Alternate Picking

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by fireworks_god, Oct 30, 2002.

  1. fireworks_god


    Oct 30, 2002
    Okay, I've been having a problem as of yet.
    I've been playing bass for two years now, but I have never worried about alternate picking ( I use a pick). I now realize it would have been so much easier to learn when I started, because when I work on it now, I sound like I've been playing for six months.
    The rhythm guitarist in my band (we want to sound like Old Metallica, In Flames, and Iron Maiden as the core of our sound with some System of a Down and Tool influences; so playing fast at times is important), suggested I rest my right hand on the bridge and then alternate pick. I don't like the sound of the strings when played that far down.

    Basically, I am wondering if there is a best way to alternate pick, like how to hold the pick, or if it is something that isn't that important, that you just need to keep alternate picking enough to get used to it and to gradually pick up speed.

    Thanks for your help on this.
  2. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    First of all, don't listen to your guitarist. Picking technique on bass is not the same as on guitar, no matter what guitarists might think.

    I find that holding the pick differently helps, although there are obviously no hard-and-fast rules. Try holding the pick between thumb and forefinger, while holding the rest of your fingers as though you were gripping a roll of quarters.

    Also you might want to try making the picking motion with your forearm instead of your wrist, but this may not work depending on how high you hold your bass. When you find a technique that works well for you, stick with it, but it will take a bit of practice no matter what.

    Good luck! :)
  3. pmkelly


    Nov 28, 2000
    Kansas City, MO
    alternate picking requires practice... you are just going to have to find a comfortable position for you to hold the pick and slowly start the motion, up-down-up-down-up-down... try to keep each note you play even-sounding... Keep working at it, and you will increase in speed over time...

  4. fireworks_god


    Oct 30, 2002
    Thanks for your guys help.
    Actually, Chris (the rhythm guitarist) did have a point when he said to rest your hand on the bridge if you want to pick fast; I can go with blinding speed at least for a few seconds. But he understands now that I don't like the sound.
    Now that I have been getting used to it, I do have more control of my alternate pick, I realize it is just something you need to get used to.
    He bought me one of those Big Stubby picks by Dunlop, and I use that every once in awhile. It does help you gain speed on bass, but the pick is a little smaller, and it'll take getting used to, too. I still play with my normal one though to practice alternate picking, because I figure, if I can do it on a normal pick just fine, with that pick I should be able to fly.
    Again, thanks for your help.