results? Read on to find out.

10. Green Day "Longview"

Bassist Mike Dirnt vaguely recalls writing this riff while on acid:

"I was frying on acid so hard. I was laying up against the wall with my bass lying on my lap. It just came to me. I said, 'Billie, check this out. Isn't this the wackiest thing you've ever heard?' Later, it took me a long time to be able to play it, but it made sense when I was on drugs."

9. Led Zeppelin "Dazed And Confused"

The great Zeppelin didn't originally write this song - it was first penned by singer-songwriter Jake Holmes. Still, Jimmy Page tweaked it just enough to make it his own for John Paul Jones to lay down this monster of a bassline.

8. Rush "YYZ"

This instrumental track has been one of Rush's most popular live pieces since its inception in 1981. Based on Morse code, the guitar and bass play the 'short dash' with a root note of C, and uses an F# for the Morse code 'dots'. It's the kind of genius that only a group of prog legends like Rush could conceive.

7. Red Hot Chili Peppers "Around The World"

Flea was actually the last member of the band to put his part to the song, but it became one of the coolest intros ever written. It's what the word 'party' sounds like if you pitch it down a few octaves.

6. Alice In Chains "Would?"

Bassist Mike Starr tragically died of a drug overdose in 2011, but with a rattling bass hook like this he'll always be remembered.

5. Metallica "For Whom The Bell Tolls"

Cliff Burton, yet another brilliant bassist who was taken before his time. People used to mistake this opening sound for a guitar, but instead it was Burton's bass running though distortion and a wah-pedal. He actually wrote the riff before joining Metallica, and first aired it during a 12-minute jam at a battle of the bands competition in 1979.

4. Black Sabbath "N.I.B."

It seems UG readers love a bit of wah on bass! This time it's from Geezer Butler, who recorded his part in one legendary take. Geezer says he named the song after drummer Bill Ward's beard, which makes so little sense that some Americans decided to rename it "Naivety In Black".

3. Queen "Another One Bites The Dust"

Bassist John Deacon was perhaps the most mild-mannered member of Queen, but he was a creative powerhouse. He wrote some of the best-selling Queen singles, including this one which shifted over 7 million copies.

2. Megadeth "Peace Sells..."

It's easy to let frontman Dave Mustaine and his controversial comments overshadow the awesomeness of Megadeth. Thanks to bassist Dave Ellefson, this song was pretty close to winning our award for 'best baseline ever' and missed out by only four votes.

1. Pink Floyd "Money"

Who would have guessed! All of us, obviously. Never has a 7/8 riff sounded so effortless and groovy. It could have sounded quite different - Roger Waters originally demoed this song in G-sharp minor, but it was eventually recorded in B minor. Either way, the result was one of the all-time great basslines, and today it's your winner. Enjoy!

That's your official top 10 baselines of all time. Do you feel that anyone missed the cut? Which riffs would you add, and where? Let us know in the comments.

377 comments sorted by best / new / date

    A top 10 list where there isn't a joke entry?!?! What's going on?
    The joke is that there is no Tool...
    I thought Green Day's entry was the joke. Like come on, listen to Yes' "Roundabout".
    Great bassline, fun to play. Just because they are a modern pop-punk band doesn't mean they are musically mute.
    Roundabout should be on the list you're right, but everything ere still deserves its spot too..
    Changes by On Mercury deserves a spot on this list, the bass line is incredible.
    Changes by On Mercury deserves a spot on this list, the bass line is incredible.
    Diamond Dave
    roundabout is ridiculous and should have been in the 10, but longview is definitely also worthy. dazed and confused could have been spared to make room IMO.
    Οk so up until now, 15 people thought Green Day's entry was better than the bassline on Roundabout. I rest my case.
    It kind of is a joke, How can you have a top 10 basslines list without some Funk/Classic Motown/LES CLAYPOOL? i don't disagree with these memorable rock bass lines being on here but some of these could easily be knocked off by the aforementioned, not a good list!
    Agreed. When I read this and didn't see John The Fisherman or Tommy The Cat, I was shocked.
    you can only blame yourself and the other members of this site for the results. sure, they don't entirely coincide with your taste, but i think it's a respectable list. i would've liked to see some tech death or prog metal, but i can accept these results.
    uh, i can't blame myself for others votes that is a ridiculous statement lol. I don't listen to the music i listen to incite a riot i can only say that a certain poll is one sided, my guess?... ultimate guitar is a great tab site, the people who actually converse on here sway one side, it's mostly kids. Some of the metal and such i see dominating these polls, kinda corny, and only children would have these strong views on one kind of music, if you don't agree, sorry but this is the truth.
    You can't go wrong with Les. Oddly enough, my favorite Primus bassline is 'Jilly's on smack'. Nowhere near his own skill level, but it sounds so cool.
    sorry but if your top 10 basslines doesn't have a single black guy on it then there is something seriously wrong with your list. also no Kim Deal? Cannonball? Gouge Away? ugh...
    I agree that some of the best basslines where came from Motown but, alas, Metal bias dominates UG. Still can't figure out why Primus ain't here though
    The whole Fall Out Boy joke got old too long ago to gain enough thumbs up and screw the mods over.
    LOL the last one of these bass all time best threads i read had hysteria from muse as number one
    I'll be honest, the only bassline out of all these i like is longview. All the rest i forget what i even heard 5 seconds after hearing it.
    Should say top 10 Rock basslines. otherwise the exclusion of the legendary Bernard Edwards is criminal.
    The bassline for "Around the World" sounds too similar to the guitar line from "Breadfan" so I can't agree with that one. If they're going to put up a RHCP bassline, then I'd go with the one from "Soul to Squeeze." It's just sublime.
    naivety in black? was the writer of this article meaning to put that typo or were they just illiterate?
    Nothing from John Myung? The best bass player of all time? Octavarium, Panic Attack... nothing...
    Where the hell are Cinderella Man by Rush, Ramble On by the almighty Led Zeppelin and The Real Me by The Who?
    I was saddened to not see jack bruce on this list anywhere, he pretty much paved the way for bass players imho
    Well, it saddens me to see all the hatred and misunderrstandings here. To me this top ten list is about the basslines, not about who is the best bassist. It is about who made a bassline that is great. It can be simple and still be in the top ten. that's why you don't find geniuses like myung, sheehan, claypool and wooten in these lists. they are gods, but have they created evergreens of basslines? not really. listing seven nation army doesnt mean i think jack whites plays better guitar/bass than john myung. But sadly no one sees what this top ten thing is about. Since I want to be different and not spread hate I will list my top ten right now (regardless if one of the listet basslines has been named before or not and), but not in an order. Queen - Another one bites the dust Queen - Under Pressure Muse - Hysteria Muse Futurism Pink Floyd - Money Tool - Schism The White Stripes - Seven Nation Army Metallica - For Whom The Bell Tolls Black Sabbath - Crazy Train Limp Bizkit - The Truth Love & Peace
    Sammy Mantis
    I understand the essence of what you're saying and I agree. However, to say that Claypool, Wooten, etc. don't have any great bass lines to their name is just wrong. They excel in laying down great bass lines just as well as they excel in their flashier playing. It's just that most people are only familiar with their technical aspect. Exploring these players' music in depth is where the real reward is at. Wooten alone is worth years of study.
    This song has the best bass ever imagined: To Ride, Shoot Straight, and Speak the Truth by Entombed. The bass is incredible.
    I'm very surprised at lack of Funk or Jazz tunes in this list. I'm not sayin any of these songs are bad, but this list says top 10 bass lines of ALL TIME, and there are TONS of basslines that I feel are much groovier than anything up there. Honestly, out of the 10 given, I'd say Queen's "Another One Bites the Dust" has the coolest, grooviest bassline, and they use the rest of the band to compliment it nicely (much of a good bass line is how well it jams with the rest of the rhythm section. And it's gotta be more than just a good chord progression. Anyone can pluck away at the bass note of a chord). Black Sabbath's "N.I.B." I feel shouldn't even be up there. The bass just copies the melody for far too much of the song. But if you really want some of the best groovy bass lines, I'd say go look for some funk bass stuff or some jazz tunes. Here's some examples of some songs with basslines I feel could easily beat the majority of this list, but I still probably wouldn't put them on a top 10 list. There are so freakin many songs out there, narrowing down 10 songs feel pretty impossible. Maybe make like a top 100 list? But man, I still feel the vast majority would be funk/jazz tunes.
    I wish Bob Daisley's part in Ozzy's "No More Tears" would have made it. It's simple but pretty awesome.
    People forget that Longview was the launching point for one of the most successful careers ever that is currently persisting through all the garbage thats on the radio now.
    My favourite bassline's Kalmageddon by Lordi, which is pretty good, but it would never make one of these lists, i suppose. Schism at least should be on there!
    Definitely need a top 20 at least to fit in Roundabout, something by Tool, something of Les Claypool's, something by Victor Wooten... And many more. Everything on UG is so biased nowadays... But still, these 10 on the list are some pretty damn good basslines
    Rock Basslines YYZ Rush Die Young Black Sabbath Ala Delta Divididos Why Uriah Heep Dani California Red Hot Chilli Peppers Simple Man Lynyrd Skynyrd Ramble On Led Zeppelin No, no, no Deep Purple Badge / White Room Cream Sixteenth Century Greensleeves Rainbow
    oh man. ima bass player and this is just theee shittiest list ever put together. mabe like 2 or 3 of them r worthy enuff 2 b on it but wow. i play technical bass so i kno my basslines. just when i thought my day was brightened it was brought back down. *****s
    OK list, none of the basslines on there are bad, but still really weak considering how many more, better ones there are out there. For almost every band on the list, I can think of several other basslines that would have fit better.
    I mean Megadeth have way more better songs with cool bass but Peace Sells? I dont think so...There should be Mudvayne instead of this song
    Why is there nothing by Tool? Could've picked Schism, Forty six & 2, The Pot, or about 15 others. Justin Chancellor is an incredible bassist
    Seeing Megadeth above Metallica in this poll must make Dave Mustaine as happy as Dee Snider winning the Sexiest Rock Chick poll.
    Actually, quite a good list, I'm surprised. I was expecting to see hysteria at number one and I'm really glad I didn't. It's a great riff, but doesn't hold a candle to some of these classics.
    Yeah. for once Muse's fans let them down. Every other list that UG has published im pretty sure had hysteria at the top.
    Ok schism by Tool should be on this.. And like any song by Primus really..