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Few questions about using a pick...

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by MistaMarko, Apr 30, 2006.

  1. MistaMarko


    Feb 3, 2006
    1. Whenever I try to use a pick, I notice it sounds really muddy, due to the ringing strings in the background. What is the traditional way to mute strings using a pick...is it palm muting? Or something with the left-hand?

    2. When picking on a bass...do most people use a soft pick, or a really heavy one? I don't see why you would use a flimsy one, but I was just asking other people's opinions.
  2. BadB


    May 25, 2005
    AZ, USA
    Mutes with both hands. Picks are more commonly heavy. The most popular for bass I believe is .88 , but use what's comfortable for you. Hey, at least they're cheap as dirt.
  3. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    1. I find myself using more palm muting than anything, but typical left hand muting is a must in any playing style.

    2. I use a 1.00mm Dunlop Tortex Triangle or Ultex Triangle for picking purposes. Nice and thick. I'll mail you one if you'd like to check it out, because I find a lot of stores don't carry them.
  4. I use a combination of both hands to mute, and I use a .48 pick.

  5. MistaMarko


    Feb 3, 2006
    I see. I keep a black Fender pick labeled HEAVY. Anyone have any idea what size those are? I'm sure its a standard for Fender HEAVY picks.
  6. i use the same fender picks, i have sparkly white ones and shiny abalone ones, they just feel right
  7. Vic Winters

    Vic Winters Supporting Member

    Apr 20, 2006
    Rochester, NY
    Jim Dunlop Big Stubby 2.0mm. The grooves give it a nice feel. I might even try the 3.0mm.
  8. Smallmouth_Bass


    Dec 29, 2005
    I do most of my muting with my left hand, although I usually play fingerstyle and use both hands to mute effectively.

    I like Dunlop 1mm nylon picks (the black ones). They are not too stiff or too flimsy and they grip well.
  9. I have used pretty much every pick, I used to really fetishize them. I even used metal and plastic thumbpicks for a while. I personally can find no better than tortex. Something about the texture of them doesnt slip as much as others, or break as much. I can really choke up on them and play fast and do all those other guitar things like false harmonics.
    As far as guage, I've used the yellow 73s for about 8-10 years. I used to use the blues and purples, but those dont really click thru a string the way a softer pick does. And i used to break a lot more strings. The softer ones play faster but have less punch. For me, and my small hands, the yellos ace it.
    I would just go to a guitar store and ask for the pick case and play with a bunch of different ones and find like dozen you like, then take em home to figure out which one suits you. Nobody else has hands just like yours so its really personal preference, like shoes or malt beverages.
    As far as muting, it isn't any different with a pick, you just need to aim better and not hit adjacent strings that arent involved in the current intended note(s). It takes a while, but muscle memory is a wonderful thing.
  10. cowsgomoo

    cowsgomoo gone to Longstanton Spice Museum

    Feb 8, 2003
    I mute mostly with my left, unless I'm playing something that calls specifically for a palm muted sound

    pick choice is a matter of personal preference, like the others have said... and they're cheap enough for you to try several til you find a suitable one... most people tend to settle on 'heavy-ish'
  11. charic


    Apr 17, 2006
    :cool: I like my venom heavy picks
  12. The BurgerMeister

    The BurgerMeister musician.

    Apr 13, 2006
    Big Bear, CA
    those fender HEAVY picks are about a .88 in thickness. like the green tortex, which are my faves.
    i mostly use my left hand to mute when i use a pick. the right hand palm mute has a specific sound that i use for certain scenarios... like, when i need a deadened... well... palm-muted sound.
    ya. mang.
  13. Pruitt


    Jun 30, 2005
    Danbury, CT
    I use a number of different picks all fairly thick, from about .88 and up. Tortex and Celluloid work well for that heavy attack with bright transients. What has become my standard pick, are the Wedgie brand Rubber picks. I use both the 3.0mm and 5.1mm Hard varieties. They give a bit more muted transients when attacking. But what I use all depends on the style of the song and the sound I'm looking for. I always have one of each kind within easy reach for when needed. Or I'll just play finger style when that's needed. It's all good. :bassist:
  14. All_¥our_Bass


    Dec 26, 2004

    I used to use the silver fender heavies, but they wear down when I'd play fast, hard, or pickscrape (I'm an advant garde kinda guy). Now I've got some tortex (1.14 mm, the regular guitar kind). THOSE THINGS ARE FRIGGIN INVINCIBLE!! can play, play, play, play a whole five minutes in fortissimo, scrape away all you want and it's fine, not even a mark.
  15. Kronos


    Dec 28, 2005
    Philadelphia, PA
    When I play pickstyle, I have to go with the Tortex .73 (yellow). I need some flex in my pick, so I can't go for the heavy picks.
  16. Sonorous


    Oct 1, 2003
    Denton, TX
    I'm mostly a fingerstyle player, but use a pick sometimes. I use both of my hands to mute depending on the situation, and I play with a 3.0 mm Big Stubby pick and I love it.

    It's made from some kind of really stiff plastic, and its kind of rounded at the end. When you hit a string with it, the string sort of rolls off the pick. It gives it the big meaty tone of fingerstyle, but with the attack and punch of a pick. Thats why I like it so much.
  17. barthanatos

    barthanatos Insert witty comment here

    Feb 8, 2006
    South Carolina
    You can deal with this by mounting a piece of foamy rubber against your bridge, underneath the strings. It should be just tall enough to touch the strings, not pushing on them hard, or even really pushing on them soft. Just touching.

    Of course all the other stuff said about muting is also good.
  18. D Von

    D Von

    Nov 13, 2005
    Rhode Island
    I'm a metal player and do a lot of gallops and other fast picking. My weapon of choice is the Dunlop 1 mm Nylon. I think its just right for a metal situation. I have found that there isnt much friction on them which makes them easy to slip out of your hands, but hat could just be my playing style... But, it is all personal preference, my friend used the 2mm gatorgrips and loved them, i found it hard to gallop and play fast with a pick that thick. You can get a pack of picks for like 3 beans and if you dont like em, who cares, sell em.
  19. About the tortex. I have lpayed an entire show with my tortex 73 yellows. Didnt slip or drop it once. They dont crack or tear or delam. I have no idea how they do it. I used to really wear them down when I played with the green tortexes. I used greens for years. They are thicker, and that made me apply more force. I found it productive to go to a thinner pick. My right hand now has more stamina and speed with the medium pick. Of course this all depends on what you are playing. I play hardcore punk metal, avant/noise, hip hop and new wave. I use the same picks all the time I just have really gone out there to find the one that had exactly the right amount of flex for my hands. I cant reccomend tortex too much! Another interesting pick you never see anymore are felt picks. They are pressed lumps of felt about half an inch thick. Sounds just like a finger! I used to screw around with them when my fingers would be bloody from 3 hours of practice (man I used to be nuts).
  20. Skel


    Jun 19, 2005
    Boulder, Colorado
    To me, muddiness, and ringing are 2 totally different things that I can't imagine being associated. I also think the last thing you would get is a muddy sound using a pick. With that said, can you play a 6 string guitar? I can, so I have learned to mute with my left hand. Although I use medium picks for guitar and I have no problem using them with bass, I received some advice from an old LA studio bassist, Carol Kaye, who told me to use heavy picks, so that's what I use. Any heavy pick will do, but I just use Fenders out of years of habit. You definitely need to adjust *something* when using a pick. I have found that a little tweaking on the basse's tone controls make it so you don't have to touch the amp unless you want to.

    The 2 amps I've been using lately, an SVT-3 PRO/SVT610HLF and an Eden CXC1015 both sound (I hate to say it) better with a pick than with my fingers. I'm using mostly a Ric 4003.

    If I were you, I would get a cheap Fender 6 string like a squire, and practice using a pick. Then when you play your bass, it will seem so much easier, especially the subconcious muting skills you will develop.

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