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help! I cant play with a pick!

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Ketch27, Aug 12, 2001.


  1. Ketch27

    Ketch27

    May 4, 2001
    IL
    I just cant seem to play with a pick very well if my life depended on it. I've tried and practiced and everything but it's no use. I cant keep a steady upstroke and downstroke. I'm thinking maybe a thicker pick, but i dont know.
     
  2. downward spiral

    downward spiral

    Jul 20, 2001
    I just posted about that in another thread... yeah me too! I have tried all kinds of pics, thin ones and two mm ones and steel ones, but I just really can't get it to sounds right. I play for around an hour struggling with the pic and then just throw it down and play faster and better with my fingers... I dont know what the prob is.
     
  3. "The prob" is likely that you're not used to playing with a pick, so it seems awkward for you.

    BUT, instead of throwing it down, you could set aside some time each day to practice playing with a pick. It's like learning to slap/tap/bow/whatever.
    Think of it this way: when you started out, was playing fingerstyle awkward for you?

    Chances are, it was. Then, think about playing with a pick...is it awkward for you? But now you can play fingerstyle pretty well after how long of playing? So then if you start practicing with a pick, then you will get better at it. :)

    Of course, if you have no desire to learn to play with a pick, then by all means, finger away at your bass. But if you want to learn how to play with a pick, you'll have to take the time to learn and practice with a pick. :)
     
  4. Ívar Þórólfsson

    Ívar Þórólfsson Mmmmmm... Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2001
    Kopavogur, Iceland
    Just as Sheepman said....it´s al in the practise.
    The more you put into it, the more you get out of it.

    Fortunately I never had this problem, I used both my fingers and a pick when I first started playing the bass.

    Practise
    Practise
    Practise
    Practise
    :D
     
  5. Enter Mr. Smarty pants, annoyed
    Mr. Smarty pants:
    The word, my friend, is practice.
    practice
    practice
    practice

    :D:p
     
  6. Freakapotamus9

    Freakapotamus9

    Jun 20, 2001
    Nebraska
    i once had the same problem. i wanted to learn how to use the thing so i found myself using it more. the more i used it, the more familiar i became with it. im still not perfect at it, but im A LOT better than i was. dont expect to just start using it, and the next day be mike dirnt. it takes time and whats that word ........ oh yes practice, thats it, thank you sheep man.
     
  7. BassDude24

    BassDude24

    Sep 12, 2000
    Never really had that problem, it is such a bassic concept. But nevertheless, don't fret, your better off without it.

    So if you never lean to use on, then you never have to worry about being stuck with it and looking like most other bassists out there who don't really know what they are doing.
     
  8. PollyBass

    PollyBass ******

    Jun 25, 2001
    Shreveport, LA
    Hey. i play with a pick, and it was pretty funky for me learning the pick on bass. its mostly a problem because of the strings being big. it takes alot of practise. esspicly if your doing upstrokes as well. just keep at it. itl come. i wonder how many really DO use a pick.
     
  9. Do you have a metronome?

    If not get one. Then put it at a speed that you can do it for a while properly. Every couple of days or a week turn it up a little bit, in time you will have it and have it good.
     
  10. downward spiral

    downward spiral

    Jul 20, 2001
    well I never had a problem with finger picking. maybe cause I have been playing piano for six years, and my fingers are pretty swift in that aspect... I do have a metronome and I will overcome this obstacle.
     
  11. my problem is i cant use a pick by moving my arm. i have to just move the wrist. how do u people do it?? how can you move your arm so your hand hits one and one string only but still passes over the other strings with out making a noise?
     
  12. Like they said, like everything, its just practice. Also remember that it isnt a guitar, bass picking technique is much different then a guitar. Dont use a strumming motion. Picking a bass string involves very little movement, just a small twist of the wrist in a kind of flicking motion when the pick is on the string, nothing more.
    Jim
     
  13. I started out using a pick since I went from guitar to bass. When I started going on this site every corner I turned to people told me to drop the pick and use my fingers...but when I tried that it felt very awkward and I went very slow. The thing that finally got me to use my fingers permenently was losing all my picks (aliens took them those bastards).
    Anyway the point Im trying to make is that you need to loose all of your fingers then turn to the only alternative...picks glued to your finger stubs.

    Hope I was some help
    .
    .
    .
    Its late.
    .
    .
    .
    Don't mind me.
     
  14. kasuals

    kasuals

    Jul 20, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    I had learned to play guitar before I learned to play bass, so I don't have much trouble moving my wrist instead of my whole arm. Just remember to keep your wrist loose, and DONT use your arm or shoulder.

    You wont get the same tone out of your bass with a pick, so don't really try. You tend to get a higher tone from it. I find that softer picks seem to work best for me, because I have to pick fast. Real fast.

    Also, know when to pick and when not to. Just like slapping and popping, know when to use a pick and when to pluck your strings. It can change everything.
     
  15. Bass Guitar

    Bass Guitar Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2001
    Playing with the pick is difficult to pick up when you have played finger-style for years, and have never played with a pick before with another instrument like a guitar. I find it difficult, and tend to fall back on using my longish fingernails to achieve the same sound (but not the same speed).
     
  16. Ívar Þórólfsson

    Ívar Þórólfsson Mmmmmm... Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2001
    Kopavogur, Iceland
    :eek: Oops....My mistake :eek:

    Thanks Mr. Smarty pants ;)
     
  17. PollyBass

    PollyBass ******

    Jun 25, 2001
    Shreveport, LA
    Someone said NOT to use your arm or shoulder. but, if your bass is low enough, you CAN use it to increase your stamina. it wont make you a freak or anything. a good example of this is mike dirnt of green day. he uses more of a "Jackhamer" style. meaning he uses hes whole arm. And from what ive seen , he still looks normal. but your bass has to be so low that your arm almost has to be strait. sorry. i had to bring this alteritave out.
     
  18. Enter Mr. Smarty pants, obviously irritated
    Mr. Smarty pants:
    The word, Polly, is straight.

    straight
    straight
    straight
    straight


    :D:p
     
  19. kasuals

    kasuals

    Jul 20, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    True. Mike does use his whole arm to speed up his picking, I didn't think of that, but as Pollybass said, you'll have to keep it extremely low. If you don't, you'll find it hurts to wake up on that shoulder in the morning. I've done alot damage when I first started out from improper technique. More so with picking than with improper left hand positions.

    One thing I found that helps, if you don't want your bass that low, rest your pinky against the back of the bridge. This will give you something to rest against so you aren't forced to lean against the bass when trying to pick fast. You shouldn't have to move your hand up and down to pick different strings this way either.

    Course, it may work differently for you :) Just thought I'd share.
     
  20. Ketch27

    Ketch27

    May 4, 2001
    IL
    Thanks for the help. I knew I'd hear Practice, Practice, Practice at least once :)
    My aunt got me an metronome and I'll start using it, and I'll try the pinky and bridge idea too. I dont like using my arm. I'm afraid I'll hit the other strings on accident.