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A "Metal Fender" discussion

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Gojiras_Hejira, Apr 22, 2010.

  1. Gojiras_Hejira


    Feb 9, 2010
    This is inspired by this thread: http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=650439

    Fenders are the standard for the instrument and very common and very loved. Punk and metal are the genres that are the ones that are most "selling rebellion". Of course they shun the "norm". As indicated by the original post, there is an observable disparity in the occurrence of Fenders in these genres. I think there are valid considerations of psychology here.

    Also, I consider the age of Metal to be 1976-81.
    In any genre, you have brief underground beginnings. Iron Maiden did not grow up listening to heavy metal. It didn't exist. They grew up listening to Tull, Yes, The Who,Hendrix, Cream and Wishbone Ash. Sabbath and Purple and Blue Cheer were not considered 'Metal'.

    As soon as you have people making Heavy metal bands because they grew up listening to heavy metal bands, the genre is inbred and wrecked and creatively watered down. The same is true of genres in any art form- painting, writing, photography, etc...

    So after 1981 (coincidentally about the time Mtv appeared?), people were making Radio-friendly and Mtv-friendly metal. It was more about appearance than sound. Even the supposed anti-Mtv bands (still, just a backlash) were dressing up.

    Look at the people who made heavy metal, Steve Harris, Burke Shelley, Bob Daisley, maybe Phil Lynot... back when the only "image" of Heavy Metal was jeans, a t-shirt and long hair- everyone played Fenders. Only Lemmy always played a Rick and Hawkwind were definitely not metal. Quick- one of you Priest fans find a concert picture of Ian Hill in 1974 or 76 and tell me what he's playing? Then show me a picture of him after Mtv appeared.

    You wanna talk sound? Before "crunch" pedals, you only needed a Fender and an over-driven tube amp. Again, once gear was created to give you the "metal sound" - it was already over.

    What do you think of that?

  2. freakfingers12


    Mar 28, 2010
    I think that made sense. Good points forwarded. :) I just think that people are revolving and their taste of feel and sound isn't the same like in the 80's anymore.
  3. Gojiras_Hejira


    Feb 9, 2010
    Yeah, there is the inbred factor vs. real growth I guess.
  4. FromTheBassMent

    FromTheBassMent Those who can, play bass. Supporting Member

    Jan 19, 2010
    Providence, RI
    I think it's all about the pickguards. Plastic pickguards are so not metal.

    I think punk's a different situation. Sid Vicious played a P bass, as did Paul Simonon and Dave Alexander and DeeDee Ramone. Fenders were also the choice for bassists in Black Flag, TSOL, The Flesheaters, The Damned, et al.

    Maybe today's punk players don't use Fenders, but today's punk music isn't really worth a damb, so who cares?
  5. I think the question wasn't worth asking *or* answering. It's the same as all those threads that start off with 'What's the *real* story behind Rickenbacker?' or 'Tell me about Music Man.'

    I really try not to be snarky when someone asks a question that just needs a little common sense or thought process, but on ocassion...
  6. Gojiras_Hejira


    Feb 9, 2010
    Plastic is definitely not metal!
    In fact, I lost my pick guard because I gave it to someone who has a plasma cutter. I wanted him to cut one out of a different material. He decided he couldn't do it, and I never saw the pick guard again...

    I think it looks better without it. I don't think plastic has a place on any musical instrument! Good point!

  7. Gojiras_Hejira


    Feb 9, 2010
    See, I don't consider Sex Pistols real punk. I consider them bubble-gum magazine-cover punk, like Green Day is now. They're not real track shoes. They were sport-inspired mall-walking shoes if you get my drift.

    Good point taken with the other bands.

    As far as punk goes, you don't see him use it live, but Mike Watt records with a white Larry Graham Jazz bass. And Rob Wright is the Alpha and Omega of Punk Rock bass. There is none greater and he uses a stock Precision.
  8. smperry

    smperry Administrator Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    I didn't see the original thread, but this thread seems to fall under:

    Rule #5: Do not question moderation policies/actions in the forums

    so I'm closing it. Consider this a general reminder of the rule...it's better to PM the Moderators, or use the Help Desk.

    EDIT: Reopening this thread here and cleaning it up. Keep it to Basses please.

  9. Well Jimm, just on a personal standpoint I disagree. I started playing bass when was 12 and didn't listen to metal at all. Strike that. Any metal that I did listen to was older; Sabbath, Deep Purple, etc... Only I just thought it was rock n' roll. I listened to a lot of Aerosmith, GnR, Whitesnake, Living Colour, and other hard rock acts of the day. I didn't decide to play bass because I was inspired by any certain player. I picked it up because my school buddies wanted to start a band and no one played bass. So, here I was this 12 year old kid with a P-bass copy from a pawn shop. I didn't take lessons and no one in my family played. My mom just bought what she could afford. I played this thing like crazy but hated the way it sounded. The next year, I took all the money I got for Christmas and birthday and bought a 5 string GTX Ibanez copy with a PJ setup. I played this for 4 years. I still wasn't happy with the sound. I then took all my money again and set out to find something that I liked. I played a bunch of basses at different shops and decided upon a Samick 5'er PJ settup. The biggest difference was this bass was active. It was the hotter pups that made the difference to me. I never thought to figure out what bass so and so was playing. At the time, I had no clue that brand meant anything. I just knew what was pleasing to my ears and this tone actually cut through the mix in metal. The chords I was playing no longer sounded muddy. There was growl and clarity and not just punch. I could actually hear myself in the mix. I didn't want this sound because it was popular or done by my "idol". Hell, my idol used lots of distortion and wah. I hated effects on my sound. One last thing. Your whole inbred theory makes no sense at all. It's like saying that Chuck Berry was better than the Beatles because he inspired their art. Just my 2 cents.
  10. Greevus


    Apr 15, 2009
    I agree and disagree with the original post. "Heavy Metal" gets called everything with loud guitars and long hair. I agree with your "precursory" type bands, a la Lizzy, Zep, Sab, Priest, Wishbone Ash, etc. Maiden was part of the whole NWOBHM thing with Angel Witch, Saxon, Demon, Diamond Head, Samson, Venom, Raven, Tank, Tygers of Pan Tang, etc. Just like the original heavy bands, many of these, like Budgie, Priest, Motorhead, etc, lived through the British Wave. However, I think the real heyday of metal got started about '81. Great American metal emerged like Riot, Manowar, Warlord, Armored Saint, Metallica/Slayer and the new Thrash Wave. Also bands popped up from all over the globe that were part of this thrash/punk/old school mix that appeared on Metal Blade, Megaforce, Shrapnel, Combat, Music for Nations, etc, such as Voivod, Anvil, Oz, Mercyful Fate, Fates Warning, Helstar, Accept, and so many more. For me personally, metal peaked out with the prog/techno metal bands such as Watchtower and Mekong Delta. These two were over the top with speed, technique, power, and had great tunes. Ironically, both have new releases coming out this year.
    Even Motley Crue got started up and rolling around this time. I will be the first guy to say I am not a "hair metal" fan. I never considered poppy ballads "metal". I'm from the Sabbath camp.

    As far as Fender basses go, they transcend everything because they CUT. Especially for metal bands. However, there were all kinds of basses in the "metal" period. In the early to mid '80s, you saw about every brand that ever existed, ie Yamaha, Esp, Ibanez, Gib, Fender, Fernandes, Ric, BC Rich, Washburn, etc.

    All depends on one's definition of "metal".....
  11. jasonmasters


    Dec 18, 2008
    I've got kind of a personal gripe with fenders. My dad had a friend when I was younger that worked at fender and therefore could get me discounts on instruments. I was playing guitar and bass back then, so I got a few different guitars and basses for my friends. I never once got a guitar that could stay in tune. Then I saw Jeff Beck live, obviously playing a fender, and they had to stop a song 15 seconds in just so Jeff could re-tune and start over!

    As for their basses, let me know when they start making 6 string basses besides the steve baily model? I get that fender has been around forever and sell what sells, but how about some new designs already?
  12. Gojiras_Hejira


    Feb 9, 2010
    Yeah, I think that's the whole growth vs. inbred thing, but some people WILL say that about Chuck Berry. Even Jaco said, "I'm just ripping off so-and-so and so-and-so". And there's certainly nothing wrong with deciding to remain within a set of rules your whole career. It's OK to decide to be a blues player and only use blues scales.

    But you can't say that After Motley Crue had success with Home Sweet Home and Poison had "Every Rose had it's thorn" then within 3 years you had 400 Big-hair bands singing on-the-road ballads and sappy I-miss-you-baby acoustic guitar songs it wasn't a little watered down. That's why Grunge came along and wiped them all away, just like punk and metal did to the Album oriented rock with 20-minute guitar solos of the 70s. New music genres are just reactionary measures to previous ones who've stayed at the party too long and got old and boring.

    Now as to your personal story- anecdotal evidence is great, but you can always find a story to support whatever your worldview is. I think we're looking at the Fender in heavy metal as a whole, though.

  13. Greevus


    Apr 15, 2009
    Steve Harris and Geezer Butler are STILL around and STILL playing Fender or Fender clones...... That speaks volumes doesn't it??
  14. Greevus


    Apr 15, 2009
    If Cliff Burton would have used a Fender maybe we could've HEARD him.
  15. Gojiras_Hejira


    Feb 9, 2010

    Was anyone called "heavy metal" before the NWOBHM existed? I truly don't know. We'll have to ask Neal Kay. I think the "Old wave" was defined by the new wave. It's like WWI was called "The Great War" until WWII let us call it WWI.

    And yes, 1981/2 was a turning point. In some opinions, Heavy metal began with The Number of the Beast and the Ozzy/Randy albums and that lot, right? that's when it exploded and went arena-sized. I think everything after that was artistically limp. Every thing was just a harder / faster Number of the Beast:

    I LOVE Testament & Anthrax & Death Angel and Cliff-era Metallica. It's pretty formulaic though. It's harder, faster Number of the Beast.

    intro/verse/chorus/verse/chorus/guitar solo/chorus/out-written from a horror novel.

    And I agree that anyone with long hair got called Metal. that's unfortunate because the hair bands came from the line of Glam bands, which is OK. But clearly there is a difference between songs from sunny LA (songs about girls and partying) and dreary, rainy factory-blackened Birmingham & East London (NOT songs about girls and partying).

    How many of those LA hair bands played Fenders and how many played basses that either sparkled or were neon colors or offered endorsements?

    Then came the SHREDDERS! NONE of them played Fenders. NOW we can talk gear. Were they Metal? What did John Aldrette play in Racer X? He plays vintage Fenders in Mars Volta.

  16. Greevus


    Apr 15, 2009
    LA hair scene was not metal. Mars Volta could squeeze in there. Mekong Delta and Watchtower were nothing like Maiden. Neal Kay--good namedrop for sure. I think Steppenwolf coined the term in "Born to Be Wild". Unfortunately, there were tons of Fenders from LA too. Don't fight the Fender. It's useless. Them and Ampegs ain't leaving the party if volume is involved.
  17. XtheDeadPawn


    May 24, 2008
    Your wrong. Though I am both a Punk and Metalhead I see lots of punk bands using Fenders take The Clash, Sex Pistols, Green Day, Rancid, The Fall, The Ramones, Social Distortion, Bad Religion, The Cure, Joy Division, New Order, The Skulls, and Black Flag all older punk bands. Now take newer punk bands almost close to over 70% use Fenders like Rise Against, Alkaline Trio, Blink 182, Fallout Boy, Sum 41, My Chemical Romance, Motion City Soundtrack, The Briggs, The Randies, Bloc Party, Taking Back Sunday, and Anberlin just to keep it brief.

    I as a bassist (as you call it) "rebel" by protesting not to look cool. I just don't like Fender I don't have to like Fender it's not a rule. Just like it's not a rule to only use 3 notes for punk songs or to put some type of solo in a metal song it's a choice. I choose not to buy Fender because of my hatred of paying half a grand for a bass that'll most likely be a mod project instead of a useable bass.

    Again my opinion is not a fact see opinions are only facts to a person who believes them.

    Like there are Christians and Atheists it's hard to convience either of them to believe the opinion of the other.

    So lets leave it at that.
  18. 3035202091_7300134ce4.

    Bassist from Whitechapel.
  19. Gojiras_Hejira


    Feb 9, 2010
    Right, so we all know what a Fender is. We need to define Heavy Metal.

    And I've pulled punk into it. In my opinions, there is no discussion past Steve Harris & Rob Wright- both Fender men. Who cares what anyone else plays ;)

    XtDP, I see only a couple punk bands in there. You have some early 80's post-punk and some recent noisy pop bands. As we learned from Achewood, no one born after the McDLT has a right to stomp around acting punk rock.

  20. Kromwarp


    Sep 16, 2008
    Greater Grand Rapids, Michigan
    Master Luthier: Ironclad Bass Guitars
    He did in fact play a P-Bass for a while, but only for Spastik Children...and in regards to Ian Hill, it was all a sunburst J-Bass with black block maple fretboard...he now uses Spector


    Cliff with a black P-Bass

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