Who Are The Best Female Bass Players In History?

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Throughout the years, we have had exceptional guitar players and bass guitar players. Today, we will look at female bass players. When you think of bass players, you rarely think of women. But that is a mistake. Many women mastered the bass guitar.

The bass guitar is the lowest-pitched member of the guitar family. It is a plucked string instrument similar in appearance and construction to an electric or an acoustic guitar, but with a longer neck and scale length. Typically, it has four to six strings or courses.

While the bass has only four strings, many people mistakenly think it is easy to play it. And no, bassists are not failed guitarists.

Here are the top female bass players.

Tal Wilkenfeld

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Born in December 1986, Tal is an Australian singer, songwriter, and bassist. Her career began playing alongside artists like Eric Clapton, Mick Jagger, and Prince. In 2008, Bass Player magazine readers voted her the Year’s Most Exciting New Player.

She is a bandleader of her eponymous bands. In them, she sings, plays bass and guitar. Wilkenfeld opened for The Who on their North American part of The Who Hits 50! Tour in 2016.

She has recorded on projects with Ringo Starr, Toto, Joe Walsh, Rod Stewart, John Mayer, Sting, Hans Zimmer, and many more.

Kim Gordon

kim gordon
Photo: twitter.com

Born in April 1953, Kim Althea Gordon is an American musician, singer, and bassist for the alternative rock band Sonic Youth.

Born in New York, she spent her childhood in Los Angeles. Her father worked as a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Gordon formed the band Sonic Youth in 1981 with Thurston Moore. The two got married in 1984 and have released six albums together by the end of the 1980s.

In addition to her work as a musician, Kim also works as a record producer. She also tried herself in fashion and acting.

Gail Ann Dorsey

gail ann dorsey
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Born in November 1962, she is an American musician with a long career as a session musician. She plays mostly on bass guitar. Famous for her lengthy residency in David Bowie’s band from 1995 to his death in 2016, she also sang lead vocals on live versions of Under Pressure. Gail took the part originally sung by Freddie Mercury and sang with Bowie on other duet songs.

From 1993 to 1996 she toured with Tears for Fears. She has three solo albums.

Kimberley Ann Deal

kim deal
Photo: twitter.com

Born in June 1961, Kimberley is an American singer and songwriter. She was bassist and co-vocalist for the alternative rock band Pixies. But then she formed the band The Breeders in 1989.

Pixies broke up in early 1993 so she shifted her focus to the Breeders. They released their Last Splash platinum-selling album in 1993.

The next year, the Breeders went into hiatus, but Deal reformed the Breeders with a new line-up in the early 2000s.

In 2018, the band released their fifth album, All Nerve.

Martina Michele Weymouth

marina michele waymouth
Photo: facebook.com

Born in November 1950, Martina is an American musician, singer, songwriter, and author. She is famous as a founding member and bassist of the new wave group Talking Heads and the side project Tom Tom Club.

She co-founded Tom Tom Club with her husband and Talking Heads drummer, Christ Frantz. She first started her musical career in 12 joining the Potomac English Hand Bell Ringers, an amateur music group. Two years later, she taught herself to play the guitar.

Carol Kaye

carol kaye
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Born in March 1935, Carol is an American musician, and one of the most prolific recorded bass guitarists in history. She has played on an estimated 10,000 recordings of pop and rock music.

Her career spans for more than 50 years. Kaye started playing in her early teens and then in 1957 started session work.

During the peak of her session work, she became part of the Los Angeles musicians group. During her career, she got famous by playing melodic and syncopated lines on the bass, rather than simply covering a straightforward part.

She has achieved recognition as one of the best session bassists of all time.

Susan Kay Quatro

suzan quatro
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Born in 1950, Susan is an American singer and songwriter, but also an actress. She gained popularity in the 1970s by recording several hit singles. She reached higher popularity in Europe and Australia, her homeland.

In 1973, she released her self-titled album. Since then, she has released fifteen studio albums and several compilation albums.

Her music covers several genres, primarily hard rock and glam rock.

Esperanza Emily Spalding

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Born in October 1984, Esperanza is an American jazz bassist, singer, and composer. She has won four Grammy Awards and a Soul Train Music Award. She began playing professionally in her childhood as a violinist in the Chamber Music Society of Oregon. Emily Spalding was only five years old at the time.

Later on, she learned to play other instruments, including guitar and bass. In 2006, she released her first album.

Besides writing and performing music, she has worked as an instructor.

Wanda Ortiz

wanda ortiz
Photo: twitter.com

Wanda is the bass player of the all-female tribute band, The Iron Maidens. As one of the best female bass players, she is part of the only female tribute band to Iron Maiden.

She learned to play the bass at the age of 9. At the time, she attended a music program in elementary school enabling students to sign up and choose an instrument.

By the age of 11, she learned to play electric bass. She started playing in the school jazz band and then throughout her school years. Eventually, she got a B. Mus degree from the University of California, Irvine.

Before joining the Iron Maidens, she played bass guitar for the band Rotten Rod & The Warheads from 1997 to 2002. In 2003, she won the Best Female Bassist Award at the Rock City News Awards.

In September 2002, she joined The Iron Maidens and has remained with the band ever since. Her stage name is Steph Harris, a female version of Steve Harris, the bassist, and founder of Iron Maiden.

Ida Kristine Nielsen

ida kristina
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Born in 1975, Ida Nielsen is a Danish bass player, vocalist, and composer. Some people know her as Bass Ida or Bassida. Famous for playing in bands like Belgian Zap Mama, Danish pop-rock band Michael Learns to Rock, and the American funk band The New Power Generation.

In 2008, Ida Nielsen released her debut solo studio album, Marmelade. And two years later, she started working with Prince and joined his The New Power Generation project. She is also part of Prince’s musical trio, 3rdeyegirl. They toured all over North America and Europe.

Rhonda Smith

rhonda smith
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Born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, Rhonda is considered one of the best women bass guitar players. She and her three siblings started playing musical instruments as a child. They played baritone horn, keyboards, guitar, and eventually electric bass.

She took private classical training but also attended McGill University in Montreal. There, she studied jazz performance.

She got famous for recording and touring with Prince for almost 10 years. Rhonda has also worked with Beyonce, Chaka Khan, Lee Ritenour, Jeff Beck, and many more.

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