"More Eddie! More Alex! More David! More of that other guy (Michael)!"In the music industry, nobody has worse press than the bassist. The singer is almost always the first person who comes to mind when thinking of the band, the guitarist is the second (complete with Air Guitar), next there's the wild and crazy drummer/percussionists, and then maybe musicians playing instruments which are found in orchestras or cultural bands. And last in line, if at all... the bassist. There are hardly ever any bass solos. There are relatively few bassist/singers. There is no hope. Okay, maybe not ZERO hope. For the short heroes' list of bass players who have risen above this cosmic injustice, see Lead Bassist. This can be enforced or justified. The inherent structure of much popular music encourages a simple, supportive bass line. This makes it hard for a bass player to stand out aurally, and doubly hard to do so without simply showing off at the music's expense. So most of the time, a bassist doing his job properly ends up drawing relatively little attention to himself; bassists who try to defy this and push their way into a Lead Bassist role without actually taking the songs themselves into consideration will quickly piss off their bandmates and be shown the door. This trope refers to this phenomenon, and media in which it is discussed. Compare Dumb and Drummer, which involves similar levels of disrespect but with outright insults instead of the musician simply being forgotten about.
Examples in media:
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- In some bands, the bass player is not an official member of the group, usually because he replaced a long-time bass player.
- The most famous such band is The Rolling Stones, who haven't had an official bassist since Bill Wyman left. Darryl Jones has largely replaced him, but he's a salaried employee of the band, not an official member.
- Hugh McDonald has been with Bon Jovi since 1994, but was not considered a full-fledged member until 2016, 22 years after he joined them(though this is mostly because the band agreed never to officially replace the original bassist). It would later come out that he had played ALL the bass in the studio, for everything since the band's breakout hit "Runaway." His predecessor Alec John Such was the only official Bon Jovi member to have no writing credits.
- Pink Floyd went from having a Lead Bassist to none at all when Roger Waters left, and stayed that way, hiring session musicians and using programmed synth basses. Waters himself is a curious example; while certainly a Lead Bassist, he's better known as a songwriter, and didn't seem to care for his primary instrument all that much. A considerable number of Floyd songs ("One Of These Days" and "Sheep" come to mind) have bass lines that are essentially single note drones, and David Gilmour ended up doing quite a bit of the actual bass playing in the studio when Waters couldn't be bothered.
- Nile hasn't had a full-time bassist since Jon Vesano left back in 2005.
- Decrepit Birth didn't bother to get a new full-time bassist for quite a while after Derek Boyer left until 2008, when Joel Horner joined. Once he left in 2011, it became a revolving door of live session players once again; Sean Martinez was the most prolific, but A.J. Lewandowski and Konrad Rossa also had their day. Sean currently averts this, as he has been hired full-time and will be appearing on the upcoming fourth full-length.
- Lonestar hasn't had a full-time bassist since John Rich was fired in 1998. Rich has become famous as one-half of Big & Rich, along with plenty of songwriting and production gigs. Since his departure, Lonestar uses different bassists in concert, and session bassists on albums.
- During Ross Valory's absence from Journey, the band replaced him with non-member hire Randy Jackson (later of American Idol).
- ThePillows haven't had an official bassist since founding member Kenji Ueda quit in 1992.
- Blind Guardian is an interesting example. The singer Hansi Kürsch played bass on their first five albums, but Nightfall in Middle-Earth-onward he has focused only on singing, with session musicians playing bass on studio and live.
- Jars of Clay don't have an official bass guitarist or drummer.
- Abney Park's remedy to a classic onstage mishap. When the lead singer screws up, blame the bass player.
- Fear of this trope is why, when Stuart Sutcliffe quit The Beatles, Paul McCartney was the only guitarist who wouldn't quit on the spot rather than play bass. He still found many occasions to add guitar parts to Beatles albums, and would swap between guitar and bass during his Wings period and his later solo career. Even in the image on his trope page, he's holding a guitar.
- Paul claimed that the good-looking Stuart's inclusion as bassist was something of an attempt to avert this trope.
"In our minds, it was the fat guy in the group who nearly always played the bass and he stood at the back. None of us wanted that."
- It also helps that Paul managed to become one half of possibly the most famous songwriting duo in history, which helps him stick in the mind more than a lot of bassists might.
- Paul claimed that the good-looking Stuart's inclusion as bassist was something of an attempt to avert this trope.
- The Doors didn't even have a bassist, relying on session players or Ray Manzarek's specially tuned "bass keyboard."
- Roxy Music had a revolving door of bassists. In the inside jacket for Stranded, bass guitarist Johnny Gustafson is the only one not pictured.
- Rings of Saturn has had bassists sporadically (they didn't even have one when Embryonic Anomaly was recorded; Lucas Mann recorded the tracks himself), and after Sean Martinez left in 2013, they didn't even bother to search for a new live bassist and instead opted to just use prerecorded backing tracks for everything bass-related from that point forward.
- Session musician Chuck Rainey played bass on The Rascals' recordings, but during live shows, Felix Cavaliere played the bass notes on his keyboard.
- In the music video for "Legend of Archery" by Driftless Pony Club, Sam Grant gets scolded by Matt, flipped off by Nate, and ultimately kicked out by Craig. It doesn't go over well for them...
- On The Colbert Report, Steve Van Zandt was asked a question about the E Street Band bassist Garry Tallent. At first Van Zandt was confused, and then replied, "Nobody told Garry; we don't talk to him."
- Throughout early Genesis albums, all bass parts were played by the band's rhythm guitarist Mike Rutherford. Playing live he would spend roughly equal time between guitar and bass; when he was on guitar, the bass notes were either left out or played on a pedal bass synthesizer. After lead guitarist Steve Hackett left the group, Rutherford would alternate the two instruments with sideman Daryl Stuermer, generally playing guitar for more contemporary songs. All the instrument swapping led to him using a series of Ace Custom 12-string/bass double-neck guitars; the most famous of which was a Shergold construction (played from 1977 until about 1990) which allowed him to rapidly swap three different guitar uppers (12-string in two different tunings, and a six-string) onto a bass lower section.
- In Jersey Boys, the bassist Nick Massi is The Quiet One. He barely impacts most of the plot, and he calls himself Ringo at one point. When it's his turn to narrate, though, look out.
- Since their 1981 reformation, King Crimson has largely done without a bassist. Tony Levin spent most of his time playing the Chapman Stick or keyboards, and successor Trey Gunn has stuck almost entirely to the Chapman Stick or oddball Warr Guitar.
- Robert Plant and Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin reunited in 1994 for an Unplugged concert without even telling their former bassist John Paul Jones. Jones would go on to joke about this one year later at Led Zeppelin's Hall of Fame induction ceremony of all things, much to the awkward looks of Page and Plant.
John Paul Jones: Thank you, my friends, for finally remembering my phone number.
- The Mary Whitehouse Experience book described Queen as consisting of "Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor and the other one," said "other one" being bassist John Deacon. The band's resident quiet one, John was the only one who never sang lead or even backing vocals (he hated his singing voice), and he spoke little during rehearsals and even less during interviews unless a question was specifically directed at him, resulting in him being seen as the least memorable of the four. It hasn't helped that Mercury's death hit Deacon pretty hard; not only did he leave the group, but he retired from showbiz and public life altogether. He has chosen not to participate in any reunions and did not attend the band's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Even Brian and Roger have little contact with him unless they need to discuss financial matters that affect them as a group.
- Metallica have played with this trope:
- In their Garage Band days, bassist Ron McGovney was this as far as then-guitarist Dave Mustaine was concerned. Mustaine regularly abused him, but the final straw was pouring beer down McGovney's bass. He received an electric shock when he played it that blew him across the room, whereupon he quit the band and told them to leave. (Mustaine and his fans are still convinced he's done nothing wrong).
- Subverted with their first official bassist, Cliff Burton, who was not only loved by the rest of the bandnote , but is considered a God of bass as far as bassists and metal fans are concerned. In fact, he contributed so heavily to their first three albums that many fans believe that when he died in 1986, the music died with him.
- Played straight, in one of the most infamous cases in metal, with the next bassist Jason Newsted, who was treated as the Replacement Goldfish for 14 years. It is believed that the other members were subconsciously hazing him as part of their grief from Cliff Burton's death). It was even (indirectly note ) admitted there was an attempt to mute the bass as much as they could in his debut album, ...And Justice for All.
- Their current bassist, Rob Trujilo, subverts this as far as the band are concerned, although many fans still don't like him (but to be fair, he is the bassist in an era when most Metallica fans don't even like Metallica).
- No Doubt's breakout song "Don't Speak" is essentially a song about no longer loving the bassist.
- In the biopic of The Runaways, bassist Robyn Robbins doesn't have any spoken lines.
- Also, Robyn was a character created just for the movie, as the real-life Runaways couldn't keep a bass player. Over their career as a band, they had five of them - six if you count when Joan Jett played bass instead of guitar for part of one tour.
- According to some accounts, Patricia Morrison, nominally the bass player at the time of The Sisters of Mercy's Floodland album, didn't even play on the album; or at least much of what she did play was subsequently overdubbed by Andrew Eldritch playing synth bass (the only song her bass can be clearly heard on is "Lucretia My Reflection"). She later quit the group because she hadn't been paid.
- In a Rolling Stone article, Taylor Swift accidentally backs her SUV into the parked car behind her, which happens to be owned by bassist Amos Heller. The first thing she says is, "Oh, my God. OH, MY GOD. OH, MY GOD. OH, MY GOD. OH, MY GOD. OH, MY GOD. OH, MY GOD. OH, MY GOD. OH, MY GOD. OH, MY GOD. OH, MY GOD. OH, MY GOD." The second thing she says is, "Oh, is that my bass player? It's fine. It's my bass player!"
- Discussed and inverted by Trout Fishing In America on their song "The Day the Bass Players Took Over the World":
Now one day the bass players, they decided to uprise
They were tired of being sidemen to all those other guys
So they kidnapped the horn section
They put drugs in the drummer's drink
And they tied up all the guitar players
With their big ol' flat-wound strings
- The duo itself is an aversion, as Keith Grimwood (bass) and Ezra Idlet (guitar) split the vocals about 50/50.
- Ryan Stasik, the bassist for Umphrey's Mcgee, is the designated social-media punching bag of the group. One song even contains the stanza "Stasik / go take a shower / a shower / will do you justice."
- Pity Van Halen's Michael Anthony. Not only was he the band member no casual fan could remember, he was (musically speaking) the real-life Murderface: Eddie Van Halen generally forbade any bass line that didn't double his guitar notes, and insisted on mixing the bass below the point of distinct audibility. For career satisfaction, Anthony pretty much had to settle for availing himself of the massive groupie overstock that accumulated around 1980's Van Halen... wait. Hm. You know what? DON'T pity Michael Anthony. He certainly landed on his foot, though.
- Eddie even started to neglect Michael, playing most of the bass parts in Van Halen III and the new tracks from Best of Both Worlds (where Anthony only did backing vocals). He only got in the 2004 tour because Sammy Hagar - who later drafted Anthony to both his solo band and Chickenfoot - wanted him to, as Eddie wouldn't even invite him. And when the band started performing again, the new bassist was a teenager (Eddie's son Wolfgang)!
- Similarly to Anthony, both bass players for The Eagles, Randy Meisner and Timothy B. Schmidt, are less recognized for their bass chops and more for their tenor vocals. Both had been recruited from the country-rock band Poco, where they had played similar roles.
- "Weird Al" Yankovic:
- Bassist Steve Jay makes sure that everyone in the audience remembers him. Al introduces his band members over the course of the concert, letting each of them have a solo. After lead guitarist Jim West and drummer Jon "Bermuda" Schwatz show off their impressive skills, Jay leaves the audience in stitches by playing one note.
- Keyboardist Ruben Valtierra is more often relegated to the role of "that other guy" and treated accordingly. Most famously, on the cover of Running with Scissors he's the one way back in the distance, blurred out. On the insert he's lying face-down, presumably dead from the scissors stuck in his back. Until recently, he wasn't even an official part of the band, only joining them on tour so Al wouldn't have to sing lead and play keyboards at the same time.
- Some bands love bassists so little that they don't bother having one:
- The White Stripes. (although Jack White often uses an octave pedal to simulate a bass, such as in Seven-Nation Army)
- The Black Keys. (although bass is heavily featured on their tracks, played by the guitarist)
- Deap Vally.
- Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
- Compared to most genres of Metal or Punk, this is particularly common among Grindcore bands. Many of the most significant bands in the genre forego having any bassist, and guitarists running through guitar and bass rigs at the same time are also common. (Discordance Axis is probably one of the earliest examples.)
- One of the most famous examples of a song without a bass line is Prince's Signature Song "When Doves Cry". When Prince started recording it it had one; however, he felt like the song was too generic with the bass line included, and took it out. The lack of a bass track has become a distinctive part of the song's sound.
- Nine Inch Nails had no bassist in the touring band prior to The Downward Spiral, with bass parts being played on synthesizer. After the departure of their most recent bassist, Pino Palladino, Trent Reznor decided not to replace him, going back to the Pretty Hate Machine four-piece arrangement.
- In a relatively recent playing of the famous bluegrass instrumental "Foggy Mountain Breakdown", there were... two banjo solos, an acoustic guitar solo, two electric guitar solos, a fiddle solo, a mandolin solo, a harmonica solo, a piano solo, an electric organ solo and a dobro(!) solo. The bass didn't get a solo. Hell, the bassist didn't get to appear in the music video.
- Da Yoopers changed bassists twice times in the course of about 5 years: in order, they went from Jim Pennell to Joe DeLongchamp to Dave "Doc" Bradbury, each of whom held their role for only two albums. Each was more prominent than their predecessor; Pennell was quickly forgotten around the time the band achieved regional fame with "Second Week of Deer Camp" (which he didn't even play on — the song had a gutbucket bass played by a guest musician). DeLongchamp wrote and sang lead vocals on the title track of their third album, Camp Fever, and sang another song on the next album, Yoop It Up. And despite his short tenure, Bradbury got lead vocals several times, including one of their Signature Songs, "Grandpa Got Run Over by a Beer Truck".
Bradbury left shortly after lead guitarist Joe Potila was replaced by Jim Bellmore, who played all the bass parts on their 1996 album We're Still Rockin' by himself. By the next album, Reggie Lusardi had begun serving as their touring bassist, although Bellmore generally continued to play most of the bass parts in-studio. Bellmore also takes over on bass whenever they do "30 Pound Diaper" so that Lusardi doesn't have to rap and play bass at the same time. (Oddly, Bellmore played bass on this song even before Lusardi took over the vocal part from now-departed percussionist Jerry Coffey, who would sing the song in concert many years before a version sung by Lusardi appeared on an album.) For a short time, Dick Bunce (an actor in the sketch comedy segments they do between songs) would sometimes come out and play bass on a few songs, presumably to give Lusardi a breather. This stopped when Bunce left.
- The "nobody loves" side usually comes up with drummer Bobby Symons, who has been in the band since the late 90s. He always stays behind the drum kit, and never sings or participates in skits. In addition, frontman Jim DeCaire (who used to be the full-time drummer before he got promoted) usually played the drum parts in-studio, with occasional assistance from Jerry Coffey in The '90s.
- British duo Royal Blood are a complex case: their instrumental lineup is bass and drums (love the bassist!), but the bass is treated with effects pedals, and mostly sounds like heavy rock lead guitar. If you hear them on the radio, knowing only that they are a duo, you would probably assume that the bassist is the missing member.
- Acts with a similar lineup (drums and bass guitar treated with effects to sound like a guitar) include the Canadian dance-punk band Death from Above 1979 and the Rhode Island noise rockers Lightning Bolt.
- Keane's original lineup didn't include a bassist, with the bass tracks being played either by backing tracks or a supporting member in live shows. From Under the Iron Sea era shows on, that supporting member was Jesse Quin, who went on to play all the bass parts on Perfect Symmetry and Night Train. He wasn't officially made a member of the band until around the time Strangeland came out, some five years after he began playing with them.
Anime & Manga
- Invoked with Ako in Mahou Sensei Negima!, who struggles with worries that she is nothing but a minor character destined to live forever in the background (which, well, is kinda true) and plays the bass in a high school rock band.
- The anime of Litchi Hikari Club pokes fun at this, at one point. The club decides to form a band, and everyone is eager to participate, until Zera asks who will be the bass player. Everyone goes dead silent.
- In K-On!, the classical lack of attention towards the bassist is Mio Akiyama's reason for choosing to play the bass, as she has significant self-confidence issues. This would've been played straight had it not been for one unforseen circumstance during their first school festival performance resulting in her being the band's most popular member.
- The bass player was the only band member not involved in Aya Hirano's career-derailing sex scandal (and subsequently the only band member not fired), though he reportedly had to deal with some sexual harrassment.
- Wada (stage name Jagi), the bassist of Detroit Metal City, is the least-focused on of the band trio. Off the job he is a professional musician who does his job because it's his job, and is neither as conflicted about his role as Negishi or as outright crazy as Nishida. His only Day in the Limelight involves this trope being lampshaded by fans talking about how the other two members overshadowing him.
- School of Rock: Bass player Katie has few spoken lines, and is the only one who doesn't get an end-credit solo (at least in the final cut; Jack Black would later let her perform a solo in the reunion concert). The movie's only named bassists are unsympathetic acquaintances of the main character.
- Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: In the film, Scott and one of the evil exes engage in a "bass battle," which is treated as a self-evident gag scene.
- Michael Cera seems to have a thing for this, playing the role of loser bassist again in Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist.
- In That Thing You Do!, when the bass player of the Wonders is referred to (which isn't that often) it's always by description rather than by name. In the credits the character is listed as "T.B. Player," and when he disappears during the band's trip to Los Angeles, nobody really cares; they replace him with a studio musician. Also averted with the replacement bassist in that when the Wonders fall apart the manager tells him (paraphrased) "see you around" while his attitude towards the actual band members is closer to "goodbye and good luck."
- Val from Josie And The Pussy Cats is constantly pushed to the sidelines. According to DVD commentary, it's because she's the bass player.
- A couple is seeing a marriage councillor, but are far too shy to open up about their relationship problems. After many minutes of fruitless attempts to start a dialogue the therapist sighs, takes out a bass guitar, and starts playing - and after a moment, the couple starts talking! The problem is actually very simple, though embarassing, and at the end of the session they thank him profusely. "Thank you so much! But, what was the bass solo for?"
The councillor's good mood evaporates instantly. It visibly pains him to explain: "My friends and I have a band, and I know from experience: during the bass solo, everyone talks."
- Another joke: A man vacationing on an island is driven crazy by the constant sound of drums, but whenever he tries to ask the natives when it will stop, they look horrified and tell him, "Very bad when drumming stops." Finally, he plucks up the courage to ask what happens when the drumming stops, and the response is, "Bass solo."
- In the CollegeHumor video "Learning Guitar to Get Laid", it ends with a (fake) ad for a video cassette called: "Learning the Bass and NOT Getting Laid."
- Let the The Kids in the Hall demonstrate.
- Q: How many bass players does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: None. The keyboard player can do it with his left hand.
- In Literature The Commitments (the novel), Derek is easily the least competent of the instrumentalists in the band.
- In So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish, bass players are two for a penny in Han Dold City.
- Bill Drummond and Jim Cauty discuss the disdain for bass in general in their book The Manual (How to Have a Number One the Easy Way). They note that white Europeans care so little about bass that bass rhythms aren't covered by copyright. Although Drummond and Cauty encourage their readers to make the melody of their future #1 hit suspiciously similar to some other hit song, when it comes to the bass, they tell the readers to just go ahead and directly copy a good bass line from some other song. They also note that the trend is to use synthesizers for the bass lines (the book was written in 1988) because that's preferable to dealing with some "thumb slapping dick head" of a bass guitarist.
"The great thing about bass lines is that they are in public domain. Nobody, even if they do recognise it, will seriously accuse you of ripping somebody else's bass line off."
- In Soul Music, none of Insanity/The Blots/The Whom/Surreptitious Fabric/And Supporting Bands can actually play their instruments, but the bass-player, Noddy, has it particularly bad, since no-one seems to care that he has an instrument that is impossible to play (the guitar maker, giggling hysterically, had made it from a lump of wood and some fence wire).
- In I Am America (And So Can You!), Stephen mentions how while the singer and guitarist pick out a group of grade-A groupies to spend the night with, you the pitiful bassist are forced to take from the lowest C-grade dregs. Also, you're expected to room with the drummer.
- In Lost, Charlie's singer brother invokes this while talking to him (who's the bassist and main songwriter): "I am Drive Shaft! Nobody even knows who the sodding bass player is!"
- A segment from The Kids in the Hall features Kevin McDonald lamenting the woes of being a bass player (represented by Bruce McCulloch) while simultaneously showing admiration.
Kevin: No one invites the bass player to the party after the show...Bruce: Hey, what are you guys doing after the show? (beat) Oh, nothing? Okay.Kevin: If he does go to the party, he can only get the good-looking girls'... best friend.
- When Steve Harvey was a guest on The Tonight Show in 2014, a game of Family Feud was played that pitted Jimmy Fallon, Jason Segel, and Steve Higgins against members of The Roots. The first survey question was, "Name an instrument least likely to get a band member groupies." One of the top three answers was "Bass". Cut to a shot of the band's bass player, looking embarrassed.
- In the short-lived British sketch comedy series, Bruiser, the band members of "Pussy on a Stick" all get applause, except for Holness, the bassist. After the performance, they all get women's underwear thrown at them... Holness gets an egg. Backstage, they are making out with groupies, except Holness, who sits alone reading a newspaper.
- Discussed in a Rocky strip, where Rocky and his buddy concludes that being a bassist is a job for slackers, since nobody cares if you show up for rehearsals or even for the concerts.
- Justified in Brütal Legend. The Killmaster and his Thunderhogs are capable of healing your infantry with their bass music, however they have no offensive capabilities and thus they only serve as support units while the rest of your army does the heavy lifting.
- In Guitar Hero 2, several of the loading messages between songs played along with this trope for laughs.
You need a mini-fridge in your practice space. It's more important than a bassist.
If you can hear the bassist, your speakers are too loud.
- Also this one from the third game:
You seem to be having a problem with your bass amp. I can hear it!
- This is the bassist's problem in Guitar Hero World Tour. She quit her former band because she was sick of being overshadowed by the others. At the end of her story mode, she makes a solo album and becomes famous... with Lou's help.
- And prior to that game, songs in the Guitar Hero franchise didn't always have bass guitar tracks even if the songs themselves featured the instrument (e.g. "Through the Fire and Flames"). Some had rhythm guitar instead, so if you wanted to form an in-game band (such as it was) with a friend, one of you would have to play second fiddle - but it wouldn't always be bass. It wasn't until the series went full-band that the bass guitar was accounted for in every song that made use of it.
- Also this one from the third game:
- In the Left 4 Dead Wiki article on the Midnight Riders, bassist Jake Thorne is referred to as a "provisional temporary band member" despite playing with the band since 1985 on 23 albums, and writing most of the band's songs.
- Power Gig: Rise of the SixString did not include a bass mode.
- In Rock Band, the first game had no solo bass career, as allegedly the bass didn't have enough interesting songs to warrant a solo mode. Fans of the bands found under Lead Bassist disagreed.
Bass notes are now worth more points. (Bassists, however, are still not worth that much.)
- The instrument shop has an oversized double-neck Fender custom with the description "For once... they will pay attention... to the BASSIST!"
- One of the loading tips said that if your bassist claims he has an idea, give him a Kit Kat and tell him to think it through a bit more.
- In Rock Band Blitz you can unlock the super bass power which comes with this description:
- Rocksmith, the game that touts itself as the first console game to teach guitar, initially didn't even have a bass guitar mode. That was only added via downloadable content two months after the game's initial release. It has since become standard for all tracks in both of the series' games, so that Rocksmith 2014 never lacked it, but it's odd that it was not only left out of the first game's initial release but added shortly afterward, not a great while afterward as if it needed way more development time or something.
- Notably averted in MOTHER 3, where the bassist of DCMC is one of the main protagonists. When the band performs on stage, they all seem to get the same amount of attention.
- However, the game does have an example of Nobody Loves the Bass, given it has a dusty old bass sitting in the attic as a boss.
Web Comics & Web Original
- 1977: The Comic, where central character Bud Chambers realises that nobody notices the bass player. Ever.
- A Cracked photoplasty of "25 Team-Ups in History That Would Have Changed Everything" had this◊. Noticed the lack of bassist? (we could guess the guy put Kirk Hammett when he wanted Cliff Burton, but that's giving him too much credit)
- Fanboys makes sure to promote the air-bass whenever they mention Guitar Hero.
- In one issue of Teen Girl Squad, the girls form a band and What's Her Face, despite her wishes to the contrary, "gets stuck playing bass".
- In the main Homestar Runner verse, Cool Tapes's members are referred to by Marzipan as "me and The Cheat and our bass player." (It's Strong Mad, for the record.)
- TV Tropes: Guess which instrumentalist isn't represented in the main page for Five-Man Band? That's right, the bassist is less important than the Tambourinist.
- Glenn Fricker, owner of Spectre Media Group and longtime heavy metal record producer, elevates this trope to an art form. He constantly makes jokes at the expense of so-called bass players; those who can play & maintain their bass guitars as needed simply laugh it off and even wear the T-shirts he sells with his controversial statements on themnote , but very often there are bass players who take it completely the wrong way and flame the comments of his YouTube uploads. Naturally, he often reads these and makes fun of them, as they often do nothing but validate his many criticisms of bass players. He usually plays this trope straight but also discusses it quite frequently, especially in How to Not Completely Suck on Bass Guitar.
- He despises bass players because he has spent decades producing records for bands with bass players who give their instrument a bad name. The ones he hates are legion, though he doesn't hate them all - the ones he hates have many things in common: They can't play their instrument because they never intended to, thinking that since the bass guitar usually has only four strings and bass riffs usually aren't that hard they don't even need to practice; they can't perform proper maintenance on their gear, including changing strings more than once a decade; and they waltz into the studio unable to play, not knowing their own material, and not caring because they think the producer can just use computers to fill in the gaps. They also tend to spend way more money on tattoos or booze than on anything important to their careers, like good gear or their bands' records. In short, they're more interested in the rock 'n' roll lifestyle than rock 'n' roll itself.
- Stevie T created a sketch about how being in a band sucks (and in which he plays all the characters, including the bassist's girlfriend). Not only does the bassist make the universally hated move of bringing his girlfriend to rehearsal (an unspoken rule of being in a band is you NEVER get your significant other involved), he also designs a band logo that the singer dismisses as resembling "a hairy anus", adding, "Yeah, well, you're the bassist, so no one really cares." But then the guitarist & drummer really like it, so it becomes their band logo by majority vote.
- And then the bassist turns out to not be the one who doesn't know the material for once - it's the guitarist who doesn't know the song and has to make up excuses about how two weeks wasn't enough time to learn it.
- Used as a diss in Epic Rap Battles of History by Winston Churchill, pointing out to Theodore Roosevelt that if (Mount) Rushmore was a band then Roosevelt would be its bassist (being overshadowed by George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln).
- The Simpsons:
- In the episode "How I Spent My Strummer Vacation," Homer goes to a rock-and-roll summer camp, and when they begin to run out of guitars, Elvis Costello is forced to suggest that someone learn the bass. The camp-goers don't take it well.
- In "Covercraft", a music store owner suggests that Homer play a bass guitar, and asks him to simply pluck the same string over and over. The owner starts shredding on his guitar, and Homer wonders if he'll ever be able to play so well. The owner responds that he's already one of the greatest bass players of all time.
- In the Home Movies episode "Guitarmageddon", Jason complains about getting saddled with bass, saying it's thankless and the bass player is "the loser of the group." His friends disagree, but when he offers to trade instruments they back out quickly.
- The Life and Times of Juniper Lee: Juniper and her brothers have a band named "Short Angry Freuds". She told her big brother Dennis nobody would pay attention to him because he's the bassist.
- Metalocalypse, Why don't you make like a bass guitar and be inaudible?
- By unanimous consent, Murderface's bass lines are always left out of the final mix.
- Their producer Dick Knubbler refers to Murderface as "almost part of Dethklok." To his face.
- In The Doomstar Requiem A Klok Opera, a rock opera where almost every line of dialogue is sung, Murderface gets the least amount of dialogue. He's the only major character that doesn't get a song or major verse of some kind. Mind you that characters like Abigail and Ishnifus, who had just appeared in the tail end of the previous season, both got full length songs . Whether this was intentional or not is up for debate.
- Murderface admits that sometimes at concerts he'd leave his bass unplugged and just "pretend play". No one noticed.
- This sentiment was partially averted in "Birthdayklok"; in the Cold Open he played a solo at a concert...with his penis.
- This musical tendency is mirrored in the plotlines: Murderface is often the ButtMonkey.
- In the Phineas and Ferb episode "Dude, We're Getting The Band Back Together!", the boys are trying to re-form Love Händel. When they approach the bass player, Bobbi Fabulous, his response is "You don't need me. I just play bass in the background. Nobody even remembers me."
- In Regular Show, Mordecai skips the name of the bassist while naming off the popular band 'Hair To The Throne' when they show up at the park, and just calls him "the bass player", then the bassist frowns. He's also the only band member who gets no speaking lines.
- Laney, the bassist for Grojband is often ignored or disregarded by the other band members and fans, many of whom mistake her for a boy.