Which Bass for classic heavy metal?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by BassMage, Jun 5, 2019.

  1. BassMage


    Oct 25, 2018
    Hi guys,
    I want to play classic heavy metal bands such as Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Saxon, Helloween etc. I just have money to buy one bass, so which one I should choose, MM or Pbass?
    Smooth_bass88 likes this.
  2. Any bass for any style; it's all in the playing & technique. We used to have a "Best Bass for Metal" topic stickied at the top, but I don't see it anymore.
  3. HubbardsFate


    Oct 18, 2006
    I think it would be pretty hard to go wrong with a P-bass...they're everywhere, including pretty much every track of every Maiden album, since that's the only bass Steve Harris has played for years...
  4. aigman


    Jun 5, 2004
    P-bass, Aria SB, Music Man, they would (probably) need grit added with an ashdown James Lomenzo od pedal!
    I would never use Jazz basses for Metal.
    Yamaha BB would sound great as well. Spector if you have a millennial-amazon-tech budget.

    Just realized I didn’t answer your question. Music man has my vote.
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2019
    tommyr01, Pirate Captain and Jscriv like this.
  5. HubbardsFate


    Oct 18, 2006
    But like TolerancEJ said, it's gonna be more about your technique and playing than your gear. Using Iron Maiden again as the example, you could buy the actual Steve Harris Signature P-Bass, but if you can't get that Steve Harris "galloping" fingerstyle technique down pretty good, you're probably not gonna do those bass lines justice...
  6. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    A P bass with flats!
  7. Gaolee

    Gaolee Official leathers tester and crash dummy


    Bleed on it a bit, too. That should get it to about the right aesthetic.
  8. Either would be fine, I think. Maiden, Helloween, and Saxon are all Precisions. Ian Hill played a Jazz bass up until the mid 80s.
  9. OP, I'm not sure if this budget is within your grasp or possibly a later evolution in your playing, but if your metal stylings might include distortion, a Dingwall bass and Darkglass amp is a perfect combination. Check some YouTube videos to see some samples.

    Personally, I had not been too keen on distortion in bass until I heard/saw some of those YouTube demonstrations.
  10. imdkoz


    Nov 16, 2006
    P(PJ) bass if you can't get a Spector. :)
    BEADG63, FunkySpoo, FRoss6788 and 2 others like this.
  11. knumbskull


    Jul 28, 2007
    Either of those are great choices! MM will sound a bit more modern and punch a bit more. P-bass is classic rock tone & sounds great played aggressively. Either way you win.
    red_rhino and smogg like this.
  12. DrThumpenstein

    DrThumpenstein Living for the groove Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2015
    St Louis, MO
    I've been using both my Aerodyne PJ and Lakland J for a recent metal project and both sound great. If you have good basses, it's all about technique and EQ. You should be able to get what you need with either.

    That said, I'd seriously think about a PJ. Quite versitile, lots of options out there in different price ranges. Get the best bass you can afford that feels good and that you love playing. Trying it out before buying is key.
    Interspace Station likes this.
  13. I'd go with the p bass, the mm is quite articulate but better suited to more modern stuff imo, but the sound you want is your choice not mine.
    MynameisMe likes this.
  14. higain617


    Sep 12, 2013
    P-bass. Look at old pics and you’ll see that most of those guys played them early on. And I’m not one of those “P is the only choice” guys.
  15. bass40hz

    bass40hz Cigar smoker, scotch drinker, American Patriot Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2014
    Richlands, NC
    If your choices are only a P or MM, go with a MM HH so you can get some tonal variety out of it.
    Rock on.
  16. Any bass in working condition is capable to be played in any musical genre.

    I've played heavy metal with very different basses (Sgs, PJs, Yamaha BB, Jazz, Epiphone Rumblekat, Danelectro DC) over the years and all of them gave me what I wanted.

    That said, speaking about classic metal, the first two Black Sabbath albums were recorded with P-Basses. And Steve Harris uses a P-bass.
  17. groove pump

    groove pump

    Oct 24, 2006
    My default when I think of an aggressive metal bass still runs toward Spector.

    Yes, a P/J (or a P) will potentially nail it and yes, I'd say a MM will smoke it, too.

    But who cares? It's got to give you a half-decent fit if you want to rip with it and make decent sound. Try to be picky with the dimensions and how you can get around on it.
  18. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    P with dirt.
  19. MattZilla


    Jun 26, 2013
    Warwick FNA Jazzman.
  20. Plectrum72

    Plectrum72 Supporting Member

    I'd go with pointy P/J if you can find one.
    Pointy PJ.jpg