Advice for plectrum-picking

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by LiL BaSS DuDe, Oct 6, 2001.

  1. LiL BaSS DuDe

    LiL BaSS DuDe Guest

    May 15, 2001
    Damnit, my arm is aching :(
    I normally like using fingers, but I figured that I like the sound that I get form the plec, but, playing for a long song gives me an ache up my forearm and wrist.
    I hate to use really thick plecs, normally use something around 70-80mm (graghite). Has anyone got any advice I could may use to stop my aches?
    I've to slow down and hit even softer, but that just screws my timing :(

    Thanks for any help in advance...
  2. change the angle of your bass, and lower it.
    It helps a little.
  3. eli

    eli Mad showoff 7-stringer and Wish lover Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 1999
    NW suburban Chicago
    This is a thing that simply requires strengthening the muscles that do this. No quick fix -- you gotta put in the time!

    As in all activities that require endurance, you should start gradually. Practice this song for, say 5 minutes each day for a week, then the second week increase to 7 minutes each day, then the 3rd week 10 minutes each day, etc. This will build up your endurance and strength.

    However, you may also just be gripping the plec tighter than you really have to, and possibly tensing up your entire forearm unnecessarily. Try anchoring your picking hand with your pinkie finger against the front of the bass by the knobs, and see if that relaxes your forearm. Also be sure that you're only using your thumb and pointer finger, and not clenching your whole fist.

    Make a conscious effort to RELAX your picking arm while playing, and be aware that this can require considerable concentration and mind-clearing DURING A GIG. Take a deep breath, stand up stright, let your arms fall to your sides, and then move ONLY the body parts absolutely required to play the instrument -- and then try to remember how that feels. You may have to remind yourself frrequently to return to that state while you're playing.

    Drumming and ditch-digging are strenuous physical labor. Playing an electric bass with a pick should not be.
  4. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    Stay loose. Play from the wrist. But don't bend it excessively. Don't move any more than you have to to get a sound.

    Use the tip of the pick. Don't travel too far above or below the string. Your pickstrokes should be fast, but not hard.

    The forearm's just there. It hangs over the instrument. Let it be. Keep the forearm out of it.

    Be like water.