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fingers or pick

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by punk4life, Dec 1, 2003.

  1. punk4life


    Dec 1, 2003
    i just got my first bass a couple days ago and people have been telling me to use my fingers but every punk band i see is using a pick whitch is best fingers or pick
  2. Bardolph


    Jul 28, 2002
    Grand Rapids, MI
    The two techniques each give a unique sound. Try both, see what you like, do it.
  3. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Most punk uses a pick, due to speed/ease of the basslines.
  4. I myself play a lot of punk music, and if you want to imitate the sound of the well known punk bassists (Mark Hoppus, Mike Dirnt, Greg K, etc.) the only way your gonna get that sound is through playing with a pick.

    Good to see that some people still know that Punx Nawt Ded!
  5. xcental34x


    Feb 28, 2003
    Memphrica, TN
    "Punk is dead and some 14 year old kidding yelling that its not is proof."

    "As long as there is some kid with a guitar in his garage with problems, punk lives."

    Take you pick of which. I do both. Do whatever the music calls for. Im playing in an Indie band that will require speedy picking on one part and a smooth sustain on the next. If you playing straight up punk, a pick is the best choice.
  6. jdub2


    Jul 30, 2003
    Well, the one thing punk has ever taught anybody is do it yourself, do it your own way. If you want to sound like all the other so-called punk bands, go ahead, play with a pick, straight 8th or 16th notes, all downstrokes. Heck, that's how the Ramones did it. Of course, part of it was because the Ramones were not the most talented when it came to musicianship. If you want to use your fingers, go for it.

    Play the way you like, think what you think, not what others think. To hell with them. That's the punk way.
  7. redneck2wild


    Nov 27, 2002
    Memphis, TN
    It would help to learn to play with both a pick and your fingers. You will get different tones from both methods. Some studios require both methods.

    Even if you play primarily with a pick, try to play at least one song in a set with your fingers. There are some musicians out there (primarily guitarists) that think a bassist playing with a pick is a failed guitarist that couldn't cut it on guitar. I have even ran into a few bassists that thought "true bassists" don't need a pick. But then there are guys that say "4 strings" are all that is needed for a bass.
  8. ihixulu

    ihixulu Supporting Member

    Mar 31, 2000
    South Shore MA
    Funny, sad and true. On the other hand, most punk bands I've played with think that playing bass with fingers is for dorks.

    I've learned to do both over the years although I gravitate towards fingers; I find it's easier to control the tone. Picking will give you a defined, bright attack that is a bit more difficult, but not impossible, to get with fingers.
  9. ChildoftheKorn


    May 21, 2003
    play both you might find that after a while you wantto expand your musical horitzons and knowing both will definitly help you there. good luck with your bass playing.
  10. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    I agree, pick and fingers both are needed. Picks are good for that really punch attacky sound. If you need a lot of aggression to come out on a bass line, a pick is a good vehicle. Also helps to time the notes in relation to the drummer's kicks. But there's stuff you can do with your fingers that you just can't do with a pick, and when that's called for it's important to be able to do that too. Whatever the demands of your job, you can rise to the occasion.
  11. TravellinMan


    Jan 11, 2003
    NW Indiana
    I use fingerstyle been playing til had a freak accident and I lost part of my index finger! Hard to hold a pick, so I usually use my thump if not the fingers and sometimes even a thump pick!

    Take care
  12. Personally I think whatever sound you wish to adopt is the sound that will define you, whether it be through a pick or fingers, or whether you imitate someone else or go for your own thing. Many people (including me) use either pick or fingers depending on the song.

    But I just can't accept the fact that punk = pick. There are a lot of punk bassists that use their fingers. Jason Black from Hot Water Music is one of them, and I think his sound is great.
  13. I didn't mean that punk = pick. I was simply pointing out that the vast majority of the more well known punk bassists use a pick. I also play with either fingers or pick, depending on the song.
  14. Sorry about that because it wasn't my intention to single you out. I was trying to make a general statement based on the fact that there are many out there (even on the TB boards) that seem to assume that all punk rock bass is just playing fast eighths with a pick. And I guess you and I know that to not be the case. ;) Other general assumptions made are that slap/pop is a must have technique for any bassist. It's a good technique to learn, and can look impressive and sound great, but I rarely see slap/pop (some people even forget the pop) done compared to say... fingers or pick.

    To the person that started the thread: adopt a technique that you like. There's no "must" technique. But it's good to be able to have more than one trick up your sleeve.

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