Six bass players you don’t know, but might actually know

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Six bass players you don’t know, but might actually know

(Image: Joe Tamel)
Words by Nick Brown

Dissecting the influence of four legendary, yet underrated low-end studio maestros

With the Studio Special once again upon us, we thought it prudent to have a look at some bass players whose name you may not know, but credits you certainly will.

The abilities of these players to turn it on when recording shouldn’t be overlooked. Feel, tone, poise, intonation and excitement are just some of the traits bundled into those precise moments to create a sound and feeling that works for the song. These skills, plus a verified track record, make them in-demand musicians.

Read up on all the latest interviews, features and columns here.

Tim Lefebvre

A serious musical chameleon, Lefebvre has played with a wide range of artists from almost every genre imaginable – David Bowie, Wayne Krantz, Tedeschi Trucks, Empire of The Sun, and the list goes on. Chops and ideas for days combined with a deep pocket and a palate of great tones he can fit into almost any musical situation. 

Mike Elizondo

Establishing himself in the contemporary space initially with Dr Dre, 50 Cent, and Eminem, Elizondo comes from a musical family and has a background of serious musical study and performance. Playing electric and double bass along with a host of other instruments, Elizondo is also a Grammy award-winning producer. Credits (studio and live) include Twenty One Pilots, Fiona Apple, Maroon 5, Keith Urban, Avenged Sevenfold, and many more. 

Jimmie Lee Sloas

Typically working in the country/pop/rock world, Jimmie Lee Sloas can be heard on countless recordings from artists such as Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, Megadeth, Jessica Simpson, and Garth Brooks. Nashville is home to many amazing players and Sloas is one of the most in demand bass players on the scene. 

Michael Rhodes

A session and touring player of the highest order, Rhodes literally has hundreds of credits to his name (JJ Cale, Randy Travis, Kenny Rogers, Etta James, Bob Seger, Vince Gill, Peter Cetera, Larry Carlton, LeAnn Rimes, Mark Knopfler, Richard Marx, Dixie Chicks, Stevie Nicks, Willie Nelson, Joss Stone, Lionel Richie, Buddy Guy, Brian Wilson etc). With country, rock, pop, jazz, and blues his main settings, he is highly sought after for his solid groove and feel. Currently touring with blues guitarist Joe Bonamassa, Rhodes really is a prolific force in the bass world. 

Guy Pratt

Pink Floyd, Robert Palmer, Madonna, Tears for Fears, Gary Moore, Ronan Keating, David Gilmour, Julian Lennon, Peter Cetera – Pratt has played with (and continues to play with) serious A-level artists. A producer, composer and touring/session muso, he has played on some iconic recordings including Madonna’s ‘Like A Prayer’ (check out the bass line if you’re not familiar with it!). Fun fact – one of Pratt’s first big touring gigs was with Australian favourites Icehouse (at the age of 19!).  

Neil Stubenhaus

Graduating from Berklee College of Music (where he studied alongside the likes of Vinnie Colaiuta and John JR Robinson) Stubenhaus joined Blood, Sweat & Tears in his formative years forging a huge list of credits both live and in the studio. Barbara Streisand, Quincy Jones, Elton John, Rod Stewart, Michael Bolton, Glenn Frey, Natalie Cole, George Benson, Joe Cocker, Julio Iglesias, Cher, BB King, Ricky Martin, Barry Manilow, and many more.

Highlighting his mix of chops and ability to lay it down, you can also hear Stubenhaus on many recordings from the band Karizma featuring other session greats Mike Landau, David Garfield, and the aforementioned Vinnie Colaiuta. 

Check out some tips on getting into session playing.