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Bass Fingers?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by ChuckBassChick, Jan 1, 2005.

  1. ChuckBassChick

    ChuckBassChick Guest

    Jan 1, 2005
    so cal
    Well, I've been playing bass guitar for about 6 months now. And when I play, I like to have my nails cut short because my nails hit the strings and it sounds weird. I don't know. But then when I play for only 30 minutes, I get blood blisters on my index finger. Right now, I only play with my index finger, but should I just start teaching myself to use two fingers? Or should I try a pick?
    So do you use a pick or your fingers? Also, I watch some of these bass players in these bands and it's looks like their playing chords on their bass. I was just wondering what's up with that?
    heh. Alright thanks for any help, I'm still learning about bass so thanks for putting up with me.
  2. Charr


    May 14, 2004
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    well, u've allways used a pick, but i find that i try to use my fingers more and more - i just gives me a great natural sound :)
    The pick is still at big part of my sound band wise, i play Black metal, so the pick sound accent's the snarling biting, violent feeling perfect!
    But when i play something like rock, Blues, Jazz, Funk, Whatever i try to use my fingers as much as possible!
    Try to use 2-3 or even all 4 fingers, you can play faster, and longer cause you wont overload your index finger!

    Good luck, and take it slowly at first - when you get blisters you just set yourself back a couple of days! so stop BEFORE you get them :)
  3. NOISE!


    Jun 20, 2004
    In your mind
    After awhile you will get calluses on your finger and you wont get blisters. Try playing a little softer and turn your volume up. Playing with two fingers might not be a bad idea, nether is pick use, and thumb use.

    As far as the nails go cutting them is the way to go, or you will brake one.
    But how much is up to you; I leave a good 1/16" of so, so I can strum chords and double stops with a flamenco guitar like technique. :bassist:
  4. ChuckBassChick

    ChuckBassChick Guest

    Jan 1, 2005
    so cal
    Alright Awesome. Thanks for the help guys. Yeah, I'd like to get a band going but we have no drummers here. heh. And if we did we'd probably play punk rock or the upbeat music or whatever you would like to call it. So if I do decide to try a pick, what kind should I get, because isn't there different sizes or something? Alright thanks.
  5. Thomas.


    Jan 1, 2005
    To be fair the best way to pick any new equipment is to try it out. There is a whole range of shapes, sizes and thicknesses. To be fair i think its best to go and see whats best for you. This will also help you evaluate what sound you are able to make with each pick and then in turn chose one that suits your style of playing.
  6. mlwarriner


    Nov 8, 2003
    KC, MO, USA
    i'll second what thomas. said about selecting a pick size and shape and thickness for you. go to the music store and buy a couple of each different shape/size in some different thicknesses. seems to me that a lot of pickers (myself included) use the jim dunlop tortex picks though. i like the size and shape, and i have yet to wear one out before losing it...

    i prefer the .73mm thick ones, but i've heard of people using as thick as 2.0mm...grab a few different ones and try them out until you find what you like :D
  7. Charr


    May 14, 2004
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    i use Tortex bass picks, 1,14 mm (purple) and if i dont throw it away, it lasts about 3 or 4 rehersals (of about 2 or 3 hours each). but i buy like 100 at a time, so i get a little discount :D
  8. rhty89


    Dec 30, 2004
    okkkkkk, the only thing u can do is to play more and more, to increase the size of callouses on ur finger. And use all 4 fingers on the fretboard.
  9. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    Moved to Technique...
  10. "The way" to play bass, according to any teacher you'll talk to, is to use all four fingers on your left hand and your pointer and middle fingers on your right hand (that's assuming you're a righty). The calluses will come and you'll be fine, but don't forget that every time you try some new technique (like slapping for instance) you'll be using different parts of your fingers and you'll go through it all over again. And a pick is a choice some people make, although it's not really my thing.
  11. Oh and by the way, they even make picks that have a velvet covering, or something like that...I've never seen or used one, but they sound interesting. I guess the idea is to make it sort of sound like your fingers. Anyway, it's all a matter of preference.
  12. R3d


    Nov 21, 2004
    Southern IL
    I thought that velvety covering was to help you hold on to it. lol

    The advise I've seen/heard most often is to use index/middle fingers for plucking and alternate as much as possible. But you may find something that works better for you.

    If you go to a music shop, they should let you try some picks on their basses. You could probably even take your own bass there to "test drive". That would save you from buying heaps of picks you won't like. Just be sure to ask first... lol Some of those places get touchy if you just start grabbing guitars/basses.
  13. I try to incorporate all styles of playing i know. I use my fingers (just got comfortable with triplets 3-2-1-2-3 :)), i play it flamenco style, and i use a pick. The pick i use is green Jim Dunlop Tortex (i think it's 1mm or 0.88, i'm not sure), so you already have 3 recomendation for Tortex. In your place i'd give them a try, but also i would try some others just in case

    edit: i just checked it out. It's .88 mm. Really cool:)
  14. BlackBassPlayer


    Jan 4, 2005
    That same exact thing use to happen to me. It must be because your picking too hard. Just try picking softer and later on as your fingers get use to it you shouldnt get blisters anymore. Thats what happened to me. =\
  15. Well my guess would be either to lighten your technique or to stick it out if you want to play with your fingers.

    While I've never had blood blisters from playing, when I first started out on bass the skin on my fingers used to flake off, not painfull but it looked rather intresting seeing bits of skin hanging off my fingertips.

    I only got regular blisters twice while playing, once on my the side of my thumb from slap, and once on the side of my finger from poping strings..... Neither lasted longer then thirty minutes before I would pop them and regret doing so.