How did Cliff Burton become a metal bass hero? Here’s my take on Metallica’s legendary former bassist, plus tips to level up your own playing.
0:00 - “Do You All Know Cliff Burton?”
0:40 - #1: Shredder
1:47 - Cliff’s Guitar Tricks
4:33 - #2: Next Level Metal
7:25 - #3: Baroque Fiend
10:48 - #4: Creative
12:27 - #5: Evolving Tone (+tone comparisons)
15:00 - #6: Speed Demon
16:38 - #7: Massive Legacy
If you’re doing the Beginner to Badass course, a lot of the riffs in this video will be too advanced for you right now, but you can still pull lots of good musicianship and mindset ideas from this lesson.
Cliff Burton Riffs
Here’s the Noteflight link for all the Cliff riffs I played in this video:
Don’t try to play both lines of the Orion solo at the same time unless you want your brain to explode.
Bass Lesson Takeaways
Here are my favorite lesson tips from this video, which you can experiment with even if you’re a beginner:
- Wanna sound less like a bass player when you solo? Try not starting on the root note, and using bends, hammer-ons, and pull-offs
- Wanna sound cool and baroque-y like Bach without years of music college? Do what Cliff did - learn your scales and arpeggios, and listen to baroque a lot to get a feel for melody and ornamentation (“fancy wiggles”)
- Sometimes playing bass in the background is the right move, but sometimes a quirkier bass line can transform a song - don’t be afraid to experiment at the right moments
- Listen to your bass tone in the context of the style of music you’re playing, see how it fits in the mix, and keep trying to improve over time
- It’s okay to simplify your bass rhythms on fast riffs like Cliff did, as long as you’re locked in and hit the important notes
- Cliff is awesome
Cliff Burton fans, make yourself known below! This can be a general Cliff love thread, doesn’t have to be directly related to the video.