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10 of San Diego's Best Bassists

Often foregoing the glitz and glamour of their six-stringed counterparts, here are 10 local bassists deserving of the spotlight

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    NEWSLETTERS

    10 of San Diego's Best Bassists
    Alex Matthews
    Jay Sanchioli -- shown here performing with Ten Bulls (fka Sights and Sages) at one of our SoundDiego LIVE parties -- has earned a spot on our list of 10 great San Diego bassists.

    Bassists are often enigmatic: most aren't flashy, they typically occupy the back of the stage (and press photos), and usually forego the glitz and glamour of their six-stringed counterparts. You've seen the memes and heard the jokes. But here's some real talk: If the bass ain't there, you'll know it. It may be a thankless job at times but to all you bass players out there -- we see you. A few years ago, we published a list of 11 local favorites and while times have changed and bands have come and gone, there's still nothing like the hefty, chest-shaking rumble of a great bass line during a live show. With that said, here's 10 more awesome San Diego low-end practitioners (in alphabetical order).

    Mark Hoppus: No local bass player list would be complete without the godfather of San Diego pop-punk himself. Sure, his work in Blink-182 might be considered rather simplistic in the general scheme of things, but ain't that kind of the beauty of it?

    Nick Lepisto: Honestly, there are a number of absolutely killer death metal bassists in town -- but perhaps none more thunderous and technically impressive than Gravespell's Lepisto. Check 'em out.

    Jason Littlefield: OK, full disclosure, we included Jason in our 2013 list, but you know what? Since then, he's upped his game even more by joining nearly every band on the Redwoods Music roster (Rebecca Jade & the Cold Fact, Birdy Bardot, the Midnight Pine). Also, he may be referred to as "Locked-in" Littlefield around our offices. Just saying.

    Omar Lopez: Inarguably one of the premier funk/reggae/soul/jazz bassists in San Diego, Lopez holds it down for the Sure Fire Soul Ensemble, the Original Wailers, Juice Box, and others. There's a reason he's beloved (and employed) by so many.

    Harley Magsino: There's pretty much nothing this guy can't play. Jazz? Check. Funk? Check. Country? Check. Soul? Check. Rock? Check. Magsino is as in-demand and versatile as they come -- with undeniable chops and skill for days. See him onstage on any given night of the week with Tori Roze, Whitney Shay, OrchidxMantis, Ginger Cowgirl and others.

    Anthony Meier: If you read our review of Sacri Monti's latest album, "Waiting Room for the Magic Hour," you'll know a large part of that wicked psych-rock brew stems from the wizardly fingers of Meier -- who's also known for his work in Radio Moscow.

    Lia Mitten: You've seen her onstage with Dream Burglar, the Heart Beat Trail and/or her namesake San Diego Music Award-winning power-pop band Mittens -- so you'll know she makes this 'playing music' thing look all too fun and easy. But she's the real deal on the four-string. Plus, we've got immense appreciation for bassists that can play and sing at the same time (no easy feat)!

    John Rieder: The adhesive that holds together both the experimental-hip-hop trio Parker Meridien and the weirdo metal/punk group Secret Fun Club, Rieder is quite simply a bass magician. We don't know how he does it but we're always blown away.

    Jay Sanchioli: Frequently spotted around town in Ten Bulls (fka Sights and Sages), Jara and Electric Wall, Sanchioli is one of the more lively players on this list -- dancing and hurling himself around stages as he goes. Who said guitarists have all the fun? Oh, and his playing is both incredibly smooth and technical as all get out. The best of all worlds.

    Gar Wood: Do we need to explain this? Just as San Diego rock music wouldn't be the same without "Swami" John Reis' contributions over the years, it also owes a debt of gratitude to his bass-playing comrade Gar for his exceptional work in Hot Snakes, Beehive & the Barracudas, Fishwife and others. All hail Gar!