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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. pablomigraine

    pablomigraine Commercial User

    Feb 9, 2005
    New York
    VP & Managing Director - Willcox Basses
    That's one!

    Anyone else?
    AdamR and Rickter like this.
  2. Creede


    May 15, 2015
    You did get quite a few likes on your post, plus I'd wager most people who originally followed this thread don't get the notifications anymore. Maybe a whole other thread for visibility?
  3. Mantis Tobaggan

    Mantis Tobaggan Supporting Member

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

    IconBasser Scuba Viking Supporting Member

    Feb 28, 2007
    Alta Loma, California
    You're not sharing in backing vocal duties? Slacker :p
    Mantis Tobaggan likes this.
  5. hintz


    Jun 5, 2014
    wahiawa, HI(Oahu)
    That "flamenco" technique you describe sound alot like what Abe Laboriel uses for speed!! Maybe i should revisit this??(have it on VHS somewhere)

    The closest thing I do to this is either 43214321(downstrokes) or 321(down)1(up)321(D)321(U)etc... And I actually get better speed with the 3211 technique! The only problem is if I start on my 3rd finger I get a accent on the 4th note of a 16th note grouping! I'm attempting to remedy this by leading with the index finger upstroke to ensure the accent is on the "1". With an all downstroke 4 finger technique the pinky finger will naturally add that desired accent to the "1" of any grouping due to it being closer to the bridge and bringing out a harmonic overtone!! Another remedy I've found is to do either technique closer to the neck, or in my case over the neck pickup(all but one of my basses' have dual pickups) to get more clank and slightly muting with the fretting hand!

    Unfortunately some of my chops have disappeared lately because of a move and a busy schedule, but no excuses!! You guys motivate me to hit the woodshed!! :)
  6. hintz


    Jun 5, 2014
    wahiawa, HI(Oahu)
    Oh yeah, almost forgot.... Despite my crazy schedule lately, I've sorta revisited the old Chuck Rainey/Randy Coven speed technique!

    According to Chuck Rainey he developed this doing session work and his right hand tiring out, but its real simple: 2(downstroke), 1(downstoke), 1(upstroke),2(D)1(D),1(U), etc...so your hand is moving in a circular motion basically!

    You might ask, "Why do that when I can play 321321 etc..?? Well, you can achieve that fretboard clank that Brian Beller talks so much about much easier with this than 321 I have found!! Its easier to keep that clank consistent and much more efficient than Brian's "flicking" technique, at least it is for me! You can get pretty fast with this, though i haven't been able to get past about 190 with this...

    Something to consider!? With the other two techniques I find a lighter touch more beneficial(and playing closer to the bridge)
  7. Playing closer to the bridge always helps but depending on the passage the notes and the other instruments I hover my right hand over different segments of the pickup placement. That other up down right hand technique hintz spoke of is another one I use for string skipping that may need to be used to bridge the gap for some of the parts when called for. Mainly I use the 4 finger I spoke as it provides way more speed and when you get good at it even ur pinky can sound like a hammer lol. Light touch is good for certain things but I have found using a ramp in conjunction with practicing these techniques teaches ur hand to use more force in a smaller space without bottoming out the pick ups. Another thing to consider. Jus putting my 2 cents on some of the tremelo techniques discussed here.

    There's also the whole timing and placement for certain passages with adding tap sweep riffs during your tremelo passages makes for some interesting stuff. You can shred out some bass that sounds like some tech death guitar! Now that's cool because people always think the bass isn't capable of such things. I've had a few tell me I play my bass like a guitar ie tapping, sweeping, flamenco, tremelo techniques, chords but alas it is only me trying to traverse the odd and never ending basket of goodness that is the bass guitar and it's many wonderful sounds that can be achieved through multiple techniques. This is also why I love extreme metal

    I have never heard of Abe Lebo rial I will have to check him out. I came up with the technique when i felt the stuff I was playing traditional picking style wasn't fast enough. The idea came from playing primus all those years doing the outward flamenco for chords using all the fingers at once. I took that idea and applied to each finger in essence can strum a chord or note with one finger. eventually after strength training and playing tons of fast music for years it is almost natural now. can't imagine playing bass without four fingers. Like i said before over time each finger becomes so much stronger and independent that even your pinky can make a great attack and solid note. But back to the wood shed for me as I have plenty of other things to practice as my tremelo is great but other things I want to get better at are on the horizon.
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2016
  8. Creede


    May 15, 2015
    I think you can take bass playing extremely far in extreme metal and still play it like a bass guitar. I love hearing some grooves in technical death metal. Gorod is one of my favorite technical death metal bands, partially because of how groovy they are. Decapitated, Psycroptic, and Allegaeon are similar.
  9. hondo4life


    Feb 29, 2016
    This is where I pick my P bass for metal. It works well for the general chug-a chug-a 8th note lines.
    I prefer to use my fingers, especially for the fancy technical lines I write for myself, but the band wants "pick attack". I admit, I can barely hear myself when fingering.
    Yes, I crank the mids.
    I'm about to add a fEarful 15 and double my wattage. I hope that fixes my quiet fingers.
  10. A compressor will help with that, as well as developing a tone that is good for your fingerstyle. Attack angle, force, and other things will affect your ability to be heard. Just my two cents. You can get a great attack sound out of your fingers you would just need a totally different tone potentially and more time with your right hand building strength potentially.
  11. rodv66

    rodv66 Supporting Member

    Jul 4, 2016
    I always was a finger player, but trying to get back into playing, has shown me how hard it is to use three fingers, not two. At 50, not sure if I should start playing with a pick when I want to play thrash or speed metal. This is a great thread, wish I had this info in 1986
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2016
  12. Creede


    May 15, 2015
    You don't need to keep up with the guitars entirely. Playing much slower than the rest of the band can still sound amazing, since a supportive style can really add to a band in a way playing fast can't (and vice versa).
    AB Nate likes this.
  13. theunknowndude

    theunknowndude Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2007
    Adelaide, Australia
    Yes and no, I agree but in some genres / bands they will want a blast beat of force with drums, bass and guitar locked in.. I auditioned for a technical progressive metal band and couldn't match them, when they released their album it was much more brutal having it all lock in and done right. as opposed to my current band where I switch between laid back and matching the guitars which has a much different feel to the sound.

    I can play decent bpm with two fingers but not that three as my fingers the have to go weird angles to get them to all hit the strong right... Probably a practice thing but haven't needed to goto insane bpm in my current band so haven't used three for ages.
  14. theunknowndude

    theunknowndude Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2007
    Adelaide, Australia
    Edit: sorry bad typing on phone!
  15. Honestly I just stick to pick when I need to play fast and be even. It cuts through well too.
    When it's supposed to be more laid back sounding I use my fingers.
    Best tool for the job etc.
    For a while I had a bass set up with higher action to play kind of Steve Harris style. Play fingerstyle hard as hell so it almost sounds like slap & pop. That is one way to get an even tone, just go so hard your forearm burns.
    I ditched that approach after that band split up. My hands just weren't digging it.
  16. Creede


    May 15, 2015
    I agree with you for the first part. Being able to play at neck breaking speeds when the song calls for isn't a bad thing, and for more intense sections having all the players playing unison lines can help. That doesn't even cover just metal, jazz fusion artists (Mahavishnu Orchestra in Open Country Joy, for example) play in unison for the most intense lines. Also, I'm pretty sure that is a practice thing, but I'm not sure. And yeah, if you don't need to play at death metal tempos, there isn't too much of a point of having amazing tremolo technique.

    Playing so hard that your forearm burns is probably a bad idea. Makes sense why your hands weren't digging it, since technique like that will only lead to injury. A better way to get an even tone is play softly and turn your amp up, so that you aren't hurting yourself, you get a pretty even tone, and you have more headroom for dynamics.
  17. theunknowndude

    theunknowndude Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2007
    Adelaide, Australia
    My problem of playing in my original thrash band was I could play decently fast with two fingers but had almost no left hand technique as it was usually just bash one more as hard as you can on an open string... Wasn't a good switch to then audition for a technical death metal prob band ;)

    I love thrash metal but it's not as fun to play it compared to other metal genres...
  18. rodv66

    rodv66 Supporting Member

    Jul 4, 2016
    I'm a natural lefty who plays righty, so my fret hand is much faster, so pulloffs help me cheat a bit
  19. tekhedd

    tekhedd Tone chaser Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2009
    Colorado, USA
    Owner/operator of BYTE HEAVEN
    Such a complicated question, such a simple answer.

    New strings, new strings, new strings. And new strings.

    Also, single coil pickups, preferably custom-underwound stock P pickups or Delanos, vintage dimarzio J pickups, sure. And new strings.

    Also new strings.

    Well, and lots of technique practice. I find drum lessons help. And new strings.

    I know, lots of good advice in OP, but really lots of technique practice and new strings, oh and also managing the volume levels so that you can hear what's going on works. And new strings.

    Anyone can have great technique. Not everyone can afford a new set of strings every week.
  20. I was talking about strings with a friend who is way more pro than me once. He likes new strings. I prefer broken in, but not dead strings.
    He said, no offense man, but my band is way more popular than yours. I have to be used to playing with new strings, because playing huge metal shows like he does, one after another for several months at at time, he doesn't have the luxury of 'breaking in strings'. His tech puts a new set on his main and backup basses every day. His amps are EQed for new strings. And of course his technique is used to them as well.

    Uh yeah, um. Well I'm more artistically pure.