In this lesson we’re looking at the classic Chris Wolstenholme bass riff from the song Hysteria by Muse. This bass line is notorious for the debates that rage on bass forums regarding the effects pedals in use.


Before you get into the actual bassline, it’s worth making a quick note on the effects pedals used by Chris Wolstenholme on this track. It’s a combination of the unaffected signal, an Animato distortion, Big Muff distortion and finally doubled up with a Roland JP8000 synth. So now you know! For this video I’ve used a much simpler set up to approximate the effect.

The bassline…

This is a long fluid line that isn’t entirely scalar so it’s a matter of simply learning the piece as a block. Notice how open strings are used to establish tonality and provide a real gutsiness to the riff. Everything is revealed in the tab – but you do have some choices of fingering and I’d recommend using whichever seems most comfortable to you.

Hysteria Riff:

Practice Track:

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