The Best YouTube Bassists of 2015
by Elijah MK Lagman
Besides my sights for medical school, I’ve also got an ear for the electric bass. Before the year ends, I wanted to share a couple of bassists that have inspired me by their pioneering technique in manipulating the instrument to new heights. YouTube bassists don’t tend to release their own material with the exception of 1-2 minute improvisations of programmed synth and drums. So they’re kind of Weird Al without the often cringeworthy (but totally laughable) lyrical manipulation. What are we waiting for?
Note: I’m only considering bassists who’ve gained popularity through YouTube. This is also in no particular order.
1. Zander Zon
The pioneer of YouTube piccolo bass, Zander has had a lovely year being even more experimental than the last. What’s a piccolo bass? No, it’s not guitar strings on a bass. It’s a bass with strings that can reach a higher range than the normal electric bass and can include guitar tunings (EADG) but I don’t think Zander ever did. Using electric bows, acoustic 6 string basses (that pretty much look like acoustic guitars but don’t sound so), electric cellos and finally, he’s started collaborating with the likes of Miki Santamaria, Charlie Puth and vocalists such as KJC. You’d think he was busy this year but having only posted 6 videos, we know he’s been busy teaching as well as coming up with these beautiful arrangements. I’d still consider him one of the best as even if you check the comments in his videos, the bassists I look up to now still comment on his finesse and playing and he’s not even that old, mind you. His quirky username combines the name of his infamous headless 4 string piccolo Zon bass with his own. There’s nothing much like Zander and there might not ever be one.
- Mr. Brightside (cover) I love this song, and what more as a bass solo? It inspired me to learn it and cover it note per note!
- Looking Glass (original). This song was truly ahead of its time and cemented Zander Zon as a YouTube Bassist. I would listen to this more often than his covers of popular songs.
Speaking of a bassist that inspired me to cover their cover songs, Miki Santamaria’s cover of Ed Sheeran’s Thinking out loud was so addicting to play that my friends around me found the song overplayed because of a bass guitar. Since then, he’s had numerous collaborations with the likes of pioneer Andres Rotmistrovsky, a bass battle with Davie504 (which everyone seems to be doing lately) and as mentioned previously, a duet wtih Zander Zon. Aside from that early this year, Miki was really really busy. He’s got a band of his own and played guitar 2 for the norwegian broadway tour of “Rock of Ages”. Miki Seems to be a unique mix of the other bassists. He’s got the soft touch of Zander Zon but isn’t afraid to try slap bass (as per battle with davie), plays guitar like Rob Scallon (but focuses on the bass more) but stays true to using only the standard four string- pioneer on the bass guitar’s roots.
- Cover of “I’m not the only one” by Sam Smith reminds me much of Andres Rotmistrovsky’s chordal playing.
3. Rob Scallon
Okay, Rob is more known as a YouTube guitarist but he’s done wonders on the bass. Sure, this is the start where everyone will begin debating on what’s better. What I love about Rob, though, is he’s a completely chill dude. He doesn’t degrade the bass at all, heck he has a video called …And Justice for Bass. He’s the opposite of douchebag and has numerous witty videos. This year, he’s done a few bass videos. One including a bass battle against Davie504, Half hour of bass guitar, an upright bass cover of Cliff Burton’s Anaethesia and a slap guitar battle with Jared Dines (which isn’t technically bass but applies alot of bass guitar principles).
4. Tommy Lee Depp
Tommy Lee Depp is becoming a prominent bassist. Slowly, he’s taking the shoulders of his inspirations a la Zander zon, Davie504 and Miki Santamaria’s bass arrangements of popular songs to new heights. Now in 2015 he does a video every two weeks and has done lovely complex versions of popular songs such as All of Me, Sandstorm and Firestorm. What I noticed is his popularity skyrocketed when he changed cameras and did more covers outdoors. Not only does the background highlight his bass playing but also you notice how clear and concise his playing is. Also he’s looking pretty dapper every video which is a plus. Watch out for him, he’s gonna skyrocket next year if he keeps this up.
- All time: Cover of Muse’s Undisclosed desires
- 2015: Red hot chili peppers bass arrangement medley (this also works as an all time tie with my immortal)
Davie504 is an Italian Bass player who started playing in 2011, he’s 21 now so you can do the math (4 years by the way). Aside from him being a late bloomer, he possesses a mindset for educating the mass as well as show his crazy fast skills. His videos last no longer than 2 minutes on general yet for some reason the video that really got him popular in the bass world is his long 13 minute top bass lines video. With that exception behind, his other 2 top videos only last a minute and 30 seconds. Davie wants to be known for funk and we’re gonna remember him accordingly. His gear is simple and he only recently started playing acoustic guitar (adding bass stuff). He’s best known using his Fender Jazz bass from mexico (which I also happen to own that gives me a surge of inspiration). This year he educated many fans by playing many popular themes in a medley such as GTA, Star Wars and Pirates of the Caribbean but still manages to pay homage to one of our bass gods “Marcus Miller“. What Davie inadvertently achieves besides establishing himself as a funk force YouTube bassist to be reckoned with is that the bass guitar can be a melody instrument and still sound amazing and sweet. Trust me, people are catching on.
- 2015: Star wars meets slap bass
- All time: that bass battle with miki santamaria (this also gives an insight into Miki Santamaria as a slap bassist)
If I were to describe Andrés in two words for 2015 I would pick “collaboration” and “amazing”. The entire year, every video Andres did featured a guest singing. With this context you can imagine Andres to be doing a lot of chordal playing with his range of 4,5 and 6 string basses. This is good. Playing these songs with these vocalists prove that the bass can play duets with vocals without an acoustic guitar strumming chords in the background. The bass guitar is a versatile instrument for the virtuous and dedicated musicians. In these covers Andres does both Spanish and English covers. From the Beatles and BeeGees to Fito Paez and Charly Garcia. It’s amazing and you’d do yourself a favor checking him out. 2015 did you well Andres, good job!
- 2015: Beauty and the beast (Angela Watson & Andres Rotmistrovsky)
- All time: You’ve got a friend in me bass solo
7. Davidsinrocks (David Caraccio)
Davidsinrocks or “David Caraccio” was one of the first YouTube bassists I saw that lasted for so many years. Under his belt he’s done many bass covers that stand above the rest. It’s not that he improvises over them (he sometimes does) he actually plays the line with such clarity and loyalty that you can’t help but be amazed. His playing highlights the need for bassists who play in bands to stick with their role of rhythm and support. Sure, all the bassists improvise over their covers but when it comes to performing, the hardest thing for good bassists is to suck it up and play the part for the music. In this way, good bassists become great bassists- Davidsinrocks is one of them. Since his flurry of covers 4-5 years of cover that skyrocketed him to fame within the bass community, he has since been part of his band Deep Kick, is sponsored by Alusonic Basses and formed a (now defunct) Gentleman’s Bass Club 3 years ago that contained bass lessons, battles with other YouTube bassists and tributes to great bassists. Now in the present, 2015, he’s toned down his covers and began a series called bass storm where he comes up with crazy ideas and riffs, shows it to you, then teaches it to you. What’s next in store for Davidsinrocks? We hope for more amazing covers to come
- 2015: Getaway (Earth, Wind and Fire cover)
- all time: No such thing- John mayer cover (this improvisation is amazing)
Not many people can say they have 448 videos on their youtube channel. We’re proud to know that one of them is a YouTube Bassist! Adamstevensbass has definitely been busy on his basstube even making satirical videos such as “stuff” that bassists would say. He’s also a vlogger that answers numerous questions about his playing, general playing of the bass guitar and about life. One prominent one is his criticism of a bassist on craig’s list musicians classified section demanding $1300 per gig and claims he’s hot. Aside from all these humor based vlogs, he has a good touch on the bass. He did a solo bass cover of We Will Rock You by Queen. Okay I admit it, that’s not that amazing but you’d be surprised that I found his arrangements of Avicii’s Wake Me Up an amazing rendition that I’d like to cover someday. Another arrangement under his belt is a solo rendition of Livin on a prayer by Bon Jovi, a song which inspired me to pick up the bass guitar. Although he rarely posts these amazing solo covers, he’s been busy promoting his work for online bass academy. So I would definitely recommend him especially if you want to play like the bassists mentioned here. Continue being a great inspiration to beginners and experts alike Adam!
- 2015: Cover of Bill Taylor’s “I Wish I Knew“
- All Time: Under the bridge- Red Hot Chili Peppers cover
9. The Bass Wizard
It’s not just all in the name. The guy is really a Bass Wizard. Although the hat fits the gimmick of a wizard, his bass playing makes it all the more magical. Since we’re talking about the way he plays, he did a complete tapping solo cover of Michael Jackson’s You Are Not Alone with the bass on his lap. Oh but it’s not just that as well. A wizard must be wise and to be wise, one must be able to teach. The Bass Wizard gave us a slap bass history lesson, how high or low a bass strap should be and tips and tricks videos on playing bass. The Bass Wizard also has some original spells and collaborations with other youtubers. He did Stone temple pilot’s plush… Oh and he also did Adele’s famous new song “Hello”. His playing makes him look like slash more than a wizard. Granted, he’s far off from playing like him… since he’s a bassist. Regardless, we want more next year “The Bass Wizard”, mesmerize us with more covers pretty please!
10. Anna Sentina
I admit, Anna Sentina is more than just a pretty face. I initially thought she was too hyped up with her looks and playing bass to be a good YouTube bassist but has proven herself with her arrangement of Sting’s “Shape of my Heart”. She’s not only a great bassist but also a good pianist doing a piano cover of Stronger by Kelly Clarkson. Ok that’s not exactly bass from her. What proves she should be on this list? Aside from Sting, she covered Metallica’s Master of Puppets and not only did she cover Metallica’s Master of Puppets, she also did it Primus’ way. Aside from covers she also likes to jam with other YouTube musicians such as JP Andrade. Anna’s position as a YouTube bassist isn’t only restricted to being a “basstube” channel but also a general music channel. This isn’t a bad thing. Quite frankly it allows her to reach a wider audience that also gets people to watch the bass in action. Thanks Anna!
- 2015+ all time: Cover of Dangerous feat. Miki Santamaria and COOP3RDRUMM3R
There you have it, 10 of my best YouTube bassists of 2015. I’d recommend you listen to them even if you didn’t play bass. This 2015 has been a blast and I can’t wait for music to be shared, covered and made in 2016 for us to enjoy, learn and dance to. Music is a huge part of our culture and this small niche should be worth considering giving a listen to.
Happy New Year little wanderers.
Elijah MK Lagman
Jim is an absolute beast and started his channel 8 years ago. Unfortunately his last upload was 2 years ago. Still we can’t help but recommend you to watch his amazing rendition of Get Lucky.