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How Do YOU Play Your Favorite P-Bass?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Plucky The Bassist, Feb 11, 2013.

  1. Fingerstyle/Plucking

    41 vote(s)
  2. Picking

    12 vote(s)
  3. Thumbstyle (Downward thumb plucks)

    0 vote(s)
  4. Pop/Slap or Double-Thumbing

    1 vote(s)
  5. Tapping

    0 vote(s)
  6. Smooth and Tangy Carrotstyle

    5 vote(s)
  1. Plucky The Bassist

    Plucky The Bassist ZOMG! I'm back from the dead! Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2010
    Houston, TX
    I'd say the most important thing I've learned recently is that given your pickup and string combination (and of course amp/effect settings too), some basses seem to prefer being played a different way than others...almost as if they have a personality. I own two P-basses, one is a custom with a DiMarzio Will Power Middle pickup and the other is a stock Squier CV 60's P. The custom has a set of nickel-plated steels (with the E string tapered at the ball end by the bridge) and my 60's P has Chrome flats on it.

    At first I felt that my Custom was lacking something and I just couldn't figure out what it was...almost having builder's remorse and wishing I never made it to begin with, until practice last Saturday. We decided to do a punk jam and I only had the bass plugged into a little Fender Rumble 15 combo with flat EQ settings. Pulled out the pick and started going to town on it, with the drum machine and the guitarist playing it just sounded all kinds of right. I noticed if I softened up my attack it didn't sound as good, nor did it seem to be as epic when the other instruments subsided. Whenever I try and use fuzz or distortion with any other bass, it sounds ok but not as good as it does with the P. Sounds good with fingers, but the pick just really makes it sing the way I like.

    Daphne, my CV 60's P, is a bit less picky than that bass. I can use a pick up close to the neck and get a great vintage tone that fits right in with a lot of my oldies favorites. Plucking by the bridge or the neck produces great oldschool tones as well. Daphne does best with the VT Bass Deluxe to give it a little extra oomph before it hits the amp.

    Though it's less versatile, I love the black Custom P that I have so much that I'd have to call it my favorite P since I use it with the band I play in now. I like the picked tone it on quite a bit, all it needs is a sweet and strong all-tube amp for it to play into!

    How about you guys? What's your favorite P and what's your favorite way to play it?
  2. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    I'm not much of a slapper, but I play finger style, or with a pick, and it has been pointed out to me that I use a fair amount of hammer ons / offs.

    I pretty much do what I have to do to get through a gig........
  3. Plucky The Bassist

    Plucky The Bassist ZOMG! I'm back from the dead! Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2010
    Houston, TX
    I've been surprised how many people have slapped on a P-bass and sounded quite good doing it. With how much shaping can be done with EQs and amps today, it doesn't surprise me. I tend to be unimaginative and like a certain tone for each of my basses...not big into the "it does it all" quest, rather spend my time playing a few basses that are great at what they do.
  4. deeptubes


    Feb 21, 2011
    Virginia Beach
    All of my basses are different. I've got them strung to accentuate their nuances, I think. My P Elite II, pp active, is strung with rounds, drop D, very beefy - my Tool-esque bass. My HM, jjj passive, is wearing Chromes. P Special Deluxe, pj passive, has tapes. I may swap the HM and Special. And, the Dimension, pj active, has rounds and is an absolute joy to play. I always play with my fingers. Sometimes I slap on the Dimension. She's just so easy to play, I feel like I can do anything on that bass.
  5. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    I play only with da' fingers man.
  6. Nashrakh


    Aug 16, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    Fingers. Primary position is in front of the pup (on the neck side with covers on). Classic tone that works for almost everything. Then behind the cover near the bridge for more attack and clarity. And then of course over the neck joint either with fingers or thumb (the latter mainly being reserved for Police songs)

    No slap, no pick. But only because I can't do either. I have a specific tone in mind that I strive for (60s RnB, psych, oldschool prog) that was fingers only so I have my priorities sorted. Pick is beginning to interest me but in all honesty I can't picture myself playing slap ever, and not because I dislike it or anything.
  7. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg , Conquest Sound
    I used to play only with a pick. I switched to finger style about 10 years ago and rarely use a pick. Depending on the song, I sometimes use my thumb and fingers. I never slap or tap.
  8. Webtroll

    Webtroll Rolling for initiative

    Apr 23, 2006
    Austin, TX
    1 & 2, so I didn't vote. Sometimes it's mood, sometimes it's sound, sometimes I forget to bring a pick, sometimes my fingers are sore. No real preference between them.
  9. funkingroovin

    funkingroovin Conquering A-D-D,and all the other notes as well!

    Apr 19, 2009
    Fingerstyle and tapping for my P equipped with an SPB-3,Badass,nickel rounds,and mpl/mpl neck.
  10. hampulator


    Feb 10, 2012
    I have a '98 Am dlx. You can def slap it,just roll to the back pup. And for finger style,I mainly play back by the bridge.
  11. howlin


    Nov 15, 2008
    I'm Not There
    I started using Herco thumb picks a while back when I managed to give myself a case of trigger finger. That said, I still play with my index & middle fingers a fair amount. I also get into using my thumb for certain sounds like palm muting, which I do with a pick as well. I'm a lefty playing righty and am of the opinion that I'm just not coordinated enough to really slap with authority lime the guys who do it best.
  12. SpectorDetector

    SpectorDetector Supporting Member

    Apr 20, 2008
    Atlanta, GA
    Where is the" all of the above" option? Okay, not much tapping at all except to tap out a harmonic or two on the octave.
  13. Steve Dallman

    Steve Dallman Supporting Member

    With my 64 P back in the 70's, I used a pick but had a fingerpicking on my ring finger for octaves. Today I use my index finger or thumb, but still use a lot of octaves to fill out our 3 piece.
  14. I play all styles when needed, but prefer fingerstyle, currently I'm without a Precision, but a custom made one is coming in about 2 weeks from now, so I'm excited :)
  15. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I playe whatever's needed on whatever bass I happen to be using.
  16. Not too sure how to vote as I use primarily fingerstyle, pick, and thumb with finger plucking, but I've occasionally used all those techniques listed on my p-bass.

    But I loves them carrots!

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