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Covers - Do you always play it like the original?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Misterwogan, Jan 23, 2013.

  1. I'm thinking specifically about finger style and picking. I'm finding that with a lot of songs that were originally played with a pick on a P-Bass (Foo Fighters for example) , I simply don't like the sound of a picked P and so do it with fingers.

    I also find the P-Bass uncomfortable to play with a pick.

    I like playing with a pick on my Gibbon SG bass, but that doesn't deliver the right tone for many picked P-Bassed rock tracks.

    So, what are your opinions?
    If the song was originally played with a pick - you use the pick or you please yourself?
  2. smogg


    Mar 27, 2007
    NPR, Florida
    I'm not crazy, I'm just a little unwell
    I find that certain songs do need the pick to achieve not only a specific tone but more importantly a specific feel. If I can cop the feel with my fingers then I'll use my fingers. But, every once in a while I'll hit a tune where I'm like "oh yeah got to use a pick for this one." Out of a 40 song night I might use a pick maybe 2 or 3 times even though half the material may have been originally recorded with a pick.
  3. I try to duplicate the original as much as possible. If the song was played originally with a pick, then I use a pick. If I have the same type of bass as on the original, I use that too.
  4. Sparty


    Dec 26, 2012
    I used to mimic the original artists style and play it how they did, however I mainly just use plectrum now. I suppose its a comfort thing, never worried about sound, most the audience would not notice, it was all about feel.. The good thing is no more blisters...
  5. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    I try to learn it like the original because there are times when that's appropriate. But, I may not play every note verbatum other times on parts where it doesn't matter, especailly at times when there is more freedom for all of us to interpret a little. Signature parts, of course, must be played like the original, though.
  6. If a part is iconic I usually stick to it, I kinda like to do my own thing a lot too depending on what mood the drummer is in, but either way I'm usually close. I hate playing w/ a pick sometimes. Unless it's a straight up 16th note song I'll use my fingers.
  7. One Drop

    One Drop

    Oct 10, 2004
    Swiss Alps
    Fresh SS rounds picked gives you the right tone to blend with all those humbucking guitars in the wall of sound that makes up most Foo Fighters songs. I used to play some picked and some pizz but now I play them all pick style and the songs sound much closer to the records and their own live sound. One of the guitars alway has a pretty bassy tone so the slightly scooped sound of new SS rounds wraps itself nicely around the walls of guitar and feels right in the mix, instead of fighting with all those low mids and muddying things up. Clean flat EQ and new strings work best, IMO, especially if you have a good PA or a rig with some solid low end. Not digging in too much gives you the full range tone that helps a lot, too.

    Their overall sound is a heavily polished and worked one, it's an interesting combination of aggression and smoothness, lots of rich textures combining and bass that is felt as much as heard. It's really exciting to emulate live, we have spent a lot of time getting the dynamics and mix right and it really pops when you do. I find picking also helps with getting the percussive drive that helps to move their songs along so nicely.

    Last thing- I judge all P tones in the mix and not soloed. A P picked with the tone wide open can sound offensive alone but so freaking sweet in a rock mix.
  8. Nashrakh


    Aug 16, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    I play everything fingerstyle. For me it's all in the fingers and the tone controls. Playing by the bridge, at the neck, with thumb, tone open, tone halfway down, gives me all the tonal control I need.

    Last rehearsal my guitarist told me I can make fingered flats sound like picked rounds. So there's your answer. (not sure if I should take offense by that comment lol!)

    And I suck at pick playing :( would love to learn it though but it won't quite work with what I do. In my bedroom it's fun to play along to something with a pick but I can't seem to fit it into my band playing.
  9. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg Keyboards
    I used to play everything with a pick. About 10 years ago I began playing everything with fingers. I rarely use a pick now.
  10. Learn guitar - you'll soon get the hang of it, and when you do it will become another tool for you.

    Me - 35 years guitar, 4 months bass.
  11. One Drop

    One Drop

    Oct 10, 2004
    Swiss Alps
    The guitarists I know who don't play much bass always lean into it like they want to tear the strings off the bass, instead of easing up a bit and letting the bass speak. I tell them not to pick so hard and they are amazed at how much fuller and more authoritative the bass sounds, which might seem counter-intuitive to them.
  12. Clef_de_fa


    Dec 25, 2011
    no but it is mandatory that I play note for note especially if I have the sheet music.

    for the tone ... I have my own, I find it pointless to try to replicate a sound. unless, of course, that your tone is very ugly in a particular mix.
  13. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    OT, but I find the same is true on guitar. Very few guys play electric with a deft enough touch to really let the strings speak.
  14. I play whatever is most comfortable to me. In my case, that means finger style. In the case of live music/gigs, as long as the dance floor and bar are packed and the venue is making money it doesn't matter.
  15. ga_edwards


    Sep 8, 2000
    UK, Essex

    There are some songs in our set that have a bass tone or bass line that has a certain attack that only a pick will achieve. I do however play a lot of pick lines with fingers without detriment to the song, sometimes I don't even bother with the pick and no-one notices. I'd rather play like me and sound like a band, than try and cop someone else's tone and sound like 40 different bands.
  16. +1 So eloquently stated by GA Edwards:

    "I'd rather play like me and sound like a band, than try and cop someone else's tone..."
  17. obimark


    Sep 1, 2011
    IME- I like using a PICK for most of our rock songs (any thing that has driving eighths) ALA CULT, CURE, etc.

    For anything funkier, like Funky Music, Brick House, I like my fingers and use them.

    IME, A Pick sounds Perfect on P-Bass' which is what I play, but fingers sound better for most funk stuff, and I throw in some pops on some of those songs.
  18. Duckwater


    May 10, 2010
    USA, Washington
    My band likes me to throw in a bass solo or 2 every song, that's about all we change structurally. Sometimes we'll add more guitars, keys, harp, or have our 3 singers trade off vocal parts. If I can get a good enough sound without a pick then I won't use one, but for certain songs(mostly Alice In Chains) I will need to use a pick to get the right sound.
  19. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    I play finger style.
    I play my bass.
    I try to play "signature" lines as close as possible.
    I also insert a little of me.
  20. Get the hooks as there as possible- that's what he crowd semi-notices. Pick, fingers, 3, 5, 12 string, active, passive- WHATEVER. Make it recognize able and danceable, get people buying drinks, get paid. Play more, TB less