Arts & Entertainment, Music

The Bass Sound


Lesson time 08:28 min

Bass guitar virtuoso Robert Trujillo explores the vast possibilities of his instrument. Learn how to construct the right sound for every situation and find your place within the song.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Choosing the Right Bass Sound · Do What’s Best for the Song


[MUSIC PLAYING] ROBERT TRUJILLO: When I joined Metallica, it was really a bit of a surreal moment, let's say, because everything about it was different than what I had ever experienced in my life. The workload was much more intense. The press was much more intense. REPORTER: You've been in the band for five minutes, and already you're an icon. - It's such an honor, and you know, I'm stoked so. I realized that this is the way it's going to be at least for now, you know. I'm going to be playing catch-up, you know. They've got an extensive catalog that has existed for so many years. And nobody knows exactly what we're going to play. So just be ready. So I always sort of had some paper and a pen or pencil with me to figure out and chart out music at the last minute because I never knew what I was going to get. And obviously, that made me a better player. It made me a better person, you know. My work ethic had to grow. I could never phone it in. And then I realized I got to be 10 steps ahead of these guys. So I started learning songs like "Call of Ktulu" and "Orion" and "Dyers Eve." And these were songs that were nowhere on the radar. They were not on the radar yet. But I thought to myself, okay, these guys are gonna-- they're gonna throw this at me at some point in the next few years. And I better be ready because it's not gonna be about waiting for Trujillo. It's going to be about-- you know what I mean? It's going to be about pulling it off. So I started thinking ahead and working on stuff before we actually played it, and then of course, eventually we did play all these songs, which is great because I love those songs. They're classics, and I really wanted to play them anyway. So thank God we got to play them. Hopefully, we'll play them in the future. [MUSIC PLAYING] So now I want to get into the role of the bass and how it relates to Metallica. Now, within this band, you can have many different sounds. I always like to start from sort of the basic structure of the instrument and-- and the power and the rawness of just a regular, passive, you know, sound, passive electronics, I should say. Bass, and that would be sort of your classic Fender P bass model. And that for me is always a great place to start because it really sort of relies on-- again, I equate this instrument with space, power, and finding the balance within a song. Some of the songs require more kind of relentlessness and a lot more technique. These are great for that. But at the same time, if you get something that's active electronics, and the sound would then cut in a different way, but then also there's a certain amount of physicality involved. So you're moving a lot more. And there's a bit of precision in your technique that's involved with that. That's also important to Metallica too a song like, for instance, "Master of Puppets," you know, you've got-- [MUSIC PLAYING] That's a lot of movement, but it's necessary...

About the Instructor

With 28 albums, 8 Grammy Awards, and a home in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Metallica have been creating iconic music together for over 40 years. Now, they’re teaching what it takes to build and sustain success as a group. Get an exclusive look into their process for songwriting, building an album, and performing, and how they took charge of their creative destiny so you can do the same.

Featured Masterclass Instructor


8x Grammy Award–winning rock band Metallica teaches you the keys to communicating, collaborating, and successfully creating as a group.

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