Metallica's Robert Trujillo used tab books to learn his bass parts

A picture of Robert Trujillo
Robert Trujillo (Image credit: Getty)

Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo says he used self-teaching guides to learn his bass parts when he joined the band.

Guitar tablature books are created for most bands, allowing fans to learn how to play their favourite songs. And Trujillo says the ‘tab guides’ were extremely helpful when he replaced Jason Newsted in 2003.

Describing how he learns early Metallica material that he has never played before, Trujillo says working out the parts on …And Justice For All is especially challenging as Newsted’s bass was so low in the mix.

And he reveals guitarist Kirk Hammett has also been known to check out a tab book to re-learn complex solos.

Trujillo tells Rolling Stone Australia: “Justice is the biggest challenge, because it’s also complex in the arrangements.

“By the way, the tablature books too were very helpful when I first joined the band. Anything I could do. I wasn’t getting the master tapes back then.

“It’s a different time now. Nowadays you can go online and you can get the masters for just about any band out there, but back in the day you didn’t have that option. Kirk Hammett uses the tab books sometimes, ‘Let me get the tab books I’ve gotta learn my solo from Dyer’s Eve again!’”

Mastodon guitarist Bill Kelliher recently admitted he watches fan tutorial videos on YouTube to refresh his memory of how to play some of his band’s older material.

Metallica release their 10th album Hardwired… To Self-Destruct on November 18. The thrash giants are the cover stars of the latest edition of Metal Hammer, on sale now in print and via TeamRock+.

Metallica Hardwired… To Self Destruct tracklist

Disc 1

  1. Hardwired
  2. Atlas, Rise!
  3. Now That We’re Dead
  4. Moth Into Flame
  5. Dream No More
  6. Halo On Fire

Disc 2

  1. Confusion
  2. ManUNkind
  3. Here Comes Revenge
  4. Am I Savage?
  5. Murder One
  6. Spit Out the Bone

Metallica tour dates 2016-17 so far

Nov 18: London House Of Vans, UK
Jan 11: Seoul Gocheok Sky Dome, South Korea
Jan 20: Hong Kong AsiaWorld-Expo, China
Jan 22: Singapore Indoor Stadium, Singapore
Feb 03: Copenhagen Royal Arena, Denmark
Feb 05: Copenhagen Royal Arena, Denmark
Feb 07: Copenhagen Royal Arena, Denmark
Feb 09: Copenhagen Royal Arena, Denmark
Mar 25-26: Sao Paulo Interlagos Racetrack, Brazil
Mar 31-Apr 01: Buenos Aires Hippodrome San Isidro, Argentina
Apr 01-02: Santiago Parque O’Higgins, Chile

The Metallica 1980s Quiz: how well do you know their early years?

Stef wrote close to 5,000 stories during his time as assistant online news editor and later as online news editor between 2014-2016. An accomplished reporter and journalist, Stef has written extensively for a number of UK newspapers and also played bass with UK rock favourites Logan. His favourite bands are Pixies and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Stef left the world of rock'n'roll news behind when he moved to his beloved Canada in 2016, but he started on his next 5000 stories in 2022.