What Strings Did Cliff Burton Use?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by monkeylover009, Aug 28, 2004.

  1. Hi,
    Ive searched the web all over and all i could find was that cliff used thick strings!
    Can Anyone Help Me?

  2. I am not 100% but I heard that he used heavy ass Rotosounds. It really does not matter anyway. Nobody will ever play like cliff again, regardless of their strings. :crying:
  3. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    But lots of people will play differently than Cliff, and that's a good thing too.
    AdamR likes this.
  4. heavy? like a heavy gauge? what gauge did he use?
  5. Al3x


    May 15, 2011
    Austin, TX
    I heard that he used light gauge strings. I think he used Rotosound Swing bass 66LB 35-90 light gauge strings and Rotosound Funkmasters.
    It makes sense, since he would bend the strings really far up. Look at the '85 For Whom the Bells Toll video for proof. I imagine it would be pretty hard to bend the strings when you have heavy-ass strings.
  6. TripleDouble

    TripleDouble Guest

    Aug 5, 2008
    Cliff used the best strings for metal.

    Sorry, couldn't resist. I have no idea, probably rotos, but Cliff Ruled and still does.
    AndrewTaran, baceface and Haji like this.
  7. FunkMetalBass


    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    He was a fan of the aggressive click and bends, so I'd guess that he was a fan of lighter strings.
  8. jkkkjkhk


    Feb 22, 2010
    I thought that forever and while it makes sense it's not true. Cliff was a big guy and he had some damn powerful fingers. Another member on here asked Cliff's tech (?? someone who knew) the gauge and I guess he used Rotosound SS 45-105's. Damn strong hands. He also owns the low E from one of Cliff's basses. I won't say who because I don't want any bombardment towards him on proof or authenticity or any of that.
  9. I don't know how strong his hands were, didn't he have problems with at least his right hand which is why his pinky stuck out the way it did?

    (I learned bass by watching Cliff Em All and have the same pinky habit, without the need :) )

    Anyway, with all the fuzz and wah effects he used I never considered strings would make much difference to his overall tone.
  10. darkstorm


    Oct 13, 2009
    jkkkjkhk. Rotosound swing 66 45-105 is std medium gauge. Isnt a gauge set that would be concidered heavy gauge. They are also medium tension range imo.
  11. Jamie_Funk

    Jamie_Funk Supporting Member

    Oct 17, 2002
    London, Ontario
    +1 million - after his signal went through his signal chain...ANY roundwound would do.

  12. jkkkjkhk


    Feb 22, 2010
    Right, they're not heavy or super tight but for the stuff he did that's pretty big strings IMO. I don't know anyone who can play like that, or even close, without being super low tuned or insanely light gauged. Even then they still don't compare.

    As for the pinky, I think it was just a habit for him. I don't think it was a problem he had or anything but I could be wrong. Many guitarists do that with their fret hands naturally but it's normally frowned upon in teaching. I sometimes have my plucking pinky out like that too but not like Cliff. It's only sometimes for certain reasons that I'm still not sure of. I also noticed that he keeps his ring finger tucked back a bit. He played a lot of stuff with his index finger only and used his middle finger only when faster parts came up of he had to skip strings.
    The ring finger thing might have been something he taught himself. Just a theory but when having your ring finger out I tend to move it along with my middle finger unintentionally. It normally doesn't get in the way but if I'm not warmed up enough I can stumble on it or it can bump a string or something. Maybe Cliff did that so it was out of the way as well as maybe it helped him play as fast. Having to move only one finger instead of two, in theory could help speed. Makes sense but I wouldn't really know how to test it (beyond just trying it).
  13. the-last-cliff's


    Apr 12, 2015
    He used very light gauge the E was a 90
  14. He used ultra heavy core mega light strings. his E string was a .30...but it was like a board it was so heavy cored. He actually cracked the cores bending strings.
  15. the-last-cliff's


    Apr 12, 2015
    We're those rotos???
  16. Yeah, Rotosounds By D'Addario Roundwound Flats Signature Edition.
    PillO likes this.
  17. the-last-cliff's


    Apr 12, 2015
    What? I was always though he used light rotosound swing bass strings
  18. The closest thing to an authoritative source I can find is here: Metallica.com | News | Cliff Burton Signature Bass
    That's a post on Metallica's site regarding his signature model that Aria released in 2013. Since that was allegedly done with the help of the family and the techs that worked for the band when Cliff was there, it's as close to a real source as there is. The spec sheet listed says "Strings: Rotosound RS66LB (35, 55, 70, 90)". I guess that'll have to do.
    the-last-cliff's likes this.
  19. David McKay

    David McKay

    Jul 24, 2015
    Supposedly he sustained and injury to his right hand which caused the "pinky habbit".