Top 11 Coolest Bass Guitar Solos

Often overlooked, the bass guitar is a key addition to adding rhythm and funk to a song, it is more than just a guitar with less strings, it has a different tone and feeling. Bassists such as John Entwistle and Cliff Burton helped change everyone’s perception of the bass by highlighting its melodic potential. A good bass line will shake your core and help you to really feel the music. Here are the top 11 coolest bass guitar solos where the bassists really helped to surpass and rule over the other instruments. 

No 11: Blue Monk by Thelonious Monk

This jazz standard composed by Thelonious Monk has now been fully accepted despite all the dissonances and melodic twists that were surreal at its release in 1954. Here is the solo transcription of Christian McBride on Blue Monk. You can find it on the album Superbass 1997 – starting at 1’09.

► Blue Monk bass solo transcription on Jellynote

Watch Antoine Brochot, Creator on Jellynote, as he plays his own transcription of Blue Monk

No 10: All The Things You Are by Jerom Kern

Bassist Ron Carter played All The Things You Are with pianist Cedar Walton and Drummer Jack DeJohnette as part of the All American Trio, it was recorded in 1983. The transcription of the solo part, made by Creator Antoine Brochot again, starts at 3’24 of the recording.

► All the Things You Are bass solo on Jellynote

Original recording made in 1984

No 9: Ornithology – Charlie Parker

Charlie Parker, often nicknamed as the “Bird”, made Ornithology, a classic jazz standard, one of the most iconic bebop tunes. The bass solo starting on 2’31 was transcribed by Antoine Brochot, Creator on Jellynote.

► Ornithology bass sheet music on Jellynote

No 8: The Chicken – Jaco Pastorius Big Band

The Chicken was initially composed by Pee Wee Ellis as a funk tune. But it was really made popular ten years later by Jaco Pastorius who performed it on stage. Does anyone know why it was called The Chicken? If you do, please leave a comment below, we’ve been dying to know the secret behind the name!

► The Chicken bass sheet music on Jellynote

Watch Benny The Bassman, Creator on Jellynote, play his own arrangement of The Chicken by Jaco Pastorius Big Band

No 7: Runaway – Jamiroquai

An easy to learn well-known song with an extra funky bass guitar solo.

► Runaway bass sheet music on Jellynote

Watch Tim Verdesca, Creator on Jellynote, as he plays his own transcription of Jamiroquai

No 6: Stand By Me – Ben E. King

The ultimate proof that a bass line can increase the potential of a song. The playing is minimalist and terribly efficient.

► Stand By Me bass sheet music on Jellynote

No 5: Lovely Day – Bill Withers

A beautifully melodic bass line.

► Lovely Day bass sheet music on Jellynote

No 4: I Want You Back – The Jackson 5

Another iconic bass line that stands on its own, without the need for other instruments to accompany it to recognize the song. You can try it out even if you’re pretty new to the bass.

► I Want You Back bass sheet music on Jellynote

No 3: Papa was a Rolling Stone – The Temptations

A massively badass bass guitar solo!

► Papa was a Rolling Stone bass sheet music on Jellynote

No 2: You Can’t Hurry Love – The Supremes

One of my favorite bass guitar solo thanks to his never-ending enthusiasm, You can’t Hurry Love would be nothing without the tuneful beats of the bass.

► You Can’t Hurry Love bass sheet music on Jellynote

No 1: Dean Town – Vulfpeck

A super funky bass guitar solo that you’ll have lots of fun learning.

► Dean Town bass sheet music on Jellynote

Watch Benny the Bassman, Creator on Jellynote, play his transcription of Vulfpeck

Any other bass guitar solos you’d recommend? Let us know in the comments below!

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About author
William Ridd is a writer based in London. After a messy divorce from the clarinet, William decided that playing music wasn’t for him, but he continues to appreciate it and likes writing about it.
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