The world of rock and roll has predominantly been a male affair, but that doesn’t mean there haven’t been some killer female rockers who have held their own through the years. While men have been known to rule the bass guitar world, it should come as no surprise that women can also slay the strings of a bass – but like everything else women, have had to claw their way to the top to get recognition. Once they did, wow! Was everyone impressed? Here is a list of top female bassists who have earned the respect of the music industry. They were a hard pick! There’s a lot of women slaying out there.
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1. Kim Gordon
Kim Gordon is the co-founder and bass guitarist of one of the most influential bands of the 80s and 90s, Sonic Youth. In the 90’s, the grunge sound of Sonic Youth helped inspire other alternative bands including Nirvana. No doubt about it, Sonic Youth and Kim Gordon were one of the most influential rock and roll bands ever.
2. Tal Wilkenfeld
Considered by many to be the best female bassist, Australian born Tal, started out at only 19. She has played around the world with such legendary performers as Jeff Beck, Prince, Herbie Hancock, Eric Clapton, and Sting. Jeff Beck says listening to her solos leaves him emotional, which high praise is coming from a legendary rock star.
3. Esperanza Spalding
Esperanza is one of those multi-talented artists. Not only does she play bass but also the oboe, clarinet, violin, and is a Grammy winning jazz vocalist. She won that Grammy in 2011 from under the nose of hot favourite Justin Bieber.
4. Carol Kaye
Carol Kaye is a bassist who will forever be legendary. Not only is she a bassist, but a lyrisist who words will get stuck in your mind for years. Having been in the music industry for over 55 years, she has seen and done it all. She has worked with musicians, and on TV and movie soundtracks. She has an unforgettable jazzy style that has been in more than 11,000 recordings over three decades.
5. Sean Yseult
If anyone can hardcore rock out with the best of the bad boys, Sean is your girl. White Zombie wouldn’t be who they are without her. Her searing bass is a hurricane in motion, and is the recipe for Zombie’s success.
6. Melissa Auf De Maur
Coming out of Canada, singer, songwriter, actress, photographer, and rocking bassist, Melissa Auf De Maur has been rocking for two decades with bands including Smashing Pumpkins, Hole, Tinker, and Celebrity Skin. Breaking out on her own, she released Out of Our Minds and Auf de Maur which shows audiences how bass guitar is the instrument that takes a melody to the next level.
7. Rhonda Smith
Smith set the music world aflame right after graduating college. She hooked up with well-know Canadian artists like Claude Dubois, Joanne Blouin and Daniel Lavoie. She was awarded the Juno Award for Best Contemporary Jazz Album for her bass music with Jim Hillman soon after. From there she hooked up with Prince for several years. She has also worked with music giants Beyonce, Patti Labelle and George Clinton among others.
8. Meshell Ndegeocello
Meshell’s ten Grammy nominations are proof of this woman’s many talents. A singer and bassist, she blends her own style of R7B, funk, rock, soul, jazz, reggae, and hip-hop into her innovative sound. She was one of premier artists Madonna signed to Maverick Records, nd her sometimes ethereal music shows she has found where she belongs.