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a question for pick players

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by wowzerskid, Aug 3, 2000.

  1. wowzerskid


    Jun 10, 2000
    hi all
    this question is to any pick players ...
    i;m just curious should i be playing with all downstrokes ? as i tend to do up and downstrokes all the time...
    should i really be playing downstrokes all the time?
    if anyone can just give their opinion / advice on this that would great

  2. ONYX


    Apr 14, 2000
    Well, I don't usually play with a pick. But when I do, I use a 50/50 combination of upstrokes and downstrokes. I don't believe that there is any one " correct " method as to how you should apply picking technique, although some may disagree.

    Life is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
  3. fat jonny

    fat jonny

    Jul 8, 2000
    Columbus Ohio
    I have found that using just downstrokes helps me keep a steadier rythm. I only use upstrokes and downstrokes when playing faster stuff or triplets or anything that is easier that way. But thats just me and I think that you should do it however you feel the most comfortable. The only thing that matters is if it feels good to you.
  4. winston

    winston Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    Berkeley, CA
    It all depends on what kind of music you're playing. If it's punk or metal, all downstrokes can sound heavier and chunkier-Jason Newsted of Metallica plays mostly downstrokes, even on fast songs. Up and downstrokes together can sound really good on extended melodic lines or when you're playing riffs on a single string. The thing that really opened my mind to playing bass with a pick, though, was learning how to play rhythm guitar. Usually when you strum chords on guitar, you assign downbeats to downstrokes, upbeats to upstrokes. For example, when playing 8th notes in 4-4 time- 1+2+3+4+-the downstrokes would fall on 1234 and the upstrokes on the '+'. If you apply this concept to, say, a 16th note syncopated funk line, you can start to get a feel for the limitless possibilities of playing with a pick. This approach is identical to what hand percussionists call the 'hand over hand' technique. You can also try using strict up and downstrokes regardless of where they fall rhythmically. And you can also apply all these ideas to playing up and downstrokes with your thumb and/or finger(s) like Chuck Rainey or Victor Wooten.
    Guiseppe likes this.
  5. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

  6. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    The lead guitarist of one of my former bands and I used to have many heated arguments over this very topic. He acted as if all downstrokes was some type of heresy! On the other hand, I had read that's what my bass hero Jason Newsted does along with Hammitt and Hetfield and anything Metallica does is perfectly acceptable to me. (Plus they have sold far more records than that smart aleck guitarist.)

    Anyhoo, it came down to this. He told me I'd better use alternate picking or get out, so I started alternate picking because it was his band and everything had to be his way. I think alternate picking is actually somewhat faster, but I still prefer that agressive sound that comes from all downstrokes. I suspect, though, and this is just a theory, if the bass and guitars are not ALL downpicking, the agressive sound is lost. I suspect that the bass and guitars have to choose which way it will be and all pick the same way to have a more unified impact. Jason Oldsted
  7. for me, it will eather be all down strokes, or up/down/up/down and so on. i really dont know how to explain how i chose which method i want to use. but i know that if i'm playing a bass line that is sperated from the guitar, like in punk rock, its a clasic thing to have a verse with no guitar, palm muted guitar, and then a differant riff for the verse. on the verse with no guitar, i always go up/down/up/down, because i really like that tone. i think its more of, if the song is fast, i'll go up/down/up/down, and if its a little slower, i'll go all down. BUT if its a heavyer song, i might go all down even if its a fast song, so i can get the attack. so i dont even think this post helps, cause i really dont know how to explain how i chose which method i use, all i know is i never hesitate for the choice of method.
  8. Licketysplit


    Mar 15, 2000
    You should be playing with both up and down strokes.

    You should be playing with all down strokes.

    You should do whatever fits the song. smile.
    Guiseppe likes this.
  9. Tsal


    Jan 28, 2000
    Finland, EU
    To me it seems to be easiest to play when
    the bassline is versatile and not just basic
    one-two-one-two, is playing quite randomly with
    up- and downstrokes. So what fits the song best might be
    something like U-U-D-U-D-D-U-U-D, all dependant how long breaks and notes there is.

  10. White_Knight


    Mar 19, 2000
    I've always played with all UPSTROKES. It wasn't until just recently that I learned how to even play on the downstroke (it still feels really unnatural for some reason). I think that it just depends upon the style of the song, how you've been taught or how you learned, and your personal style.
  11. Oxwah


    Aug 14, 2000
    for me i depends on the pick im using. if im usin a 3mm, i do downstrokes. if its a thinner pick i do down/up. i agree that downstroks have a more agressive tone.
  12. DownCaster


    Aug 22, 2000
    depends on the speed (and if i am using a pick at all on the song) and the style of music. if i am jumping over a lot of strings i usually just use downstrokes...but if i am doing like Coal Chamber or quicker band i have to throw in the upstrokes. some stuff is complicated by throwing in the upstrokes but in other cases excluding them skrews up your rhythm and speed.
  13. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    It took me a while to get the hang of it...

    My key experience was finding the right pick (I use a thin (red) Sharkfin from Sweden). It has a very narrow tip and enables me to get a very clean attack...

    My picking technique is adopted from Frank Gambale's speed picking technique - I don't use a rigid up/down motion but adjust it acording to the direction I cross the strings...it enables me to get very fast and easy motion without using too much strength...
  14. I have been using a pick since I started playing bass. What works for me is primarily downstrokes, but I use alternate picking when I practice. I'll alternate between a pick and using my fingers. Pickwise, I use a Dunlop Tortex 1.14mm.
  15. I've recently changed from fingers only to mainley pick and I've found the Gary Beers (INXS) style to be very good. He plays mainly down strokes but up strokes when he goes to a different string.
    It takes practice (of course) so what I've been doing is play 4 chromatic notes on the lowest string then move to the next string up and play the notes next to the ones I just played then up to the next string and so on back & forth across the neck. So the picking action ends up being DDDD UDDD UDDD UDDD then back down. I then went on to scales and then two & three octave scales.
    I've got to a point where I can actually pass as a pick player and picking feels just as comfortable as fingers.
    It's like my teacher always said it won't make sence but just keep practicing and suddenley it all comes togher.
  16. Flatwound

    Flatwound Supporting Member

    Sep 9, 2000
    San Diego
    I have mostly played with a pick. I finally learned to play with my fingers, so I'm not currently using a pick. However, a lot of sounds and timbres are available to pickstyle players. In regard to the original question, I think there is quite a different rythmic feel to DDDD than DUDU. I think Dee Dee Ramone, for instance played almost all, if not all downstrokes. If you play some of his bass "lines" DUDU (not to be confused with Doodoo, which was apparently a shade of brown Fender used for a while), they don't sound right. If you're writing your own bass line, use whatever works for you and the song. I can still play faster with a pick than my fingers, but I want to play fingerstyle, so I've given up the pick for now.

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