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Braking my circular picking habit?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by cstar, Jul 17, 2012.


  1. cstar

    cstar

    Dec 21, 2011
    I am learning to play with a pick so I can play for my brother. I have only been playing eight months now and I never tried to pick before because bass players all seem to prefer finger style and I too like finger tone better.

    But, my brother is set on having me play with a pick for the sound he wants...

    So what's weird is that my natural inclination is to circular pick. Like, I have a lot of trouble only getting my wrist to move- my index finger and thumb want to move all over the place instead, and I'm trying really hard to break this habit. it's kind of cool and all, but it's slowing me down pretty bad.

    Anyone else have this issue when they started to play with a pick? Any advice on helping me get through it? Thanks!
     
  2. FluxFreak13

    FluxFreak13

    Jun 20, 2012
    Picks are for guitar players in my opinion (which is worthless because i'm a noob bass player) But in my attempt to learn bass i have seen over and over that we dont do what the guitar is doing untill we cross the line of around 200 beats per minute.When the sonic space gets "thiner" Just try playing an A under a guitar player doing an acoustic riff in A
    It sounds like crap ...what im trying to say is dont let someone force a style on you...a decent bass player can play just a few notes and sound tight...in other words if you wanna play fast you have to learn to play slow first.....
    Im a noob trying to find my role as a bassist so please anyone who can dispute or or enlighting the point im making feel free....we all just wanna play better right???? :bassist:
     
  3. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Well I'm glad you admitted your noobiness...because it'll make it a little easier to cure your pick snobbery down the road. Also, since his brother is obviously the leader of his band, his choices are either to learn to play with a pick or not play with his brother. That's all well and good to develop your own style and it should be encouraged, but sometimes you have to pick your battles and decide what's more important...being "right" or being "employed."

    Anyway, moving fingers and thumb when playing with a pick is tremendously detrimental to the health of your hand, and you should NEVER do it. Best thing to do is to study what Carol Kaye has to say about pick playing and do whatever she says. Do a search on here for "Carol Kaye pick" and you'll find a couple threads discussing it. Also, go visit www.carolkaye.com and read what she has to say about it. Then practice it slowly and deliberately and stop yourself when you feel yourself going off the program. It's all about keeping control of yourself.
     
  4. Epitaph04

    Epitaph04 Always overcompensating Supporting Member

    Jul 5, 2010
    SoCal
    Some people forget that it's a bass *guitar* not just a bass. Bass guitar is more than a just a single frequency...
     
  5. lowfreq33

    lowfreq33

    Jan 27, 2010
    Nashville
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    I'm against playing bass with a pick because it's very difficult to do it without damaging your hand and wrist over time. Yes, as Jimmy said, the Carol Kaye method is safe. But I never see anyone play that way. I see people with their palm locked onto the bridge, or they're circular picking, or worse yet moving their entire arm up and down. I don't really care how anyone else plays, but for me it's fingers only.
     
  6. fearceol

    fearceol

    Nov 14, 2006
    Ireland
    Where did you pick (no pun intended :D ) up that odd notion/opinion ? Picks are merely another tool in the bassist's arsenal. Nice to have it at your disposal, if the music requires it.
     
  7. Epitaph04

    Epitaph04 Always overcompensating Supporting Member

    Jul 5, 2010
    SoCal
    I play that way! (for the most part)
     
  8. lowfreq33

    lowfreq33

    Jan 27, 2010
    Nashville
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    Well, I've never seen you play :)
     
  9. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I play that way most of the time, too ;)
     
  10. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    I think about 10 billion guitar players would disagree. Chris Squire might have thing or two to say about this too. :D
     
  11. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Chris Squire also uses good technique that's not damaging. However, John Wetton doesn't, and he's had surgeries to correct his CTS and he has to play with a thumbpick taped to his thumb now.

    And guitar is a LOT more forgiving of bad technique, but check out some of the better jazz guitarists and you'll find them using that technique, too.
     
  12. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    I would just about swear I saw an interview with Squire a couple years ago where he said he has to tape the pick to his fingers...

    Edit: I can't find any reference to it via Google, so maybe I got him mixed up with Wetton somehow.
     
  13. georgestrings

    georgestrings Banned

    Nov 5, 2005

    Not in my experience...


    - georgestrings
     
  14. FluxFreak13

    FluxFreak13

    Jun 20, 2012
    I Picked that notion/opinion (Pun intended) from playing guitar with a pick for 20+ years.
    And i fully understand tools at my disposal,from a career as an auto technican .But i also know that "tools" all have a purpose
    and should be used as such..example.you don't use a hammer and screwdriver to remove a tire...though its is possible it's a very ineficient and potential dangerous way of getting the job done.
    Picking a bass seems exhausting to me(oppinion) mainly because of string spacing

    This is just my oppinion.........
    And my main point is I dont belive styles should be forced on anyone...I mean come'on just imagine someone telling Steve Harris "play with a pick or your out of Iron Maiden" :eyebrow:
     
  15. wishface

    wishface

    Jan 27, 2012
    I'm pretty sure Squire doesn't tape a pick to his hands. He also doesn't have his bass slung low and his bass is quite small (he's a big chap too).

    Never bothered Scott Thunes.
     
  16. bass_study

    bass_study

    Apr 17, 2012
    Using pick to play bass definitely produce a different sound. I don't do it just because it is difficult to do. But..... You see Cayol Kaye, Anthony Jackson and Steve swallow... They produce awesome tone with pick and they cannot be produced just by using fingers.
     
  17. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Scott's technique isn't too off from what Carol does, though. Yeah, he wears his bass lower and doesn't pick at the neck, but he moves from the wrist in a back and forth motion and he keeps his thumb still. You use light enough strings and you can get away with picking farther away from the neck. Quite frankly, when I play with a pick, I end up looking a lot like how he plays (totally a coincidence), and I don't get pain, either.

    Carol is of the belief that everyone will cripple themselves using any deviation from her style; I think there's some leeway in it but I don't think she's all that far off. When I see dudes like John Wetton getting surgeries, and other dudes like Cliff Williams and Jay Bentley from Bad Religion having to wear arm braces to play, it doesn't make me feel good about playing like they do at all.
     
  18. pmchenry

    pmchenry

    May 6, 2012
    SE PA
    It's interesting to see different viewpoints on the difficulty of fingers vs. pick. I play exclusively with a pick. I can't play with fingers hardly at all. I've always found playing with a pick to be much easier and when I first started playing the preferred picking technique came to me much more naturally than finger plucking did.
     

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