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Cliff Burton


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Cliff Burton was born February 10, 1962 in Castro Valley, California. He started playing the piano at age six. In 1976, when he was 14, Cliff started taking bass guitar lessons from a local music teacher. He is best known for his work with Metallica as their bassist from 1982-1986. On September 27, 1986 Burton was killed in a bus accident in Sweden while Metallica was touring there. The death of Burton inspired many songs including one by Megadeth titled “In My Darkest Hour”. Unlike some bassists, Burton did not use a guitar pick while playing the bass. The last song Burton played was “Damage Inc.”

Cliff Burton’s talent was incredible, especially considering he only played for 10 years. If you go visit YouTube there are some very noticable clips you just have to see. The hardrocking unnamed solo he did while playing with Trauma, or the beautiful Anesthesia - Pulling Teeth, or the crazy stuff he did with Agents of Misfortune (Jim, Dave & Cliff) or For Whom The Bell Tolls played at Day On The Green in 1985 where Cliff shreds his bass with his warp speed right hand fingers and well controlled left hand.

Burton’s solos were always melodic inspired by both Beethoven, Bach, Motörhead and Pink Floyd. Listen to the short bass solo near the end of Orion (by 6:35). Many have sadly overheard the lead bass he plays in The Call of Ktulu. He used his heavy distortion (Electro-Harmonix Big Muff PI USSR) and his wah-wah (Morley Power Wah Boost) to get the cool, special sounds.

Cliff is seen playing Rickenbacker 4001 basses, along with Aria Pro II and Alembic Spoilers, though the last one was stolen according to an interview. He used Ampeg and Mesa Boogie amplification and played with his fingers exclusively.


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