how do i play bass with pick fast

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by SabilTheBassist, May 24, 2021.

  1. SabilTheBassist


    Dec 5, 2020
    im good at picking but bad at fretting i was practicing from slow to fast but its still hard, i was playing the stuck with me song by green day. also i use a jazz bass maple neck
    Rip Van Dan likes this.
  2. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    The only way to perfect a technique is by regular focused practice. And practicing the right way. If you can possibly takes some lessons with an actual teacher it would definitely help.
    Last edited: May 24, 2021
  3. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    If it is "still hard," then you moved too quickly "from slow to fast." Go back to slow -- as slow as necessary to ensure that you can play the entire line(s) perfectly every time. Then increase the speed by a small amount, and practice that until you can play it perfectly, etc. The more you try to practice at a tempo faster than you can play perfectly you will just be practicing making mistakes. As they say, it isn't that practice makes perfect; it's that perfect practice makes perfect.
  4. WrapRough


    Jan 26, 2021
    I personally need to spend quite a while at a certain speed before moving up. For example, last night I was practicing the Adam Nitti speed doubling exercise, and I got up to 200bpm. Any higher was mistake central. However, that does not mean I can not play it at 200bpm consistently and comfortably - i just got up to that speed last night. So today I will use 190bpm as my ceiling, and try and play cleanly and consistently at that speed, building up stamina. Once I feel really comfortable at that speed (no mistakes, no tension etc), then I start to push it up at 10bpm at a time. It takes months to really increase speed IMO.
    dkelley likes this.
  5. lfmn16


    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    There are no tricks, short cuts or secrets. Lots of hard work is the only way. It may take months of daily practice to get where you want to be. It may take years.
  6. onestone


    Jan 18, 2013
    A little something to get you started:

    And how it's actually done :):

    mikewalker, Seanto, Yaralag and 5 others like this.
  7. Goatrope

    Goatrope Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2011
    Sarasota Florida
    I’m mainly a finger-style player, but will use a pick a few times per gig.

    Currently I’m working out a new song ( Out on the Tiles), and decided to go with a pick approach.

    Even after several decades of playing and learning, I still start by making sure I’m hitting the right notes. So I’ll approach slowly, irrespective of timing, and get my fingers to the right frets, in the correct order.

    While I’m doing this, I try to optimize my picking, up and down strokes, to see what works best for string crossing and feel.

    After I’ve mapped all that out, I work on playing smoothly, with a metronome, and build up speed gradually.

    It’s work and requires more focus for me than finger style, where learning and tempo comes more naturally.

    After all that, I have to teach my drummer. :thumbsup::roflmao:
    Resonance129 and The Mogpipe like this.
  8. practice practice practice. and when youre done practicing. practice some more... learn finger exercises first before songs.. learn where the sounds are from the exercises... always start off slow. dont give up if it doesnt work out right away.. i am not a failure. i found 100000 ways that dont work
    ctmullins likes this.
  9. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    I do find it can help to try starting a run with an up stoke Vs downstroke and visa versa. You can also use all down or all up strokes. It depends on the song but it can make a huge difference IME.
  10. john m

    john m Supporting Member

    Jan 15, 2006
    The same way you play slowly, only faster.

    Get some type of metronome and increase the tempo in small increments.

    As others have said, if you can’t play it slowly and correctly, playing fast is not possible.

    Just like the gym, start with 2 push-ups and increase one or two at a time.
    You’ll eventually get to 25 or more.
  11. AFRO


    Aug 29, 2010
    reminds me of a story..(that I just fabricated in my head)

    One day....
    A young aspiring Bass playing grasshopper came across a wise Praying mantis. He tells the Wise mantis he wants to play fast Bass with a pick ... then he asks the Wise mantis "How come I cannot play very fast with a pick yet?".

    [the mantis replied]

    "One must earn their prerequisite 'Tortoise competency' badge/belt/patch, before advancing to the 'Fast Hare' badge/belt/patch course. Have you earned your "Tortoise badge/belt/patch?"

    [the grasshopper thought to himself.. why no, I have not]

    The grasshopper promptly purchased a metronome -or equivalent web based app, or software- set it to slow tempo (say 40 BPM) and proceeded to rock out until his "Slow chops" were crisp clean and on point. eventually and he joined a band and played fast with a pick Bass happily ever after!;):thumbsup::bassist:

    for reals though:
    you need to maintain a relaxed grip on the pick, and must develop a relaxed picking technique. it is a hard trick to play on your mind, but relaxed is the key.

    look through this vid by SammyG (samuraiguitarist)
    8:48, and 23:50 are the guest-tips I feel most translate to Bass pick playing.. but I posted this vid in another thread already for stamina, but I believe this video can service a dual purpose. the whole vid is good, but I think the above highlights are up your alley.

    Stay Low
    mikewalker, Seanto and red_bassist like this.
  12. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    I re-started playing bass 11 years ago. In my prior life, I had always played with one finger on my plucking hand (about the only thing my playing had in common with Jamerson). When I re-started, due to some wrist issues, I have a slow index finger on my plucking hand, so.....2 fingers it is. Despite (maybe because of) decades of playing before that, it took a good year for me to become comfortable with that technique, to where I wouldn't fall back on one finger when the going got tough.

    Things take time to learn and internalize. The skills you get from 10000 hours of practice take...10000 hours. Patience.
    BarfanyShart and JimmyM like this.
  13. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    You don't start out playing fast. If it were that easy, everyone could do it. You start out playing painfully slow, then you try to build up speed as you go. Take that Green Day song to well below half the tempo and practice it that slow for a while. Easy to find free programs that will do that for you and not change the pitch. It'll sound odd, but it works.
  14. Playing punk, will require a low playing position. Ergnomics are very important if you are going to play Dee Dee Ramone downstroke style and not experience discomfort in your arm. Your picking arm should be fairly straight and pick from the wrist. Keep your arm relaxed and in time you will build up speed and accuracy. One song to practice to is Highway Star. (It took me about a month to master it) It has several parts and is very fast with downstroke picking. Take it slow and learn the parts. Speed will come slowly. When you can play the entire song without discomfort then you will find that you can play just about any punk/new wave/ hard rock tune with ease. Good luck. :thumbsup:
    eddybuzzard likes this.
  15. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011

    A couple of things I recommend. #1 slow things down and work the line up to tempo. This is something even experienced players do.

    #2 if you cannot sustain the required tempo you have to simplify for performance; but for practice it can be beneficial to break the line down into sections. Often you can play about 3-4 notes much faster than the tempo you can sustain. So break the line down into short sections you can actually play. You might want to break the sections down a couple of different ways, so you are practicing all note combinations at tempo.

    In my experience, playing bursts is sort of a gateway to increasing your speed. Eventually the speed will come and you will probably be surprised when it does.
  16. Lesfunk

    Lesfunk Bootlegger guitars : S.I.T. Strings Supporting Member

    Apr 5, 2007
    Florida USA
    That’s the only way to the truth.
    Start slow and comfortable and keep at it.
    Rome was not built in a single day.
    You can do it!
    Wasnex likes this.
  17. TheSeagoats


    May 21, 2015
    Play slow and gradually speed it up. Slow is smooth and smooth is fast.
  18. The most important rule, imho, for practicing to be effective, is to ONLY EVER play it as fast as you can play it over and over again perfectly. Perfect practicing, at a slow speed, over and over, teaches your brain how to play it, and simultaneously builds up the right muscles in your fingers/hands/arms.

    After a couple of days of being able to consistently and reliably play it perfectly over and over at a particular slow speed, it can be REALLY slow, wahtever works... try speeding it up A BIT. Not all at once. Only speed it up when you can reliably play it over and over again at that somewhat faster speed. Nobody expects it to be full speed yet.

    Several more days like that... 1, 2, 5, 20, however many days of playing it like that until it's solid as a rock. Sleeping afterwards overnight, I swear, lets it sort of sink into you brain into an automatic mode, which is part of the process.

    Rinse, repeat, after several days, and eventually you've got it.

    If it's not THAT far off in the first place, only do this whole thing on the trouble spots, or speed it up sooner, whatever you are capable of doing.
  19. JeezyMcNuggles

    JeezyMcNuggles Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2018
    Santa Maria, CA
    I suck, but nobody really notices
  20. BarfanyShart


    Sep 19, 2019
    DC Metro
    It's the old chestnut "if you can play it slow, you can play it fast." My kid just gave me one of his felt picks (a particularly heavy one) because he thought it would be good for bass, so I have been messing around with a pick again. What playing with a pick has recently reminded me of is that every time you change the right hand technique, it takes A LOT of slow, careful practice to coordinate left hand and right hand together to make it sound clean. But, hey, if practicing wasn't even more fun than being a rock star, there wouldn't be so many people playing in their bedrooms.
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    Primary TB Assistant

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