4 Tips for Compressing Metal Bass Guitar Reading The History of Metal Bassists - 60s Era 4 minutes Next A Brief History of THALL


The 1960s were a pivotal time in the development of heavy metal, with many iconic bands forming and defining the sound of the genre. While guitarists often receive the most attention, the contributions of bass players are equally significant.

In this blog post, we will explore the impact of four legendary bassists from the 60s: Geezer Butler, Geddy Lee, John Entwistle, and John Paul Jones. Their innovative techniques and distinctive sounds helped shape the heavy metal bass playing that we know today so let's dive in!

Geezer Butler (Black Sabbath)

Brief History
Geezer Butler, born Terence Michael Joseph Butler, is best known as the bassist for Black Sabbath. He formed the band in 1968 with guitarist Tony Iommi, drummer Bill Ward, and vocalist Ozzy Osbourne. Butler's background in jazz and blues, combined with his interest in the occult, helped shape Black Sabbath's unique sound.

Main Contribution
Butler's innovative bass playing techniques and dark, heavy sound were crucial to Black Sabbath's music. His tone had a distinctive growl that became a hallmark of the band's sound while his use of drop tuning and fast, aggressive playing style set a new standard for bassists and would be one that future metal bassists would surely follow.

📸 Riffipedia

Geddy Lee (Rush)

Brief History
Geddy Lee, born Gary Lee Weinrib, joined Rush in 1968, replacing the original bassist and vocalist. With Lee's arrival, the band began to develop its progressive rock sound. Known for his technical proficiency and distinctive voice, Lee quickly became a key member of the band.

Main Contribution
Lee's contributions to bass playing are immense. He is renowned for his complex bass lines, often playing intricate rhythms while simultaneously singing. Lee also incorporated bass pedals and synthesizers into Rush's music, adding layers of sound that set the band apart from their peers.

📸 Ultimate Classic Rock

John Entwistle (The Who)

Brief History
John Entwistle, also known as "The Ox," was a founding member of The Who. His classical music training and rock and roll sensibilities made him one of the most influential bassists of his time. Entwistle's aggressive playing style and use of harmonics were revolutionary.

Main Contribution
Entwistle pioneered the lead bass role in rock music, often playing melodies that stood out from the guitar parts. His use of harmonics and fast, fingerstyle playing created a powerful and distinct sound. Entwistle's approach to the bass guitar expanded the instrument's role in heavy music.

📸 Rolling Stone

John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin)

Brief History
John Paul Jones, born John Baldwin, joined Led Zeppelin in 1968. A versatile musician, Jones played keyboards and various other instruments in addition to the bass. His musical background included work as a session musician and arranger, which brought a level of sophistication to Led Zeppelin's music.

Main Contribution
Jones's versatility in bass playing and use of various instruments were key to Led Zeppelin's dynamic sound. He often used a Fender Jazz Bass and was known for his melodic and rhythmic sensibility. Jones's ability to blend different musical styles and his proficiency on multiple instruments added depth to Led Zeppelin's music.

📸 Tight But Loose 


The contributions of these 60s bassists were instrumental in shaping the sound of heavy metal. Geezer Butler, Geddy Lee, John Entwistle, and John Paul Jones each brought unique techniques and styles that influenced generations of musicians. As we look forward to exploring the bassists of the 70s in our next blog post, it's clear that the foundations laid by these pioneers continue to resonate in the world of metal music.

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