#30 Trauma with Cliff Burton (bass review with tab)

Hey friends! Today we take a glance on what Cliff Burton played before joining Metallica. Bass tab available to download in the end of article.

I’ve prepared a little bio of Cliff Burton (similar to Wikipedia’s, but a bit revised and expanded). It’s going to appear in my upcoming book ‘Total Cliff’ ultimate Cliff Burton’s legacy’. Check it out below.

Full name: Clifford Lee Burton
Years active: 1979-1986
Bands: Metallica, Trauma, EZ Street
Genres: heavy metal, thrash metal, speed metal
Bass playing style: finger, tapping
Musical tastes & influences: Rush, Black Sabbath, ZZ Top, Thin Lizzy, The Misfits, Motorhead
Instruments: bass guitar, acoustic guitar, vocals
Graduated: musical college
Most famous works (all in Metallica): ‘(Anesthesia) Pulling Teeth’ (Kill ‘Em All, 1983), ‘The Call of Ktulu’, ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’ (Ride the Lightning, 1984), ‘Orion’ (Master of Puppets, 1986)
Rewards & accolades: 9th Greatest Bassist of All Time (‘Rolling Stone’ magazine, 2009), Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame (with Metallica, 2009)

So, as you see, Metallica was not the only band Cliff been in. Right before joining Lars, James, and Dave (current solo-guitarist then) in the end of 1982, Burton was a member of Trauma. The band had some fame in San Francisco and used to look promisingly. Nevertheless, band’s tendencies went against Cliff’s perspective.

So Metallica appeared in his in right time and place, as well as Burton – on Metallica’s way. They moved from LA to SF, let him to play bass solos – everything to get him. Critical time in Metallica’s history – they reached Cliff’s aura which changed the band forever.

And what about Trauma with Cliff? He was allowed to create bass lines following his vision, so we already can get Burton’s features in the stuff. What features? Check some of them in my ‘Best Live Solos‘. Add a few more that regard to regular bass lines.

  • Arpeggios – mostly on power chords (like in ‘Ride the Lightning’ chorus or ‘Disposable Heroes’ outro)
  • Slides in nowhere – slides with no defined purpose note, being cut just somewhere high
  • Fills in various tessitures – improvised passages and alternate ending in different pitches, higher and lower
  • Blues and chromatic passages – for leading fills and and connecting chords in progression
  • Alternate endings – endings of riff repeats with all things in the list utilized

There are the reasons why Cliff’s lines are hard to tab – he’s varying and improvising all the time. Often every repeat requires own line bars instead of just one mark as looped.

Here’s a couple videos with Cliff Burton’s in Trauma:

Anyway, you can see observe all the signature Burton’s moves in his early stuff. Get the bass tab of my Trauma bass medley below (I lost gtp file, so here’s only pdf available). Join AVanguard to get the password:

Download PDF

Hope you liked my little exploration. I’ve been playing and analyzing Cliff’s lines for year, and I still discover new things (and fix mistakes, to be honest). So this is not the end – expect ‘Total Cliff: afterword’ videos and ‘Total Cliff : ultimate Cliff Burton’s legacy” book.

See you in last review – ‘Anesthesia’. Thank you for reading, watching, and supporting! Become my Patron to make my work easier and get bonuses there. R.I.P. Cliff Burton \m/

Tags: Trauma band, Cliff Burton, Metallica, Total Cliff, Andriy Vasylenko


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