14 Easy Metal Songs To Play On The Bass (with tab examples)

beginner metal bassist playing easy song on 4-string bass

Metal can be a demanding genre to play for bassists. Tremolo picking, complex rhythms, and fast riffs are just some of the reasons that it takes years of practice to be proficient at the genre.

Luckily, there are also many metal songs that are easy to play on the bass.

That`s why I`ve made this list of metal songs that can be played by bassists of all skill levels. This way, you won`t have to start your mental journey by trying to learn Children of Bodom and Lamb Of God songs like I did. If you have to ask, it didn`t go too well, and my fingers still hurt 15 years later.

All the songs below are beginner-friendly and I`ve tried to keep the list as diverse as possible. All the songs can all be played regardless of whether you use a 4-string or a 5-string to play metal. The list also covers everything from heavy metal to nu-metal, and from Symphonic Metal to Industrial Metal.

Thus, you will be able to find an easy metal song to play on your bass in this list that suits both your skill level and personal taste.

Note: Many of the songs listed below requires you to tune down your bass. This is extremely common in metal music. You can learn more about the listed tunings and find a tuner for each of them in my guides on alternate bass tunings.

1. Amorphis – House Of Sleep

  • Tempo: 125 BPM
  • Tuning: D Standard
  • Genre: Melodic Death Metal
  • Difficulty: 2/10

Behind the beautiful vocal melodies and catchy guitar leads in melodic death metal, there is a bass and rhythm guitar providing an essential backdrop. This staple of the genre usually entails that the bass is playing straght 8th notes.

A great example of this is the intro and chorus of “House Of Sleep” by Amorphis. Here the bass provides a simple groove that drives the song forward and makes the vocals and guitar lead shine.

Notation for bass intro on house of sleep by amorphis

While the chord progression changes in the verse, the bass sticks to the same 8th note rhythm. Furthermore, the bridge consists of sustained whole notes. Thus, the whole song is easy to learn for metal bassists of all levels.

2. Rammstein – Sonne

  • Tempo: 150 BPM
  • Tuning: Drop D
  • Genre: Industrial Metal
  • Difficulty 3/10

Oliver Riedel`s basslines are the perfect example of simple but effective.

On “Sonne”, he plays sustained half-notes throughout the chorus. For the rest of the song he is playing a rhythmic and catchy metal riff:

Sonne by Rammstein notation and tablature for bass guitar

This makes “Sonne” a great song to learn for bassists who are looking for something easy but don`t want to play straight 8th notes throughout the whole song. The riff is also repeated less frequently during the verse than the interludes, which makes the song more interesting to play overall.

3. Pantera – Walk

  • Tempo: 176 BPM
  • Tuning: D Standard
  • Genre: Heavy Metal
  • Difficulty: 4/10

“Walk” by Pantera is a staple song for beginner-level metal bassists to learn. It has one the most iconic riffs of all time, which also happens to be fairly easy to play.

For the most part, Rex Brown is playing the main riff. In the verse, he plays a simplified version of it. The song also utelizes a straightforward 8th note groove at some spots.

tablature for bass walk by pantera

While “Walk” is relatively beginner-friendly, it is among the more difficult entries on this list for a couple of reasons. You will need to do bends, which can take some time to play with control. The song is also played in a 12/8 time signature and incorporates chords, which can sound muddy on the bass.

4. Deftones – My Own Summer (Shove It)

  • Tempo: 142 BPM
  • Tuning: Drop C#
  • Genre: Alternative Metal
  • Difficulty: 3/10

The late Chi Cheng was known for a rumbling and powerful bass tone. His tone and instrument choice was a major part of what gave Deftones their unique sound and made them stand out.

If you find that the bass sits well in this track, this is in large part because it was played on a P bass. To learn more, continue by reading about the pros and cons of playing a Precision bass in metal.

“My Own Summer” is a great example of how his playstyle elevated the sound of the whole band. For most of the song, the bassline consists of the following groove:

deftones - my own summer bass tab

There are slight variations to the groove in terms of both rhythm and melody throughout the song, but it remains largely similar. Thus, this makes “My Own Summer” a great song to learn for metal bassists that are looking for a driving and punchy groove that is also fairly easy to play.

5. Sugar – System Of A Down

  • Tempo: 132
  • Tuning: C Standard
  • Genre: Alternative Metal
  • Difficulty: 2.5/10 (1/10 for most of the song)

The bass part in “Sugar” has a unique structure to it. For the first 1:44 minutes of the song, the same 4 notes are repeated over and over again. Then, it switches to a different riff as the song gradually speeds up.

With a tempo of 132 BPM, and a simple decending finger pattern the main riff of the song should not pose much of a challenge:

sugar by system of a down bass groove notation

As for the latter part of the song, it will test your sense of rhythm and ability to gradually speed up. The riff itself won`t be too hard, but the main challenge of the song will be to stay on time.

6. Pain – Shut Your Mouth

  • Tempo: 122 BPM
  • Tuning: Drop A
  • Genre: Industrial Metal
  • Difficulty: 2/10

“Shut Your Mouth” is a great example of how the bass can make a song with just 4 notes.

While the song is centered around the synth lead and the vocals, the bass and rhythm guitar provide an incredibly heavy component to it:

shut your mouth bass tab and notation

This is in large part because “Shut Your Mouth” is played in Drop A. Thus if you want to see how a low tuning and great tone can elevate a song just as much as the notes themselves, this is a great song to learn.

7. Disturbed – Down With The Sickness

  • Tempo: 90 BPM* (*Feels more like 180 BPM to play)
  • Tuning: Drop C#
  • Genre: Nu-Metal
  • Difficulty: 3/10

Most people might associate this song with the iconic “Uh-wah-ah-ah-ah” in the intro. However, this song also has an incredibly rhythmic and catchy riff as well.

The riff is on the easier side, but it might take some practice to properly mute your strings during the pauses in it. This makes it the perfect song to learn for metal bassists, as getting good at muting is a major part of playing metal bass proficiently.

down with the sickness bass line

This riff is repeated for the majority of the song. The bridge features a relatively easy bass part, but it will challenge your sense of time signatures, as it switches between 4/4 and 3/4 time.

8. White Zombie – More Human Than Human

Tempo: 100 BPM
Tuning – Drop C#
Genre: Industrial Metal
Difficulty: 1/10

“More Human Than Human” showcases how a bassline can work well in metal without providing much harmony.

In fact, it shows that the bassline doesn`t have to provide any more harmony than a single note for the whole song. So you better enjoy playing the “dun-dun-du-du-du-du” rhythm that the song is built upon, cause it is repeated throughout the entirety of it.

more human than human metal bass tab and notes

Playing and repeating this groove will thus test your stamina, which can be especially tiring for fingerstyle players. Given that this song can be played with just one hand, I think it`s fair to call it easy though.

9. Asking Alexandria – To The Stage

  • Tempo: 176 BPM (Tempo changes to 130 BPM and 200BPM)
  • Tuning – Drop C
  • Genre: Metalcore
  • Difficulty: 4/10

Tremolo-picked breakdowns can be deterring for metalcore bassists who are just starting out. While they will never be as easy as picking straight 8th notes, there are some breakdowns that are easier than others.

“To The Stage” is a great metalcore song to start out with as the bass is playing straight forward 8th note groove for the majority of the song:

to the stage by asking alexandria metal bass notation

The breakdown that comes later is also on the easier side, as far as breakdowns go. There are a couple of tempo changes that are great for practicing your sense of rhythm as well. The great thing about them is that they don`t come abruptly, and will give you time to prepare for them mentally.

10. Mastodon – Show Yourself

  • Tempo: 135 BPM
  • Tuning – Drop C
  • Genre: Heavy Metal
  • Difficulty: 3/10

Mastodon is a band with a diverse catalog of music. While Troy Sanders has played some complex basslines while somehow managing to sing at the same time, he dials it back on “Show Yourself”.

Are you looking to sing and play the bass? In that case, I recommend checking out this list of 7 easy songs to sing while playing the bass

For most of the song, he plays a fairly straightforward groove. It`s not quite straight 8th notes, but it is simple enough for beginners to pick up:

metal bassline tablature for show yourself by mastodon

Things get slightly harder during the guitar solo and interlude, but not by a whole lot. There are a couple of occasional fills, but they have a fairly simple finger pattern to them. Thus, this is a beginner-friendly song, but it still has a good bit of interesting variety to it.

11. Nightwish – Sleeping Sun

  • Tempo: 110 BPM
  • Tuning: E Standard
  • Genre: Symphonic Metal
  • Difficulty: 1/10

This iconic Nightwish ballad has a slow and undemanding bass line.

Most of the song consists of long sustained notes. It has some occasionally 8th notes and short rhythmic moments in it, none of which are technically demanding.

bass notes for verse of sleeping sun by nightwish

Thus this is a great song to learn for metal bassists who are looking for a slow song without complicated bass fills. It is also one of the few songs in E on the list, and thus a great choice if you don`t want to tune down your bass.

12. Manowar – Kingdom Come

Tempo: 176 BPM
Tuning – E Standard
Genre: Heavy Metal
Difficulty: 2/10

If you are looking for a faster song in E, look no further than to “Kingdom Come” by Manowar.

While this song is significantly faster than “Sleeping Sun”, it is only slightly harder. The chorus has a straightforward 8th note groove, and for most of the song you will be repeating the groove below:

metal bassline kingdom come by manowar

There are also some sustained half and whole notes, most notably towards the end of the song. This adds some variation and dynamics to the bass part, without making it harder to play.

13. In Flames – Come Clarity

  • Tempo: 150 BPM
  • Tuning – Drop A#
  • Genre: Melodic Death Metal
  • Difficulty: 3/10

Despite being a heartfelt and slow song in In Flames` catalog, Come Clarity has a bassline with a lot of groove to it.

It also utilizes the open string a lot in a Drop A tuning, which gives the line a heavy character. The bass part as a whole though, is fairly simple, especially when it comes to fretting notes.

in flames bass tab for intro of come clarity

If you are looking for a song that combines heavy and acoustic guitar elements with a groovy bassline, “Come Clarity” is a great song to learn. It keeps things interesting without being too hard and showcases how diverse the bass can be in metal music.

14. Sabaton – Ghost Division

Tempo: 176 BPM
Tuning – B Standard
Genre: Power Metal
Difficulty: 3/10

Accented single notes are a common technique in 60`s rock and in country music. However, on “Ghost Division” Pär Sundström of Sabaton shows that this technique can work well in power metal as well.

In addition to adding a lot of punch to the song, another benefit is that basslines of this kind tend to be easy to play:

tab for metal bass players to play ghost divison by sabaton

Aside from the single notes, the song also has some sustained notes, straight 8th notes, and a couple of short fills. This makes “Ghost Divison” a varied song, which showcases how small changes in the bassline can have a big impact on the song as a whole.

Closing Words

While the bass can be hard to hear in metal, it always plays a critical role in the overall sound of the band. Easy metal basslines like the ones listed above are always the backbone of the song. Without the bass, the songs would lose drive, punch, and heaviness, and thus make it significantly harder to headbang to them.

I can promise you that all of the bassists from the list above could make these lines more complicated if they wanted to. Instead, though, they recognized what type of bassline would serve the song best and chose to put their ego aside.

Thus, easy metal basslines are rarely a sign of inexperience, but rather the opposite. It`s a genre where you have a lot of flexibility in what you can play, and thus it is often the inexperienced players that try to do too much at once.

While complex basslines can work when played by Ryan Martinie or Jeroen Thesseling, these players also understand what doesn`t work, and when to dial it back. While most professional metal bassists don`t have as complicated of a playstyle as them, they all have a deep understanding of what role they have within a band.

Thus, don`t think of the easy metal bassline above as basic or entry-level. Think of them as professionally crafted basslines, and great examples of how the bass can be played in heavy genres of music. This way, you will not only improve your technique as you practice them, but you will develop a greater understanding of the metal genre as a whole.

Ian Partanen

BassOx Founder. Passionate bassist for 15+ years across a vast selection of genres, currently into indie-rock and hip-hop. Bachelor's degree in Musicology from the University of Oslo.

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