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A bassist, also known as a bass player, is a musician who performs on a bass instrument such as a double bass (also known as upright bass, contrabass, or wood bass), bass guitar (also known as electric bass, acoustic bass), synthbass, keyboard bass, or a low brass instrument such as a tuba or trombone, among other instruments. It is common for one or more of these instruments to be connected with certain musical genres. funk, R&B, soul music, rock and roll, reggae, jazz fusion, heavy metal, country and pop music have all benefited from the electric bass, which has been the standard bass instrument since the 1960s The double bass is the traditional bass instrument for classical music, bluegrass, rockabilly, and most jazz genres, as well as for many other styles. Dixieland and New Orleans-style jazz ensembles often use low brass instruments such as the tuba or sousaphone as their primary bass instruments.

However, there are certain exceptions to the generalisations about the relationship between distinct bass instruments and particular genres. For example, Lee Rocker of the Stray Cats, Barenaked Ladies, and Tiger Army all employed double basses in their early music. Andy Fraser and Mel Schacher all played electric bass guitar, as did Larry Graham and Bernard Edwards. Electronic bass is used by a number of funk, R&B, jazz, and fusion bands instead of electric bass. synth bass was employed by artists such as Bootsy Collins, Stevie Wonder, Kashif, and Kevin McCord (One Way). A double bass or electric bass may be substituted for a tuba by certain Dixieland ensembles. When a Hammond organist plays the basslines in a jazz or jam band, he or she may utilise the bass pedal keyboard or the lower manual to play the low notes on the instrument. Additionally, rock bands such as The Doors and Atomic Rooster have used keyboard driven bass on occasion.