If Your Bass Amp Might Not Electrocute You, You're Doing Sludge Metal Wrong: A Guide

melvins_2012.jpg
Jessi Rose
It's working pretty well for these dudes.

So, you want to be in a band, right? The thing is, you have little to no ability or skill with a guitar. Me too! There is, however, one easy way to go about this that doesn't really require learning to actually play your instrument properly. All you have to do is check a few boxes up front, and then the whole actual music thing falls into place.

First, buy a bass guitar. Any bass guitar, it doesn't really matter which one. It can be as cheap as you like, as long as it has four strings (five string basses are for psychopaths), frets (fretless basses are for people with serious talent), and a kind-of-working output. Tune your bass to drop D, and leave it there. Do not attempt to tune the lowest string back up to E. Ever.

See also: The Top Five Notes on My Bass Guitar

Then -- and this is the important part -- locate a really shit bass amp. You see, the thing is, the shortcut to being in a band with no ability is to play bass in a sludge metal band. Due to the nature of said metal (and I say this as a bassist in a sludge metal band), it's all about tone. Every single part of this music is tone. It is barely about what notes you play. If you play a note that isn't D, you're going to have at least a full thirty seconds while the D you're already playing rings out to locate said note on the fretboard. You could almost bring a cheat sheet.

You'll get a lot of people saying that, to get the right sludge tone, you need a bunch of pedals and a shiny amp. Those people are charlatans, who are either trying to take your money or who have been brainwashed by someone who took their money already. You need to go on Craigslist (eBay is too reputable for this task) and search the cheap bass amps. Locate a really old amplifier around the $100 sweet spot. Ideally you'll want roughly 100 watts for $100, as $1 to 1 watt is the ideal ratio. More watts for less money, and your bass amp is unlikely to work, let's be honest. We need something that will still make a loud noise. More money for less watts, and you risk buying an amplifier that works too well.

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5 comments
gabbahey
gabbahey

The hell with drop D. You could do like I do, and get a 5 string set of cheap-ass Boomers and put them on a four string bass (BEAD tuning).

Besides, you don't need that fucking G string anyway...

cleaver.gavin
cleaver.gavin

On a far more important note, has anyone noticed the extent to which Dale Crover looks like an older Stevie from Eastbound and Down? Once you notice it, you can't help but imagine him shirtless and cursing.

garlandsucks
garlandsucks

@cleaver.gavin Dale used to play only in his skivvies, but on another note King Buzzo is still the nicest musician guy I ever met, when I was 12 back in 97 he took about 20 mins out of his night to talk to myself and a few other 7th grade buddies.

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