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Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Jynx, Aug 13, 2004.

  1. Jynx


    Aug 13, 2004
    Hey all, im a pretty moderate bass player in alot of areas like rock and jazz ect. but im now starting to learn some metal stuff and alot of it is really fast, i need some tips for play the bass faster, and is it better to use a pick or fingers for faster playing?
  2. motorhall


    Jul 1, 2004
    Potential pick vs. fingers flame war?

    I always play with a pick anyway, but regardless of that I think that as the tempo of a song gets really fast playing with a pick helps to maintain some distinct attack, especially in a punk or metal situation where you are dealing with a wall of noise from the other instruments.

    I'll risk offending all of the Cliff Burton fans now. Listen to some early Metallica as an example of what I'm talking about. In the fast passages I can't distinguish anything that the bass is playing. It could be 8'th notes, 16'th notes, triplets, who knows? The bass just becomes an indiscriminate background noise at that point.
  3. motorhall


    Jul 1, 2004
    I suppose I should clarify and say that when speaking strictly of the ability to play fast it doesn't really matter, since there are plenty of people that play fast whether it be with fingers or a pick. I just think that your note articulation will suffer in an up-tempo punk or metal scenario if you use your fingers.
  4. Ozzyman


    Jul 21, 2004
    Learn to play with three fingers. Three fingers is ALWAYS faster than a pick, IMO.
  5. Ozzyman


    Jul 21, 2004
    Practice will eliminate any inconsistencies in attack. So, in other words you are saying playing with a pick replaces practicing finger consistency.
    Btw, were you listening to bootleg Metallica off of Kazaa? Cliff Burton cuts through the mix extremely well (unlike Jason Newstead).
  6. It seems to me that either a pick or fingers would work well for metal. It's just a matter of what sound you prefer. As far as the speed thing, It's possible to play really fast with either technique. In either case, if you want to play faster, try playing lighter and conserve your motion. Start slow and build up the speed. (Metronomes help a great deal). I know you've probably heard that a bunch, but it really is the only way to do it.
  7. That may be true, but a pick can be used fast enough for any playing situation that might arise. There's a point where more speed is completely useless. Just choose based on sound.
  8. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    Pick or fingers, the only way to get faster (in a non-sucking way) is to practice.
  9. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    That had more to do with Metallica never having any bass in the mix anyway.

    You can't hear Jason Newstead on a lot of Metallica albums either, and he uses a pick.

    Indiscriminate background noise? Listen to Steve DiGiorgio, Alex Webster, Eric Langlois etc etc and you'll hear that that isn't the case.

    Anyway, back to the original question... neither is better, but it depends on the tone YOU want. Pick playing typically tends to accent the upper midrange, giving it that "bite" or "growl". Finger playing generally sounds far more rounded and full.

    Also it may take a lot of practice to be able to play very fast stuff with your fingers, but don't let anyone tell you it's impossible.
  10. motorhall


    Jul 1, 2004
    No, I'm talking about note articulation.