Top 10 Classic Rock Bass Solos

Rev up and roll the track ‘cause it’s all about the bass!

The bass is the backbone of a song, it is the foundation that any melody hangs upon. Although the bass does not seem to stand out right away, its role in supporting harmonies is very crucial. The bass sound may also seem simple in sound but it actually also helps define a song’s key. It emphasizes the chord tones of the other instruments involved in a track.  Bass solos for a long time were not the star of a rock track and bassists of a band always tend to be sent to the backstand. Well, it’s now time to shine the light on the bass. While it may not always be star of a track, amazingly talented bassists in the rock genre have made it stand out with head-bobbing, jaw-dropping solos. The bass is so important that it’s very noticeable when it disappears. So the bass really does deserve more attention!

10.  “Fireball” by Deep Purple

Deep Purple’s Roger Glover has got to be one of hard rock’s most underrated bassists! Glover is a true blessing to Deep Purple, consistent yet creative, being able to hold down songs even in the band’s legendary Mach II line up. Moreover, “Fireball” just highlights Glover’s talent on the bass. As it is one of the band’s fastest tracks, Glover definitely shines in this number with his noisy bass solo that kicks off the whole song into an epic overdrive.


9. “Stay Clean” by Motörhead

Seriously, this bass solo is as massively badass as its creator Lemmy Kilmister! “Stay Clean” is a track from Motorhead’s groundbreaking album Overkill released in 1979. No one can deny the epicness of the solo which is tough and hard and truly awesome it just blows everyone’s mind every time it comes on!

8. “Time Machine” by The Winery Dogs 

This mid-tempo song is proof that The Winery Dogs bassist is definitely in a league of his own. Sheehan’s bass tone is the glue that holds this stomper together. It also proves that Sheehan is one of the greatest bass players that’s ever lived. He’s not only a talented bassist but a badass gutiarist as well, one of the few who can create bass-guitarmonies (bass + guitar harmonies). And his solo? Man, just watch it (at the 2:13 mark) and let it do all the work!


7.  “NIB” by Black Sabbath 

Fun fact: his Geezer Butler intro off the band’s first album was one of the first solo bass parts in rock music! NIB by Black Sabbath made history despite how vastly underrated it is. Butler exemplifies in his bass solo his jazz background with his heavy metal playing style and it just works wonders!

6.  “Tommy the Cat” by Primus

The entire song displays Les Claypool’s out-of-this-world skills on the bass. His funky lead-rhythm playing style is definitely featured on the wicked bass solo that you’d want to listen to over and over again. The complex slapping bass line is just Les Claypool at his finest.

5. “Crossroads” by Cream

Who wouldn’t put Cream’s masterpiece of a cover “Crossroads” on the list of best bass solos ever? It’s the prime of Eric Clapton’s guitar work yes, but bassist Jack Bruce definitely steals the show on this track. The way Bruce lays down the bass hard underneath the entire song is just so perfect. Bruce is one of the pioneers on bass solos on stage too, proving that the bass didn’t always have to be stuck in the background.

4. Rush “YYZ”

The beloved Canadian progressive rock trio has a career that spans more than forty years and has cemented their status as master musicians who are experts at their own instruments. This undeniable musical talent is widely showcased in their instrumental track “YYZ” fromtheir 1981 album Moving Pictures. On this instrumental, we hear Alex Lifeson’s amazing guitar movements, Neil Peart’s explosive drum playing, and most notably, lead singer Geddy Lee’s highly impressive work on the bass while simultaneously doing synth as well! Lee’s brief bass solos prove the high level of technicality he has on top of his natural musical abilities. He matches Neil Peart’s out-of-this world drumming on this track that just makes the entire instrumental a classic example of great musicianship. Also worthy of note, The intro to the song is Morse code for “YYZ”, the  IATA airport identification code of Toronto Pearson International Airport, where Rush hails from . In Morse Code “YYZ” is written:

“-.– -.– –..”

3. “Dazed and Confused” by Led Zeppelin (1969)

This ultimate Zep classic is anchored by the amazing bass line of the great John Paul Jones. His heavy chromatic bass riff opens the song and keeps the whole thing together all throughout. Jones’ walking bass line greatly compliments the guitar solo and the paranoid lyrics, making this record the first spine-tingling psychedelic blues rock track for the band. Jones lays down a simple minor –key riff and really gets into the groove of his insane bass licks around the three-and-a-half-minute mark. This song cemented the unrivaled talent of Jones as a bassist, and as he will later be known as, an immensely talented multi-instrumentalist as well playing a variety of musical instruments such as the organ, koto, lap steel guitar, autoharp, violin, cello, sitar, ukulele, and of course, who could forget his recorder intro in “Stairway to Heaven”.



2. “Anesthesia (Pulling Teeth)” by  Metallica

These are one of those early Metallica tracks that certainly make you miss the band’s original bassist Cliff Burton. Especially on the bass solo of this song when Burton redefined what the bass could do in a metal band to the new generation of fans. He made his bass solo that sound like lead guitar solo and people’s brains melted! This song is still regarded as one of the best rock bass solos ever

1. “My Generation” by The Who (1965)

Another rock bass pioneer, The Who’s legendary bassist John Entwistle innovated some of the greatest bass tapping techniques that are still being used today. He was one of the first bassists to feature bass solos and leads in songs such as their 1965 hit “My Generation”. His insane tapping techniques on the track involved using all four fingers at the same time to emulate the sound of chords with the bass.

Entwistle’s bassline for “My Generation” cemented the importance of his instrument to the entirety of the band’s sound. The song is punctuated by Entwistle’s bass solos, highlighted even further when the rest of the band drops out. The dynamic between Pete Townshend’s guitar riffs and Entwistle’s bass solos establishes the virtuosic essence of the song’s instrumentation. Entwistle’s bassline solo on this track is one of the first bass solos ever in rock music history.