I take a very different approach to death metal bass playing than most of the players around me. I’m a finger player, and I’m not just there to fill in the bottom of a mix or play guitar on a bass. I play percussive with the drummer, and staccato more so than legato. When I jumped from a four-string to a five-string, I didn’t just gain five lower notes: I gained a string to land on when playing the E string. The strings being closer together on the five-string bass also reduces the rebound distance, which in theory increases right hand speed.
The secret of playing bass well is effort and feel. To apply your conscious effort and commitment to the instrument is huge. Then you have to understand the feel to know where to be… Most people can play along, but to be behind the beat when you need to be, or to be on the beat when necessary, and even sometimes you must play ahead of the beat – that’s not stuff you can learn by reading books. You need to feel the section and know the feel, and know where to be. My favourite bass to date is my black-on-black custom handmade American BC Rich Warlock five-string with Widow headstock, long scale (35.5 inch), neck-through construction, Seymour Duncan active pickups with 18-volt onboard preamp (tone circuit) and Kahler bridge. My favorite players in this genre are Alex Webster, Steve DiGiorgio, Tony Choy, Jeroen Paul Thesseling and Erlend Caspersen.
Basses BC Rich Warlock
Effects Tech21 SansAmp, Maxon RTC600
Amps Warwick WA600 heads and WCA 410 cabs