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Down picking technique

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by brumshine, Mar 25, 2013.


  1. brumshine

    brumshine

    Apr 27, 2012
    My band wrote a new punk song and I think that it calls for all really fast down picks. When I play using alternate picking I can play it fast enough but the sound isn't as "punky" as all down picks.

    Other than "practice practice practice" does anyone have advice or tips that has helped them down pick fast and consistent?

    Thanks,
    BRUMSHINE
     
  2. brumshine

    brumshine

    Apr 27, 2012
    I guess the answer is practice practice practice using a metronome. I googled this and couldn't find a super secret technique.
     
  3. Count Bassie

    Count Bassie Supporting Member

    Jun 10, 2006
    Smithfield, RI
    Stroke downward on the string, recover, repeat.

    No need to thank me. :D
     
  4. With all downstrokes I'm not a fast player so I tend to cheat with alternating strokes but start with the upstroke which is essential to the groove. Works out great for me, sounds better and more fluid than all downstrokes close to the speed limit.
     
  5. Count Bassie

    Count Bassie Supporting Member

    Jun 10, 2006
    Smithfield, RI
    It's kind of fun to see what it takes, physically, to make it happen with all downstrokes. I've seen old vids of guys using their entire arm from the shoulder to make it happen, at a pretty good clip! You have to let go of your regular, normal idea of bass playing and maybe do something you think looks entirely wrong.

    But I use a combination of ups and downs when I use a pick. Ups and downs do tend to sound a little different.
     
  6. Hamlet7768

    Hamlet7768 Here to chew gum and rock. Still have gum.

    Jun 5, 2011
    I'd recommend working on your upstrokes to make them sound like your downstrokes. Either that, or just practice, and pick from the elbow as much as you can.

    Also tilt the pick a bit to make it slip by the string a bit easier.
     
  7. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    If your down-up picking doesn't sound as heavy as your downstroking, practice it till it does. Down-up is a lot healthier for your wrists. Oh sure, you may not care now, but it'll catch up to you to play like that.
     
  8. Count Bassie

    Count Bassie Supporting Member

    Jun 10, 2006
    Smithfield, RI
    Tilting the pick will help with that homogeneity thing. And yes, +1 on considering the long-term effects of how you treat your hands, arms, joints...
     
  9. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    Got asked this week if I wanna be a part of a ramones tribute. I do. I can handle all the album stuff, but when I watch or try to play along with some of their live material... Dang! I'm spending the next 2 weeks working this. If it doesn't get easier its not going to be worth it for me to do this tribute.

    Oh... And I disagree with those suggesting up and down strokes. It's a whole different vibe, and a cop out, IMO. Fer punk stuff that is. Not that I haven't copped out myself in the past. :). Can't if im doing Dee Dee though. And that dude ruled.
     
  10. Keep your arm loose and pick from the wrist. If you're familiar with guitar technique it should help. It also helps me to use a heavy pick and keep my hand on the top of the bridge.
     
  11. salcott

    salcott Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2007
    NYC, Inwood.
    Up and down will work just fine if you practice. The only reason to use all down is that to some, it looks cooler to play with all that visible unnecessary effort.
     
  12. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    Not true. There is a difference in the sound, the feel, and the attitude... Not to mention the emotion that's going into, and coming out of the music. And to some that's pretty much what music is all about.
     
  13. grendle

    grendle

    Mar 4, 2011
    Central FL
    this ^

    Only other way is to put in your time in the wood shed. Get some old metallica albums and play along. James was known for down picking every thing humanly possible back in the day. just copy the riffs and repeat. when your down picking like that, there's a reflex action between your wrist and forearm that you get kind of a "bounce" from. that's what your trying to develop, fast triplets help work that too ( "parasite" from Exodus will put those to the test). just my .02 :bassist: :bassist: :bassist: :bassist: :bassist:
     
  14. fraublugher

    fraublugher

    Nov 19, 2004
    ottawa, ontario, canada
    music school retailer
    Joe is right , the flow is different.
    You COULD try upstrokes only if that helps you or alternate between the two.
     
  15. grendle

    grendle

    Mar 4, 2011
    Central FL
    The flow is different but if you work at it you can get the down and up to sound the same. Have to work at it though. Most pro guys that play the heavy stuff alternate pick even the heaviest parts.
     
  16. Pro is different sounding than Punk.

    Punk hits hard with down, and what little (if any) fluff might get the up out of a penchant for lazy.

    Down is DOWN!
     
  17. grendle

    grendle

    Mar 4, 2011
    Central FL
    lol yep. been there done that decades ago ;)
     
  18. I love you Jimmy, but have you forgotten?

    We don't caaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaare!

    To many people had to Suss
    To many people support us
    An unlimited amount

    (Too many outlets
    ...In and out!)

    Who?
     
  19. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    Allz I'll say it this... if 2 othewise equal people audition for any serious punk gig, one is downpicking and the other up and down, I guarantee the first guy is gonna get the gig.

    I was friends w Marky Ramone 28 yrs ago, and had the good fortune of being able to audition for the Ramones when Dee Dee left. I was a guitar player at the time, but rented a P bass within 5 minutes of him asking me. He told me about 10X that I had to play downstrokes only. I think they were more concerned about that than just about anything else. I didn't get the gig, obviously, but I get to at least say that I played with the Ramones. :)
     
  20. Dotted rhythms and a metronome. Play a dotted eighth then sixteenth. Gradually increase the tempo. Then play sixteenth followed by a dotted eighth. Gradually increase tempo. This was the technique my teacher in college had me use when I wanted to build my speed skills on a tricky part.
     

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