#1
I've decided to go lead bass in my metal band since the rhythm guitarist is hogging all the low-end frequencies, can anyone suggest some scales I should look at to play around this genre?

Any pointers are appreciated, I don't know the names of any of the scales but the scales I'm looking for are evil/powerful or has a sort of arabic/exotic sound, or just basically the ones the lead guitarists use in their solos.


My playstyle at the moment is mainly Metallica (early), Megadeth and Slayer if it helps
Thank you!
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#2
i used the hungarian minor scale for a middle eastern feel in my song Curse Of The Mummy's Tomb (link to song in profile).
#3
Try phrygian mode with major 3rd and 7th (also called phrygian dominant with major 7th I think):

1 b2 3 4 5 b6 7 1

This sounds pretty oriental but also bad-ass:

12-13-16-17-16-13-12-10-12~~~~
#4
The go-to scale for ~exotic~ sound is harmonic minor. For "evil" you want to be looking at diminished ideas and chromatic additions to the natural minor.

I know very little about those bands, my experience of Megadeth is Holy Wars and my experience of Slayer is the riff PE sampled on She Watch Channel Zero?! from Angel of Death, but there's definitely lots of chromatics in both. Basically take your basic natural minor scale:
G|----------------------------12-14-16-|
D|-------------------12-14-16----------|
A|----------12-14-15-------------------|
E|-12-14-15----------------------------|

You'll see five notes very often used as passing tones in the genre; most crucially, the diminished fifth and seventh from the diminished arpeggio, then there's the major 7th from the harmonic minor and the minor 2nd which is about as dissonant a tone as you can get, and finally the major 3rd which creates dissonance by merit of not fitting into a minor harmony, basically. Essentially, you usually won't hang on these notes (unless you're going for a really serious bit of dissonance), but you'll move through them to get to other ones.
G|----------------------------------------------12-[color="orange"]13[/color]-14-[color="cyan"]15[/color]-16-|
D|-------------------------------12-[color="lime"]13[/color]-14-[color="red"]15[/color]-16----------------|
A|----------------12-[color="cyan"]13[/color]-14-15-[color="magenta"]16[/color]-------------------------------|
E|-12-[color="red"]13[/color]-14-15-[color="orange"]16[/color]----------------------------------------------|

[color="red"]Minor 2nd[/color]
[color="cyan"]Diminished 5th[/color]
[color="lime"]Major 7th[/color]
[color="magenta"]Diminished 7th[/color]
[color="orange"]Major 3rd[/color]


In Holy Wars and Angel of Death (can't vouch for the accuracy of the tabs since I just took them from the bass tabs here but they look like the right notes, if not the spacing I'd go for on the first one):
G|--------------------------------|-------------------|
D|-----------------2[color="red"]3[/color]4------------|-------------------|
A|-5[color="lime"]6[/color]7----------------3[color="magenta"]4[/color]5-5[color="magenta"]4[/color]3-[color="magenta"]4[/color]32-|-5[color="lime"]6[/color]7---------------|
E|-----5[color="cyan"]6[/color]7-7[color="cyan"]6[/color]5-5[color="orange"]4[/color]3----------------|-----5[color="cyan"]6[/color]7-7[color="cyan"]6[/color]5-5[color="orange"]4[/color]3330|

G|-------------------|-----------------------|-------------------|-----------------|
D|-------------------|-----------------------|-------------------|-----------------|
A|-7h[color="red"]8[/color]p7-------------|-[color="lime"]6[/color]h7p[color="lime"]6[/color]---5h[color="lime"]6[/color]p5---[color="magenta"]4[/color]h5p[color="magenta"]4[/color]-|-7h[color="red"]8[/color]p7-------------|-----------------|
E|-------0-0-0-0-0-0-|-------0-------0-------|-------0-0-0-0-0-0-|-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-|


Now you may have noticed that that's literally all the notes; that's why it's important to realise these are generally passing tones. If you play the chromatic scale your music will sound lost and probably nasty in terms of key signature. Sometimes that's probably the goal, but for the most part, as you can see in the examples, these notes are used between others and are, more often than not, brief. You generally have to see it as playing in the natural minor but adding the extra notes just to bollock up any sense of normal harmony that those notes might produce. Both these riffs have a bit more freedom to be outside the key because their root notes are very strongly defined by the drone on the low E. In the case of Holy Wars that doesn't really make any difference to what's played - the outside notes are sandwiched between inside notes; in the case of Angel of Death it is used fully - the A-string part of the riff is basically completely chromatic, it is pretty much indifferent to which notes are in the key of E minor and which are not.

Most often, if you're going for major dissonance the notes you'll hang on will be either the minor 2nd (pretty simple - one fret above the root note; from the comment I see on every news article relating to Kerry King I get the impression Slayer like that one). The more adventurous option is using the diminished arpeggio. If we go back to the natural minor, that's these notes, which you can probably call your basic additions in terms of "evil"-sounding metal:
G|---------------------------------[color="red"]12[/color]-14-[color="red"]15[/color]-16-|
D|------------------------12-[color="red"]14[/color]-16-------------|
A|----------12-[color="red"]13[/color]-14-15-[color="red"]16[/color]---------------------|
E|-[color="red"]12[/color]-14-[color="red"]15[/color]------------------------------------|

Or as its own arpeggio it's the rather ergonomic:
G|-------------------15-18-|
D|-------------14-17-------|
A|-------13-16-------------|
E|-12-15-------------------|


The nice thing about that is that the notes are all a minor third apart, which means you can easily shift ideas about and start on any note; it's a very versatile idea that, as far as I'm aware, thrash guitarists are wont to use. It also fits quite well into the natural minor because two of the notes are already in there and the diminished 5th is basically just a nod to the blues scale.

I'll switch over for this last part to guitar because that's where the examples I know of are played, it shouldn't be too complicated anyway, and most bassists know their way around a guitar anyway so hopefully you'll be fine. Just an example from a Pantera-inspired piece in a grade book I have and one from Angel of Death. As far as highlighting's concerned, I'll just focus on the parts where the arpeggio's played and ignore the notes in the rest of each riff. ~Evil~ new color code:
[color="red"]Root[/color]
[color="orange"]Minor 3rd[/color]
[color="yellow"]Diminished 5th[/color]
[color="lime"]Diminished 7th[/color]

PM: v v   v v v   v v v   v v v   v   v v   v   v   v 
E |---------------------------------|---------------------------------|
B |---------------------------------|---------------------------------|
G |---------------------------------|---------------------------------|
D |---------------------------------|---------------------------------|
A |-2-2---2-2-2---2-2-2---2-2-2---2-|-2-2---2---2---2-[color="red"]7[/color]-------[color="lime"]4[/color]-------|
E |-0-0---0-0-0---0-0-0---0-0-0---0-|-0-0---0---0---[color="red"]0[/color]---[color="yellow"]6[/color]---[color="red"]0[/color]---[color="orange"]3[/color]-----|
    S E   S S E   S S E   S S E   S   S E   E   E   S S E   S S E.

PM:       v v
E |-------------------|------------------|
B |-------------------|------------------|
G |-------------------|------------------|
D |---------------6-[color="orange"]5[/color]-|-------7------9-[color="yellow"]8[/color]-|
A |-7h8p7-------[color="red"]7[/color]-----|-6-[color="red"]7[/color]-8-----[color="orange"]10[/color]-----|
E |-------0-0-[color="yellow"]6[/color]-------|---------[color="lime"]9[/color]--------|
    S S E E E E E E E   E E E E E E  E E


I know that was a long ramble about a relatively small subject, but hopefully it's at least somewhat enlightening and with any luck I didn't make any mistakes The short version is play the natural minor but slide in the other 5 notes without dwelling on them too long, then play around with the diminished arpeggio when you want to make evilness happen.
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Last edited by K33nbl4d3 at Oct 17, 2015,
#5
thanks for the input guys. So far I have a rough idea of the sound I'm looking for when I solo but it helps to know and keep playing these scales over and over to get the muscle memory working and keep track of where I'm going.

I like that you included a lot of theory with your explanation K33nbl4d3, there's a special place in heaven for people like you
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#6
For the 'evil' sound, harmonic minor is your starting point! Although really you can make any scale sound a certain way depending on you express it.

E.g. Malmsteen loves harmonic minor but so do Europe! - completely different sounds.

I'll upload a video to my YouTube channel (below) tonight or tomorrow to demonstrate