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Demystifying Metal styles, how to make fingerstyle playing heard in Metal

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by pablomigraine, Nov 8, 2007.

  1. Kragnorak


    Sep 20, 2008
    Yes I'm sure it's all the wood up there but Canada has got a ridiculous amount of fantastic boutique luthiers! I'm sure there are great affordable fretless basses that I haven't discovered yet, but I haven't been able to find them so far :p
    Creede likes this.
  2. Mantis Tobaggan

    Mantis Tobaggan Supporting Member

    Sep 9, 2015
    Tampa, FL
    hintz and Creede like this.
  3. Creede


    May 15, 2015
    Thanks for sharing. Those were some pretty cool riffs, but I didn't really dig your vocalist that much.
  4. Mantis Tobaggan

    Mantis Tobaggan Supporting Member

    Sep 9, 2015
    Tampa, FL
    Thanks for the feedback
  5. thehornedone


    Sep 7, 2014
    OP's post was a revelation for me! I've been trying to get the clacky DM bass tone for quite a while to no avail. Fret buzz was my enemy, and I used thicker-than-usual string gauges to maintain tension and reduce buzz. I also finger pick with a technique that avoids the strings bouncing off the fret board. When I get home, I'm flattening my bass's neck relief, lowering action, down tuning, raising pickups; excited to see where that gets me.

    Question: I currently have a Rick 4003, Jazz V Deluxe, and EBMM Sterling (the USA Sterling, not the Chinese Stingray Sterling), and I thought my basses were holding me back from this sound. I was planning on acquiring a Warwick Corvette $$ or Spector because that's what I see most DM bassists using whose tone I like. You think it's possible for me to get the clacky Cryptopsy type tone out of my Jazz V in active mode? Is the bridge or neck pickup advisable for this style?
  6. hintz


    Jun 5, 2014
    wahiawa, HI(Oahu)
    With a Jazz in active mode? Yes, you'll get that clank! You could get some nice grindy clank with the Ric too, but neither would be the same as using a Spector as they have a very unique sound. I'd have both pickups on full, favoring neither of them!
    knumbskull likes this.
  7. Mantis Tobaggan

    Mantis Tobaggan Supporting Member

    Sep 9, 2015
    Tampa, FL
    I played a Serling for a long time and was able to get a decent brightness out of it that I thought worked well with metal. I switched recently to a 4003 and have found tone settings that I think work even better.
    knumbskull likes this.
  8. get a fretless, crank the mids, and give plenty of highs tastefully, balance the lows adequately not overwhelming or floor shaking (may vary on preference) think forest la pointe of beyond creation, archspire, or obscure. Even a more aggressive jaco sound will cut very well with the right amount of highs and mids. use roundwounds on the fretless will mwah more and push the mids more the lower action helps as well along with getting the right attack. i have been playing technical death metal for about (bass player for about 12 years now) 4 years now and this has worked extremely well to poke through the mix and get an aggressive sound. i have gotten many compliments on my tone at gigs. just my 2 cents. depending on the bass you may want to only use the bridge pickup and dial in the tone described to taste (i was able to achieve the sound i described by defretting an ibanez six string putting rounds on it and installing a bartolini ntmb 3 band eq).

    as far as speed and technique i usually play near the bridge pickup with a four finger plucking technique plucking on the upstroke and flamenco right near the edge of the nail and finger mass on the way out this gives me quite a bit of speed and with practice and time it becomes quite easy and sounds good (may take a few years of rudiment and string skipping practice). this essentially is like a heel toe technique that drummers use for double kick but for finger picking. Your outward flamenco stroke will need to be strong though to balance out. For warm ups i practice a quadruplet string skipping only using the flamenco and alternate patterns once the muscles feel warmed up i bring in the finger picking (think upward fingerpicking stroke pinky first down to index then pinky flamenco out to the index creates a fluid consistent movement of all four fingers, and with practice can be fast enough and consistent to stay with the kicks). switching between picking near the neck and bridge will help during certain passages you need more balls in or more of that rolling off the finger sound strings bouncing off fretboard. be fore warned you will not see good results for atleast a year of consistent practicing as you need to build up the muscles neccessary. practice slow build up speed and before you know it you will be shredding away at awesome speeds. you will also need to practice left hand muting to ensure clean notes.

    to recap 4321 4f3f2f1f f=flamenco you can also practice the finger picking for a while before incorporating the flamenco 4321234 and any variation there of will help you want complete control of the right hand which is especially important in this genre of music. create a table and make all the possible configurations starting with each number 4321 4231 4132 4213 etc then move onto 3214 3124 3421 3142 etc then create another table with all the variations for string skipping and create fret pattern on the left hand and right hand to practice finger independence with left hand as well especially helpful with erb basses. These are techniques that i have practiced for years took a lot of work but has paid off in a big way. my band mates always say i am a fast mother shagger. lol
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2016
    hintz and IconBasser like this.
  9. Blaargh


    Apr 4, 2016
    OP has some serious knowledge.

    I started playing in a blackened death metal band about 18 months ago, and it's been a bit of a learning curve considering I generally dislike playing with a pick. Prior to joining I'd been playing a lot of stoner metal like Kyuss or Sleep which is much bluesier, or Cliff Burton's stuff, so it took a lot of effort to really get into the groove of things. Personally I've found the best thing you can do is make sure your right hand is strong as hell and warm up properly before playing. Trying to keep up with your drummer's double bass is definitely possible, so long as your technique is comfortable and you have the stamina.

    I don't really play jazz or classical like people are suggesting (as much as I know I should!), I tried to improve my left hand technique by jamming old blues walking lines faster and faster with my brother on guitar. It was a ton of fun as well as being decent practice.

    As far as tones go, I've found actives are a must (my EMG JA loaded Jazz sounds like a monster, but still has that classic JB note definition) if you want to hear yourself in a band scenario. I used to play my Thunderbird and it was more of a dull roar beneath everything. Getting some decent overdrive is really useful too for that extra punch. I've also got an EHX Steel Leather pedal, which boosts attack.
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2016
  10. Btw passive pickups with an active 3 band preamp eq does wonders in this arena. if ur using passive pickups get some active electronics to grt somewhat of a hotter output there
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2016
  11. Ok, so I have a question... I have already read through this entire post multiple times, and I understand all of the intricacies that go into string selection and how personal it is, but helpful responses would be much appreciated. I had good luck with a standard set of Pro Steels in 45-105 with a tapered .145 for Drop A tuning (A E A D G) on my 34" Warwick in getting a pretty nice and clanky sound for metalcore, but while it seems most players prefer to play closer to the neck to get the clank, I prefer playing between the J pickups and bit closer to the bridge pickup. Would lighter strings and an adjusted set up help get the rebound I need from the strings without sacrificing tone quality? I have always subscribed to the mass mentality of "thicker strings is better for drop tuned stuff", and I am having a hard time shaking that preconception (especially with the price of bass strings!). Thicker strings are not an issue for me to play on, I have used a .158 Kalium set for awhile but I really dug the tone I got from the clanky ProSteels. Would a set closer to .40, 60, .80, .100, .135 work well in Drop A without being sloppy? Thanks in advance, even if it's just encouragement to try something different then what I am used to! :)
  12. It may work well with the Guage you've described, with a good setup done you can get the desired feel of taunt Ness from the Guage as well as desired clank/ finger mass rolling off string near the bridge.

    Adjusting your nut on the Warwick will help as well as string height, intonation/ bridge setup. once you have changed the string Guage you will want to get this done. On a well setup wick with .125 for the b tuned down to a (i am tuned a, d, g, c, f, a) I get a big sound with a tight low end no slop and perfect string tension as I play mainly near the bridge. Bigger Guage doesn't always mean bigger sound lighter with the right processing and right technique will sound huge if done right.
    subsonicbassist likes this.
  13. Easily the best response I've ever gotten here, thanks for the input! I am excited to try a $12 set of Warwick Red's instead of my usual $50 set of Kaliums, maybe I can quit being a starving artist lol! I have a custom sized bone nut on my Warwick for now, the JAN II was completely wrecked when I got it and haven't found a good price on a brass JAN III yet, but I will tinker with it when I get my new strings. Thanks a ton :bassist::thumbsup::bassist:
  14. check out warwick shop online german distribution the jan3 brass nut is 80 bucks american and about 20 bucks shipping get some wax for 10 bucks and the user kit for 40 and it is still way cheaper than the 200 here. i got mine for 80 dollars for the brass nut great deal (the conversion worked to roughly 80 bucks).
    subsonicbassist likes this.
  15. Awesome, will do for sure! Now that I may not need to have it filed open to fit an obscenely large B string, that may be an option soon ;)
  16. hyp.spec


    May 14, 2006
    Warren, MI
    I've been primarily a pick player for years, with a few bouts of fingerstyle here and there, but I would always run into endurance issues with my right hand.

    Over the past month or so, I've been forced to play finger style due to an RSI in my wrist (I think from practicing with a pick too much), and after going through all this I have finally seen the light.

    Currently Spector ReBop 5, tuned BEADG, light gauge DR Hi Beam (.120-.40), EMG DC40's and EMG BQC Preamp.

    I've also started playing with a really light touch, and was amazed at the results. I was always under the assumption you'd have to play harder to get the tones I was looking for, but turns out, near-0 neck relief, low string height and a light touch are all I need to get there.

    With this setup I feel like I can play for days without any fatigue!
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2016
    subsonicbassist, Creede and Felix1776 like this.
  17. Creede


    May 15, 2015
    Figuring out how to play lightly helped me become smoother and much more fluid and bass. Most of the most technical and fastest bassists play with a light touch.

    Also, if you want to keep picking, look up Carol Kaye's picking method. There's a great thread on here about that.
  18. Over time you'll build up more endurance and be able to hit harder for accents while still playing at high speed really dig in deep on those chunky accent parts and counterpoints
  19. pablomigraine

    pablomigraine Commercial User

    Feb 9, 2005
    New York
    VP & Managing Director - Willcox Basses
    OP HERE-

    Guys, I am blown away by the attention this thread continues to receive almost a DECADE after I originally posted it. I thank every one of you for all your kind words.

    I am considering doing an update to this thread to be a lil more relevant and to try and post some of what I've learned since.... what do you guys think? We'll use likes as votes.

    hintz, IconBasser, Herrick and 5 others like this.
  20. Creede


    May 15, 2015
    I would love an update to this thread. It's overall, been the most influential thread (for me) on this board.
    subsonicbassist likes this.