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Hate it when a simple song kicks my tail

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by dean owens, Jul 26, 2012.

  1. dean owens

    dean owens

    Sep 23, 2008
    pittsboro, nc
    So I'm trying to learn a new song that I have to play at a conference in about two weeks. It's VERY easy... nothing tricky at all. So what's my problem? First I'll let you listen to the song.


    So what's my problem? I can't keep up unless..... I use a pick :eyebrow: I started as a pick player back in the late 80's/early 90's when I was playing heavy metal in jr. high and high school. By late high school I had switched to fingers and never looked back. Nothing against picks, I just enjoy sans pick. I actually like the pick sound in some songs, I just don't like using one.

    I think I'm going to have to use a pick just for this song. I have tried and tried and tried and cannot keep up unless I use a pick. As soon as I grab the pick this song is so simple I could take a nap and not miss a note.

    Just thought I'd vent to some people who might have some sympathy.
  2. Exploiter8

    Exploiter8 Demons run when a good man goes to war

    Jan 18, 2010
    Commercial FREE!
    Song reminds me of Psychedelic Furs!

    I recently listened to some tapes of me playing out in the 80's. I used a pick and I'm impressed by how good I was! I still use one when playing my 8-string but I play more reserved so as not to sound too sloppy! When I try to pick a 4-string, I've noticed my bad habit of hitting a note with my left finger as I position my right fingers after the end of certain runs. Using a pick makes the lack of actually plucking the string way too noticeable. I'm just a hobby player nowadays so it doesnt really matter but it makes me wish I wouldn't have taken a decade and a half off from bass.

    Are your bandmates playing note for note? Unless the song is REALLY familiar to the audience I bet you could get by with fingers and sustain here and there.

  3. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    Simple songs can be the hardest because it's easy to hear any mistakes. The first time I heard Fake It by Seether I thought, what a simple song. After playing it, I realized that the bass is so far out in front and so simple, you can hear every tiny thing that is even a little bit off.
  4. phillybass101


    Jan 12, 2011
    Artist, Trickfish Amplification Bartolini Emerging Artist, MTD Kingston Emerging Artist. Artist, Tsunami Cables
    Just a concentration thing. Is it a paying gig??? Your concentration will increase as the day draws near.
  5. Exploiter8

    Exploiter8 Demons run when a good man goes to war

    Jan 18, 2010
    Commercial FREE!
    Cool song, BTW!

  6. samurai1993


    Jun 6, 2010
    You could try the Geddy flamenco thing

    At least that's what I do
  7. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Sounds like that bassist is using a pick. You can do it with fingers, though. Don't try to do it at speed first, though. Practice it much slower, almost painfully slow, and don't boost the tempo until you get it perfect at the slow tempo. Then gradually work up to past the tempo of the song so you can relax when you play it at tempo. That's actually a lot harder than it sounds. Playing solid steady 8th notes in a midtempo song isn't as easy as people who haven't done it think.
  8. Jools4001

    Jools4001 Supporting Member

    +1, even if not I don't see why it would be compulsory to use fingerstyle

    +1 again

    I have the opposite issue, I used to play with both pick and fingers but picks were like ballpoint pens for me and I would lose them all the time, even when I had an old tobacco tin full of them that tin would find itself left at home and I would have no choice but play a pick tune with fingers. By and by I became very adept with fingers, but a lot of my favourite bass tones come from a pick, and many of my favourite bassists are pick players so I'm trying to learn pick techniques again - and I'm very bad at it.
  9. Nick Dilley

    Nick Dilley

    Mar 25, 2012
    This guy is definitely using a pick, so I wouldn't worry about it!! Make it happen!
  10. A picking tone is unique. Period! The closest thing to it is the thumb (technique) with a slightly long nail, and it's not exactly the same (though it has other advantages). In a nutshell . . . it is not a sin to play with a pick. When I started playing bass I used a pick frequently, then I fell into the "finger only" trap for a while, only to realize that no matter how you slice it and dice it, playing with a pick is just another sound and technique that has it's own thing going (In a parallel universe I'd love to have a "wolverine-like" finger picks that flick in and out whenever I need that picking sound).
  11. Sketchy


    Jul 15, 2010
    Bristol, UK
    Yup, I know the feeling. One of my friends wrote something that we're currently trying to record. Of everything we have, it's easily the least technical, doesn't use the fretless, doesn't use the eightstring, it just has an odd rhythm that is a total pain to get right.
  12. Bass173


    Jan 1, 2012
    Easy songs are usually harder for me. too easy to loose focus because you convince yourself you don't have to pay attention - then it becomes obvious you weren't.
  13. gearhead1972


    Feb 21, 2012
    Kent NY
    we are doing Birthday by the Beatles for a gig next weekend, Simple yet I am having trouble with the one little break. I'll get it, just annoying as hell.
  14. Clef_de_fa

    Clef_de_fa Guest

    Dec 25, 2011
    It should be as simple as playing U2 song
  15. FrenchBassQC

    FrenchBassQC Supporting Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    Gatineau QC CA
    Nothing wrong with playing the song with a pick according to this video:


    But if you realy want to play it finger style, just try what's recommended by JimmyM and that would be a good starting point and that will build muscle tone and endurance.
  16. Vinnyboonbots

    Vinnyboonbots Banned

    May 25, 2012
    If it sounds better with a pick...use a pick. (I won't tell the TB police).
  17. For your live set, use pick.

    Practice this thing relentlessly until you can play it fingerstyle as easily as pick. The tone color will vary, but that's not the issue. You're stretching. That's normal. Go for it! You will get there.

  18. dean owens

    dean owens

    Sep 23, 2008
    pittsboro, nc
    Wow, sorry for posting something and then letting it drop. Didn't really expect (m)any replies.

    To do a quick/brief response... I have nothing against picks. I like the sound for some things. One of my favorite bassists (Eddie Jackson) would use either pick or fingers depending on what he felt the song needed. I just don't like personally using a pick. I found out at our last practice that I'm really not that good at it anymore since it's been ~20 years since I've used one. By the end of the song I was getting pretty sloppy.

    I'll be playing this song at a conference that starts Saturday and goes through Wednesday. I'll keep practicing with my fingers but I'm not sure I'll get it between now and then.

    I might have to actually practice with the pick too. Like I say, I started to get sloppy near the end of the song but I also had a decent amount of buzz to deal with. My bass is setup for how I play with my fingers. It felt like I needed higher action to play with a pick and not have any buzz.

    Anyway, I'll let y'all know how it goes next week and if I'm able to pull of either techniques well :) Thanks for the encouragement and pointers. Do appreciate them.
  19. It happens quite often when I record with my band that the parts I have been dreading the most are ones that I nail pretty quick while really easy parts are the ones to take more time. In a way its frustrating but its also a really good feeling when I manage to nail the hard parts as quickly as I do.

    I dont know why that is. Perhaps there is more practice involved in the hard parts but the easy stuff is quite often just pumping 8ths or 16ths with some colouring thrown in. Its weird but thats the way it works for me.
  20. dean owens

    dean owens

    Sep 23, 2008
    pittsboro, nc
    Well guys, the conference is over. I made it through the song and it was a fun one to play. BUT I never was able to get the fingers moving fast enough so I had to go with a pick. My picking technique isn't great so I'm going to be working on this song to be able to use my fingers. Time to download a metronome app and drop it down a few bpm.

    Thanks for the understanding, encouragement, technique ideas, and sharing similar stores. I appreciate them all.

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