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4 stringers in Death Metal

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by 4stringfiend, Jan 20, 2013.

  1. 4stringfiend


    Jan 15, 2012
    SF Bay Area
    Hi everybody,
    I've recently faced opposition on bringing my 4 string to practice for a new death metal band/jamming. I'm no permanent bassist for them and I just want to play with these guys over anything else, but they are really opposed to my 4 string. They say those hitting those extended low notes make most of the songs, however I have no problem using the higher octave on my G string (DGCF tuning) and I actually like the high intervals that ring out when I do that. I get really good tone IMO, I use an Aria Pro II SB Elite I strung with Marcus Miller DR strings. Of course they're only complaining to me and this doesn't strain the relationship much, but an ideas on how to convince these people that the high register is ok in death metal? And so this doesn't go to Band Management I want to open up this discussion to 4 string players in death metal, please chime in.
  2. Tractorr


    Aug 23, 2011
    I don't play death metal but I have seen plenty of death metal bands, and I am not sure why you NEED a 5 string to play it. Most the time I have a hard time picking our the bass over all the double kick and low tuned and EQed guitars.

    Most of the extreme metal bands that I can hear the bass in usually has a more mid-rangy tone that would not require a B or lower.
  3. 4stringfiend


    Jan 15, 2012
    SF Bay Area
    From a live performance perspective they tell me that they like to hear the low B because the low end with the kick drum makes the song feel right according to them, his exact wording was the low bass A string swings right with the double bass drums, and I think they might think I'm playing the wrong notes when I go high. I think if another person ever saw us they would notice what I'm doing on bass and like what it does for the sound.
    for reference we play this song, especially during the solo section I like to play high, and on the verse riff end on the G string instead of the A string.
  4. KunkBass


    Sep 24, 2012
    I play 4 string tuned DGCF as well. In my death metal band, it's really about EQ more than it is about range. Heavy on the bass and mids, lower on the treble.

    Maybe you could try drop C, but I think you might just have to impress them with your playing enough to shut them up.
  5. MCS4

    MCS4 Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2012
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    I believe strongly in the 4-string's ability to handle any genre of metal, but... I'll admit that I do not believe I would be able to support the music in most metal bands to the best of my ability without having a low string that matches the guitar (i.e. if the band tunes in Drop-C I will generally tune CGCF or similar tuning).

    However, this does not mean that tuning per your plan *couldn't* work. The best example I can think of is Torche (not a death metal band, but plenty heavy) -- if I recall correctly, they most often tune to Drop A, but their bass player doubles the riffs on the A string in standard tuning rather than dropping. It works great for their sound and makes them more distinctive... which not everyone wants.

    P.S. As a final note, I do agree that playing metal riff on a higher octave can punch through more clearly and give a nice flavor to the music. I do this frequently, just not as often as using the lower octave (very easy in dropped tunings, such as CGCF, where I have an open string on two different octaves).
  6. You're not the permanent bassist for them. They don't get to say which bass you can or cannot play. Even if you were the permanent bassist... Who ultimately paid for the bass? I can't imagine the band will pay for one.

    That said, you could just tune down, as others had already suggested... Either Drop D or C, etc.

    This is not a suggestion but I am reminded me of something: Warwick will release a Rockbass Vampyre Darklord this year. It's intended to be strung F# B E A. So yes, you can achieve low depths with a 4-string.



    And don't forget about Jauqo III-X's sub contra basses (Adler, Conklin & Surine), which drop as low as C#, (which is almost an octave lower than the originally suggested drop C.)

  7. I am Soma

    I am Soma Supporting Member

    Jan 2, 2013
    Been in metal bands my whole life and have never had a problem with my 4 string. Been in A-G-C-F for years and its awesome. I actually ride the highs/mids a lot more than my lows EQ wise. Sounds awesome with a micro pog and B3K
  8. Fenwick


    Dec 9, 2012
    I think you need the right instrument to fit the right project and death metal is too broad a genre to generalize what will or won't work. But considering the low tunings a 5 would certainly give you more options. It seems like you have to sacrifice notes rather choose them in this case.

    I personally prefer a 4, but the death metal probably shouldn't be lower than C for it to work well with a 4-string.
  9. Odyjon


    May 10, 2012
    Really? They should listening to Dying Fetus. Their bassist, 4 strings. Tom Araya of slayer, 4 strings.
  10. dorknowitzki


    Jan 9, 2010
    Endorsing Artist: Spector
    tell them to get 7 or 8 strings guitar before they make you buy 5 strings. kidding aside. you can change your string gauge and tuning to B E A D if they really want the low B. if the band's main riffs and songs are utilized with the open B, chances are you wont be using the high G string of a 5er that much. nothing wrong with a 4. and dont mid scoop the eq if you dont want to be buried in the mix.
  11. JBassist95


    Mar 13, 2012
    Perth western australia
    It doesn't even matter if you are tuned right. if you are tuned with a 5 string anyway well what I use drop a on my 5 string warwick only thing that gets de tuned is my b-a everything else is standard. but is just as easy to do in 4 stings if you like it that way. ignore them. especially if you're not full time.
  12. Stealth


    Feb 5, 2008
    Zagreb, Croatia
    I wonder just what type of death metal they listened - Death, Control Denied, Cynic, they all had bassists going all over the place and it worked.

    Besides, as noted before, it's nothing a properly tuned and set up 4-string can handle.
  13. truecanadian04


    May 4, 2011
    I play thrash metal and I sold my five string and got a four string. It's all about the tuning.
  14. rupture


    Jan 27, 2012
    Does'nt Dick from Shuggah play a 4 string ? Point that out to them