100 Best Female Bassists

Updated on May 16, 2019
Ansel Pereira profile image

I have been an online writer for over two years. I am passionate about books, philosophy, music, and the music industry.

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The bass guitar's rich tone adds texture to a song, filling in the empty space with added layers of emotional depth. The bass guitar may not be a very popular stringed instrument, but it is the most important stringed instrument for creating rhythm. Bass riffs, in unison with the kick drum and the snare drum, shape a rock song's rhythm. Bassists help keep the whole band in time. Without a good bassist, a band just doesn't sound full.

This article is a tribute to the best female bassists. The list below showcases a diverse number of female bass players from various genres. If you are passionate about bass guitar, you will have something to say. Feel free to share your views and opinions in the comments section.

Top 10 Best Female Bassists

  1. Mohini Dey—Jazz/Funk (Jazz Fusion/Solo/Sessions Musician)
  2. Carol Kaye—Jazz (Solo/Sessions Musician)
  3. Tal Wilkenfeld—Rock/Jazz (Solo/Sessions Musician)
  4. Esperanza Spalding—Jazz (Solo/Sessions Musician)
  5. Meshell Ndegeocello—Jazz/Funk/Soul (Solo/Sessions Musician)
  6. Gail Ann Dorsey—Rock/Funk (David Bowie/Sessions Musician)
  7. Kim Deal—Alternative Rock (Pixies)
  8. Sean Yseult—Heavy Metal/Alternative Metal (White Zombie)
  9. Kim Gordan—Alternative Rock (Sonic Youth)
  10. Brandi Disterheft—Jazz (Solo)

Importance of Bass in a Band

While most of the bass playing world is dominated by men, in recent decades, the number of supremely talented female bass guitar players has grown drastically. A strong bass player binds the sound of the band, giving it a strong musical foundation. A good bassist forms the groove, helping other instrumentalists flourish with their musical explorations.

Although many women in music have taken up playing the acoustic guitar, electric guitar, keyboard/piano, and drums, very few female musicians have made the bass guitar their signature instrument. However, in recent years, female bass players have taken their techniques to a whole new level, and that’s definitely a sign of great things to come!

Best Female Bassists #11-20

11. Rhonda Smith—Rock/Jazz (Prince/Sessions Musician)

12. Melissa Auf de Maur—Alternative Rock (Hole)

13. Tina Weymouth—Art Rock/New Wave (Talking Heads)

14. Suzi Quatro—Rock (Solo)

15. Aimee Mann—Rock/Alternative Rock (‘Til Tuesday)

16. Ginger Pooley—Alternative Rock (The Smashing Pumpkins)

17. Kira Roessler—Punk Rock (Black Flag)

18. Sara Lee—Alternative Rock (Gang of Four)

19. Paz Lenchantin—Alternative Rock (Pixies)

20. Jennifer Finch—Punk Rock/Alternative Rock (L7)

The New Wave of Female Bass Players

In recent decades, female bass guitar players have made significant contributions across various music genres. A number of female bassists are working as session musicians. In recent times, female bass players have floored guitar music fans with their technical skills. This new wave of female bass guitarists have showcased complex bass slap techniques that are exemplary in every sense. Furthermore, the number of female guitar players with unconventional playing techniques has risen significantly, bringing new bass explorations into mainstream genres.

A number of female bass players from the ‘60s and ‘70s did not receive the recognition that they deserved. While the ‘80s and ‘90s showcased some female bassists, it’s only since the early 2000s that female bass players have started earning accolades from music critics.

Best Female Bassists #21-40

21. Debbie Googe—Alternative Rock (My Bloody Valentine/Primal Scream)

22. Michie Nakatani—Alternative Rock (Shonen Knife)

23. Juliana Hatfield—Alternative Rock (Blake Babies/The Lemonheads)

24. D’arcy Wretzky—Alternative Rock (The Smashing Pumpkins)

25. Gail Greenwood- Alternative Metal (Belly/L7)

26. Catherine Popper—Rock (Ryan Adams and the Cardinals)

27. Kathy Foster—Punk Rock/Alternative Rock (The Thermals)

28. Jackie Foxx—Rock (The Runaways)

29. Kathy Valentine—Rock (The Go-Go’s)

30. Kristen Pfaff—Alternative Rock (Hole)

31. Laura Balance—Rock (Superchunk)

32. Janice Marie Johnson—Soul/R&B (A Taste of Honey)

33. Ida Kristine Nielsen—Funk/Rock (Solo/Sessions Musician)

34. Tracy Wormworth—Rock (Solo/Sessions Musician)

35. Jeanne Sagan—Heavy Metal (Crossing Rubicon)

36. Jenny Lee Lindberg—Indie Rock (Warpaint)

37. Atsuko Yamono—Rock (Shonen Knife)

38. Michael Steele—Rock (The Bangles/The Runaways)

39. Patricia Morrrison—Rock/Punk Rock (Bags, Sisters of Mercy, Bags)

40. Nicole Fiorentino—Alternative Rock (The Smashing Pumpkins)

Female Bassists and Bass Slap Techniques

Bass slap techniques are exceedingly popular in jazz, funk, and the jazz fusion genre. Many female bassists have used creative slap techniques, which have added vividness and character to their compositions. Some female bass players use intricate harmonic scales that will cause your jaw to drop. In the years ahead, we will witness female guitar players taking these complex techniques to a whole new level.

Best Female Bass Guitarists #41-60

41. Este Haim—Rock (Solo)

42. Debra Killings—R&B/Soul (Sessions Musician)

43. Maya Ford—Rock (The Donnas)

44. Mai Leisz—Jazz/Jazz Fusion (Solo/Sessions Musician)

45. Gina Birch—Rock/Punk Rock (The Raincoats)

46. Trish Doan—Alternative Rock (Kittie)

47. Maureen Herman—Alternative Rock (Babes In Toyland)

48. Joanna Bolme—Indie Rock (Sessions Musician)

49. Shauna Reynolds—Rock/Heavy Metal (White Zombie)

50. Ivy Jenkins—Heavy Metal (KIttie)

51. Anna Sentina—Hard Rock/Rock (Sessions Musician)

52. Theresa Flaminio—Soul/R&B (Sessions Musician)

53. Josephine Wiggs—Alternative Rock/Rock (The Breeders/The Perfect Disaster)

54. Divinity Roxx—Blues/Funk/Soul (Solo/Sessions Musician)

55. Tessa Pollitt—Punk Rock (The Slits)

56. Eva Gardner—Rock/Progressive Rock (Sessions Musician)

57. Robin Moulder—Rock/Heavy Metal (Jack Off Jill)

58. Stephanie Ashworth—Rock (Something For Kate)

59. Share Pederson—Rock (Vixen)

60. Butterfly Boucher—Rock (Sessions Musician)

Best Female Bass Players #61-80

61. Gaye Advert—Punk Rock (The Adverts)

62. Shanne Bradley—Punk Rock (The Nipple Erectors)

63. Ida Evileye—Rock/Heavy Metal (Solo)

64. Leah Randi—Alternative Rock (Sessions Musician)

65. Kimberly Dahme—Rock (Boston)

66. Kinga Glyk—Jazz/Funk (Kinga Glyk Band)

67. Alla Fedynitch—Heavy Metal (Eyes of Eden)

68. Shingai Shoniwa—Indie Rock (Noisettes)

69. Camila Grey—Rock (Mellowdrone)

70. Pia Maiocco—Rock (Vixen)

71. Marya Roxx—Rock (Vanilla Ninga)

72. Lori Black—Rock (Melvins)

73. Donna Dresch—Rock (Team Dresch)

74. Julie Slick—Experimental (Adrian Belew Power Trio)

75. Kathi Wilcox—Alternative (The Julie Ruin)

76. Rachel Haden—Rock (That Dog)

77. Beverly Breckenridge—Rock/Punk Rock (Fifth Column)

78. Tish Ciravolo—Rock (Rag Dolls)

79. Joyce Irby—R&B (Klymaxx)

80. Regina Zernay Roberts—Rock/Punk Rock (Scarlet Fever)

Best Female Bass Guitar Players #81-100

81. Jennifer Arroyo—Rock (Kittie)

82. Clare Kenny—Rock/Pop (Sessions Musician)

83. Nik West—Funk/Rock (Sessions Musician)

84. Michelle Mae—Rock N’ Roll (The Make-Up)

85. Nadja Peulen—Heavy Metal (Cola Chamber)

86. Jo Bench—Heavy Metal (Bolt Thrower)

87. Misia Furtak—Rock (Tres b)

88. Debbie Smith—Alternative Rock (Echobelly)

89. Iracema Trevisan—Indie Rock (CSS)

90. Tomomi Ogawa—Rock (Scandal)

91. Sheila Chipperfield—Rock (Elastica)

92. Abby Travis—Rock (Sessions Musician)

93. Melanie Sisneros—Rock/Heavy Metal (Crescent Shield)

94. Johnette Napolitano—Alternative Rock (Concrete Blonde)

95. Molly McGuire—Rock (Sessions Musician)

96. Wanda Ortiz—Heavy Metal (The Iron Maidens)

97. Britta Phillips—Rock (Luna/Dean&Britta)

98. Annie Holland—Rock (Elastica)

99. Stefanie Drootin—Rock (The Good Life)

100. Kim Warnick—Rock (The Fastbacks)

Who is the Best Female Bass Player?

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    © 2019 Ansel Pereira

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