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Essential prog metal bass with Sikth

James Leach dissects three of his most interesting basslines

BASS EXPO 2014: Sikth have been inspiring fans and peers alike for years with their jaw dropping prog metal capabilities. Since forming in 1999, they have recorded a slew of classic songs, many of which have become die-hard inspirations for the djent movement.

Especially for Bass Expo 2014, bassist James Leach dissects three of his most interesting Sikth basslines, offering tips and insight on how you can play them, too.

Song: Scent Of The Obscene
Hear it: verse 0:47-1:04
Technique: slap bass

"In this section, I'm bridging the gap between locking in with Dan [Foord]'s bass drum and doubling parts of a busy guitar line. In the first half the bass picks out the bass drum accents with low stabs and upper register double-stops. Then in the second half I start to double the fast legato licks of the guitars.

"Because the string spacing on my bass is far wider than that of the guitar, I employ a slap and pull technique to match the guitars string skipping hammer-ons with my thumb catching the B, E, A and my first and second fingers covering the D and G strings."

Song: Skies Of Millennium Night
Hear it: outro 3:45-4:42
Technique: two handed tapping

"This unison tapping riff is in 5/4 with a looping 6-bar chord progression. The left hand stays in a comfortable root/5th position, but the thing that can be tricky here is that the riff starts with the left hand notes so it can feel like you're hammering-on from nowhere at first. The guitars double the bass throughout and the drums play an 8th note paradiddle groove picking out the accents in the riff."

Song: Bland Street Bloom
Hear it: mid section 3:57-4:16
Technique: plectrum

"The bassline here is all about quintuplets. The hi-hats and snare are steadily marking out a quarter note pulse whilst the bass and bass drum play fives notes in between each beat rather than the usual four sixteenths. I use alternate picking, and the key here is to get used to the feeling of each beat of the bar landing on an alternate stroke.

"Beat 1: downstroke. Beat 2: upstroke. Beat 3: downstroke. Beat 4: upstroke."

For more information on James Leach and Sikth, visit the official Sikth website


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