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Finger picks for bass?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by The_Phoenician, Aug 17, 2013.

  1. I've always liked the tones players like Chris Squire get by playing with a pick, but I've never been able to get the hang of playing with one. If I used the same kinds of finger picks that guitarists like Freddie King used, would I be able to get a pick sound while still playing with my fingers?
  2. Fingerpicks are picks that you clip onto your fingers, not flimsy guitarist picks, they're thicker. I doubt it would work too well because I think you'd pull them off trying to play on the bugger strings.
  3. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
  4. gavinspoon


    Feb 11, 2008
    Cardiff UK
    I tried it with metal banjo style picks, and it was a cool pick like sound. I prefer them to the plastic ones because you can more easily reshape them to fit your fingers better (there's advice on doing this on banjo forums). They're cheap enough that you can try it out without breaking the bank, so you might as well try it.

    In the end I stopped using them because I like being able to switch between pick and fingers mid song.
  5. Jaco Taco

    Jaco Taco

    Jul 30, 2012
    You could always just grow out your fingernails, that will get you pretty much a plectrum sound without the hassle of sticking things on your fingers. I've played with my fingernails for about 30 years now.
  6. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Ew, I can't stand the touch of nails on strings...like chalk squeaking on a blackboard ;) Gives me the chills. How do you take it?
  7. The bassist from Godsmack uses them if i remember correctly. His name is Robbie Merrill.

    i think he uses the dunlop fingerpicks.
  8. I tried for a while, couldn't make it work. They just sort of fell off, or wrapped around the string too much.
  9. The various bass players (Rockette Morton and Eric Drew Feldman) in Captain Beefheart's bands used banjo picks.
  10. Mktrat

    Mktrat Seriously, are we not doing phrasing anymore? Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2013
    The Mitten
    How can you frail without a bit of fingernail?

    +1 Robbie Merrill uses fingerpicks quite well.
  11. When I saw Night Ranger last Sunday, it looked like their bassist/singer used a thumb pick.
  12. I use a thumb pick, and I grow my fingernails out a bit for the plectrum sound while playing fingerstyle. The thumb pick is just for incorporating the thumb in, though, obviously, so it's not much related...just thought I'd throw that out since it was brought up.

    As long as you maintain your nails well, by not allowing them too get too long, they should be able to take just about all you can throw at them just fine. I would just do this, were I you.
  13. soundmeds_bass


    Aug 4, 2013
    If it's Chris Squier's sound you're after simply try to do pinched harminics while playing with a pick. I'm pretty sure that's his own explanation to his sound. That and the fact that his Rickenbacker has been modified through the years.
  14. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I don't mind the backs of my nails getting hit by strings. But I greatly mind the fronts and tips. Not only does it give me the chills, but I worry constantly about ripping a nail right off.
  15. Jaco Taco

    Jaco Taco

    Jul 30, 2012
    I suppose it all depends on how strong/thick your nails are but I've never had mine break or chip from playing bass and I grow them long, like a good half inch past my finger. Been doing this since the 80's.
  16. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    My nails do suck.
  17. Exploiter8

    Exploiter8 Demons run when a good man goes to war

    Jan 18, 2010
    Commercial FREE!
    John Wetton is quite the thumb-picker!

  18. ngh


    Feb 6, 2013
    brooklyn, ny
    I went through a phase for a while where i was trying to integrate thumb picks into my technique. my reasoning being I could easily switch from finger style to a pick without any effort, and within a song if necessary. i soon realized that I don't like playing with a pick... I do think the idea was inspired though!