Hey, friends! Total Cliff is underway, fifth video has released. Today we are analyzing another classic song of Metallica – “For Whom The Bell Tolls”. Bass from this composition is one of the most known Cliff Burton’s lines, especially among beginner bass players. Simplicity and beauty make the song so loved by Metallica fans and cover makers. So, “For Whom The Bell Tolls” – bass review with bass tab, which you can find in the end of article.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4BXNhQUn9ns (check out my video here)
(By the way, I’m testing new subscription system. It allows you to get exclusive content from me. Try it here \m/. Please, report me if something’s not working)
“For Whom The Bell Tolls” has a pretty simple structure as for Metallica of Cliff Burton’s period. The band needed to stretch the song’s coda to make it over 5 minutes – Metallica length standard then. Probably, exactly bass made whole thing, and leaded the song to fans hearts.
Cliff used overdrive for main part of “For Whom The Bell Tolls” bass line. This sound is common for “Ride The Lightning” album, and this is the best bass sound Cliff Burton ever taped, IMHO of course. For intro he used heavy distortion and wah-wah. Check out the original “For Whom The Bell Tolls” bass track below:
Briefly about every part of the bass line.
Intro. Weird but true, that the most of bassist perform this easy to play riff wrong! Just watch the video of Metallica bass auditions from “Some Kind of Monster” movie, that included extremely demonstrative cut of how different bass players played it:
Do you have any questions about who is the man? Robert absolutely deserved his place in Metallica! He picked the riff 100% correctly, and performed it so nice to watch and hear, that other guys couldn’t.
The most common mistake in playing “For Whom The Bell Tolls” bass intro is not to do a pull-off. Have to admit, it’s quite illegible because of sound effects and overlaid guitar octaves (very cool idea, by the way!). Here is the moment marked by red:
There’s nothing to mess in the rest of riff. Cliff recorded this intro with some improvisations: different vibratos, slides, tremolo, not to play the pull-off once. I tried to do the same in my cover.
First riff after bass intro. Yeas, the “0321-0321” one. May be funny, but when I was a beginner I feel a lack of stretching playing this riff (probably because of 3 fingers and 3 widest bars involved there, but practice solved it). Some people play wrong the endings of the riff, here’s my bass tabs of it:
Verse riff. Cliff played it by accented chords, using some kind of slap. He did improvised alternative fills, making swingy rhythm there. Particularly cool are slides, which he magically made sounding so special:
Chorus and bridge riffs. Clear and understandable ones, as for me. Chorus goes with triplets and chromatics (I do like chromatics=). Bridge is a variation of verse riff. That’s all.
Coda of “For Whom The Bell Tolls” has much more to discuss about. Cliff played it by power chords, while Kirk making his screaming solo. Not all bassists plays the outro this way, but Cliff did, and it sounds powerful. By the way, it turned not so easy to get in rhythm here!
In addition, couple of live performances of “For Whom The Bell Tolls”. Enjoy it! =)
By the way, Cliff’s solo in the beginning of first video gonna be analyzed in 32nd review. Need to have patience to reach that.
Wish I knew that I’m not dammit alone in all of this stuff. It’s hard time for rock-n-roll, but I hope, there’s a people who wants to do justice to Cliff Burton’s art. Nevertheless, “TOTAL CLIFF” moves on! R.I.P, Cliff \m/
Tags: Metallica, For Whom The Bell Tolls, bass tab, bass cover, Cliff Burton, Ride The Lightning, Total Cliff, Andriy Vasylenko