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Cliff Burtons tone(i know how to use the search button)

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by romkaman, Jul 12, 2013.

  1. romkaman


    Feb 21, 2013
    Hey guys, could anyone help me out on this one? Cliff Burtons tone in For whom the bell tolls( the riffs, not the intro) and actually all of the ride the lightning album and orion( the first riff and the one after the bass fill), he has some distorted tone, which i cant crack down nor using the amp settings, nor the bass big muff. Thanks in advance.
  2. Right_Butterscotch64


    Oct 18, 2012
    Follow these 2 formulas for his tone:

    Burton solo tone
    Lots of gain + wah

    Riff/in song tone
    Less gain+no wah
  3. gregmon79

    gregmon79 Supporting Member

    Dec 20, 2012
    Chicago IL
    It probably had a lot to do with his amp, bass and fingers. He also used wah a lot. He mainly used mesa boogie 400 and mesa cabs and sometimes ampeg cabs I believe. Also Sunn amps. His Ric and Aria had a lot to do with his tones. What kind of bass and amp do you use?
  4. romkaman


    Feb 21, 2013
    I have yamaha rbx270 bass and Line6 Lowdown15 amp. I got a sound thats similar to his fade to black, but the thing is i get this trebly distorion while treble both at BBM and bass is set to minimum and on my amp its set to about 8 o'clock and if i turn it down it sounds crappy. But i think its because i have J-pickup and P-pickup and not the humbucker.
  5. romkaman


    Feb 21, 2013
    the problem is that the riff sound is really similar except that trebly distortion at the end of the sound(dont know how to explain)
  6. Hamlet7768

    Hamlet7768 Here to chew gum and rock. Still have gum.

    Jun 5, 2011
    Cliff's non-solo tone came primarily from cranking amps and using an Ibanez Tube Screamer (probably to drive the amps harder). He used Mesa gear, with "custom" 15-inch-speaker and 4x12 cabs. In addition, between Ride the Lightning and Master of Puppets he was using different basses, which resulted in radically different tones (Kill 'Em All is unique too, but you asked about Lightning and Puppets).

    On Ride the Lightning, he was using his modified Rickenbacker 4001. To be specific about the mods, he had a Gibson EB-0 pickup installed in place of the neck pickup, a DiMarzio Jazz-style pickup in place of the bridge pickup, AND a hot strat pickup by Seymour Duncan under the bridge in place of the adjustable mutes. This leads to a very raucous, hot-rodded tone, with distorted highs and a thunderous bottom end that serves very well.

    On Master of Puppets he was using his Aria SB Black n Gold (probably; that was apparently his favorite). This is a much simpler bass, with a single humbucker pickup right about where a P-bass pickup is. He changed that pickup out too, but I don't think the change was as drastic, nor do I know what the pickup was. Anyway, that went through the same cranked setup, and got a much more rumbly, P-esque sound.

    On both of these, to the best of my knowledge he was using extremely light-gauge Rotosound Swingbass strings, which allowed those crazy bends he did during his solos. He may have also used Funkmasters, but I don't know that for certain.
  7. gregmon79

    gregmon79 Supporting Member

    Dec 20, 2012
    Chicago IL
    The no humbucker and having a line 6 amp to try to achieve cliffs tone isn't gonna happen IMO. Like you said, you get somewhere in the ballpark but nowhere near it at the same time. If you had a more "organic" amp and not such a sterile one, that would help immensely. Not trying to be an a**, just honest.
  8. romkaman


    Feb 21, 2013
    Yeah i know he had ultra good gear, but could you just advice me something to get close to that sound by using what i have? :) i have that trebly(like lead) distortion or theres not enough distortion if i lower it, maybe some help on this one?
  9. romkaman


    Feb 21, 2013
    yeah i understood it right from the beginning, im just a new guy in the world of bass, thats my first bass and amp and just tryin to do whats possible to get a good sound.
  10. Right_Butterscotch64


    Oct 18, 2012
    With the right amount of FX you could probably get it outta that amp. Need a big muff bass AND a big muff regular. A wah, and a bass with a p pickup or humbucker. Raise the low mids and highs but don't actually rely on cranking the amp in your case.
  11. romkaman


    Feb 21, 2013
    Thanks, and could you recommend some bass big muff settings please?
  12. gregmon79

    gregmon79 Supporting Member

    Dec 20, 2012
    Chicago IL
    That's cool. You'll get there someday. It takes time sometimes.
  13. Trus3683


    Feb 14, 2013
    California, USA
    I have the same amp and an RBX 170. I tend to use the P pickup, tone on or off depending on my mood, no Jazz pickup on and use the onboard distortion effect. Though I'm sure the pedal you have is more than suited for it. I tend to have hi mids and treble up, bass and lo mids down a bit on my onboard settings, it's no Burton but perfectly suited for the (Very) poor man's rig and works fine for me even to do Cliff's tones. I believe that if I had a MPB wah, I'd be able to almost nail his tone as is, (but never his playing!)
  14. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    Listen, you could use Cliff's exact rig and never sound like him. I just saw a vid of Rob Trujillo playing Anesthesia pretty much note for note using an Aria Cliff Burton sig model and a Morley Fuzz Wah (Cliff's pedal of choice), and he didn't sound just like Cliff, either.

    And that's exactly what people like me mean when they say "tone is in the hands."
  15. Levin Hannaford

    Levin Hannaford Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2007
    Charlotte N.C.

    I thought the exact thing when I saw that video.

    I was obsessed with the Cliff tone when I first started as well. I'd turn all the highs down on my amp and use a Muff pedal with the tone all the way up!

    Much to learn had I....
  16. tjrtherealmagic


    Jun 10, 2013
    Very good! Cliff did use funkmasters. He also used a compressor(Boss CS-2). I keep the wah on, i use morleys like he did. I think he uses the wah even without the solo, I could be wrong but i sound closer with the wah. :bassist:
  17. sxaxsx


    May 23, 2012
    First you need the best bass for metal. Then you need a band that burrys you in the mix.

    Seriously though I agree with Jimmy, it's in the fingers! Play hard close to the bridge that should help.
  18. tjrtherealmagic


    Jun 10, 2013
    Distorted solo tone:
    Amp with mids boosted, bass at 2 o'clock, treble at 3 o'clock
    Big muff, volume at anything tone at 3 o'clock sustain at 2:30
    Morley power wah(what I use now, i loaned out my PWB and PWF) boost at 12 o'clock
    Tube screamer drive at 2:30 level at 1 o'clock tone treble all the way up
    behringer cs400 level 12:30 tone 3 o'clock attack all the way up sustain 11:30:bassist:
    I am still experimenting, but this is the closest i have gotten.
    The song determines wether or not I use the big muff, but i almost always use the other three.
  19. I have the lowdownHD400 and have copped his puppets album and tour tone spot on. I cant remember the settings of the top of my head but I was using the 'grind' channel and over driving it just to the point of break up. I was using a HEAVY attack, Peavy international bass and 4x12 and 1x15.
    Also, in this video

    Ric copy, into boss OD pedal. Recorded years ago on a crappy camera but I think I got close to the RTL album tone (even though I'm playing a Puppets track).

    My two Aria's pretty much nail the puppets tone whatever they are plugged into.

    Hope this helps?
  20. NKUSigEp


    Jun 6, 2006
    Bright, IN
    This is the first time I've heard of Cliff using a Tubescreamer.

    But yeah, with your setup it's gonna be a little tough. Try setting up the amp for the Ampeg SVT tone in the manual but then bump the mids a bunch and turn down the treble a hair. The rest is up to your ears.