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Cliff Burton's gear

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by FC Bass, Dec 8, 2007.

  1. FC Bass

    FC Bass Alembic and Mesa/Boogie junkie

    Jun 9, 2006
    Not very usefull to this thread, this is about finding Metallica's bass tone ;)
  2. lazzer


    May 20, 2006

    I bet when you go see a band or watch live music on tv you look for the bass player and see what gear he/she is using, regardless of wether or not you like the band...............??;)


    Sep 7, 2005
    I'll give you that one. It's not the first time a thread has gone off topic.


    Sep 7, 2005
    Yeah, I usually look for the bass player in these situations. However, I don't make choices for gear based off of what some artist uses. That was kind of the whole point.
  5. Ok, I bought the Bass book for Metallica so I am fairly competent that these are accurate specs.

    It says:
    Aria Pro II Bass
    Rickenbacker Bass
    Mesa Boogie amp
    Mesa Boogie 2x15 cabinet
    EHX Big Muff
    Morley Power Wah Boost (Do these even exist now adays?)

    From crusing the Cliffy B tribute profiles on myspace and their "Share Your Cliff Story" threads...
    The P-Bass was borrowed for the gig

    And I believe I read that Kill em' All was recorded on one Marshall Stack for everything (Lead guitar, rhythm, and bass)

    This is an obscure thought, but has any one ever seen what shoes Cliff wears... I don't think I have ever seen a pic with his shoes visible under his bell bottoms (Or I just don't remember).
  6. You're certainly on the right path, but right away I noticed that a couple very important items were missing...

    Vodka and "hand sandwiches" :D
  7. Note on Cliff's FX: The EHX BM is not used to cover up sloppy playing... Cliff's gear is all on the low-end side, the EHX BM is used so that the notes will come through the muddiness of his tone... but it all starts to blend together anyways when he plays fast... but then again the notes still come out better than they would without it.
  8. Dave_W


    Jan 15, 2008
    San Mateo, Ca
    The folks who are interested.
    Squittolo likes this.
  9. FC Bass

    FC Bass Alembic and Mesa/Boogie junkie

    Jun 9, 2006
    The Morley is from the Tel Ray days, discontinued in the early 80's
    Here's mine:

    A better pick from the net:


    They can be found used for $100-150 (or when you're lucky, for less)
    I've found it to be critical for the right Cliff solo tone, much more than the Big Muff.
  10. I used a DOD Grunge pedal w/ my guitarist's Morley wah (I'm pretty sure it wasn't a Power Wah) w/my P-bass and Carvin Redline combo (set almost all the way on "tube") several years ago when my band was interested in doing covers... We all thought it was pretty darn close.

    Anesthesia remains one of the great bass performances in my mind, and it was really useful when the guitarists werer changing axes or tuning, or just needed a beer.
  11. funkytoe

    funkytoe Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2008
    Northern California
    If you want to know what gear Cliff used, you need to be specific about time.

    In the later days with Metallica, he had moved on to Aria basses and mesa or ampeg amps.

    Around the "Kill em All" time, Cliff was still using his burgundy (oxblood) Rickenbacker 4001. It had a Gibson EB pickup at the neck and a hot Dimarzio pickup at the bridge. He called the Dimarzio his "secret weapon." Cliff's guitar tech at that time was Chuck Martin at ABC Music in Castro Valley, California. He might be able to give you more specifics about exactly what Cliff used pickup-wise.

    Cliff's amp was a Sunn Colliseum Lead head with various cabs. The one I remember most was this big 2 x 18 cab. I don't think Cliff used 10 inch speakers prior to the time he switched to Mesa.

    I remember 3 effect pedals. (1) EH Big Muff Pi. I distinctly remember the Pi symbol on that pedal; (2) EH Bass Balls and (3) Morley Power Wah Fuzz. He may also have had a power wah boost, but I am certain he was playing with a Power Wah Fuzz in his Trauma/early Metallica period.

    Hope that helps your quest for tone.
  12. funkytoe

    funkytoe Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2008
    Northern California
    PS. To the best of my recollection, Cliff never owned a p bass, nor did he play in Spastik Children. SC was actually a joke band. They consisted of James Hetfield on drums, Kirk Hammet and Jim Martin (of Faith no More) both on bass, and Fred from the band Piranha on guitar and vocals. I saw them play at the Omni in Oakland back in December of 1986, just a few months after Cliff passed away. Jason Newsted was there and everyone was taking his picture because he was the "new guy" in Metallica. Jason came on stage for the encore playing an 8 string bass. For those of you keeping count, that makes 3 bassists (Kirk, Jim Martin and Jason). Maybe that's were Spinal Tap got the idea for "Big Bottom."
  13. Discharge


    Nov 25, 2006
    Interesting topic, don't suppose anyone knows what mesa model of 4x12 he used?

    I might email teh boogie peeps now :)

    EDIT: That bellator guy really is an asshat...
  14. Trauma_Luna


    Nov 14, 2007
    I CARE
  15. FC Bass

    FC Bass Alembic and Mesa/Boogie junkie

    Jun 9, 2006
    @funkytoe: Great info, thanx! You've seen him live a few times I guess? [​IMG]
    And to be specific about time: I'dd like to know all there is to know, all times ;)
    There is a pic of Cliff with his Rick, that was taken during his last gig (at least that's what the info under the pick says)

    I think this is one of the pics:

    Here's a clip of me ruining Anesthesia: Youtube link Sorry for the sloppy performance [​IMG]
    It's an Aria Pro II Black 'n' Gold I - E/H Little Big Muff and Morley PWB through my Mesa stack.
  16. FC Bass

    FC Bass Alembic and Mesa/Boogie junkie

    Jun 9, 2006
    I've edited the first post according to funkytoe's info and will keep editting until the list is 100% complete [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Any comments on this pic?:
  17. Darkstrike

    Darkstrike Return Of The King!

    Sep 14, 2007
    Actually he did play in Spastik Children, just not all of them played every show.
    And he did have a pbass, just for SpastiK Children, never used it with Metallica.
  18. Darkstrike

    Darkstrike Return Of The King!

    Sep 14, 2007
    Yeah, its him playing with Spastik Children.
  19. Lammchop93

    Lammchop93 Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2007
    Louisville, KY
    I'm gonna post this again to help people who missed it earlier.:cool:
  20. funkytoe

    funkytoe Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2008
    Northern California
    Dear Darkstrike:

    I have to respectfully disagree. I know that Spastik Children played more than one gig. And I only saw one of them. But, I do know that one of the features of a SC performance was that everyone played an instrument that was NOT their regular instrument. Thus, James played drums and Kirk played bass. I cannot imagine Cliff playing a bass in SC because that was his principal instrument. And, Cliff loved playing guitar. He would not have passed up the opportunity to play guitar in SC. So, unless you can tell me you were at the SC show where he played that P Bass, I am going to have to disagree.

    My educated guess for that photo is that it is Cliff sitting in with some band he was fond of and used the p-bass provided by the band's bass player.

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