1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Metal bassists...... Advice please!

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Liv3rman, Jan 15, 2013.

  1. Liv3rman


    Dec 28, 2012
    I'm a recent convert to bass from guitar, and play in a rock/metal covers band. We play Metallica, G'n'R, Megadeth, Motörhead etc.
    I started playing with a pick, but I have starting using fingers as I prefer the warmer, rounder tone. However I miss the aggressive attack of a pick.
    If I dig in with my fingers to get a better attack, I lose picking speed.
    Will my attack improve as my finger tips harden? Or is there another compromise I could try with EQ settings etc.

    Any help will be gratefully appreciated.
  2. You could try switching to stainless steel strings. Also, maybe when EQ-ing bumb the treble on your amp up slightly for a bit more "zing".
  3. Technotitclan

    Technotitclan Lurking TB from work

    Mar 1, 2012
    Rochester, NY
    Its practice and technique. Strength and stamina are going to be a factor as well as how you hit the string. brush or tap vs pluck as well as where you strike the string, Closer to the neck requires less force.

    Also if you substitute nickle strings for steel strings it may give you some more of that attack your looking for.
  4. Liv3rman


    Dec 28, 2012
    Thanks for the replies.

    I'm currently using heavy Rotosound flatwounds, as I like the feel and tone of them. Are these the wrong strings to get the sound I'm looking for?
  5. eyeballkid

    eyeballkid Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2009
    wes virginny
    yep.. flatwounds are the hardest to get attack out of.
  6. DaRQsiDe


    Jan 17, 2008
    Istanbul, Turkey
    My experience is, you need bright sounding strings (stainless steel), a low action (as low as it gets, a little fret buzzing will give the rougher, aggressive edge if you blend it nice with the preamp/amp tone settings).

    My personal preference is to use medium-light gauge strings but i know most metal bassists use medium (.135 B's, .105 E's and so on), depends on how aggressive your attack is.

    Hope it helps :)
  7. Yeah you wont get much attack from flats. Your stamina will probably not improve in relationship to your fingertips hardening. It's all technique.

    I was playing with a rock and metal covers band up till recently. Mostly cutting through is EQing and tone. I'd usually just up the mids, drop the highs off slightly, up the gain (this is mostly where it's at for me), and I also use a really nice markbass compressore which helps very nicely.
  8. MCS4

    MCS4 Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2012
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    Everything you need to know about the technique aspect is in this thread: http://www.talkbass.com/forum/f21/d...-make-fingerstyle-playing-heard-metal-378173/

    Brian Beller (who plays in Metalocalypse) also has has some youtube videos on the subject.

    That being said, I personally rotate pick and finger-style depending on what sounds and plays best for a particular song. Personally, I find this much easier than trying to find one perfect style that combines the best of pick and finger playing (hint: not possible).
  9. Liv3rman


    Dec 28, 2012
    Thanks, that link has some great info.

    I have been using a basic rule of playing however the original song was played. Be it pick or fingers.
    We play a lot of Drop C stuff, so fairly heavy strings are a must. In currently using .50, .75, .95, .110 flats on my MIM P Bass, think ill give the stainless steel rounds a go. I don't really want to go smaller on the gauge though, as fast passages are very tricky with low tension strings bouncing about everywhere!
  10. +1 to Bryan Beller. His stuff is awesome. Anyone who can make Murderface sound good is a champ IMHO. I'd LOVE to get my hands on a copy of his new DVD "Mastering tone and versatility", sounds very comprehensive!
  11. MCS4

    MCS4 Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2012
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    For what it's worth, my band's whole new EP is in Drop C, so most or all of our current live set is in that tuning. I play .45 to .105 roundwounds and don't have a problem. My backup bass has .50 to .110 rounds; sometimes it is nice to have the extra tension, but I find the lighter strings to be much more comfortable on the whole. I find that I get more of the "clack" style attack-y sound (as described in the above thread) with the lighter strings, and a slightly more normal and bass-y sound with the heavier strings.
  12. Rev J

    Rev J

    Jun 14, 2012
    Berkeley, Ca.
    Another trick is to keep your right hand fingernails slightly long and put a coat or two of clear nail polish on them. If you adjust your technique slightly you can have the normal slightly duller fingerstyle tone or hit with your fingertips and a little nail too and have a brighter tone.

    Rev J
  13. Geroi Asfalta

    Geroi Asfalta

    Aug 23, 2011

    I love the way roto flats sound, I just hate the price. I'm a metal player as well, and I love my Chromes....

    Set your action as low as possible and use an extremely light touch. On my main bass, I can barely slip a business card between the strings and the frets. Don't pluck the strings; lightly tap them with the tips of your fingers and let the amp do the work.
  14. Liv3rman


    Dec 28, 2012
    Restrung my Peavey 5 string with new Roto flats today, lowered the action, got some 'clack' going on now. What a difference! Was always afraid of clicking and fret buzz before.
    My eyes are opened!

    Thanks all! Really appreciated.