Robert Trujillo Bass Rig in Metallica – (2/2)


Robert Trujillo Bass Rig in Metallica

Welcome back the Robert Trujillo Metallica bass rig. You’re going to learn all about Robert Trujillo during his time in Metallica 2003-2022.

Robert Trujillo has used several types of basses over the years from Fernandes, Nash, Tobias, Zon, Yamaha and Warwick. Previously, part one explored Robert Trujillo bass rig and history in Suicidal Tendencies, Infectious Grooves and Ozzy Osbourne.

Finally, we’re talking about Metallica.

Did you watch the video?! Would you like to know when the next one is out?

How Robert Trujillo joined Metallica

Robert Trujillo’s first appearance within Metallica was during the 2004 documentary “Some Kind Of Monster” which accurately captures his journey. Robert explained in an interview with the Juice Magazine;

“I knew Kirk, because we had toured together when ST was opening up for Metallica in 1993 – 1994,
Here we are in 2001 and I’m reuniting with Kirk through surfing,
Then eight months went by, and I got a call from them.
Come and jam with us, man! We want to check you out.”

Humorously, Robert admitted to For Bass Players Only “I didn’t bring a bass. They had basses there for me”.
In the documentary he used a tobacco burst Stingray 5 during his audition.

Robert Trujillo’s amplifiers during the audition

During the Metallica audition, Lars would say to Robert; “That’s a pretty fuckin’ mighty bass sound you got going there”.
To which Robert replies “It’s the Mesa and the Hiwatt”.

The subtitles provide a clue

The subtitles however display this as “Mesa In the Hiwatt”. Meaning a Mesa Boogie Head into a Hiwatt cabinet. It’s unclear whether a Hiwatt cabinet is present in the studio but that doesn’t mean there isn’t one.

Missing Hiwatt cabinet

By comparision, he could be alluding to a Hiwatt head sitting on top of a Mesa cabinet. Looking at the state of the room, there are amplifiers and cabinets all over the place. As James Hetfield would rightfully say in an interview with MTV.

“HQ for us is a sanctuary, it’s a club house where we can come and feel safe Having all our gear here it is like a playground for musicians. “

In that respect Robert could be using absolutely anything in this room at any time. He’s surrounded by Mesa 400s, Rectifiers, Hiwatts, Marshalls, Ampegs and all sorts of DIs.

When did Robert Trujillo join Metallica?

Robert auditioned over two days in December 2002 and by February 24th 2003 he was officially in Metallica.

Now came the hard part of learning a vast catalogue of 22 years worth of music and the new album St Anger.

On learning the back catalogue Robert mused;

“Everyone else had the music figured out because they wrote or recorded it, but the new guy needs to do his homework, sometimes I’d bust out the tablature books and really investigate.

Basses Robert used on the St Anger live DVD

Following the success of joining Metallica. Robert and the band would film a live in the studio bonus DVD playing the entirety of St Anger.

Here, we start to get a taste of the gear he will be using and at this time in 2003. Robert was still endorsed by Fernandes basses.

Throughout video footage, more and more of Robert’s own basses come into play.

  • Silver Gravity 5 custom Lowrider by Fernandes
  • Purple Hinano Gravity 5 by Fernandes
  • MusicMan Stingray 5 in deep blue

Yet this bass does belong to him and is seen on the 1994 cover of Bass Player Magazine. Additionally, hanging around in the back of the scenes you’ll find his original red and blue tobias basses.

Robert Trujillo’s Amplifiers on the St Anger live DVD

The filming of St Anger live DVD took place over a number of days. Therefore Metallica’s clothing and equipment changes throughout the set.

Wide shots of the studio show an Ampeg SVT2 sitting to the left of the rig on top of an Ampeg 8×10”.

A Hiwatt 405 is in the middle atop Marshall cabs and and SVT 3 and 3 Pro sit to the far right again on top of ampeg 8x10s.

On top of those is a 420 Peterson Strobe Tuner which are superior tools for tuning.

Later on in the set you’ll see a Mesa Dual Rectifier on top of the guitar cabs with an Avalon DI on top of that.

Flanked on the left is an Ampeg SVT 2 and possibly a GK2001 head. The far right still has the SVT 3’s.

Robert’s first performance with Metallica – 2003

Robert was quickly thrust into the deep end with Metallica. From playing San Quentin prison, to shows at the Filmore and the MTV Icon in the space of hours. Robert plays the MTVIcon show.

Footage and photos from the MTVIcon show Robert using Fernandes basses all of which are Gravity models which included;

  • White standard Fernandes
  • Black standard model Fernandes
  • Silver Lowrider custom Fernandes
  • Black sparkle MEX sticker Fernandes

Robert Trujillo’s basses in the St Anger videos

Four music videos were published to promote “St Anger.”

  • The Low Rider was seen in “St Anger”and “Frantic”.
  • “The Unnamed Feeling” showed a brand new Fernandes in silver with blue flames.
  • Finally “Some Kind Of Monster” shows the purple Hinano Fernandes. Ampeg AV amplifiers and 8×10 cabinets can also be spotted.

Robert Trujillo’s basses on The Madly In Anger With The World tour

The Madly In Anger With The World tour lasted 12 months between 2003 and 2004. Robert would chime in in a 2003 Bass Guitar Magazine interview;

“I’ll be using Fernandes basses and as for the Tobiases They’ve given me so many good years on the road and in the studio, so I’m retiring them”

Robert would cycle between 7 Fernandes basses, now including two new models.

  • Olive green with white army star by Fernandes
  • Blue sparkle with a tiki decal in the bridge by Fernandes

Roberts Trujillos amplifiers on the 2003 tour

Regarding the amplifier rig, bass tech Zach Harmon added;

“Robert is now using three SVT-2 heads with three Ampeg 8×10 Pro series cabinets and a Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier head with two Mesa Boogie 4×12 cabs.

Separate from the interview, the Dean Markley artist page lists Robert as using SR2000 medium string set. Additionally, the .130 B string was supplemented by Ernie Ball. He would use Dean Markley strings up until 2009 before using his own Trujillo signature set with Dunlop.

Robert Trujillo’s effects pedals during St Anger

As for effects pedals, Bass Player Magazine also reported;

“The use of Tech 21 products for distortion and additional bass tone, As well as Boss Chorus and Flanger and Morley Power Wah.”

Metallica hide their amplifiers

Since the year 2000 typical Metallica stadium shows would use an elevated walkway set design and their amplifiers and cabinets are stowed away.

When this would not be possible like during summer festivals, they would use a stripped down backline instead.
During these types of shows, Robert can be seen using 6 Ampeg CL heads with 2 Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifiers. All going through Ampeg 8x10s and two Mesa 4x12s.

But lest we not forget the Rex Brown Bass Rig. He too used Ampeg CLs in great quantities but most were dummy cabs due to practically.

Haulage is expensive.

Metallica’s gear in 2005

Towards the end of the tour, in 2005. would vaguely add to Roberts bio page that he used Hiwatt and Ampeg SVT 3’s.

Occasionally on this tour you’ll find the odd sighting of a Stingray 5 in either deep blue or white.

Zon basses Robert Trujillo uses

Additionally, 4 ZON basses would join the ranks during this tour.

  • Firstly, the Killer Klown, with a custom paint job.
  • The second is a gun metal gray Sonus Elite 5.
  • Followed by a tiger red looking finish
  • Lastly, Natural quilt finish.

The Killer Klown bass has been used to play “Sad But True” at almost every show up until present day. It would be easier to point to the shows he didn’t use the Killer Klown on that track.

Robert collaborates with Zon guitars

Joe Zone, owner of Zon guitars shared the creative process in an interview with Cliff Engel.

“When Robert left Ozzy he started looking for a new bass,
Robert liked the Sonus body style so we started with that first.
Robert was very particular, and he knew exactly what he was after.
The maple body is a little harder and denser than our standard ash body which we use on most of our basses.
The bass definitely has a serious amount of edge and definition due to the maple.
It has to. because Robert needs to cut through Metallica’s guitars.”

Zon would soon release a consumer version of the bass to the public in 2004 named the Zon Sonus RT5 signature model.

Metallica play at the Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame 2006

After finishing the tour, Metallica would not be seen again until 2006. Where they inducted Black Sabbath into the Rock ‘N’ Roll hall of fame and performed a medley tribute.

In this show Robert used a black custom Fender Precision with an Andre the Giant sticker on the bridge.

This bass was first seen on shows with Black Label Society in 2002.

Escape From The Studio and Sick Of The Studio 2006-2007

During both summers of 2006 and 2007 Metallica would start the Escape FromThe Studio and Sick of the studio tour respectively. The only new additions seen on this tour was a custom Fender Jazz bass. Which by the looks of it is the black Precision bass just mentioned, now transformed into a Jazz bass. You can see Andre on the bridge and the scuff marks are in the same place.

Supplementing the new Fender Jazz was a Fernandes bass dubbed by some as the Maltese Cross. Although evidence supports the pattern resembles Cross Pattee. The rest of the basses we’ve already seen.

  • Fender Jazz Custom
  • Blue flame Fernandes
  • Tiki decal Fernandes
  • Olive green with white star Fernandes
  • Maltese Cross Fernandes

Robert Trujllos amplifiers on the summer tours

The minimal stage plan can also be seen at certain events with even less amps on stage than usual. Robert has three Ampeg AV 50th Anniversary heads onstage with three 8×10 cabs. In the middle of that is a Rectifier with a pair of 4x12s.

Again, half is probably for show.

A closer look at Robs Ampeg amplifiers shows one with a red LED and according to the manual, “In Standby mode, the LED glows red. In the On mode (when the high voltage comes on) it glows green”.

Robert Trujillo recording Death Magnetic

2008 would prove to be a massive year for Metallica with the release of the long awaited Death Magnetic that September.

Basses used on Death Magnetic

Bass Player Magazine revealed in October 2008 that the Fernandes silver bass with blue flames took the helm for recording Death Magnetic.

Robert also used a bass rig that largely mirrored the live setup.

Bass amplifiers used on Death Magnetic

Metallica provided another glimpse recording Death Magnetic in the studio, wherein, you’ll see a handful of Fernandes already mentioned.
Within this 2 hour video there are numerous shots of Robert playing in the rehearsal space.

Possibly using a mixture of Ampeg AV’s and a Mesa MPulse with a Mesa 6×10 underneath.

It would appear the performance space is regularly used to experiment and play with new equipment.
Whilst later in the video, Robert’s bass rig racks can be seen with the usual assortment of SVT 2’s and Mesa Rectifiers.

This was clarified further in the article and reported Robert using; Two Ampeg SVT-2PROs with matching 8x10s, and a MESA Dual Rectifier hooked up to a pair of MESA 4x12s. The remaining SVT-2 and 8×10 are backups and the remaining two amps are spares.

His bass rack contains;

Robert Trujillo Metallica Bass Rig

These were all routed to a Voodoo Lab Ground Control Pro and a Ridge Farm Gas Cooker mic preamp serves as the house DI. In addition to this, Robert’s Ampeg Artist page lists him using SVT-3PROand 810E during this period.

How Robert Trujillo uses EMG pickups

Robert also added;

“The fact that I hit pretty hard creates part of my sound I use hot EMG pickups,
which work well for the attack and presence.
I always have both on, with the tone knob usually up mid-way.
like a semi-scooped sound with a little bit of mid to cut through, but I don’t want the mids to overpower the bottom,
I like the bottom to feel like the heavy bag in boxing.
I don’t want the bass to slap you in the face, I want it to punch you in the gut.”

Robert Trujillo’s custom ESP basses

The article goes on to report a Japanese-built custom ESP 5-string with a “scorched” relic finish.

Secondly an ESP Trujillo model Army Green model, which rarely makes appearances if any. However it has been seen in a 2017 rehearsal video. Not to be confused with the almost identical Olive Fernandes with white star.

With that said a third ESP 205 with blue sparkles emerged in 2008 and was painted by famous artist Donny Gillies, AKA Dirty Donny.Who has created a bunch of artwork for Metallica in the past.

The Hoodrat Zon

Additionally a blue Sonus RT was listed, which very well could refer to the HoodRat paint work that emanated on tour not long after

Yamaha announce custom basses for Robert Trujillo

Around the same time news was released by Yamaha that Robert would be yielding three new custom basses modelled on the Yamaha TRB 5 PII .

“John Gaudesi, master luthier at Yamaha Hollywood, created three basses for Trujillo primer red, primer green, and natural with an effect that was meant to resemble a “rat rod” car, with primer paint and aged hardware.”

Although the natural yamaha was mentioned, it has not been seen in live performance. It is believed to have been modified by Chloe Trujillo.

Basses on the Death Magnetic videos

Two music videos would follow to promote the album; “The day that never comes” possibly using the Blue flame Fernandes.

Followed by “Broken beat and scarred” which shows numerous basses seen on tour at the time. Including a green Rickenbacker, Fernandes,Tobias and new arrival; Nash Precision .

Robert Trujillo’s gear on the World Magnetic Tour

The World Magnetic Tour started in September 2008 and finished in November 2010. During the two whole years of touring across the globe Metallica played 187 dates. 12 Fernandes basses were used in total, of which three were new.

  • Aqua Gravity 5 Fernandes with a square looking sticker
  • Mirror finish Gradual 5 string Fernandes
  • Eyeball Gravity 5 Fernandes painted by Chloe Trujillo

Chloe Trujillo creates artwork for Robert

Chloe Trujillo is a brilliant artist and fashion designer in her own right and has regularly painted eye-catching designs on Roberts basses over the years. Additionally she used pyrography to burn an Aztec calendar onto a new custom Tobias.

She also burned a similar design into a natural Yamaha TRP. This probably was the natural finish Yamaha mentioned previously.

The Aztec “De La Chloe” Tobias can almost certainly be seen during live performances of “The Day That Never Comes” during this period.

Chloe would burn three more Aztec inspired designs onto Warwick bodies over the next few years and paint on several others.

Robert uses Nash basses in 2008

Introduced in this period were 5 Nash basses. Nash guitars and basses are created to replicate the look and feel of vintage pieces with updates that appeal to the modern player.

Nash basses appeared in late 2008 and Robert’s first model was a creamy white Precision with a tortoise pickguard.

Secondly a ‘62 model black Precision with copper pickguard.

Followed by a yellow Precision with white pickguard which was seen in rehearsals. This bass was nick-named “Shit blaster” on the Metallica gear page.

Next to follow was another black Precision with a chrome pickguard and maple neck. The name on the headstock reads “Jailbreak”.

All of the Precisions just mentioned are fitted Dimarzio P pickups.

Nash Flamethrower bass

A very special Nash bass joined Roberts rig, which has rightfully earned the name Flamethrower. Robert mused;

“It was in a fire in the state of Washington Bill Nash [the owner] asked if we were interested in this instrument.
We were like, yes. And we wired that puppy up, put all the right electronics in there and it feels great, sounds great. And it looks amazing. So – Flamethrower rules.”

A mystery Precision in 2009

Speaking of Precisions, a black and white striped bass appeared very briefly in 2009. The footage was not clear enough to determine whether it was Fender or Nash.

Robert Trujillo’s basses used on the WorldWired tour

Basses that made appearances regularly included;

  • Killer Klown custom Zon
  • Hoodrat custom Zon
  • Blue Tobias custom 5 string – With 4 pot controls and diamond knob outlay.
  • Green modified Rickenbacker 4003 nicknamed Mean Green with 2 EMG jazz pickups
  • Blue modified Rickenbacker 4003 used as a backup
  • Yamaha Ratrod Primer Red
  • Yamaha Ratrod Primer Green

The two Yamaha basses can be seen at the start of the Death Magnetic tour and were phased out by 2010 in place of Warwick basses.

Robert starts using Warwick basses in 2008

Warwick basses slowly trickled into his bass rig from 2008. Robert primarily used custom Warwick Streamer basses from here on out.

According to the Ace Of Bass interview with Metallica’s So What. He was in talks with Warwick as early as 2003 and has accumalated at least 35 Warwick Streamers in both 4 and 5 string models from 2008 up until present day in 2021.

Robert Trujillo’s first Warwick bass

According to thie sites initial research, a 5 string Streamer with a Nirvana Black Oil Finish was one of the first to appear during the summer in 2008. Early models have 4 control knobs and later models have just one.

This was soon followed by a several more Warwicks comprising of reflective chrome finishes which included;

  • Chrome
  • Heavy chrome
  • Terminator black chrome
  • Blue chrome with white pickups
  • Matrix Turquoise
  • Ocean Blue Coloured Oil Finish.

Why Robert Trujillo uses Warwicks

On why Robert choose Warwicks, he would disclose after the Tobias split;

“I started checking out different brands and…Warwick! Comfort, sound, power, commitment.
I found that Warwick was very accommodating, and they were really, truly passionate to the craft.
Warwick could also accommodate the need for the amount of basses that we had to take on the road at the time. Then after a couple years they really got the type of bass I wanted down.
It took a little while, but there’s comfort and there’s sound.
I use different electronics than what other people might use, very specific that I like”

Taking a look at the Warwick gallery, they have pictures for most of the custom Warwicks made for Robert over the years. The specifications typically list EMG pickups and Bartolini electronics, some of which use a modified FL voicing.

Which is used for a more focused mid control and used in similar preamps from the 1980s, He would also add in an interview with Musicradar.

“The guitar just sings, It’s not like my necks are huge or anything, I keep my necks pretty tight, even for five-string, and have them modelled after the P-Bass.”

Robert Trujillo Custom Strings from Dunlop

Two years after the release of Death Magnetic in 2010, Jim Dunlop released a signature string set alongside Robert.

The 4 string set was made of stainless steel from 45-105 and the bottom 3 strings were tapered.

A 5 string Trujillo Icon signature series set also introduced a nickel B string from 45 to 130.

Tapered strings are said to have a bit more flexibility and allow the string to vibrate more effectively than untapered strings.

Robert uses Jim Dunlop effects pedals

In addition to the signature string release, Jim Dunlop would add Robert to their artist page endorsing the following effects pedals;

These days it’s not so clear whether or not Robert himself uses their equipment.

Posted around 2011 TC Electronics would chime in that Robert uses their D-Two delay. Casually stating “The D-Two delay is part of the Robert Trujillo Metallica sound.”

Bass gear used on Metallica summer festival tour 2011-2015

The World Magnetic tour would end in winter 2010 and Metallica reappeared the following summer festival season in 2011.

Robert Trujillo’s custom basses in 2011

Robert used much of the gear from the World Magnetic tour apart from three additions; A ‘55 or’ 57 gold sparkle Nash Precision, again paintwork created by Dirty Donny. The bass can also be seen on Dirty Donny’s gallery, photographed alongside Dirty Donny edition Way Huge pedals.

Secondly a new Warwick with artwork titled “Jungle Bass” created by Chloe Trujillo.

Robert uses the Jaco Pastorius Bass Of Doom in 2011

One very special, iconic bass would be seen during some of the shows.

The original Jaco Pastorius Bass Of Doom. A 1962 fretless Fender Jazz Bass which Pastorious had defretted himself. According to

“Robert had bought the bass three years after it surfaced in a New York City music store after being stolen almost 20 years earlier.
Although Robert legally owns the instrument,
He had agreed in writing to relinquish the instrument to the Pastorius Family at any time for the same purchase price.”

Following the performances, the bass would return to Robert’s own Fort Knox and be kept under lock and key.

It also appears Robert commissioned Warwick to try and recreate the magic of the Bass of Doom. This Fretless CV model debuted on Warwicks YouTube channel in 2015.

Black Album 20th anniversary tour

Rolling into 2012 came the European Black Album Tour. Where the band celebrated the 20th anniversary of the album by playing it in reverse order.

Custom basses for Robert in 2012

New gear follows Robert on this tour leg, with another three brand new Nash basses;

  • Red road worn Precision with copper pickguard
  • Mexican flag Precision
  • Nash Flamethrower number 2

Flamethrower number 2, another bass that has spent time on fire.

This one can be differentiated from the original by the melted pickguard, lack of a thumb rest and the grey charcoal colour and of course we add a handful of new Warwicks to the bass rig.

Robert Trujillo’s second Warwick delivery

The iconic Rusty Warwick made its debut during this time. Secondly a Burgundy Red Oil Finish Colour with Black middle part, as well as Nirvana Black Coloured Oil Finish And A new Special Aztec Bronze Finish,

Bass amplifiers used in 2012

In terms of amplification, you can see his backline at some of the shows but as mentioned earlier, it looks like most of this setup is just for decoration rather than practicality.

The same can be said for when Metallica played in the round. By 2012 their amplifiers would be removed from the stage altogether.

New basses arrive in 2013

Metallica continued with summer tours during 2013 to 2015. With a further 4 more custom Warwicks being added to Robert’s rig.

  • Deep reds and greens Aztec bass
  • Chrome Acid Green model (#10-2093)
  • Nirvana Black Oil Finish with Red middle part (12-2115)
  • Satin matte black finish
  • Charcoal forest coloured Nash Jazz bass with chrome pickguard
  • Grey Nash Jazz bass 5 string

Basses seen in Metallica “Through The Never” movie

Metallica also released a concert film titled “Through The Never” in 2013.

Much of the set comprises of Warwicks and Nash basses, however, during a rendition of “Hit The Lights” A 70’s looking red Fender Jazz appears.

What is more, three unusual basses are used during this period.

Robert uses unusual basses in 2013

During the 30th Anniversary of Kill’Em All at Metallica’s own Orion Festival.

Robert used an Aria Black N Gold I Cliff Burton tribute bass.

Followed by a Warwick Streamer CV, seen on tour in 2015, with colours that reminiscent of a Steve Harris Precision.

Lastly a grey Tobias bass which was played during the Metallica show in Antarctica.

Metallica play Antarctica 2013

With hints appearing as early as 2011, we know for certain James and Kirk were toying with moving away from their cumbersome analog amplifiers and cabinets to a more reliable and lightweight digital setup.

By the end of 2013, Metallica guitar tech Chad Zaemisch was spotted on FaceBook, admitting that Metallica had bought out the remaining stock of Fractal Axe FX 2’s for their upcoming Antarctica show.

Chad would also comment that there would be no amplifier speakers at this performance. Guinness World Records would also add;

“Unlike regular Metallica gigs the Antarctica concert was held without traditional amplification due to the icy continent’s fragile environment.
Amplifiers were instead enclosed in isolation cabinets, with the sound transmitted to the audience via headphones,”

The digital trend would continue into 2014 with an unidentified moderator on the Fractal Audio forum confirming that; “Everything on Metallica’s current South America tour is Axe-FX” II.

From this point on, it’s rare if at all we ever see Metallica playing all out with cabinets on stage again. Opting for a much more minimal simplistic stage setup.

Metallica play the MAP Fund Benefit in Los Angeles 2014

Alas, one very small amplifier does appear at the MAP fund benefit. Metallica paid tribute to Ozzy Osbourne at the MusiCares Fund Tribute Benefit in 2014. With Robert using an Ampeg B15 alongside A Dusty Hill Precision made by Fender and Warwick Alien during a short acoustic set.

Recording Hardwired To Self Destruct – 2016

Whilst still fulfilling summer tour duties in 2015. Metallica would find time to slip away and work on their upcoming album.

Hardwired to Self Destruct” was the 10th studio album from the band and released in November 2016.

Robert described working with producer Greg Fidelman in an interview with MusicRadar in 2017.

“It’s great how he was able to balance everything to where you have that beautiful, traditional rhythm guitar sound, and the drums are still there, but guess what, so is the bass! It’s very present on this album sonically, which is cool.

Robert blind tests his basses

Robert and Fidelman were reported to have spent;

“ countless hours in the studio together, blind-testing different gear to make sure the melodic heart of each song hit hard and heavy. “

Robert added in a bass player article from 2020.

“We did a listening test where we had six different basses, and recorded the same part of a song, like a blindfold taste test.
You play through it several times, and try to figure out which instrument stands out,
There’s a specific Warwick 5-string that just took control of this body of music and owned it.
The Warwick crushed it. Traditionally I’ve used a lot of other basses; I love Nash P’s and I love some of my old Fernandes But my Warwick 5-string dominated this album.
You can hear the subtleties of the low B.

Robert also added that an ESP bass was used for a few songs, praising its “Sub grit”. This bass has been confirmed to be the ESP 205 painted by Dirty Donny. Fidelmen would share with

“I recorded the bass with two DIs: a Little Labs PCP and a Ridge Farm Gas Cooker.
The bass also went through two SVT amps, one relatively clean and one really overdriven, and I took a DI from the clean amp and had Sennheiser 421s on each amp.”

An archived page of now confirms SVT-2 heads instead of SVT3 with 8×10 cabs and a Boogie Dual Rectifier at this time.

Basses used on HardWired To Self Destruct Videos

Like the recording of Death Magnetic, a making of the album followed on YouTube.

Within the 2 hour 20 minute running time you will see a ton of gear all over the place. Appearing for the first time;

  • Purple Chrome warwick
  • SugarSkull Warwick 13-2332 designed by Chloe.
  • Day Of The Dead theme on a replica 52 Fender also by Chloe
  • PJ bass in white with blue pickguard
  • 10 string bass – unknown company

Bass amplifiers used to record Hardwired To Self Destruct

Hiding away just behind Robert and the band are the amplifiers and we were treated to the typical Metallica rehearsal space. Primarily Robert used Ampeg CL’s during performances, this was supplemented with the Ampeg AV, Fender Bassman, Mesa Bass Prodigy and Rectifier heads alongside their adjoining cabinets. Additionally, an Orange 4×10 appears.

Robert Trujillo’s bass rack during Hardwired

Robert’s Rack can partially be seen in the background with a rectifier and SVT2 head as usual.

Additionally at the top of the rack, is a Line 6 Mod Pro. confirms Line6 effects on Robert’s gear page.

Also sat on top of Robert’s amplifier heads are two Boss pedals, the yellow one, possibly an overdrive.Whilst the white pedal could possibly be a line selector, noise suppressor or maybe a delay.

Bass solo on Spit Out The Bone

During the bass solo on “Spit Out The Bone”, Greg Fidelman rolled out a Reddi 1 channel tube direct box. Primarily to add a tube authenticity into the signal. Behind the Reddi you can see Fidelman tinkering away on an unseen effects pedal.

Basses used on the Hardwired To Self Destruct Videos

See in the videos the Metallica are in;

  • “Hardwired”, blink and you’ll miss it, one of the oil stained warwicks
  • “Atlas Rise” and “Now That We’re Dead”, Black oil with red stripe
  • “Moth Into The Flame”, Bronze Aztec
  • “Dream No More” Rusty bass
  • “Halo On Fire” Solid Satin Black Finish
  • “Am I savage”,Blue Ocean waves

2016 WorldWired Tour Tour

Starting in the autumn of 2016, Metallica would embark on a massive WorldWired tour of 168 shows over 16 tourlegs.

Robert Trujillo bass rig in 2016

Robert’s typical bass rig at the start of the tour starts with the Nash Flamethrowers 1 and 2. Followed by Warwick Streamers;

  • Solid Satin Black Finish
  • Bronze Aztec now with a Helmets sticker – His son Tye’sband
  • Warwick CV streamer in Blue/White
  • Green and red Aztec
  • Black Oil with red stripe
  • Nirvana Black Oil
  • Burgundy Red Oil with Black middle part
  • Rusty Finish Warwick
  • Sugarskull Warwick
  • Aztec Tobias
  • Killer Klown Zon
  • HoodRat Zon.

Roberts new basses in 2017

Nash basses return by 2017 with the white Precision and red tortoise pickguard and some more Warwicks for good measure.

  • A brand new white High Polish
  • With a polished steel in white counterpart soon to follow
  • Purple/Nirvana Black Transparent Satin

Most if not all of the gear just mentioned has been and continues to be used from 2016 right into the present day in some form of another.

Amplifiers used on the World Magnetic Tour

During the start of the World Magnetic Tour, Metallica’s YouTube channel released “A look at James and Kirk’s rig”. In this video it is confirmed again that both James and Kirk are using Fractal Axe FX 2.

Justin Crew, Kirk’s tech mentioned; this is a “Very similar looking rack to what the other two guys have” While not shown, I find it very likely Robert would be using the same.

Whilst on the subject, it does appear Robert started to use the Fractal Expression Pedal for his wah effects instead of the usual Morleys.

Metallica start using Fractal AxFx3

Justin Crew Tweeted in October 2018 the new arrival of AxFX3 stating “a new journey begins”.

From here on out Metallica continue with the minimal stage design. commented on the new stage aesthetic in conversation with James Hefield.

“Your rigs are slimming down, your stage is more streamlined, it seems as if you’re also streamlining musically a bit— back to raw thrash metal, but with a modern sound.”

James replied;

“I think we get a little older in life and want to simplify things and stick to the stuff that works.”

Roberts new basses in 2017

2019 saw the introduction of the Green Transparent High Polish, fitted with white MEC pickups and a return of the Mean Green Rickenbacker.

Basses used on Symphony and Metallica 2 – 2019

Recorded over the early part of September 2019. Symphony and Metallica 2 would celebrate the 20th anniversary of the original concert.
The public release of this event would be seen one year later in August 2020. During this very special concert Robert played;

  • Black N Gold 1 Cliff Burton tribute bass.
  • Warwick Ocean Blue (17-3440)
  • Chrome Polish with white pickguard
  • Green Transparent High Polish (19-4026)
  • Purple nirvana
  • Nash flamethrower #1
  • Godin Purple 5 string acoustic

A lime green Godin bass can also be seen at later acoustic events in 2020 and 21.

Metallica slow down in 2020

2020 saw Metallica and the rest of the world grind to an abrupt halt following the start of the invisible menace. While out of the public gaze, the wheels did indeed keep turning.

In January 2020, Robert confirmed with the use of the Warwick RT Artist series in 4 and 5 string models. All of which are fitted with EMG pickups and Bartolini preamps.

His amplifiers also consisted of Ampeg CL’s, SVT II PROs and 8×10 cabs and mirrors that are present at Metallica HQ.

Acoustic version of Blackened

When we next see Metallica, that May. They’re doing exactly the same as everyone else was. Working from home. The band released an acoustic version of Blackened and with the band contributing from their bedrooms.

Robert plays what is presumed to be a Nash sunburst Precision and sat carefully in the background is the black and copper 62 Nash, Aria Black N Gold 1 and some other normal looking black and white Precisions.

Metallica secret show in Sonoma California

That August, Metallica filmed a secret show in Sonoma California. It was the first time the band had performed together since S&M2 in September the previous year.

While the basses used were nothing to write home about. The backline was stacked with a pick ‘n’ mix of different amplifier cabs.

Metallica play silently?

Whilst interesting to look at, the local newspaper Sonoma News would describe the band as “almost silent”.

“The band threw themselves into their set despite playing almost silently.
The drums weren’t mic’ed and the band wore in-ear fractal monitors that allowed the musicians and recording engineers audio access to the full sound, without any outward projection.”

It must be said there were mics on the drums however the amplifier cabinets were not mic’d. Which likely means these amps and cabs were out for a bit of fun.

Robert Trujillo’s bass rack in 2020

Taking a look at a photo of Robert’s bass rack during the same month August 2020. In this picture we can see;

  • Peterson Strobe tuner
  • Shure wireless receivers
  • A confirmation of a pair of AxeFX3 preamp, effects processors
  • Two Matrix power amplifiers

Metallica warm up shows in 2021

Metallica would perform once again over livestream for Blizzcon that February and Robert used his Chrome on white streamer. In addition to this the 16th leg of the Worldwired tour began, coincidentally on the 16th of September 2021.

Metallica TV spots in 2021

Warming up with smaller shows in the US and a handful of TV spots such as Jimmy Kimmel live and Howard Stern.

Robert used a combination of Ampeg AVs and 8×10 cabinets. While his basses are all very familiar and he continues using;

  • Chrome on white
  • Purple nirvana
  • Satin finish matt black
  • Ocean finish bass

The new Metallica tour leg

With restrictions easing up, Metallica have been ramping their current tour schedule. playing venues large and small alike. The backline nowadays is incredibly sparse, with just a pair of cabinets for James and Kirk. Mostly so they can feedback their guitars.

Robert on the other hand has no backline on stage and likely continues to use the AxeFx3 unit for much of his rig.

New Warwick basses spotted in 2021

Framus and Warwick’s FaceBook page posted two new custom basses in October 2021. Both basses appear in live videos released by Metallica that November.

Additionally, it appears that a consumer version of Roberts bass may also be on the horizon.

Lastly, as mentioned at the beginning of this video, the Zon Killer Klown is still played on Sad But True and is currently Robert’s longest serving bass.

Miscellaneous basses

There were a few miscellaneous basses that have shown up and never found a place in Metallica.

  • 5 string Gibson Thunderbird, used during a rehearsal spot
  • Root Beer coloured 4 string Stingray on tour

The pictures seen are from around 2003-2008 and more recently, seen on Roberterts Instagram in May 2021. Robert rocks out with a BC Rich Warlock wearing his Sunday best.

Unseen Warwick basses

Lastly, there are a couple of basses seen in the Warwick gallery made for Robert. Robert has not used these models during live performances.

  • RT Signature Nirvana Black with Red Spyder
  • PJ Sandblasted Chrome Red to Black
  • Red transparent custom

Robert Trujillo and EMG pickups

Like most bassists I cover on this channel, almost everyone uses EMG pickups.

Robert has used EMG pickups as early as 1989 on his Tobias basses and even gone as far as rewiring his Stingray pickups in 1994. Depending on which Tobias he used he would either keep the stock pickups or swap them for a pair of EMG jazz.

EMG’s would come standard on his Fernandes, Yamaha’s, Rickenbackers, some Nashes and even his first Warwick basses right up until present day.

Robert Trujillo uses Seymour Duncan pickups

Seymour Duncan pickups have also been spotted over the years, with a Quarter Pound fitted on the Nash 58 and 52 Fender Precision

Robert Trujillo uses Seymour Dimarzio pickups

Additionally, Dimarzio P pickups can be seen on the Nash Jailbreak, Cream tortoise and black copper 62.

Robert prefers passive basses

Depending on the bass and it’s intended application. Roberts choice of pickup would be passive or active. When asked by do you generally prefer active pickups? Robert responded;

“It just depends on the song or the era. I have a really strong right-hand attack, and that plays into it.
What happens sometimes with the P-Bass, with my attack, is the string will hit the pickup.
If I hit too hard, I get this weird click or clank, and with the EMGs I don’t have that problem
Now, with the older, more vintage thrash songs,
There are times when I prefer to play a passive P-Bass.
If there’s more of a retro vibe, I’m going to pull out the P-Bass 4-string.

Robert Trujillo Rip Tide custom pickups

One day after this very interview, EMG would unveil Roberts very own signature pickup set alongside fan favourite Les Claypool.

It is possible these signature pickups are present on the chrome on white Warwick as they match the similar silver looking aesthetic.

Watch more from Know Your Bass Player

If you’re new to the channel, can I recommend that you go and watch my Les Claypool or Justin Chancellor bass rig videos? They’re very popular. As always, if there’s a bass rig you want to see on this channel, let me know by Twitter and I might just do it!

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