Rock/metal bass

What’s your recommendations for a good 4 string for rock/metal? Or do you think it doesn’t matter and that the sound is all in the effects?
My cheapy p-bass makes a pretty good sound using the overdrive circuit in my Ampeg amp, I have to be honest. I only paid £50 for the bass and matching practice amp but would like to get a nicer instrument once I’ve established that I can actually play! :joy: :joy: :joy:
Budget is strictly limited, mind. I’ve noticed that there are some cheap Jacksons out there with double humbuckers, but would anyone recommend anything else from experience?

Also, new or used? I’ve not got much experience with musical instruments so am nervous about dropping a few hundred quid on a used instrument but I also understand that I could get something much nicer for the same money as a lower value new one (I’m not convinced that price is everything, though).


Overdriven Pbass is the sound of rock and roll. You already have a decent bass assuming everything works and it is adjusted well (set-up)


Generally speaking you would like a modern bass with double humbuckers and a active preamp. Ibanez has some nice entry basses that fits the bill.

Personally I don’t care about the bass configuration. It’s mainly the pedals and amp that matter most for tone, but for drive with a passive bass you might need a boost/overdrive for more gain.


There are no rules on which bass to use for rock or metal. If you enjoy the sound of a P-bass, stick to it :wink:

As you seem to enjoying yourself with your existing gear, I’d just stick to it some more and start putting money aside to get a good quality bass. Maybe go to a shop and try different ones and take the time to make up your mind.


It’s not so much that I enjoy the sound of a P-bass, but I’ve no experience of anything else!
I’m still very much at the beginner stage but am saving and trying to think ahead. Once I’ve got a decent instrument then I can’t blame it for my mistakes! :crazy_face:


Used will save you a lot of money. If you worried about getting a bad deal, go with a reputable store that has a good return policy.

Feel, looks, and sound. Those are the three things you want in any bass. When you find that you can then build your dirt sound with pedals and the amp.

All in the effects? That’s going to be more of a personal thing. Different types of pickups will have a different sound when they are distorted. How much of a difference will depend on your ear and how particular you are.

Mostly, if you have a bass you like and a dirt sound you like, you’re golden for whatever comes up with rock/metal.


You generally see dual humbuckers on a metal bass, but there’s a lot of other configurations. Mike D’Antonio of Killswitch Engage rocks a PJ setup, Ian Hill of Priest started with a Fender Jazz, Haraguchi-san of Nemophila also rocks a Jazz, Eugene of Jinjer does double buckers, Geezer does a PJ now, he started with a P

It’s about attitude


Attitude? I’m just an old fart that likes rock/metal.


Practice yelling at clouds. :joy::rofl::joy:


:joy: tbh just get a bass distortion pedal and you are good to go!


This aint wrong!

I’m angling for a Rat style distortion pedal right now. Specifically, I’m GASing for the Jam Pedals Bass Rattler. I’ve seen them selling used for half price but they go quick.


So am I.

If I had to play metal I have two basses I would go with. One is a PJ with Bass Boomers and BEAD tuning to go low, the other has active double humbuckers and D’Addario chromes, EXL 165s I think.

Steve Harris has a P bass with heavy gauge strings

It’s not about the bass


“it’s not about the bass” so, what is it, then? Will any bass do as long as you have an overdrive pedal?


I always look at what bass the band I like uses as a starting point. As others have said, amps and effects are extremely important in getting the final sound you want, but that is where I go for a starting point. If you can get a look at their amps and pedalboard, even better.


Yeah, but all these “impoverished” musicians (that no longer make money out of music, apparently) use instruments that cost thousands and some of them smash them up regularly (I can’t begin to tell you how much that p****s me off!)


If you want to get sounding metal fast, a good distortion pedal wouldn’t hurt. On other recommendations, I’m looking at getting this:

You can YouTube sound demos to see if it’s what you’re looking for. For $100 you will get quite the punch.

I play a Squier PJ on a Boss DS1 pedal and I get some sick tones. Isn’t even made for bass. Im betting you could turn any bass into a medal machine. Before buying a new bass, I’d say try some effects pedals.

That said, if you want a dual humbuckers, I recommend Ibanez. I have a 5 string that really packs a punch, 24 fret neck so I can go anywhere. Limited by my own skill of course.


I’m not suggesting you buy the same instrument that they have, after all, their bass is one of the primary instruments for their job. Looking at what they play might push you towards a certain style of bass though (P, PJ, Jazz, HB). There a tons of quality instruments to be had on a budget, and some could just an upgrade away from being your forever bass.

If all else fails, just get a Stringray :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


You want to sound dirty. You want some overdrive or distortion, think of how your attack is. Geezer plucks the strings in a downward motion and clanks on the frets a lot, part of his sound. Others use a pick and get a sharp attack and even palm mute.

When I said attitude a bit ago, to me you need to hit those strings with authority. With a good attack and distortion any bass can sound metal

What bands are you wanting to cover? Maybe we could point you to some specifics. A lot of bands use odd tunings. B strings are common


It’s about the look you like. Check out Harley Benton they have all of the look you want for cheap.

Metal bassists use just about any config out there.
Jazz-Robert Trujillo
P-Les Clayborn, Tony Franklin
MM- Flea
Double buck well endless list

As long as it look the part and you like it you are good to go. Don’t like the sound you can always change the pickups.


A. Use you existing bass and turn up the amp, like really turn it up. Done :wink: