Looking for a list of the world’s best female bass players? Well, you’ve found it! Throughout this article, we’ll delve into some of the greatest female bassists both past and present.
Within this compendium, I’ve included many of the heavy hitters from the world of bass. However, I’ve also made sure to include a handful of names that you might not be familiar with.
This list is by no means ranked, so please feel free to peruse it at your leisure without feeling that your favorite female bass player has been done a disservice!
For each of these women bass players, I have included a very brief bio plus a video showcasing some of their best bass playing. I hope that you manage to find some great musical inspiration within!
Best Female Bass Players
1. Gail Ann Dorsey
Gail Ann Dorsey is a successful session musician and vocalist, having toured with many of the world’s biggest artists and bands. She is best known for having handled over two decades of bass duties for David Bowie before his untimely death in 2016.
Aside from being one of the world’s most in-demand bass players, she has also released three critically acclaimed solo studio albums to date.
2. Divinity Roxx
Best known for her 5 years touring the world with pop megastar Beyonce’s all-female band, Divinity Roxx is one of the world’s best female bass players.
Her powerful and electric on-stage performances also led to her spending 5 years touring with bass virtuoso Victor Wooten. During this time she impressed the world with her incredible ability to perform complex bass lines and rap simultaneously.
At the time of writing, she has released 4 solo albums, including her latest Grammy award-nominated release Ready Set Go.
3. Carol Kaye
With a career spanning over 6 decades, and an estimated 10,000 recording sessions to her name, Carol Kaye is one of the world’s most prolific recording musicians of all time.
She was part of the legendary Wrecking Crew, a Los Angeles-based group of session musicians that played on literally hundreds of top 40 hits throughout the 1960s and 70s.
Although you may not be familiar with many of the bassists in this list, you will have definitely heard plenty of Carol’s contributions to music. Good Vibrations by the Beach Boys, Scarborough Fair by Simon and Garfunkel, And The Beat Goes On by Sonny and Cher, Feelin’ Alright by Joe Cocker.
Yup, all Carole Kaye! This female bassist is an absolute legend in the world of recording musicians.
4. Kim Deal
Kim Deal was the female bassist and co-vocalist for alternative rock giants The Pixies until 2013. She is currently the frontwoman and rhythm guitarist for The Breeders.
Kim is known for her driving, no-frills style that helped to shape much of the 1990s US rock scene. She became one of the most important and influential alt-rock bassists of all time.
5. Kim Gordon
For 3 decades, Kim Gordon performed bass and vocal duties with American rock band Sonic Youth. As the driving force behind the band, she released an incredible 16 studio albums and was a massive influence on the alternative rock and indie music scene.
Incredibly, Kim didn’t actually pick up a musical instrument until the age of 27. She is often described as having mastered the art of simplicity, playing only the essential notes and rhythms.
After Sonic Youth disbanded, Kim formed two bands (Body/Head and Glitterbust) and also released a solo album entitled No Home Record.
6. Jackie Fox
Jackie Fox was the bassist for all-female alt-rockers The Runaways from 1975 until 1977. Although the band never became huge in the States, they had massive success overseas, especially in Japan.
A biographical movie about the band was released in 2010 with actress Alia Shawkat playing the part of Jackie, albeit with a name change to Robin.
Fun Fact! Jackie initially auditioned to be the guitarist for The Runaways, but ended up playing bass for the band after borrowing a friend’s instrument.
7. Tina Weymouth
As the bedrock of new-wave legends Talking Heads, Tina Weymouth helped the band become one of the most critically acclaimed of the 1980s.
She was known to combine minimalist punk basslines with funk-inspired grooves that gave the band their bold signature sound. As one of the best female bassists, she created some of the most interesting new-wave-era basslines.
Her simple, but undeniably catchy grooves have inspired legions of new bass players to pick up the instrument.
8. Meshell Ndegeocello
Grammy award-winning female bass player Meshell Ndegeocello has been trailblazing the music scene for over 3 decades at the time of writing.
Her debut album Plantation Lullabies is widely regarded as having pretty much defined the neo-soul genre.
A master curator of groove, she is known for her incredible musicality. Her projects are purely musical, with all elements of each song just happening to be supported by phenomenal bass playing.
9. Tal Wilkenfeld
Over the last 20 years, Tal Wilkenfeld has played bass with industry giants such as Jeff Beck, Prince, Herbie Hancock, Incubus, Eric Clapton, and Mick Jagger amongst others.
She first caught the world’s attention back in 2007 when a video of her playing a bass solo with Jeff Beck went viral. Since then she has only gone from strength to strength, becoming one of the world’s most in-demand bass guitarists.
To date, she has also released two studio albums as a solo artist, both of which have received widespread critical acclaim.
10. Esperanza Spalding
Although she primarily made her name as a bassist, Grammy award-winning Esperanza Spalding is also a talented multi-instrumentalist and composer.
She is adept at both the upright and electric bass, with a playstyle that exudes passion, soul, and gracefulness. Her music is somehow both contemporary and ahead of its time simultaneously.
With each release of new music, she seems to be able to evolve and take her bass playing and artistry to new heights. In terms of raw talent, Esperanza is undoubtedly one of the best female bassists to feature on this list.
11. Bridget Kearney
As a founding member of the multi-genre band Lake Street Dive, Bridget Kearney is a formidable female upright bass player.
Her powerful, funky, and melodic basslines ensure that, unlike many other bassists, she doesn’t get overlooked as a member of the band.
To date, she has released almost thirty albums with various bands and also as a solo artist. She has also toured and recorded with a number of top-flight artists including Ed Sheeran.
12. Nik West
With her expressive and funky basslines, incredibly powerful singing voice, and commanding stage presence, Nik West is currently one of the most exciting female bass guitar players on the scene.
She has toured and worked with greats such as Prince, John Mayer, Dave Stewart, and Lenny Kravitz. In fact, Dave Stewart once referred to her as the “female Lenny Kravitz”!
In addition to her work with some of the world’s biggest artists, she has also released two critically acclaimed solo albums – Just In The Nik Of Time, and Moody.
13. Nicole Row
As the bassist for pop rock band Panic! At The Disco, Nicole Row quickly became one of the stars of the show at the group’s live performances.
Aside from playing with one of the biggest bands on the planet, Nicole has also collaborated with YouTube funk-sensations Scary Pockets, Miley Cyrus, Fat Joe, and many others. She has most recently been touring the world with iconic rock giants Incubus.
To play with such a wide variety of bands clearly requires a very well-rounded player, and this has led to her becoming one of the most in-demand session bass players in the music industry.
14. Kinga Glyk
Hailing from Poland, bass phenomenon Kinga Glyk is a rising star in the jazz and funk music scene. She was first thrust into the public eye when her cover of Eric Clapton’s ‘Tears In Heaven’ became a viral sensation on social media.
Heavily influenced by Marcus Miller and Jaco Pistorius, Kinga is known for her tight timing, sense of groove, and expressive bass solos. This female jazz bassist is one to watch!
15. Victoria De Angelis
Victoria De Angelis is a founding member of Italian rock band Maneskin. The group became a worldwide sensation after placing first in the 2021 Eurovision Song Content.
Due to the band’s meteoric rise and resulting massive success, she has arguably become the most recognizable female bassist in the world currently. She is known for her high-energy and infectious play style, and she cites fellow female musicians such as Kim Gordon and Suzi Quatro as her biggest influences.
16. Sean Yseult
Best known as a founding member of the heavy metal band White Zombie, Sean Yseult‘s heavy groove riffs defined the sound of the group until they disbanded in 1996.
She currently plays bass with the hard rock group Star and Dagger and has her own signature Schecter model in the shape of a coffin.
17. Suzi Quatro
Platinum-selling Suzi Quatro has inspired legions of aspiring female bass guitarists to pick up the instrument throughout her legendary career in music.
From her breakthrough with 1960s rock act The Pleasure Seekers, to her recent album with KT Tunstall, Suzi hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down after over five decades in the business!
You may also recognize her from her recurring role as Leather Tuscadero in the popular 1970s sitcom Happy Days!
18. Este Haim
Carrying out bass guitar and vocal duties for the all-sister pop-rock band Haim is Este Haim. Her infectious basslines combine elements of precision and funkiness to provide the backbone of the band’s sound.
As a female bass guitarist, Este’s powerful and energetic stage presence is a large contributing factor to the band’s live shows, and has made her a standout figure in modern music
Her main axe is a 1973 Fender p-bass that she affectionately calls ‘Blondie’, however, she has also recently been promoting the brand’s American Professional II series.
19. Danielle Nicole
Blues and soul musician Danielle Nicole is a female left handed bassist from Missouri, USA. She was previously a member of the critically acclaimed blues rock group Trampled Under Foot, and currently heads up her own band – The Danielle Nicole Band.
She was the first woman to ever be nominated in the category of ‘Instrumentalist – Bass’ at the Blues Music Awards.
Her distinctive and inventive bass-playing style has led to many accolades since, including a Grammy nomination and several more Blues Music Awards titles.
20. Rhonda Smith
Canadian bass player Rhonda Smith recorded and toured with Prince for almost a decade. She has also worked with numerous other incredible artists including Jeff Beck, Erykah Badu, Beyonce, and Chaka Khan.
She is known for her funky play style, deep grooves, incredible slap technique, and tasteful basslines. This has led to her becoming one of the top bass guitar guns for hire in the music industry.
At the time of writing, Smith has also released two acclaimed solo studio albums.
21. Paz Lenchantin
After Kim Deal (another of the best female bassists) left the Pixies in 2013 it was Paz Lenchantin that stepped into her rather sizeable shoes. She has recorded three studio albums with the band to date.
She has also recorded with rock titans A Perfect Circle, as well as alt-rock supergroup Zwan with Billy Corgan.
Her use of alternate tunings and a myriad of effects pedals gives her an instantly recognizable sound featuring a wide variety of tones and textures.
22. Mohini Dey
Indian bass-playing prodigy Mohini Dey is one of the youngest female bassists on this list, but has already collaborated with some of the biggest names in the music business!
As one of the best female bassists, she is known for her ferocious play style which incorporates elements of intricate slap and tapping techniques with incredibly complex and lightning-fast basslines.
Check out her live performance of Konnakol Games with drum supremo Marco Minnemann above. Your mind will be blown…
Misa is the bassist for the Japanese all-girl rock band Band-Maid. Her play style consists of energetic chugging bass riffs as well as her lightning-fast and intricate fingerstyle melodies.
Keeping with her rock star image, she is known to keep a flask of whiskey on her amp which she often drinks from during live performances.
24. Janice-Marie Johnson
Grammy award-winning Janice-Marie Johnson rose to fame as bassist and vocalist for disco funk band A Taste Of Honey. Her hit song Boogie Oogie Oogie became one of the biggest tracks of the 1970s disco era.
Johnson has also released a solo studio album and recorded with Lionel Richie. In 1978 she won a Grammy Award for Best New Artist.
She is an incredibly versatile bassist, able to easily swim between soul, funk, disco, rock, and pop. Her contributions to the funk and disco genres in particular have made her a celebrated figure in the history of bass guitar.
25. Julie Slick
Currently touring and recording with the Adrian Belew Power Trio and prog band EchoTest is the talented bass guitar virtuoso, Julie Slick.
As one of the best female bassists, Slick is known for playing in odd time signatures as well as her lightning fst and ultra-complex bass lines.
She has also collaborated and played with a number of well-known artists including Les Claypool, Victor Wooten, Robert Fripp, Alice Cooper, Ann Wilson, Marco Minneman, and many others.
26. Jennifer Young
Jennifer Young is the female bassist for California-based instrumental trio the Travis Larson Band. The group mixes elements of rock, prog, jazz, and a hint of blues for their signature sound.
Young is known for her powerful stage presence, complex basslines in odd time signatures, and incredible tapping technique. Her main bass of choice is a Music Man Bongo.
27. Ida Nielsen
Danish bassist Ida Nielsen is best known for being a part of Prince’s bands ‘The New Power Generation’, and later, ‘3rdeyegirl’.
Her virtuoso play style is ultra-funky, full of slaps, pops, harmonies, and groovy basslines. She is so heavily associated with the funk genre that she is often referred to as Ida Funkhouser.
To date, she has released 5 studio albums and also has her own signature model basses with Sandberg – the California Ida Nielsen 4 & 5.
28. Kira Roessler
As the bassist for influential punk rockers Black Flag, Kira Roessler helped the band record a phenomenal seven albums over her short two-year tenure.
After leaving Black Flag she formed Dos, a two-bass band with her husband Mike Watt (from the Minutemen). She has also recently released her first solo album ‘Kira’ which you can hear a track from in the video above.
29. Michael Steele
Michael Steele was a founding member of the all-female group The Runaways, but is best known as being the bassist and vocalist for pop rock band The Bangles. Due to The Bangles’ popularity, she has influenced legions of women to pick up the bass.
Her melodic basslines and rich tone led to her becoming a highly regarded player in the Los Angeles music scene.
Michael’s influences include one of her fellow best female bassists Carol Kaye, plus Paul McCartney, and John Entwistle.
30. Melissa Auf Der Maur
Canadian bassist Melissa Auf Der Maur is best known for her work with 90s alternative rock giants Hole and The Smashing Pumpkins.
She has released two studio albums – Auf Der Maur (2004), and Out of Our Minds (2010). Out of Our Minds was a real multi-media experience, being composed of the actual album, plus a comic book and a 28-minute short film.
More Female Bassists
I feel like I’ve rambled on enough for now. However, here is a brief list of a few more women bass players that haven’t yet been mentioned.
Be sure to also check out these excellent female bass guitarists!
- Jennifer Finch
- Jennie Vee
- Enid Williams
- Aimee Mann
- Maureen Herman
- Gynne Kahn
- Alissia Benveniste
- Kim Clarke
- Johnette Napolitano
- Jo Bench
- Kathy Valentine
- Kristen Pfaff
- D’Arcy Wretsky
- Tracy Wormworth
- Enid Williams
- Debbie Googe
- Gail Greenwood
- Naomi Yang
- Michele Temple
- Juliana Hatfield
I have no doubt that I have missed plenty of other amazing women bass players, so feel free to send me a message if you think there’s a glaring omission from the list.
Head to the bottom of this page to find a link to my contact form in the footer.
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