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Metal or Hardcore bassist, need help/give your tips.

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by interule, Mar 8, 2006.

  1. interule


    Jul 1, 2005
    Im in a metal/metalcore band that play lots of very fast stuff. Sometimes I have some trouble writing basslines in some spots, mainly the crazy "solo riffs" and "hammer on riffs" (im not sure what to call them). Instead of using chords, most of our stuff is open string palm mutes with fast note sequences with lots of hammer-ons and stuff like that.
    Im wondering if anyone else plays this style and what you do for these real fast parts.
    Share your tips.
    Take Care :bassist:
  2. slapcracklepop


    Jun 28, 2005
    Boston, MA
    Well I think you have two options.. I'm in a hardcore/metalcore band and I know what you mean by the open string palm mutes, then the little fast high pitched sequences...

    1. you can play the same thing as the guitar

    2. you can write a harmony for it

    I do either/or depending on the situation
  3. Mixmasta J

    Mixmasta J

    Dec 4, 2004
    sometimes a melodic countermelody really can spice up a song like that.

    but idk, I really dont play that style, but it always appealed to me when hardcore bands have melodic basslines at certain times (certainly not the whole time, you gotta hold the groove too!)
  4. i find it fitting to hear slower, tighter bass parts in fast guitar sections, holding it all together whilst the guitar plays over the top.
  5. Shawnost

    Shawnost It's all about the Hamiltons baby! Supporting Member

    Sep 25, 2004
    Huntersville, NC
    +1. I've been playing hardcore and death metal for a long time and I will usually mix either of these. Another thing to try is doubling the riff but playing it a fifth lower (where possible).

  6. lomer


    Mar 20, 2005
    Perth, Australia
    What the other guys have suggested sounds good but maybe just try locking in with the drums man... I play in a Death Metal band and while I can think up some nice counter-melodies and such, I find it supports solo's more to just keep it basic and move with the drummer at times like these....
  7. Nico3535


    Mar 8, 2006
    Lomer you couldn't be more right. If your playing in a harcore band that has alot of single note runs and open mutes and what not, i'm sure you have a double bass pedal going all the time. Lock in on that sucker and you music will blosom with agression. Then on the arpegios and single note runs either follow them or come up with a harmony to them. In laid to rest by lamb of god (i know its not harcore but its close) the main riff is a fast arpegio which is hard to reach on a bass and keep up for a whole 5 minute song so the bass player came up with a harmony thats almost identical but shorter and sound fantastic over the guitars. If you listen to Unearths bassist, he harmonizes threw some single note runs, but usually him and the drummer are one, and that just equals chunk.
  8. Raiven


    Nov 28, 2005
    If the guitarists are doing fiddly stuff after some low powerchords why not stop playing?

    Leaving the guitars to play by themselves before the bass drops in again sounds amazing. If you get the bass drum to stop and start again with you then it will emphasise the drop even more.
  9. you could do a sweet bass flip then dive into the crowd then come back just in time for the solo to end.
  10. Willem


    Dec 26, 2005
    This tread is good... keep it coming!
    We recently started writing our own trash songs and being an (ex-) guitarist it's pretty hard for me writing basslines...

    But Shawnost with a fifth lower you mean a fifth lower from the guitars or from the bass (=octave + fifth lower)? (hope you get what I mean...) And what do you reach whit that (something with the songs atmosphere or something?)?
  11. interule


    Jul 1, 2005
    Wow this really turned into a great thread!
    Thanks for all the good tips.
    lamb of god and Unearth were mentioned and actually that they would be a good example of what we are like, to a degree. Great thread.
  12. i stick with the guitars 75% if the time.. Stay with the drummer a lot too. Or what I also love to do is play half of what the guitar is doing and half of what the drums and groove should be doing.

    Dont do anyone one thign said in here...Mix it alllll up...
    Then you got the perfect metal/metalcore/hardcore bassist.
  13. Play in unison with the guitar, note for note when possible.

    When they're going nuts, keep the low-end going the same tempo.
  14. Shawnost

    Shawnost It's all about the Hamiltons baby! Supporting Member

    Sep 25, 2004
    Huntersville, NC
    What I was getting at is when the guitarists go high for their riffs instead of just doubling them play a fifth lower (or the lower half of the power chord). I play in standard tuning most of the time so I'm one string and two frets down from the guitar. I've found that this creates a bit of dissonance with the guitars and thickens things up nicely.

    And big +1 on locking in with the drums. Nothing sounds better than a slower paced guitar riff with the bass and drums locked in on a killer double bass beat. And definitely mix it up, just try a bunch of different things and go with what sounds best .

  15. Sometime (and more times then not) less is more. If the music is a nonstop onslaught of notes, slammin' drums, and driving bass then it all ends up becoming one big blur. "Space" is the word. Sometimes the best thing to do is offer the other players room to do what they do - this means if you have 2 guitar players who are doing the dual lead thing, get outta the way! Lay down a line that does not try to match what they are doing, rather find the fundamental elements and compliment their part.

    That way when you do break out and riff it up people will hear it a notice what you are doing. I can't say enough how metal bass players seem to be in competition with guitar players for the percieved 'spotlight'. Keeping your head screwed on straight, paying attention to what others are doing and creating the room or 'space' they need to do it will make you invaluable.
  16. Vorak


    Dec 6, 2005
    Madison, WI
    +1. A good bass player knows when NOT to play.
  17. slapcracklepop


    Jun 28, 2005
    Boston, MA
    This is a really good thread, I'm going to use some of these tips next time my hardcore/metal band jams/writes
  18. If its a crazy guitar solo just lock with your drummer and punish that E string :bassist: that always does the trick :smug:
  19. OneArmedScissor


    Feb 23, 2006
    I agree with locking in with the drums. I play in a melodic (two guitars) punk/metal band and I usually lock in with the drums when the guitarists are harmonising.

    When they're playing those chunky palm muted riffs I usually play the same thing.

    When they're not doing anything spectacular that's when I come in with fills, solos, melodies etc.

    You gotta know when to stick to the root and when to go beyond it. But remember, hardcore/metal/punk relys on the bassist keeping the groove.
  20. I used to play in a Slayerish thrush band and previous to that i had really little experience playing that kind of music and 99%of the stuff were the band's stuff.So instead of the stuff a normal guy would play(locking with the drums and trying to follow the melody of the guitars)i started noodling,in order to find something intersting for the songs.
    First of all understand what the guitars play and learn the guitarlines on bass,if possible
    Rmember that silence is gold,thus not playing something is just as useful as playing something.Plus breakdowns are really keeeewwwwl!
    Dare to use your thumb(slap and even pop if it seems possible and suitabl for the song)
    Dare to take a little solo or a small bass breakdown(Even Slayer does that from time to time)
    Don't be afraid to use effects(after all this kind of music is more guitar orientated and not much attention is given to the sound[though much is given to its feeling]of bass)
    Employ counter melodies e.g.:On a descending riff play an ascending bassline or vice versa
    And finally try to experiment with everything:your sound,your playing technique,your musical approach,your diet,your sexual relationships(ahem)etc.