Published On: Mon, Apr 20th, 2009

Lemmy bass tabs and techniques

Learn to play Bass like Motorheads Lemmy – lessons in the techniques that made Ace of Spades and such classics – with tab and chords

One man has been a constant over Motorhead’s 30-year aural assault: the Lord of the Rickenbacker, the one and only Lemmy. Born Ian Fraser Kilminster in Stoke on Christmas Eve, 1945, Lemmy joined Hawkwind as a bass player in 1971 and contributed lead vocals to the band’s biggest UK single, Silver Machine, but he was fired after spending five days in a Canadian jail for drug possession in 1975. He immediately formed a new band. When his manager advised him that calling it ‘Bastard’ was unlikely to lead to appearances on Top Of The Pops, Lemmy decided to use Motorhead, slang for an amphetamine user. With guitarist ‘Fast’ Eddie Clarke and drummer Phil ‘Philthy Animal’ Taylor recruited in 1976, Motorhead hit their peak with three classic heavy rock albums: Bomber (1979), Ace Of Spades (1980), and the live No Sleep ‘Til Hammersmith (1981) grabbed top spot. Clarke left after one more album, and the band became a quartet until 1995 when guitarist Michael ‘Wurzel’ Burston quit. The line-up of Lemmy, guitarist Phil Campbell and drummer Mickey Dee has remained solid, hard-working – and very, very loud – to this day.
Lemmy cites John Entwistle and Paul McCartney as his two main four-string influences. He gets that biting, slightly distorted sound by soloing the neck pickup, maxing the tone and volume controls, using Marshall JMP Superbass II amps with Bass and Treble backed right off and Mid fully boosted, and assaulting his bass with a pick. He often uses powerchords (generally root and fifth) to fill out the trio sound.

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