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What Bass Does Nikki Sixx Play What Bass Does Nikki Sixx Play


What Bass Does Nikki Sixx Play

Written by: Adriena Blair

Learn what bass Nikki Sixx plays and discover his preferred choice of instrument for rocking out on stage.

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Nikki Sixx, the legendary rock musician and songwriter, has left an indelible mark on the world of music. As the founding member and bassist of the iconic rock band Mötley Crüe, Sixx has become synonymous with hard-hitting bass lines that drive the band’s energetic sound. His talent, stage presence, and innovative bass techniques have made him a prominent figure in the rock and metal scene.

Born Frank Carlton Serafino Feranna Jr. on December 11, 1958, Nikki Sixx began his musical journey at a young age. Inspired by artists like Aerosmith and The Beatles, Sixx discovered his passion for music and instrumental experimentation. It wasn’t long before he picked up the bass guitar, a decision that would shape the course of his musical career.

Nikki Sixx’s bass playing style can be described as powerful, groovy, and full of energy. With a combination of aggressive picking, fingerstyle techniques, and a distinctive tone, Sixx brings a unique presence to the stage. His ability to lock in with the rhythm section and provide a solid foundation for the band’s music has earned him the admiration of fans and fellow musicians alike.

Throughout his career, Nikki Sixx has not only showcased his skills as a bassist but has also contributed extensively to songwriting. With Mötley Crüe, he played a pivotal role in creating some of the band’s biggest hits, such as “Girls, Girls, Girls” and “Shout at the Devil.” His ability to write catchy bass lines that complement the melodies and drive the songs forward has significantly contributed to Mötley Crüe’s success and enduring legacy.

Beyond his work with Mötley Crüe, Nikki Sixx has also ventured into various side projects, including the formation of the band Sixx:A.M. and his solo career. These endeavors have allowed him to explore different genres and expand his creative boundaries as a bassist and musician.

In this article, we will delve into the fascinating evolution of Nikki Sixx’s bass playing, the signature basses he has used over the years, and the preferred bass gear that has helped shape his unique sound. Join us as we explore the world of this legendary bassist and get insights into the techniques and equipment behind the music that has captivated audiences for decades.


Nikki Sixx: A Rock Icon

Nikki Sixx is more than just a bass player – he is a true rock icon. His contributions to the world of rock music go far beyond his bass playing abilities, as he has become known for his captivating stage presence, songwriting skills, and larger-than-life personality. Born and raised in California, Sixx’s journey to rock stardom is as fascinating as his music.

As the founding member and primary songwriter of Mötley Crüe, Nikki Sixx played a crucial role in shaping the band’s image and sound. In addition to his bass playing skills, he brought a rebellious attitude, edgy style, and provocative lyrics to the forefront of the band’s music. With his bandmates, Sixx pushed the boundaries of glam metal, creating a unique blend of hard rock and heavy metal that resonated with fans worldwide.

Beyond his contributions to Mötley Crüe, Nikki Sixx found success with other musical projects. In 2007, he formed the band Sixx:A.M. alongside DJ Ashba and James Michael. Together, they released several albums that showcased Sixx’s versatility as a musician and songwriter. With Sixx:A.M., he explored different genres such as alternative rock and alternative metal, allowing him to expand his creative horizons while still maintaining his rock roots.

In addition to his musical ventures, Nikki Sixx has made a significant impact on popular culture as an author and photographer. He has written several autobiographical books, including “The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star” and “This Is Gonna Hurt: Music, Photography, and Life Through the Distorted Lens of Nikki Sixx.” These books offer a candid glimpse into his personal life, struggles, and triumphs, providing a deeper understanding of the man behind the music.

Nikki Sixx’s influence extends beyond the music industry. His philanthropic work and advocacy for addiction recovery have made a positive impact on countless lives. As a recovering addict himself, Sixx has been open about his struggles and has used his platform to raise awareness and support for those battling addiction. Through his organization, Sixx Sense Foundation, he has supported various charities, focusing on issues such as youth empowerment, animal welfare, and recovery.

Today, Nikki Sixx continues to inspire and entertain audiences around the world. His contributions as a bass player, songwriter, author, and philanthropist have solidified his place in rock music history. Whether he’s performing on stage, sharing his personal journey through his books, or using his platform to make a difference, Nikki Sixx remains an enduring rock icon whose impact will be felt for generations to come.


The Evolution of Nikki Sixx’s Bass Playing

Nikki Sixx’s bass playing has evolved significantly throughout his career, reflecting his growth as a musician and the changing landscape of rock music. From his early days with Mötley Crüe to his solo projects and collaborations, Sixx has continually pushed the boundaries of what can be achieved on the bass guitar.

In the early years of Mötley Crüe, Sixx’s bass playing was characterized by heavy, driving riffs and a straightforward approach that served as the foundation for the band’s hard-hitting sound. Tracks like “Live Wire” and “Looks That Kill” showcased Sixx’s ability to create catchy, memorable bass lines that perfectly complemented the band’s high-energy music. His playing provided a solid backbone for the extravagant guitar solos and explosive drumming that Mötley Crüe was known for.

As the band continued to evolve, so did Sixx’s bass playing. With albums like “Shout at the Devil” and “Girls, Girls, Girls,” he began experimenting with more melodic and intricate bass lines. Songs like “Home Sweet Home” and “Wild Side” demonstrated his versatility as a bassist, as he seamlessly transitioned between driving, rhythmic sections and melodic, harmonically complex passages.

Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, Nikki Sixx’s bass playing took on a new dimension as he explored different musical styles with his band Sixx:A.M. Incorporating elements of alternative rock and metal, his bass lines became more dynamic and expressive, adding depth and texture to the band’s sound. Tracks like “Life Is Beautiful” and “This Is Gonna Hurt” showcased his ability to create emotive and atmospheric bass lines that enhanced the overall mood of the songs.

In recent years, Nikki Sixx’s bass playing has continued to evolve, both as a solo artist and in collaboration with other musicians. He has embraced modern production techniques and technology, exploring different tones and effects to create a unique sonic experience. His versatility is evident in his solo album “Prayers for the Damned,” where he seamlessly blends heavy rock riffs with electronic elements, showcasing his ability to adapt and experiment with new sounds.

Despite his musical evolution, Nikki Sixx’s bass playing has always maintained its core characteristics: power, groove, and a distinctive tone. His ability to lock in with the rhythm section and provide a solid foundation for the music is a testament to his skills as a bassist. Whether he is playing intricate melodic lines or driving, aggressive riffs, Sixx’s bass playing remains an integral part of his musical identity.

Throughout his career, Nikki Sixx has continually pushed himself to explore new techniques, styles, and sounds on the bass guitar. From his early days with Mötley Crüe to his current solo endeavors, his evolution as a bassist has been marked by a desire to innovate and push the boundaries of what is possible on the instrument. With each project, Sixx has proven himself to be a versatile and accomplished bass player, leaving a lasting impact on the world of rock music.


The Signature Basses of Nikki Sixx

Nikki Sixx is known for his distinctive sound and stage presence, and part of that can be attributed to his choice of bass guitars. Over the years, he has played a variety of different basses, each with its own unique characteristics and tonal qualities. Let’s delve into some of the signature basses that Nikki Sixx has favored throughout his career.

One of the bass guitars closely associated with Nikki Sixx is the Gibson Thunderbird. This iconic model has a sleek, thunderous look that perfectly matches Sixx’s persona on stage. Known for its deep and punchy tone, the Thunderbird delivers a powerful sound that cuts through the mix and provides a solid foundation for Sixx’s bass lines. Its distinctively-shaped body and dual humbucker pickups contribute to its signature sound. Sixx has often been seen playing a white or black Gibson Thunderbird, making it a defining instrument in his arsenal.

Another bass that Nikki Sixx has favored is the Warwick Thumb bass. Known for its craftsmanship and versatility, the Warwick Thumb has a beautifully ergonomic design and boasts a wide variety of tones. Sixx has often used this bass to achieve a growling, aggressive sound that cuts through Mötley Crüe’s heavy guitars and pounding drums. The Warwick Thumb’s active pickups and unique tonewoods contribute to its distinctive, beefy tone, making it the perfect choice for Sixx’s hard-hitting playing style.

In addition to these well-known models, Nikki Sixx has also played several custom-made bass guitars tailored to his specific preferences. One notable example is his Schecter Sixx signature bass. Featuring a unique body shape and custom artwork, this bass captures Sixx’s rebellious spirit and distinctive style. With its active EMG pickups and versatile tone controls, the Schecter Sixx signature bass allows Sixx to create a wide range of sounds, from biting, aggressive tones to smooth, melodic bass lines.

In recent years, Nikki Sixx has also explored the world of five-string bass guitars. The extended range of these instruments allows for even more versatility and enables Sixx to explore lower registers and add depth to his bass lines. Whether it’s a custom-made model or a well-known brand, Sixx’s five-string basses provide him with the flexibility needed to experiment with different musical styles and push the boundaries of his playing.

It’s worth mentioning that while the bass guitars Nikki Sixx has played have undoubtedly shaped his sound, his unique playing style and technique are what truly make his bass lines stand out. Regardless of the instrument he chooses, Sixx’s ability to blend power, groove, and melody into his playing is what sets him apart as an exceptional bassist in the world of rock music.

From the thunderous Gibson Thunderbird to the versatile Warwick Thumb, Nikki Sixx has carefully selected bass guitars that not only look and sound great but also complement his energetic stage presence. Whether it’s a classic model or a custom-made signature instrument, each bass he plays contributes to his iconic sound and reinforces his status as a legendary rock bassist.


The Preferred Bass Gear of Nikki Sixx

Nikki Sixx’s signature sound and powerful bass lines are not just the result of his skillful playing – they are also influenced by the choice of his preferred bass gear. From amplifiers to effects pedals, Sixx has carefully curated a setup that allows him to achieve his distinct tone and presence on stage. Let’s take a closer look at some of the bass gear that Nikki Sixx relies on to create his iconic sound.

When it comes to amplification, one of Nikki Sixx’s go-to choices is the Ampeg SVT amplifier. Renowned for its powerful and warm bass tones, the Ampeg SVT provides the backbone of Sixx’s sound. With its tube-driven preamp and massive power output, this amplifier delivers a punchy low-end response and is capable of cutting through the mix, even in the loudest of concert environments. The Ampeg SVT’s classic and vintage vibe perfectly complements Sixx’s rock and metal playing style.

To shape his tone and add additional sonic options, Nikki Sixx incorporates a variety of effects pedals into his setup. One notable pedal he utilizes is the MXR Bass Octave Deluxe. This pedal allows him to create rich, sub-octave tones that add depth and power to his bass lines. Whether he’s creating a fat, synth-like sound or adding a touch of growl to his playing, the MXR Bass Octave Deluxe has become an essential tool in Sixx’s arsenal.

Another key element of Nikki Sixx’s bass gear is his choice of bass strings. Known for his heavy-handed playing style, Sixx prefers thicker gauge strings to withstand his aggressive attack. He typically opts for medium to heavy gauge strings, which provide the tension and durability necessary to achieve his desired tone and handle the energetic demands of his performances. The specific brand of strings may vary, but the thicker gauge is a consistent preference for Sixx.

In recent years, Nikki Sixx has also incorporated wireless systems into his setup, allowing him the freedom to roam the stage and engage with the audience without being tethered by cables. This wireless technology offers him the flexibility to deliver an immersive and dynamic performance while maintaining a strong connection to his bandmates and the overall sound.

It’s important to note that while the gear plays a significant role in shaping Nikki Sixx’s sound, his innate talent and technique are ultimately what bring life to his bass lines. His powerful playing style, distinct tone, and stage presence are intrinsic to his identity as a bassist and musician.

The preferred bass gear of Nikki Sixx, including the Ampeg SVT amplifier, MXR Bass Octave Deluxe, and choice of heavier gauge strings, all contribute to his iconic sound. By combining these elements with his unique playing style, Sixx continues to captivate audiences with his powerful bass lines and cement his status as one of the greatest rock bassists of all time.

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