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5 Iconic Gibson Bass Players

Anne Erickson
|
07.07.2014

I’ll never forget the first time I picked up a bass guitar. Everything about it felt so natural, and I immediately fell in love with the deep tones it could create.

Gibson has a rich history of making basses and introduced its first bass, the EB (“Electric Bass”), in 1953. Since then, many models have been the basses of choice for the finest low-enders in rock, jazz, soul, metal, blues and beyond.

In honor of those who make the song groove, here are 5 Iconic Gibson Bass Players:

Nirvana’s Krist Novoselic

As the bass player for Nirvana, Krist Novoselic helped define a new musical movement, one that embraced grit over glamor and brought deafening alternative rock and grunge to the mainstream. Novoselic carries powerful tone and a distinctive style, and he has certainly led the way for the sound and feel of alternative-rock bass playing for a new generation.

Now, Novoselic has his own Krist Novoselic Signature RD Bass.

Krist Novoselic Signature RD Bass

“I played Gibson Rippers from the 1970s and the RDs of the era also,” he told Gibson.com. “There are two things – the solid construction and the scale. With the latter, I have to say that this is a big bass! I am 6’7” tall and these long-scale beasts fit me physically. If you’re chopping wood, sometimes an axe isn’t enough so you have to use the splitting moll – a cross between a sledge and an axe. You’ve got to pound those heavy grunge riffs and you need the weight to do it. At the same time, there’s plenty of fretboard that accommodates the finer runs and fills higher on the neck.”

Cream’s Jack Bruce

Blues-rock power trio Cream got its aggressive electric low-end (and vocals) courtesy of Jack Bruce and his Gibson EB-3 bass, which was first introduced in 1961.

Gibson EB-3 bass

Bruce brings a little bit of everything to whatever project is in front of him—he’s a multi-instrumentalist, composer, songwriter and musician in blues, jazz and rock ‘n’ roll.

“I’m not just ‘the bass player from Cream, although I’m very proud of that and I look back on that band with great fondness,” Bruce told Rock Cellar Magazine . “But I’ve done many, many other things. I think of myself as a very experimental and diverse musician but without being too far out all the time. I think that’s my kind of success. But then I’m also a husband and a dad. All of my kids play on the new album.” Bruce’s new solo album, Silver Rails, is available now.

Jefferson Airplane’s Jack Casady

Jack Casady held down bass lines for Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna for years and brought his characteristic melodic lines and improvisational solos to the forefront.

Now, he has his own signature bass: the Jack Casady Signature Bass designed by Casady and Epiphone after years of experimentation by Casady to find the perfect bass that offers balanced electric tone and the response of an acoustic bass.

Jack Cassidy Signature Bass

“My first teacher was a big band guitarist named Harry Vorhees. Later on I took from a number of guitarists; one was Bill Harris who was the guitarist for the Clovers,” he told Epiphone.com. “He had studied with a guy who studied with Andres Segovia.”

Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon

From her years in Sonic Youth to her countless other bands and artistic endeavors, Kim Gordon is truly the renaissance woman of rock. In Sonic Youth, Gordon pioneered noise rock with her battle scarred 1976 Gibson Thunderbird in hand. Since the announcement of Sonic Youth’s hiatus in 2011, Gordon has continued to rock the world’s stage in Body/Head, a free-flowing noise rock project with guitarist Bill Nace.

Gibson Thunderbird Bass

Kings of Leon’s Jared Followill

Jared Followill plays with brothers Nathan, and Caleb, and his cousin Matthew, in Kings of Leon, one of the biggest rock bands of the 2000s.

His bass of choice is the Gibson Thunderbird IV, and he wouldn’t trade it for anything.

“I’ve used a few different basses over the years, but I’m pretty horrible when it comes to knowledge on the technical side of things; I basically started playing a Thunderbird because Gibson sent me a free one,” he told Bass Player. “I tried it out for one show, and it happened to be a really amazing show—it sounded great, and our soundman was really pleased. Because of its longer scale, it was a lot harder to play than my EB-3—which I could just rip on—but in time I got used to it. It was a difficult transition, but it sounded better, and it ultimately made me a stronger player. It had clearer highs and lows, and I could get a certain crunch that was missing with the EB-3.”

Gibson Thunderbird IV Bass

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