Top Ten Bass Influences

We asked ten of our favorite bassists Who was your biggest influence when you first got in to Bass. Here’s what they said….

Corey AdamsLes Claypool. I started out playing guitar but saw Primus playing live and it kind of blew my mind. I had never seen anyone play bass in such a way before – slapping, tapping, flamenco strumming, and fingerstyle. I immediately went out and bought a bass after that and never looked back.
Aaron WhiteFlea, I feel like most bassist say that but around the time I was really learning bass the stadium Arcadium album had just came out. I had those CDs on repeat. Love those songs and it taught me a lot.
Mike HowellMel Schacher bassist for Grand Funk Railroad probably influenced my playing style most when I first began playing bass. Mel drove the train. For you young guys who aren’t familiar with Mel’s playing, check out his work on their 2nd (On Time) and 3rd (Closer To Home) albums. Mel’s style fit perfectly with what GFR was recording and playing live in ‘69, ‘70, ‘71. Hard driving, somewhat distorted tone and great licks played in the right spot in the song made Mel a big influence on my early playing and still somewhat today.
Steven CaudillJaco Pastorious/ Geddy Lee

Jaco had a way of playing bass unlike any other bassist of his time. GEDDY was the ultimate frontman bassist. His vocals and powerful bass lines showed me I didn’t have to be typical.
Cody BranhamMy biggest influence when I first started playing bass is Ray Salyer. My first job when I was 13 was operating a video camera at the Mountain Arts Center watching Ray play with KY Opry every weekend. He gave me one of my first and only formal lessons teaching technique and the Nashville Number System. From playing locally with Breakaway, the Full House Band, and the Opry to Exile and John Michael Montgomery, he’s one of the best players out there and a very good friend.
Timmy TackettGeezer Butler I started when hair music was still popular and all the happy music didn’t speak to me like the darkness of Sabbath. Looking out the window in Dorton KY you didn’t feel that bright sun shine day feeling music the doom and boom of Geezer spoke to me
Ray SalyerWhen I first started learning this wonderful instrument, my dad was teaching me so I could play it in the Gospel Quartet my parents were in. When I started expanding my musical horizons, I listened to every bass player that I could. From bluegrass, gospel, pop, rock, funk, metal, all if it. (But hardly any Country. Funny how that played out.) At this time , I had many influential bassist and had many teachers, which all of them were. Then a drummer friend of mine turned me onto a bassist by the name of Jaco Pastorius in the early 80’s. Turned my bass world upside down. Not only was he taking the instrument where no one had before, he was a writer, composer and could play many different instruments. Many bassist have came along since then and if you ask them, the majority, if not all of them, will say that Jaco was an influence on them.
Tim SmallwoodI guess stu cook from ccr which is about all I listened to then. I just love the driving bass lines that most people associate with him. But if you dig a little deeper you will find some killer stuff like in Susie Q and chameleon. Stuff I still steal from today, but he did what I would say is the most important thing for a bass player other than timing that is play what the song needs no more
Jeremy JusticeMy biggest influence was and still is, without a doubt, John Paul Jones from Led Zeppelin. He never overplays a song. He stays true to the groove of a song and in my opinion, is an unsung hero of the low end.
Stephanie May RoseThere were so many people that helped me, and I looked up to so many! Aside from my biggest influences being local folk- people in my yard-being my dad and brother, there were Rod, Paul and Jeff Smith. Jerry King, Kevin Prater & John Mattingly. They all contributed. For the past 12 years though, I have played with a band of amazing ladies , Kris Preston, Melanie Turner, and Kalyn Bradford- and the experiences that we have had and the things we have been able to share, well- I can say without hesitation- musically they have made the biggest impact on my life, without question.