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How to shred? I need some inspiration

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by substitute, Mar 10, 2013.

  1. substitute


    Mar 20, 2010
    So, I know this is an absurd topic but I'm really looking for inspiration more than an answer.

    I grew up playing hardcore, but most of my adult life has been dedicated to playing indie stuff. Lately I've been wanting to play something more powerful and visceral, so a friend and I are starting a metal/hardcore band. Some of the riffs we've been playing are in the stoney, sabbath vibe and I'm having a great time with that. But some of the stuff the guitarist is bringing to practice is more like faster slayer, thrash type stuff. Honestly I have no idea what to play over this type of music. I've been listening to some slayer and early metallica and I can barely hear the bass.
    Anyone have any listening recommendations for that kind of stuff from a bass perspective? I'm really into the challenge of figuring this out.
  2. Brian Beller of Dethklok has a few tips:

    He describes his right hand techniques around the middle of the video.

    That "flicking" thing he does with his two fingers is similar to what Geddy Lee does with one finger on fast passages.
  3. Tituscrow

    Tituscrow Inactive

    Feb 14, 2011
    NW England
    You should really check out Dick Lovgrens work with Meshuggah. Heaviness in abundance without a shred in sight.
  4. Hamlet7768

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

    Jun 5, 2011
  5. Depends. Are you a pick player or fingerstyle player?
    With a pick, it's all about trying to keep up with the guitarist which shouldn't be too tough.
    Fingerstyle on the other hand, makes stuff a bit trickier. It depends on the song, but usually if your guitarist is doing something so insanely fast with a pick and your trying to keep up, the way I see it is there are three options:
    1. Practice the sh*t out of the licks to the point that your comfortable with them and can rip them no sweat
    2. Try adopting the use extra fingers for picking ( a la Billy Sheehan, Cliff Burton, Alex Webster fame)
    3. Play half as many notes as the guitarist.
    Personally I have used all three techniques, but I find the most effective one to use is option 3. I find the bass really spreads out more when you play less, giving a much more satisfying bottom end to the track.
    In the end its up to you dude. Hope that helps, and happy shredding
  6. substitute


    Mar 20, 2010
    Wow, that dude is no joke, holy **** that was pretty impressive. This three finger thing is totally news to me.

    I'll check it out on the way into work tomorrow, any particular track or album that's a good place to start?

    Also very cool. I should give Megadeath a listen. Pretty amazing that his attitude is like "just shoot me an email"

    Both, depends on the part, more often than not fingers but I've been digging the sound of a pick with fuzz/distortion.

    Agreed, I've been trying to work in those sort of orchestral bass parts like "back in black". I've been finding that this kind of playing is much more about rhythm than what I'm used to doing. Not that I'm captain bass but it's really fun to be challenged like this.
  7. Rev J

    Rev J

    Jun 14, 2012
    Berkeley, Ca.
    Check out Alex Webster's "Extreme Metal Bass" book/CD package. I'm not generally a metal player but I still practice it to keep my chops up. Context and content are not mutually exclusive.

    Rev J
  8. Hobobob

    Hobobob Don't feed the troll, folks.

    Jan 25, 2011
    Camarillo, CA
    If the riff is really fast, I'll often use my thumb as a sort of pseudo-pick, sort of like how Brian Beller uses his two fingers in that video. I've also woodshedded enough to where I can pluck with two fingers about as fast as I need to in my current bands. Guys like Alex Webster, Billy Sheehan, and John Myung are awesome to watch, utilizing extra fingers or just pure speed to fingerpick ultra fast lines.
  9. Bassdirty

    Bassdirty Supporting Member

    Jul 23, 2010
    If you wann a shred...you must.learn.from the master shredder...michael angelo batio. once you master this technique, you can surely apply it to bass.

    ymmv..and alll that.
  10. Tituscrow

    Tituscrow Inactive

    Feb 14, 2011
    NW England
    To the OP...re:Meshuggah. As a starting point, check out the opening track to the album Obzen, called 'Combustion'. It's got a nasty low-end growl that, for my money is utterly peerless. I am forever extolling the virtues of Meshuggah here on TB, but then I've been a fan for nearly 20 years :)

    Check this out. This is Dick and the drummer Tomas Haake grooving. Try counting it off as Dick joins in about half way through the clip. Like I said, this isn't shredding, but a band like Meshuggah don't need fretboard gymnastics to floor you.

  11. substitute


    Mar 20, 2010
    That's rad. Much closer to my style, tone is great too.

    Even if my guitar only has one neck? ;)

    Thanks for all the insights everyone.
  12. substitute


    Mar 20, 2010
    Tituscrow, really digging the Meshuggah stuff, kind of like Bob Weston but in a heavier context. Sort of like what RevJ was saying.

    I messed around with some of those techniques today, that two fingered claw sounds really cool, different than normal finger playing. Thanks again for all the ear opening suggestions!
  13. Barkless Dog

    Barkless Dog Barkless to a point

    Jan 19, 2007
    check out any Billy Sheehan video
  14. punkjazzben


    Jun 26, 2008
    First step: ego. Asking for assistance to learn how to shred seems akin to an alpha male stopping to ask for directions ;)

    Just kidding. Learn your fingerboard, learn your scales and modes, and practice with a metronome :) For starters, when playing with a guitarist, either double his/her riff or do a 'pedal bass' kind of thing underneath it. In high school, I was in a metal band and me and the guitarist used to spend hours together learning each other's riffs, or we'd come up with contrapuntal lines. That was pretty ace.

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