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Cutting down on pick noise - suggestions?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by snoopz, Apr 23, 2009.

  1. snoopz


    Mar 16, 2009
    SF, CA
    Ugh. Just got done recording and my bass tone has a lot of pick noise. I guess it got lost in the mix of band practice, but its really apparent in the recordings. Anyone have suggestions on cutting down on the pick sound? Is it the strings? The bass? The amp? All of the above?

    Here's what I'm playing:
    Fender Heavy Pick - Ernie Ball Roundwound - Fender Jaguar - EHX Clone Theory - Acoustic 320 - Ampeg 410HLF.

    I'm trying to get a fuller, warmer tone - the recording sounds like generic 90s punk bass. Yuck. I figure getting rid of pick noise altogether may be impossible, but what can I adjust or change to try to limit the sound? Any particular settings on the bass or the amp? A friend swears a Fender Jazz would not have this problem. Really?
  2. Don't use a pick.

    Seriously, though, generally when I'm using a pick (50% of the time roughly), it's because I need or want that clanky pick noise to come through.

    When I need a rounder, fuller tone, I switch to finger style.
  3. Ryan Mohr

    Ryan Mohr

    Oct 23, 2007
    Try picking so the pick is flatter against the string. IME the larger the angle between the pick and the string, the more pick noise.
  4. lowend1


    Feb 15, 2005
  5. IbanezATK


    Feb 24, 2009
    Monroe, LA, USA
    I'd agree.

    Also try to move the pick through the string faster, if that makes any kind of sense.

    Try different gauge picks as well.

    Sometimes pick noise is good!
  6. FunkMetalBass


    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    You could also work on your pick-hand placement. I imagine it would be more noticeable over the bridge pup than over the neck.

    Other than that, maybe a lighter pick or a felt pick as suggested earlier.
  7. Relic

    Relic Cow are you?

    Sep 12, 2006
    Robbinsville, NJ
    raising the strings just a pinch will help, roll off a bit of treble. make sure that you're picking flat against the strings as opposed to the pick striking the strings at a slight angle.
  8. lowend1


    Feb 15, 2005
    One other thing that comes to mind is to try and run through some kind of tube preamp before hitting the console...
  9. move to a felt autoharp pick
  10. Well, it worked for Carol Kaye for years! ;)
  11. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    Lot's of good ideas there.

    I'd dump the pedal and amp and run the bass DI to the desk. Then, audition the bass tracks (flat EQ) with the engineer. Experiment with onboard settings carefully, but in effect you need less high end off the bass. Once that noise is in the signal, it will be hard to EQ out without taking a hit on frequencies you want in the signal.

    1. Be sure the pick is not contacting anything on the bass except the strings.
    2. Move picking spot progressively toward the neck and audition the result.
    3. If those don't cure it, start rolling off the highs, either running active or passive.
    4. Work with the engineer to get acceptable tone.
  12. lowend1


    Feb 15, 2005
    Know anybody with a Gibson EB-0?;)
  13. Rugaar


    Apr 11, 2007
    I haven't tried them yet myself but Wedgie rubber guitar picks supposedly give the closest sound to fingerpicking that you can get using a pick. I'm going to grab some the next time I see them and give them a shot.
  14. snoopz


    Mar 16, 2009
    SF, CA
    A lot of good ideas here. Thanks!
  15. I think nylon picks are a little less "bright" sounding than plastic ones - that's what I use anyway
  16. +1 That's all I ever use anymore. Dunlop 1mm black nylon.
  17. "pick noise" can mean different things... I'd need to hear an example of this to know what sort of pick noise you are bothered by.

    The Jaguar has the same pickups as a Jazz, not sure why a Jazz wouldn't have "that problem".
  18. JSK5String


    May 19, 2008
    Littleton, CO
    IME (30 years of pick playing) the heavier the pick, the less pick noise. I've gone to Dunlop Gator Grip 2.0's (they're black). Give that a try. If it doesn't work you've wasted all of $0.50 or so...
  19. +1 to Dunlop USA Nylon Picks.

    I like the .46mm/.60mm though. I hold the pick nearly sideways, and choke up so much that just the tip is sticking out below my finger/thumb. The side of my thumb just grazes over the strings, and I can "cook" pretty good.
  20. Ryan Mohr

    Ryan Mohr

    Oct 23, 2007
    Try Dunlop gator grip pickups, they reduce pick noise quite well.

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