Bassists are the most important member of any band, according to study

(Image credit: IBL/REX/Shutterstock)

Along with drummers, bassists are the most maligned members of most groups, but a new scientific study heralds low-enders as the most important member of any band.

The report from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences claims that “superior time perception for lower musical pitch explains why bass-ranged instruments lay down musical rhythms” - essentially, why bass is the most important part of any song.

The study goes on to explain that the brain finds it easier to understand rhythm in lower tones, as on bass, and that they have a higher “tapping synchronisation” - in other words, listeners are more likely to respond to a killer bassline with foot tapping and dancing than they are, say, a guitar solo.

“The low-voice superiority effect for encoding timing explains the widespread musical practice of carrying rhythm in bass-ranged instruments,” explains the report, “and complements previously established high-voice superiority effects for pitch and melody.”

Well, there you have it. We'd wager the 25 best basslines of all time had a big impact on the study. We'll be updating the list later on this year…

Michael Astley-Brown

Mike is Editor-in-Chief of, in addition to being an offset fiend and recovering pedal addict. He has a master's degree in journalism, and has spent the past decade writing and editing for guitar publications including MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitarist, as well as a decade-and-a-half performing in bands of variable genre (and quality). In his free time, you'll find him making progressive instrumental rock under the nom de plume Maebe.

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