41 Famous Left Handed Bassists

Famous Left Handed Bassists
Photo Credit: Kim Erlandsen / NRK P3

Looking for the definitive list of famous left handed bassists? Well, you’ve found it!

In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at 41 of the world’s greatest left handed bass players, as well as a handful of musicians that you probably haven’t heard of. You could say that I’ve covered all bases – ba dum tish…

For guitarists, make sure to also check out my list of famous left handed guitar players for a ton of additional southpaw musicians.

For each player I have included a brief bio plus a video where you can watch them in action. We’ll start off the list with the player that most people will be familiar with…

Left Handed Bassists

Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney is the world’s most famous left handed bassist, and is also one of the most successful music artists of all time. In addition, he is currently one of the wealthiest musicians, with an estimated net worth of over $1.2 billion!

Although Paul is a well-rounded instrumentalist he is known as a bass player first and foremost. During his early years with the Beatles, he was best known for using a short-scale Hofner 500/1 violin bass, which is probably the instrument most closely associated with his career. However, he later began to favor using a left handed Rickenbacker 4001S when recording.

As far as his playstyle is concerned, he did occasionally play fingerstyle, but he is primarily known for using a pick to achieve his powerful sound. Over the course of his career, his bass playing has consistently evolved, making him a very interesting player to listen to.

If you have a spare couple of minutes, check out the quick video below where Paul explains some of the advantages of being a left handed bass player.

dUg Pinnick

Doug Pinnick (or dUg) is best known for being the bass player and co-vocalist in the prog metal band Kings X. The band was formed in 1979 and is still going strong to this day!

Numerous bands have cited Kings X as being a big influence on their sound, for example, Pantera, The Smashing Pumpkins, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, and Dream Theater to name a few.

dUg currently has his own signature left handed Schecter bass models, including a monster 12-string instrument called the DP-12. He also has an eye-catching signature semi-hollow t-bass which you can see in action below.

Check out dUg ripping out one of King X’s biggest hits ‘Over My Head‘ in the video below.

Paul Gray

Paul Gray, aka ‘the Pig’, aka ‘#2’, was a founding member of heavy metal giants Slipknot, who he played bass with for 15 years. In addition to being the band’s bassist, he was also a backing vocalist as well as one of the main songwriters.

He had his own signature 4-string left handed Ibanez bass guitar called the PGB1, which was of course available to us southpaw players. By the way, have you ever wondered why left handed people are called southpaws?

Paul sadly passed away in 2010 aged just 38. After his death, Ibanez released a tribute bass in his honor.

In the video below you can check out Paul unleashing my absolute favorite Slipknot track – Duality.

Ken Casey

Ken Casey is the bassist, as well as the songwriter and co-lead vocalist in the punk band Dropkick Murphys. You’ll probably know them for their 2005 track ‘Shipping Up To Boston‘ which was massively successful for the band.

Fun lefty fact. Dropkick Murphys was originally signed to the Hellcat Records label which is owned by Rancid guitarist Tim Armstrong – another fellow southpaw!

Ken is best known for playing a left handed Fender precision bass, although he has also been known to play jazz basses and, more recently, a Duesenberg Starplayer.

Watch Ken and co rip out their biggest track ‘Shipping Up To Boston’ live in the video below.

Robbie Merrill

Robbie Merrill is best known for being the left handed bassist in the hard rock band ‘Godsmack’. He was also part of the supergroup ‘Another Animal’ which featured members from Godsmack, Ugly Kid Joe, and Dropbox.

He is a well-rounded player, having played in bands and covered a ton of different genres including blues, reggae, prog, country, and even a 50s and 6s cover band!

Interestingly, Robbie is actually right-handed. Due to a birth defect that left him unable to move his left-hand middle finger, his only option was to learn to play guitar left handed.

Check out Godsmack’s cover of ‘Come Together‘ by the Beatles with Robbie doing his best Paul McCartney impression!

Danielle Nicole

Danielle Nicole is a blues and soul bassist from Missouri, USA. She found fame in the blues band ‘Trampled Under Foot’, but is currently recording and touring as the ‘Danielle Nicole Band’.

She is known for her distinctive and inventive playing, and was awarded the title of ‘bassist of the year’ at the 2022 Blues Music Awards. This wasn’t the first time she has won the prestigious award!

Danielle is known for playing Fender Jazz basses and also has a custom Delaney. She cites fellow southpaw bassist Paul McCartney as one of her biggest influences.

Check out the video below for an incredible live version of ‘Pusher Man‘ from her 2018 album Cry No More.

Ed Gagliardi

Ed Gagliardi was best known for being the original bassist in the multi-platinum rock band Foreigner. He carried out bass duties on the band’s first two albums before being dismissed in 1979 after a series of disputes with guitarist Mick Jones.

Interestingly, Ed is not actually naturally left-handed. He decided to play left handed bass as he was such a huge fan of Paul McCartney! His McCartney influence didn’t end there, however, as he even went as far as to use the same bass as Macca – a Fireglo left-handed Rickenbacker 4001.

Sadly, Ed passed away from cancer aged 62 in May 2014 after battling the disease for eight years.

Listen to Ed in action in the live 1978 recording of Foreigner’s ‘The Damage is Done’ in the video below.

Paul Wilson

Although starting off as a guitarist in Scottish band Terra Diablo, he later switched to bass duties when he joined alternative rock giants Snow Patrol in 2005.

He is a multi-instrumentalist, and once said that he can ‘play most things unless they have to be blown into’. For example, he is an accomplished piano, drums, and banjo player in addition to guitar and bass!

He is best known for using Rickenbacker basses and favors his 4003 model when playing live.

Watch Paul and company entertaining a massive crowd at the 2018 Rock AM Ring festival in the video below.

Alan Longmuir

Let’s keep the Scottish theme going! Alan Longmuir was a founding member of the 1970s pop band the Bay City Rollers. At the height of their fame, the Bay City Rollers were heralded as being the ‘biggest group since the Beatles’.

He was known for playing Fender basses, and would generally play a right-handed model strung upside down. Presumably due to it being much harder to find a southpaw bass back then!

He tragically passed away in 2018 aged just 70 after falling ill while on holiday in Mexico.

Check out the live video of the Bay City Rollers performing their hit ‘Rock ‘N Roll Honeymoon‘ with Alan on bass and vocals below.

Scott Reeder

Scott Reeder is currently the left handed bassist in the heavy metal band Fireball Ministry, but is also well known for his work with the rock bands The Obsessed, Kyuss, and Across the River.

Along with Jason Newstead, Devin Townsend, and Dale Crover, he formed a short-lived supergroup that unfortunately never released any music. Man, would I have loved to hear the tracks that those four powerhouses would have put out!

As you would expect from a left handed bass player, he does use a lefty bass. But unusually, he strings the instruments upside down! As with players like Eric Gales who also play this way, he does this as when he was learning he would play on his father’s guitars upside down.

Here’s a fantastic, in-depth interview with Scott where he does a little playing and talks about his career and gear.

MonoNeon

Dwayne Thomas Jr (aka MonoNeon) is an incredible bass player who is widely popular on YouTube, and has the claim to fame of being one of the last artists to work with Prince.

He is actually right-handed, but he plays on a right-handed bass strung upside down, left-handed. This allows him to perform heavy string bends using his dominant hand. His slap technique is also unique as a result, as he still performs slaps with his thumb and pops with his fingers.

Combine this unorthodox technique with his very experimental play style, and you have a recipe for a fabulously interesting player indeed!

Check out MonoNeon having an insane jam session with Texas jazz fusion group Ghost-Note in the video below!

Jimi Goodwin

Jimi Goodwin is the bass player and vocalist for the British alternative rock band Doves. He is a multi-instrumentalist and actually played almost every instrument on his debut solo album Odludek.

Continuing in the trend of the previous two players, Jimi plays bass in an unorthodox fashion. He uses a right-handed bass strung for right-handed play, but flips it upside down.

He is best known for playing Fender precision basses and Ampeg SVT amplifiers.

Watch Jimi live with Doves in the video below where he belts out ‘There Goes The Fear‘ from their album ‘The Last Broadcast’.

Jimmy Haslip

Jimmy Haslip was a founding member of the American jazz fusion band the Yellowjackets. He left the band in 2012 to concentrate on his family and other musical projects after 35 years of recording and touring.

He has also released two solo albums and has collaborated with a huge number of respected musicians and bands including Kiss, Allan Holdsworth, Chaka Khan, Tommy Bolin, and Harvey Maden amongst many others.

His first bass was a right-handed model which he learned to play left handed without restringing. So far, this definitely seems to be a common trait amongst bassists who grew up in the pre-internet era!

Check out the short video bio for Jimmy below in which he talks about his career and shows off some of his impressive chops.

Gerald Casale

Gerald Casale is best known for being the bass player and co-vocalist in the American new wave rock band Devo. He co-founded the group in 1973 and has been performing with them for almost 5 decades now!

In addition to his work with Devo, he is also a successful solo artist and has directed numerous music videos for various other artists including The Cars, Rush, Foo Fighters, Soundgarden, and Silverchair.

Gerald is known for playing his heavily customized basses, the most recognizable of which is a left handed Gibson ripper bass with its horns sawed off. He also regularly plays a Steinberger L-series headless bass.

Check out the video below to see Devo unleashing their unique version of ‘Satisfaction‘ by the Rolling Stones live in 1978.

Kathy Foster

Kathy Foster is most widely known for being the bass player in the American indie rock band The Thermals. She co-founded the band in 2002 and continued to record and tour with them until they split in 2018.

In addition, she is also the drummer for the All Girl Summer Fun band which is still active today.

For the video, I have selected one of the Thermals’ best-known tracks ‘Never Listen To Me’, in which Kathy plays a black Fender jazz bass.

More Left Handed Bass Players

I feel like I’ve covered a pretty good selection of southpaw bassists so far, but there are plenty more that we haven’t yet covered! Here is a summary list of some additional lefties who you should also definitely give a listen to.

Jarkko Ahola – Finnish bassist and singer for various metal bands including Teräsbetoni, Northern Kings, Dreamtale, Cosmic Spell, and Helmisetti.

Martin Eric Ain – American bassist from extreme metal band Celtic Frost. He tragically passed away in 2017 following a heart attack.

Rosemary Butler – Although best known as a singer, she began her career playing bass in the all-female band the Ladybirds.

Stuart Chatwood – Best known for being the bassist in the Canadian rock band The Tea Party, but also has forged a successful career composing music for video games.

Jason Christopher – American bassist known for playing with Corey Taylor, Prong, Ministry, Stone Sour, and Sebastian Bach.

Flavio Cianciarulo – Argentinian musician who plays both electric and upright bass. Known for his work in ska band Los Fabulosos Cadillacs and supergroup De La Tierra.

Nick Feldman – An English bass player and founding member of the new wave band Wang Chung. He was also part of the electronic music band Promised Land with Jon Moss from Culture Club.

Keith Ferguson – American bassist for the blues-rock band ‘The Fabulous Thunderbirds. He tragically died aged just 50 in 1997 due to liver failure.

Karl Green – Best known for playing bass in the British rock and pop group Herman’s Hermits from 1963 until 1980. Currently performs with the Karl Green band.

Richard Hammond – A British electric and double-bass player. Has performed with a plethora of artists including Josh Groban, Sister Sledge, Tony Hadley, and Gary Barlow.

Colin Hodgkinson – British bassist who has played in numerous bands including Whitesnake, Chris Rea, and Back Door. Also a prolific session and studio musician.

Lee Jackson – British musician best known for his bass playing in the prog-rock band The Nice. He also formed the Jackson Heights band in 1970, as well as the prog-rock band Refugee in 1973.

Chris Jennings – A left handed double bassist from Canada. Plays a custom left handed double bass made by luthier Thomas Martin.

Jennifer Leitham – An American double bass player who goes by the nicknames ‘Lefty’ or ‘The Southpaw’.

Joe Long – An American bass player best known for his work with the rock band the Four Seasons until the mid-1970s. He sadly died in 2021 after complications arising from a COVID-19 infection.

Nathen Maxwell – Bassist for American Celtic punk band Flogging Molly.

Josh Newton – Known for being the bass player in the American metalcore band Every Time I Die. Has also played with numerous other bands including Shiner, Biology, Season to Risk, and the Damned Things.

Lee Pomeroy – Currently playing bass in British prog-rock band Headspace. Has also toured with numerous artists including Steve Hackett, Take That, and Jeff Lynne’s ELO.

Christopher Ryan – Currently plays bass for USA alt rock-folk band Deer Tick.

Brad Savage – Although best known for his acting, Brad currently plays bass in the charity band ‘Band From TV’. All members of the group are actors from USA tv shows, for example, Hugh Lawrie and Teri Hatcher.

Jeff Schmidt – An American bassist who plays inverted right-handed basses. Known for his solo work as well as his bass-centric podcast.

Joris Teepe – Dutch left-handed double-bass player and composer. Known for playing jazz, free jazz, and bebop styles.

Wayman Tisdale – A professional NBA basketball player who was also a prolific musician. He released 8 jazz albums, with his 2001 release Face to Face reaching the number one position on the contemporary jazz charts.

Mark White – Although he has collaborated with many bands and artists, he is best known for being the bassist for the alternative rock band The Spin Doctors.

Pete Wright – From 1977 until 1984 he was the bassist in the English punk band Crass.

A. W. Yrjänä – A poet as well as singer and bassist in the Finnish rock band CMX.

Missing Players?

I have tried my very best to find and include as many well-known left handed bassists as I could. But I have no doubt that I have still missed a handful! So, if you feel that I have left out anyone important, please shoot me an email and I will be sure to add their name. You’ll find a link to the contact form in the footer below.

Next up, why not check out my list of famous left handed guitar players where you’ll find even more world-class southpaw musicians!