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A bassist, or bass player, is a musician who plays a bass instrument such as a double bass, bass guitar, keyboard bass or a low brass instrument such as a tuba or sousaphone. Different musical genres tend to be associated with one or more of these instruments. Since the 1960s, the electric bass has been the standard bass instrument for funk,R&B, soul music, rock and roll, reggae, jazz fusion, heavy metal, country and pop music. The double bass is the standard bass instrument for classical music, bluegrass, rockabilly, and most genres of jazz. Low brass instruments such as the tuba or sousaphone are the standard bass instrument in Dixieland and New Orleans-style jazz bands.
Despite the associations of different bass instruments with certain genres, there are exceptions. Some 1990s and 2000s rock and pop bands use a double bass, such as both Andrew Jackson Jihad, Barenaked Ladies; Indie band The Decemberists; and punk rock, psychobilly groups such as The Living End, Nekromantix, The Horrorpops, and Tiger Army. Some fusion jazz groups use a lightweight, stripped-down electric upright bass rather than a double bass. Some composers of modern art music use the electric bass in a chamber music setting. Some jazz big bands use electric bass. Some funk, R&B and jazz, fusion groups use synth bass or keyboard bass rather than electric bass. Bootsy Collins and Stevie Wonder used synth bass. Some Dixieland bands use double bass or electric bass instead of a tuba. In some jazz groups and jam bands, the basslines are played by a Hammond organ player, who uses the bass pedal keyboard or the lower manual for the low notes.
Electric bassists play the bass guitar. In most rock, pop, metal and country genres, the bass line outlines the harmony of the music being performed, while simultaneously indicating the rhythmic pulse. In addition, there are many different standard bass line types for different genres and types of song (e.g. blues ballad, fast swing, etc.). Bass lines often emphasize the root note, with a secondary role for the third, and fifth of each chord being used in a given song. In addition, pedal tones (repeated or sustained single notes), ostinatos, and bass riffs are also used as bass lines. While most electric bass players rarely play chords (three or more notes all sounded at the same time), chords are used in some styles, especially funk, R&B, soul music, jazz, Latin and heavy metal music.
A shortlist of some of the notable bassists includes:
For a long list, see the List of contemporary classical double bass players.
A shortlist of notable double bass players includes:
For a long list, see the List of jazz bassists, which includes both double bass and electric bass players.
A shortlist of notable jazz bassists includes:
For a longer list, see the List of double bassists in popular music, which includes blues, folk, country, etc.
A shortlist of the notable bassists in these genres includes: