#7 Metallica – Orion (bass review with tab)

Hey, friends! The exciting moment for TOTAL CLIFF has come. it’s time to review “Orion” – bass apogee of Cliff Burton’s art, probably Metallica’s too. Accurate GP5 bass tab for “Orion” you can download for free below.

“7” is here not by accident: it’s a number of “Orion” in “Master of Puppets” track list, plus – for luck. So I decided do not drag out, and made this review seventh.

Previous article about “Motorbreath” was short. This one is going to be longer and more profound, because there’s a lot to say about “Orion”. Bass line is saturated here, so I had a stuff to sweat working on. Let’s break it down step by step along the composition.


“Orion” the intro was recorded in fancy way: Cliff overlaid a number of bass tracks with different sound effects, and Fleming Rasmussen reversed that (we met similar stuff in “Damage Inc.” intro). That’s why “Orion” intro sounds so clear in “Master of Puppets” mix.

metallica orion intro cliff burton tabs

low part

high part

Robert Trujillo simplified it for live performances by using power chords, because 6th and 3rd scale steps sound a bit dirty with distortion.

Main riff

Guitars go on foreground, bass don’t lead here. Simple part, but full of improvised deviations, gallop and hammer-on fills. Cliff had a great technique and leading bass mindset, but here he did wise decision: be on background, remaining a room for guitars. Because of that moves the songs is breathing. Chords are the same as in the intro: Em-(Em)-D-B.

First break riff

My favorite riff in Cliff Burton’s bass stuff. Warm overdrive makes it sound synthy, but it’s too much deep in a mix. By the way, this riff I used to improve fast two-finger playing and apoyando. I’m going to break it down detailed in one of the last Total Cliff videos with working title “Hardest / Best Bass Riffs”.

metallica orion overdrive bass riff tab burton

Final sections of part A

Bass goes lower, guitars swoop leading again. The first riff is a variation of break one, after that it returns to main riff, and then part A slips to interlude. Nothing more, just watch “Orion” GP5 bass tab. By the way, it doesn’t matter how to play A – B – C passage, notes are the same:


So we’ve landed on a planet of Orion system, and here we’ve met calm and piece. This interlude consists of three sections and ends by bass solo. Scale moved from Em to F#m, time changed from 4/4 to 6/8, tempo slowed down from 128 to ~80. Bass plays 3 variations on the same chord sequence: F#m – A – E – C#m. The most reasonable decision is to perform they all in 9th position and less jump from bar to bar – save your movement, bassist!

Bass solo initially was a part of Kirk’s line, but guys figured out that would be cool bass to play it. Cliff changed some moments and adapted the part to his “Rickenbacker”. So we have a pearl of Orion – Cliff Burton’s bass solo. I’ll completely review it in one more video.

metallica orion bass solo tab cliff burton

Bridge and outro

Small bridge leads us to final section of “Orion”, it includes familiar riffs: down-going one (Kirk plays solo over it) and variation of break bass riff. Cliff didn’t invent anything special for outro, maybe because that’s enough of leading bass in the song, who knows. The only exception is a lick with hammer-ons in the final two repeats of outro riff.

In the way, we have a terrific work. His best. And last.

Download Metallica ‘Orion’ bass tab for free on this page (with the rest of Total Cliff tabs). Join AVanguard to stay informed about new tabs and updates \m/

I expected to write a bit more about “Orion”, but got less than supposed, I’ll compensate it in two other reviews I’ve mentioned above. Moreover, I have the intention to revise all the stuff and make a PDF guide to “Orion”, and after that to all Cliff Burton’s legacy, the fullest one. Here is a master bass track from “Orion”, just enjoy that classic sound:

Mission complete 7 of 32. Next TOTAL CLIFF review – “Ride the Lightning”. Subscribe to my Youtube channel and our AVanguard,  friend! \m/

If you have any questions, write them in comments under this post or on Youtube – I’ll do a video for all unclear moments. Thanks for watching, reading, and being a part of this big thing. Rest in piece, Cliff Burton \m/

P.S. By the way, check out my very first Youtube video, get the difference and, maybe, my progress \m/


You can find it by tags: Cliff Burton, Metallica, Orion, bass tab, GP5, cover, bass solo, Total Cliff

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