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Did Cliff burton use wah too much?

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by nussy the whale, Aug 8, 2012.

  1. Cliff Burton is one of my all-time favs, both as an accompanying musician and a soloist, but is it just me, or did he use the wah too much in lead parts and solos? With the exception of "Orion", every solo I've heard of his he is using the wah. Same thing goes for his lead parts in songs like "Seek and Destroy", "The Call of Kthulu", and "For Whom the Bell Tolls".

    Does anyone else think so or care to disagree?

    One more thing,

    R.I.P. Cliff

  2. Hamlet7768

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

    Jun 5, 2011
    I doubt you can fault him compared to Kirk.:rolleyes:

    On the other hand, he only had a recorded output of a few albums, so we'll never know if he would have later abandoned the wah or used it less.

    Though I bet he also used it for parts like in Call of Ktulu to make the bass "jump" out more. The Wah Fuzz, from my understanding, has a distinctive "screaming" aspect to it that few other wahs have.
  3. Very true, Kirk certainly loves his wah! :cool: I recall a quote of his saying, "If they want me to stop using my wah, they'll have to cut off my foot!"

    You bring up a good point. As Metallica's music changed, who knows if Cliff would've kept using the wah. We have no way of knowing. And yes, when he pressed that thing down, his tone certainly got the bite it needed to tear right through Metallica's dense mix. Maybe that's why he used when he played lead lines, so that they could cut through better.
  4. lokikallas


    Aug 15, 2010
    los angeles
    I would argue no, because the wah is difficult to make sound good, even more so on bass. He only used it a little compared to many other bassist use other effects. Its like asking if Hendrix used too much Wah. It's not like Les Claypools abuse of auto filter.
  5. Too much of a good thing is bad but saying Cliff Burton used the wah to much is false. It was his style and he did it well like no one else did or does now today.
  6. ZanaZulu807


    Aug 6, 2007
    Too much? Too little? What does it matter? He did what he thought was best for the music. The wah was his go to effect of choice to become in his mind what he thought of when he played lead bass, it probably wouldn't have worked or had the same effect if he had done otherwise. Can you imagine "Call of Ktulu" or "For Whom The Bell Tolls" without those lead parts with the wah? It would've been pointless without it unless he added some sorta handmade technique. Plus it adds something else special to already great music.

    Check out Cliff live in the early 80's or better yet Robert Trujillo doing Ktulu on recent performances, all the attention falls to him because of those leads parts with the wah. It didn't really work with Newsted because the tone was different from Cliff's, but when that wah screeaams the music really comes to life.
  7. Cliff definitely did make the wah work WONDERS on his bass. I wish there was a version of Anesthesia without the wah. It would also be cool to hear his solos without distortion, too.
  8. But what about in his solos? Yes, they sound incredible and unlike anything else, but sometimes I just can't help but find myself thinking that he's using the wah a bit too much. Of course Cliff could and did solo without the use of a wah, but it seems that more often than not he did use it heavily when soloing. Maybe he just used it so much to filter out a lot of the low end to make prevent his lines from being to muddy. Who knows?

    MOTORHEADBANGER Spud-boy looking for a real tomato

    Dec 23, 2008
    Sidney, Indiana
    It's music. There isn't a set amount that you "have to use a wah". That would be like telling someone how many notes they can play in a song.
  10. monti2889


    Jul 19, 2012
    Usually it's 12, unless you wanna count sharps and flats as separate notes
  11. ZanaZulu807


    Aug 6, 2007
    There were some solos, although rare, where he performed "Anesthesia" and improvised stuff hardly without any wah, or distortion with the exception of what probably came from his amp, and he pulled them off beautifully. Lots of people, particularly on this site claim Cliff was "too sloppy" or "too flashy" or whatever and say he covered all his shortcomings up with his effects, when in fact he accentuated most of his lines with them. In general though, I think he approached his music with an open mind and used his effects as tools, not crutches. If he didn't use them, he'd likely sound like everyone else, or perhaps like a Jazzy, Blues style bassist in a Thrash Metal band, lol... But hey, Victor Wooten does alot of tapping, Jaco used lots of harmonics, and Lemmy uses lots and lots of volume, it doesn't make any of them any less of musicians, does it? Same goes for Cliff...
  12. I know, I'm aware of that. It is my observation that Cliff uses the wah quite heavily. It is not a good thing, nor is it bad. It is merely an observation.
  13. ZanaZulu807


    Aug 6, 2007
    I think Steve Harris should try other basses other than that Precision, but go figure.....
  14. Hamlet7768

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

    Jun 5, 2011
    Imagine him with a Ricky! :hyper:
  15. he didnt use it as much as people think. He only used it for solos. The same goes for his Big Muff usage. Its not like he overused it like Hendrix, or hell, even Kirk
  16. Hamlet7768

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

    Jun 5, 2011
    So most of it's the pickups and the Tube Screamer?
  17. That and he used the overdrive on his amps alot
  18. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    He used heavy amounts of just about everything - including the kitchen sink. How could you even pick out excessive amounts of wah from the midst of that overwhelming sonic gumbo? :eyebrow:

  19. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    You should erase all his bass tracks and insert yours.
  20. testing1two

    testing1two Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2009
    Southern California
    You've been talking to Ozzy again haven't you...:bag:

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