Cliff Burton Techniques

I need help guys. I am trying to learn a few of Cliff Burtons bass lines (eventually all) and there are a few techniques I am not sure where to start on practicing. At the moment, the one thats really giving me trouble is his tremolo playing on Fight Fire With Fire.

During the Chorus, inbetween the lyrics “Fight Fire With Fire” and “Ending is Near” Cliff hits a crazy tremolo on his A and D strings. Does anyone have any advice on how to replicate that? Or maybe some exercises to help get better at it? Any other Cliff tricks (or finger playing tricks in general) are more than welcome as well.


I haven’t listened to the track to see what you’re trying to transcribe, but…
If this is the right part, and it’s tabbed correctly (yes, yes, I know…), it looks like he’s playing chords. Maybe slightly arpeggiated?
clipped from the songsterr tab…

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Thats definitely the part. When you get a chance, try listening to it so you can hear how fast hes playing it. I am having a hard time figuring out how to play a chord that fast on bass with fingers.


Yeah, that’s insanely fast.

So, this guy (in his explanation) mentions that Cliff is doing a “finger tremelo”

And here’s a video on how to do a “2 finger tremelo” on bass

I can’t promise that the video explaining the technique is the exact right thing - I didn’t watch the whole thing, but it may at least give you a starting point for figuring it out.

Good luck! Look forward to hearing the result!


If you need any more general type information on how Cliff plays, Josh did this video. There might be something in there that can help.

7 Reasons Cliff Burton is Awesome (+Bass Lesson Tips)