“Slap bass has that metallic sound, like a hammer. If you played bass with a pick it wouldn’t sound the same. Actually, I did that on Epic”: How Billy Gould crafted his driving bass tone on Faith No More’s biggest hits

Billy Gould of Faith No More performs on stage on day 1 of Download Festival at Donington Park on June 12, 2009 in Donington, England.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Back in the 1980s, you had your fingerstyle bassists, your pick players and your slappers. Rarely did the three styles meet, unless your name happened to be Billy Gould, founder member and bassist with the truly uncategorizable Faith No More.

Driving his tone to unheard-of heights and attacking his bass guitar with fingers, thumb and pick, Gould was a lesson to all of us that it didn't matter how you played as long as you played like you meant it.

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Joel McIver

Joel McIver was the Editor of Bass Player magazine from 2018 to 2022, having spent six years before that editing Bass Guitar magazine. A journalist with 25 years' experience in the music field, he's also the author of 35 books, a couple of bestsellers among them. He regularly appears on podcasts, radio and TV.