Rock Out with ‘Killing In The Name Of’ Bass Tab!


Are you a fan of iconic bass riffs that stand the test of time? Look no further than the hard-hitting, groove-inducing classic “Killing In The Name Of” by Rage Against The Machine. This track, known for its rebellious attitude and powerful message, features a bassline that is synonymous with energy and intensity. In this blog post, we’ll dive deep into the bass tab for “Killing In The Name Of,” breaking down the techniques, rhythms, and notes that make this riff a favorite among bass players worldwide.

Introduction to ‘Killing In The Name Of’

“Killing In The Name Of” was released in 1992 as part of Rage Against The Machine’s self-titled debut album. The song became a signature track for the band, blending elements of rock, metal, and rap to create a unique sound that resonated with a wide audience. The bassline, played by the talented Tim Commerford, is a driving force behind the song’s relentless energy and aggression.

Understanding the Tuning and Rhythm

Before we delve into the specific notes of the bassline, it’s important to note that “Killing In The Name Of” is tuned to Drop D. This means that the low E string is tuned down one whole step to a D, giving the song a heavier, more powerful sound. Additionally, the song is played in a 4/4 time signature, with a tempo of 84 BPM.

The main riff of the song revolves around a repetitive pattern that is both driving and catchy. The bassline itself is relatively simple, focusing on a groove that propels the song forward. The key to mastering this riff lies in the rhythmic precision and dynamic control of each note.

Breaking Down the Bass Tab

Now, let’s break down the main riff of “Killing In The Name Of” into tab form. Below is a simplified version of the riff that captures the essence of the bassline:


In this tab, you can see that the riff is built around a pattern of 0-3-5 on the low D string. The key to playing this riff effectively is to accentuate the downbeats and maintain a steady pace throughout. Experiment with different fingerings and picking techniques to find what works best for you.

Tips for Mastering the Bassline

To truly capture the essence of “Killing In The Name Of,” keep the following tips in mind:

  1. Focus on Precision: Pay close attention to your timing and note duration to maintain a consistent groove.
  2. Use Slides and Hammer-ons: Incorporate slides and hammer-ons to add expression and dynamics to the riff.
  3. Experiment with Tone: Play around with your tone settings to find a sound that complements the aggressive nature of the song.
  4. Practice Slowly: Start at a slow tempo and gradually increase your speed as you build muscle memory.
  5. Play Along with the Song: Use the original track as a reference to nail the feel and vibe of the bassline.

By incorporating these tips into your practice routine, you’ll be well on your way to mastering the iconic bass riff of “Killing In The Name Of.”

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: What equipment do I need to play “Killing In The Name Of” on bass?

A1: To play “Killing In The Name Of,” you’ll need a bass guitar in Drop D tuning, an amplifier, and possibly some effects such as distortion or overdrive to achieve the signature tone of the song.

Q2: How can I improve my fingerstyle technique for this bassline?

A2: Focus on finger independence, muting unwanted strings, and building strength in your fretting hand to execute the bassline with precision and clarity.

Q3: Are there any specific practice exercises I can use to master this riff?

A3: Isolate challenging sections of the riff, practice with a metronome, and gradually increase tempo to build accuracy and speed.

Q4: Can I play “Killing In The Name Of” on a 4-string bass?

A4: Yes, you can play the song on a 4-string bass by adapting the fingerings to accommodate the lower tuning of the D string.

Q5: How do I approach the slap and pop sections in the song?

A5: For the slap and pop sections, focus on clean articulation, muting, and varying your attack to achieve a funky and percussive sound.


“Killing In The Name Of” is a timeless classic that showcases the power and sophistication of the bass guitar. By mastering the bass tab and incorporating your own style and flair, you can pay homage to this iconic track while honing your skills as a bass player. So, grab your bass, crank up the volume, and rock out to the rebellious spirit of “Killing In The Name Of”!


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