How to get "clacky" metal tone?

I’m a big fan of metal and hard rock music and wondering how you get that “clacky” metal tone please? An example would be like many of the songs on Iron Maiden’s Seventh Son of a Seventh Son. The song “The Evil that Men Do” is a prime example.

I’m sure I’ve come across it in one of my plugins, but very much learning what contributes to specific aspects of a tone.

If playing metal, I’m most likely using my Schechter Riot 4 with EMG 35JX and EMG 35PX with 3 band active EQ. My other bass is a Squire Jazz.


You’ve come to the right place.


Yep, that’s the vid that started me on BassBuzz.

There’s probably many ways of achieving this, the foremost is probably a very low action setup (that seems to be a common theme).
Steve Harris plays with a very heavy gauge flatwound string set (110 low E) - his signature strings from Rotosound. High tension, heavy and very bright, for flats. His technique is to strike them downwards rather than across, so that they bounce off the frets like a slapped string. That’s how he gets taht signature tone that sometimes sounds like a piano being being played with hardened hammers.

The funny thing is, apparently he plays pretty lightly, and has his gain set fairly high. MJS has a good vid on this:

Alternatively, some bright rounds, a low setup and really dig in - think Dave Ellefson, Robert Trujillo or Shavo Odadjan.

You can even do this on Fretless! Here is Rodney McG on how to do it:


some advice how to clack


Thanks all, some great videos and tips. Will give them a go this weekend.

The speed will take some time and haven’t really tried the gallop that much on bass yet (sometimes use it on guitar but with a pick).

Oh, and I changed the topic to “clacky” :metal::metal::metal:

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