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have to use a pick for a tune-help!

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by shwashwa, Sep 18, 2004.


  1. shwashwa

    shwashwa

    Aug 30, 2003
    NJ
    i have a gig that requires me to use a pick playing 8th notes using only down strokes at 190 bpm. about half of it also requires right hand muting. help! how do i do this?? i get frigging tired and i dont feel like i'm driving the rhythm, which is what i'm supposed to be doing in this tune.
     
  2. Rusty Chainsaw

    Rusty Chainsaw

    Oct 15, 2002
    The Cronx
    I take it this is some kind of metal thing? If so, leave the downstrokes to the guitarist(s) - if you use alternate picking (ie, up and down strokes) the difference in sound will be negligible under the guitar chugging and you get to place your accents a lot more accurately and play a lot faster with less effort. The sound of alternate picking is the best bit of the pick sound, so why not take advantage of that?

    Failing that, get the metronome out and work on those downpicking chops. Or use your fingers. ;)

    Russ :bassist:
     
  3. shwashwa

    shwashwa

    Aug 30, 2003
    NJ
    unfortunately it's a broadway gig, and it has to be done exactly this way... downstrokes with a pick. not fingers, and not alternate picking. i can to both of those fine and it would be a great help if i were allowed to. also, a great majority of the part also has right hand muting a la anthony jackson. a thing i definately dont have together.... more help anyone?
     
  4. Rusty Chainsaw

    Rusty Chainsaw

    Oct 15, 2002
    The Cronx
    OK, slight misunderstanding there.... :cool: There's not many situations other than metal bands where you have to play downstrokes with a pick at 190bpm!

    How about this then... instead of most of the pick motion coming from your arm or wrist, try to get most of the movement out of your thumb and index finger, ie, the fingers that hold the pick. Since the motion is smaller, it can be done more quickly.

    Other than that, dunno what else I can suggest. Good luck though! :D

    Russ :bassist:
     
  5. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Oh Man! ..sounds to me like a couple of the surf-style songs I play with my band. Those are the most physically strenuous songs I have to play.

    ..and at least with the ones I'm talking about, it doesn't sound right to use alternate picking or up-strokes - I don't quite get why, but it's gotta be all downstrokes! Half of the time I have to 'take a rest' and go to alternate - or even un-muted - for a few measures.

    That is physically a very tough style. Afterwards, I'm makin' a face and shaking my hand.

    Joe
     
  6. shwashwa

    shwashwa

    Aug 30, 2003
    NJ
    ok, that's the type of thing i have to do too. you play those songs muted too? i think can picture now some old surf songs that probably have that sound now that you mention it. this is all a very new style to me... so how do you do it???


     
  7. Steve

    Steve

    Aug 10, 2001
    I don't think you can bull your way to that kind of speed using just down strokes. It takes eficiency and economy of motion which is a technique issue which means the wood shed and time.

    Other than that, maybe some kind of foam mute under the strings at the bridge a la Carol Kaye will free you up from having to mute with your right hand?
     
  8. shwashwa

    shwashwa

    Aug 30, 2003
    NJ
    unfortunately i cant use a foam mute because part of the song is played open and part is muted. it goes back and forth. and the regular bass player plays it all downstrokes, so i know it can be done, i guess i just have to practice. i guess my questions were more along the lines of: how do i hold the pick for this kind of thing? how do you actually make the stroke at this kind of speed? where is it coming from? what muscles? i know carol kaye has some good tips for using the pick, but not using all downstrokes at this speed. shes into alternate picking, and she used the foam mute, so i think i may have to approach holding it differently than her if i want to mute with my hand...i've been a finger player all my life, so this is really new to me.
     
  9. Christopher

    Christopher

    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    Consecutive 8th note downstrokes at 190 bpm? Whoever scored this obviously wasn't a bassist (or guitarist).

    My advice: manage for as long as you can, then hide your right hand behind your music stand or something when you get tired and switch to alternate picking.

    I bet the conductor/director won't know the diff when he's not looking.
     
  10. Selta

    Selta

    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    Firstly, uses lighter gague picks. A heavy pick makes it more difficult for speed picking I've noticed.
    What I do when I "need" to mute with the right hand and pick fastly is use my pinky to hold the string that needs muting while grinding away. Kinda hard to do at first, but after an hour or so of practice you'd get it (hardest part is getting your pinky to keep on the string so it mute evenly note to note).
    After you get your technique, play play and play! Just like anything else, practice will make perfect.

    Ray
     
  11. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    I think that's the answer, Shwameister.

    Joe
     
  12. josh_m

    josh_m

    May 5, 2004
    Davie, Fl
    use one of those banjo thumb picks? thats my best suggestion, mute at the bridge and then use your thumb to pick the notes.
     
  13. shwashwa

    shwashwa

    Aug 30, 2003
    NJ
    thanks for all the responses guys... my favorite one was hide my hand and go to alternate picking when i get tired! i'll probably do that, but before the regular bass player calls me as a sub i'll have to nail it in front of him in a practice session together. (its kind of a high profile gig, so he'll want to make sure) i'll let you all know how i do, and if i even get the darn gig at all!
     
  14. jammadave

    jammadave Rudderless ship Supporting Member

    Oct 15, 2003
    Wash DC metro area
    I'd say go ahead and use just one single upstroke.

    Take the longest finger of your hand and extend it directly toward the ceiling while keeping the rest closed.

    And then extend your arm out in the direction of anybody who tries to tell you exactly how to play your instrument because of a visual stigma or anything else as asinine.
     
  15. shwashwa

    shwashwa

    Aug 30, 2003
    NJ
    lol, awesome... but i do actually think it's a tone thing. you can hear the difference between all down strokes and alternate picking. and they want pick for this tune, although i think i can get a close sound with my fingers and some eq.
     
  16. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Ha - you're slayin' me Jamma. Good one.

    Shwameister is right though - it's not a world of difference, but all-downstrokes, palm-muted, carries with it a unique sound (and a unique sort of pain too). Try it. Try it. Go ahead!

    Hey, did he just flip me off? ..toward Milwaukee now!

    Joe
     
  17. jammadave

    jammadave Rudderless ship Supporting Member

    Oct 15, 2003
    Wash DC metro area
    LOL - well, if the tone is different then the tone is different. I don't think I've ever had a need to play that type of bassline at that speed, so I really wouldn't know, but when palm-muting I don't hear too much difference between down and up, myself.

    I was suggesting that particular "technique" above based on the evidence that the visual aspect had a lot to do with the mandate.
     
  18. johnvice

    johnvice

    Sep 7, 2004
    I was of the mindset since I began playing bass (in 1980) that picks are for guitarists. What changed me was Guitar World’s Bass Guitar magazine. Jason Newstead explains in his column his picking techniques. What really got me was John Paul Jones discussing his right hand techniques: not just a a pick but, two fingers, one finger and three fingers.

    What really got me was an article on Chris Squire and a transcription to “Roundabout”. Followed the performance notes and successfully incorporating picking into my technique.

    I would offer the following advice.

    1. Hold the pick with three fingers. Your thumb on the side facing you and your index and middle finger on eth other side. To do this you really need to…
    2. Use a big pick. I use these Jim Dunlop picks that are triangle shaped and big. It makes it easy to grab the pick with three fingers.
    3. Use a thick pick at least 1 millimeter. Skinny picks tend to flop against the thick bass strings. Also, for speed, a thick pick makes it easier for you to alternate up/down strokes
    4. Start slow and easy and work up. I started out trying to play “Roundabout” and got frustrated as learning Chris Squire ain’t Bass Playing 101 (not to mention he uses a lot of right hand muting with his picking which is a whole other technique.) My suggestion is look at your band’s repertoire for songs that are slow and simple and use a pick on this. Once you get the basics mechanics down and develop some stamina, try something harder.
    5. Develop an upstroke/downstroke technique. The eight note two sixteenth note “gallop” rhythms lend themselves to picking efficiency. One of favorite songs to practice this is “The Immigrant Song” by Led Zeppelin. It’s at a tempo where you can play the whole thing in downstrokes. Once you have mastered that, try playing the second sixteenth note in the verses as an upstroke. The choruses are all sixteenth notes, which should also be played in up/down stroke combos.