Gone way too early, Cliff Burton has come to define complex metal bass playing in many ways. Sometimes lost in the mix, many do not realize how melodic, complex, and beautiful his lines are. Cliff’s playing defines one of the best things about music; hidden gems that you might have not even heard the first time around.
A college-trained pianist, Burton is one of those musicians who figured out how to play the music in his head, and inadvertently broke new ground, defined new levels of bass guitar virtuosity, and inspired a generation of players like myself.
Also a prolific part of Metallica’s writing process, Cliff helped define metal’s large compositions by bring knowledge of classical form and a strong melodic and harmonic sense to the table. In addition he brought a more varied musical taste to Metallica’s members, famously making them jam out to Creedence Clearwater Revival when they all drove around Oakland in his car.
Check out this isolated bass track to Orion off 1986’s Master of Puppets:
Look for more Cliff posts in the future. So much to hear and talk about from one of my favorite players.