The Top 5 Guitarists Geezer Butler Named His Favorites Ever

The Top 5 Guitarists Geezer Butler Named His Favorites Ever

As a key member of Black SabbathGeezer Butler helped shape the heavy metal genre’s sound, revolutionizing the role of the bass guitar and setting the stage for generations of musicians to follow. Also, Butler‘s rhythmic mastery played a crucial role in defining the sound of Black Sabbath. In this article, we will detail the guitarists that Geezer Butler picked as his favorites of all time.

Geezer Butler‘s musical journey began in the late 1960s, as he and his bandmates formed Black Sabbath. A true pioneer, Butler introduced a unique approach to playing bass, combining the raw power of his instrument with intricate melodies and heavy distortion. His aggressive, driving bass lines served as a rhythmic backbone and added a distinctive melodic element, elevating Black Sabbath‘s music to new heights.

One of the most notable aspects of Butler‘s style is his ability to make the bass guitar a lead instrument. While traditionally relegated to a supportive role, Geezer Butler‘s playing stood out by incorporating melodic riffs and solos that commanded attention. His blistering bass solos, such as in tracks like N.I.B. and War Pigs, showcased his technical prowess and paved the way for bassists to step into the spotlight as soloists. Moreover, his bass lines were characterized by heavy use of palm muting and provided the band’s music with an unmatched sense of weight and groove.

However, let’s learn about the guitarists that influenced Geezer Butler.

The 5 Guitarists That Geezer Butler Picked As His Favorites Of All Time

As Geezer Butler created music for more than five decades, he became an iconic guitar virtuoso for the next generation. Over the years, he revealed which guitar players made him improve his guitar sound. According to him, Tony Iommi and Jack Bruce were special guitarists for him.

So, let’s look at the complete list of Geezer Butler’s favorite guitarists.

#5. Jaco Pastorius

image: Twitter

Jaco Pastorius, a visionary bassist and composer, revolutionized the world of music with his virtuosic talent and innovative approach to the bass guitar. Recognized as one of the most influential figures in jazz fusion, Pastorius pushed the boundaries of his instrument, redefining its role and introducing a new level of technicality and melodic expression.

The legendary guitarist combined his guitar sound with an unparalleled mastery of harmonics, complex chordal playing, and melodic inventiveness. He pioneered the use of fretless bass, allowing for a fluid singing quality that added a new dimension to his compositions and improvisations. The warm, rich tones he coaxed from his instrument, combined with his remarkable technical facility, set him apart as a true musical genius.


Jaco Pastorius‘s inventive style and fearless exploration of musical boundaries have solidified his status as one of the most influential musicians of all time. Throughout his musical journey, Geezer Butler was one of those who was influenced by Jaco Pastorius. During his appearance on Guitar World in 2021, Butler praised Jaco Pastorius.

“Jaco Pastorius was so innovative: he was such a technical player, and I suppose he was the first guy to play like that,” Butler says, adding, “I’d always been told that the bass should be in the background, and played along with the drums, and then Jaco came along and threw away the rules. It was amazing listening to it. You knew you could never come up to his level. You know what he was doing, and at the same time you know you could never do it yourself.”

#4. Stanley Clarke

One of Geezer Butler's favorite guitarist, Stanley Clarke
One of Geezer Butler’s favorite guitarist, Stanley Clarke – image: Getty

Geezer Butler also named Stanley Clarke one of his favorite guitar players in music. Stanley Clarke, a true maestro of the bass guitar, has mesmerized audiences for decades with his virtuosity, versatility, and pioneering musical style. As a trailblazer in jazz, fusion, and beyond, Clarke‘s exceptional talent has redefined the possibilities of the bass guitar while showcasing his remarkable compositional skills.

Clarke rose to prominence during the era of jazz fusion, where he played a pivotal role in shaping the genre’s sound. As a key member of the iconic fusion group Return to Forever, he collaborated with jazz luminaries like Chick Corea, Al Di Meola, and Lenny White, blending jazz improvisation with rock energy and Latin rhythms. This fusion of styles resulted in groundbreaking albums such as Romantic Warrior and Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy.


In the past, Geezer Butler claimed Stanley Clarke took bass playing to another level. Also, he admitted that his passion for Stanley Clarke started when he heard School Days from him.

“When Stanley did ‘School Days,’ I’d never heard playing like that,” he says. “People used to tell me that I was a reasonable bass player, but then I heard him, and I felt like just giving up. It was like, ‘Oh my God…’ He took it to a completely new level.”

#3. Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney, the guitarist that influenced Geezer Butler
Paul McCartney, the guitarist that influenced Geezer Butler – image: MJ Kim

One of the most influential figures in modern music, Paul McCartney, is known for being a founding member of The Beatles and a prolific solo artist during his solo career.

Paul McCartney‘s musical journey began with the formation of The Beatles in Liverpool, England, in the early 1960s. As the primary songwriter alongside John Lennon, McCartney contributed to the band’s distinctive sound and helped shape the course of popular music forever. His early compositions showcased a remarkable knack for catchy melodies, heartfelt lyrics, and harmonious vocal arrangements that captured the hearts of millions.


Following the breakup of The Beatles, McCartney formed the band Wings, which became a platform for him to collaborate with other talented musicians and experiment with different styles. Wings resulted in chart-topping hits such as Jet, Band on the Run, and Silly Love Songs. This period showcased McCartney‘s ability to seamlessly fuse genres and captivate audiences with his dynamic performances.

However, according to Geezer Butler, he learned too much from his favorite guitarist, Paul McCartney, as he said: “Paul McCartney’s bass playing is unique. I learned some of his basslines and they’re so emotional, especially on the song ‘Something.'”

#2. Jack Bruce

Geezer Butler's favorite bass player, Jack Bruce
Geezer Butler’s major influence on bass, Jack Bruce – image: Bobby Bank

Geezer Butler every time revealed that Jack Bruce was a special guitarist for him, as he cited the guitar legend as his major influence on bass. He is considered a true pioneer of the bass guitar and an iconic figure in the realm of rock music.

Jack Bruce started playing bass in the 1960s. As the bassist and vocalist for Cream, alongside guitar virtuoso Eric Clapton and drummer Ginger Baker, Bruce‘s dynamic playing and powerful vocals laid the foundation for the power trio format that would revolutionize rock music. His virtuosic bass lines, infused with elements of blues, jazz, and classical music, showcased his extraordinary technical skills and set new standards for the role of the bass in rock.


Moreover, Cream‘s music transcended traditional rock boundaries, incorporating elements of blues, psychedelia, and improvisation. Jack Bruce played a pivotal role in this fusion of genres, seamlessly blending complex jazz-influenced chord progressions with raw, bluesy bass riffs. Following the disbandment of Cream, Jack Bruce embarked on a fruitful solo career that spanned several decades. His solo albums showcased a wide array of musical styles, from progressive rock and jazz fusion to folk and classical influences.

In the past, there were a lot of moments Geezer Butler respected one of his major influence on bass, Jack Bruce. Speaking to For Bass Players Only, Butler said: “Jack Bruce was my biggest influence on bass.”

After the heartbreaking passing of Jack Bruce, Butler updated his social media, tweeting: “So sad to hear of Jack Bruce passing. My biggest influence and favourite bass player. Thank you, Jack. RIP.”

#1. Tony Iommi

Geezer Butler's favorite guitarist ever, Tony Iommi
The guitarist that Geezer Butler named the greatest ever, Tony Iommi – image: PA Images

Tony Iommi was also the one who was named a favorite by Geezer Butler. He is widely regarded as one of the most influential figures in the history of heavy metal music. With his iconic guitar riffs, dark and heavy sound, and innovative playing techniques, Iommi revolutionized the heavy metal genre and guitar playing.

Iommi’s guitar style emerged from a fusion of blues, jazz, and classical influences, combined with his own unique innovations. His downtuned, heavy guitar riffs, characterized by dark and brooding melodies, became the blueprint for countless metal bands to come. Moreover, his guitar playing is synonymous with powerful and memorable riffs that resonate with listeners on a visceral level.


His mastery of the guitar and use of minor scales created an atmosphere of darkness and unease that became a hallmark of Black Sabbath‘s sound. Tracks like Iron Man, Paranoid, and War Pigs showcased Iommi‘s ability to craft mammoth guitar riffs that captured the essence of heavy metal.

In November 2021, Geezer Butler named Tony Iommi the greatest guitarist ever, commenting: “It was always magical playing with Tony [Iommi]. We never had to discuss anything; it just seemed to happen. He never once doubted me, and if I felt unsure of something, he would always encourage me and trust that I’d make the right choice myself. To me, he’s the greatest guitarist ever.”

Geezer Butler’s Favorite Guitarists:

  • Tony Iommi
  • Jaco Pastorius
  • Paul McCartney
  • Stanley Clarke
  • Jack Bruce

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