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Who was the best bassist in TOOL?

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by StealthBanana, Mar 12, 2013.

  1. Justin Chancellor

    43 vote(s)
  2. Paul D'Amour

    16 vote(s)
  1. Simple question, I'm sure it's been asked alot before, but I couldn't find any recent discussions on this. Which bassist sounded better for the band TOOL? Now when I say best, I don't just mean the stuff they write. I mean which bassist had the better tone, and which one overall meshed better with the rest of the band? I have a feeling most people here are going to opt Justin right away. but after listening through Opiate (their EP) and Undertow today I really gotta admit that Paul's tone is probably the "best" bass tone I've honestly ever heard. It has personality, it sounds very metallic, punchy and aggressive, and his sound stands out on albums (between the Ovation Magnum and Chris Squire Ric) more than the Wal did in their later albums. Not only that but Paul hardly ever used effects, especially compared to Justin. His wal only sounded "cool" in songs like schism where he'd activate his flanger/delay and I always hear him use distortion/overdrive in their music now. Paul only really used effects when it mattered, and I think he was able to accomplish a "more with less" sound in that sense.

    Paul certainly wasn't perfect though. The year after he stopped using the Ric (I think it was late 1993-1994) and started using the Stingray his tone didn't sound half as cool and became very hard to distinguish from the rest of the band, and you could tell by this point he wasn't really digging the sound of the band anymore which led to his departure.

    So who do you guys think sounded the best with Tool? Justin or Paul? My personal opinion is that Tool sounded the best back when they had Paul, but I'll admit that Justin helped pushed their music in the direction it was inevitably going more so than Paul could have done.
  2. Paul's tone was kinda clangy but I like his playing. I think the band as a whole sounds better with Justin though so I went for him.
  3. Barca_bass


    May 22, 2011
    I believe it's hard to determine how TOOL would have developed without Paul. For all we know, they may have went on and made better music with him in the band. As for the original question: I prefer D'Amour's tone.

    The little bit of Feersum Ennjin I have heard makes me wonder exactly what kind of direction Paul would have helped push the music in.
  4. NickTej22


    Feb 17, 2013
    Largo FL
    I think they were both great for their own style in their times with tool.
  5. Yeah, I heard his LP (Feersum Ennjin) and I am a huge fan. Have you ever heard of Lusk? That was the band Paul formed the same year he left Tool. They don't sound anything alike, if anything Lusk is more experimental/underground compared to where Tool was at the time, but Feersum Ennjin sounds like a mix between Tool and Lusk (vocals sound exactly like Lusk, but the songs sound darker and more prog like Tool). I too can't help but wonder what Tool might sound like today if Paul was still the bassist. He did co-write the tracks "Stinkfist", "Eulogy", "Pupoopie" and "Aenema" off of Aenima after all, and IMO those were some of the best songs off that album. So who knows...
  6. vegas532

    vegas532 Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2006
    Pensacola, FL.
    I like both of them equally due to the fact that they both brought something to the table at the time of their respective tenures that was important to the given point for the band's development. There is a slight edge each has over the: I prefer Paul's tone, but prefer Justin's spirit of experimentation.
  7. Good answer!
  8. +1 on this.
  9. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi-fi into an old tube amp
    I love the tone on Lateralus. Can't say the same for 10,000 (GK head IIRC). I like the tone on Aenema but it sounds a little dated to me at this point (perfect for the time period I guess). I think when Chancellor came out it really inspired me... distinctive bass you could hear in a metal style and also very proggy.
  10. Korladis

    Korladis Banned Supporting Member

    I like both of them. I slightly prefer Paul's tone, but I'm not sure if he would have been the right fit for their later material.
  11. Paul was the reason I started playing chords and using distortion when I was younger. Justin is the reason I started using the Whammy pedal.
    I listened to Tool for a long time when I was younger. I think Paul has had a more long term influence on me. I liked his aggressive style. Kinda reminded me of David Wm. Simms from The Jesus Lizard crossed with Greg Edwards of Failure.

    Upon this thread making me want to listen to Undertow for the first time in a long time, I realized how much my style owes to Paul's playing on Intolerance. Chords, string scrapes, harmonics, percussive muted strums... wow. I really ripped him off!
  12. vegas532

    vegas532 Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2006
    Pensacola, FL.
    You say this as if it were a bad thing. ;)
  13. Dude, I just realized we both have Bill Hicks quotes in our sigs, haha.

    Hey Skulletwhip, that's awesome to hear that Paul was such a big influence on you too. I agree his bass lines on Intolerance are full of pick scrapes and everything else you mentioned. Also something that I learned from him too ;)
  14. bootsox


    Apr 28, 2012
    Biloxi, MS
    Paul D'Amour was a better player and had a better tone, but overall I enjoy the music written with Justin Chancellor better.

    I voted Paul D'Amour, but if you had worded it as "Who was the best bassist for Tool?" I may have voted differently.
  15. Nice answer! Paul may be losing badly in this poll, but I feel like too many people hopped onto the Justin train too early. I started off liking Justin too when I first listened to the band, but as I grew into their style of play and learned songs off of every album, I really started to appreciate the fast tenacity and fortitude of Paul's lines that are just mostly lacking with songs featuring Justin, which are always slower and usually less satisfying in a way. I guess what I'm saying is old Tool is more fun to play than new Tool in my opinion, and that's why I voted for Paul too.
  16. Vinny_G


    Dec 1, 2011
    I voted for Paul for that reason and because he used a Rickenbacker 4001 CS at the beginning, which is a real pleasure to listen in other hands than the master's ones :)
  17. Tough call. I like Paul's sound more than Justin's, BUT Justin's bass parts have played a bigger role in TOOL's music I think. 46 & 2, The Pot, Schism, Reflection, etc...

    I would love to hear JC play a passive Ric or Fender bass through and Ampeg SVT\810 or other standrd tube rig.
  18. It seems like the general consensus is that Paul's tone was better but Justin's playing fit better with Tool's music. I can definitely agree with that! It's also kinda an unfair matchup when you think about it, Paul was on one EP and one LP, Justin's been featured on three albums now, so obviously the favor is in Justin's court either way. I guess this is a classic case where I'm opting for the underdog, but don't get me wrong Justin is totally awesome and I'm glad he brought the Wal sound to the band!
  19. I like both, and I am of the opinion that they both fit the music. I can't really imagine Paul playing Justin's lines and vice versa.
    Speaking of "tone" itself, I prefer Paul's.
  20. gregmon79

    gregmon79 I did it for the muff... Supporting Member

    Dec 20, 2012
    Chicago IL
    I have to say Justin. I'm a HUGE tool fan and have dissected their songs for a long time now. It's true that Paul was a little more "stripped" down in that he didn't use as many effects and he was a more aggressive player than justin, so it's been said. But I have to disagree with the point that Justin's not as an aggressive player as Paul because tool can still bust out some crazy riffage that's aggressive as all get out and justin has always laid those parts down awesomely IMO. Their tones were pretty similar, Paul's was a little more metallic and as stated though. It def stuck out. But so does Justin's. he cuts through the mix in every song and does it well. This is a hard decision but again I've made mine, Justin is the man. He's helped take tool to what they've become along with all the other members. I don't think anyone but the band will ever know why Paul left them for sure but I remember reading somewhere that Paul just wanted to go another direction. Bottom line is both these guys are tone machines and they turned the heads and inspired bass player for many years to come. Including me. I still find myself going back to tool albums trying to get a tone a happy with. I don't necessarily try to mimic Justin's tone but I know when I'm on the right track to getting where I want to be as far as my tone gos when I can get in the same realm as tool tone. You know what would be awesome, if they remastered opiate and undertow. Tell me that wouldn't sound killer!!!

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