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How does everyone pick/pluck chords?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by btrag, May 12, 2005.

  1. btrag


    Mar 7, 2005
    I love playing chords on my p-bass, but usually, I only play power cords, where the root lies on the A string. Anyways, I have several methods for striking the strings and I can't decide which I prefer, or which sounds cleanest. They are:
    1. Using three fingers and simultenously popping each note of the chord.
    2. "Raking" each string with my index finger, like a very quick arpeggio
    3. Strumming the strings, like one would strum an acoustic guitar.

    How do you play them with your picking hand? And, while I'm thinking of it, how often do you incorporate chords into songs? Sometimes, I'll get quizzical looks from bandmates when I play a chord very high on the neck. I'm just experimenting is all.....
  2. seanlava


    Apr 14, 2005
    I play chords by using a quick right hand strum that strikes the strings with the backs of my fingernails. The technique is similar to the hand position you'd use if you had a pick in your hand. This will sound the brightest, and your chords won't sound as muddy as they would if you pluck the notes with the pads of your fingers.
  3. I don't acctully incorporate chords persay in any songs that I can think of, but I do quite often play three note in rapid succession and let them ring altogether. Say like a dom7 R,3,b7. I would reccomend that if you're going to use chords, in a song to play them in a higher register. low chords on a bass get muddy. It's the hole overtone series thing. The higher the register the closer interaval you can play with out notes clashing. But it is also a desired effect thing, sometimes muddy in the context of a group will have a completely different sound than the stand alone sound of a bass chord. The rest of your band doesn't play bass, and they shouldn't dictate what you play. If you want to play a chord play it during the song, and they may say cool. but if you ask them about it before hand it might not sound as good.
  4. Thumb, index, middle over 3 strings. With powerchords, just index and middle.
  5. Strumming the chord will sound better on higher end basses, especially if the bass has an extra top string like in 6s basses. When I strum, I, like as mentioned above, use the back of my fingernail. I make sure that my touch is light and quick. Upstrumming is something that doesnn't seem possible atm but I'm slowly working on it.
  6. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    Three fingers, three strings.
  7. ERIC31


    Jul 1, 2002
    Maricopa, AZ
    that's exactly what I do. I copped it from Mark King of Level 42. :D
  8. WillBuckingham


    Mar 30, 2005
    for double stops, in which I usually voice either the one and 10 or the one and 7, I use index and middle, so as not to have to move right hand position. For triple stops: thumb, index, middle. Jaco used the same system, and I've seen George Porter Jr. do the same.
  9. a guitar no-bass teacher told me upstrokes are different from downstrokes becuase of gravity. the force of gravity will guide a downstroke, but it will also cause you to fight the upstrokes. like I said b4 I don't strum my bass, but I'm still a heck of a good guitarist. No master shredder, but I can play & produce with one.
  10. bonscottvocals


    Feb 10, 2005
    Upstate NY
    I 'pluck' with all 2 or 3 fingers at the same time rather than rack or strum. [There is a name for the technique, which eludes me at the moment.] I prefer 2 finger power chords, but there have been times when I'll let an open string ring over them to give the chord depth while the guitar player is off and I'm laying down with just myself and the drummer in the pocket. (sounds erotic, doesn't it? :p )
  11. totally depends on the song. Sometimes pluck, sometimes strum, sometimes bang the snot out of it (sober-Tool).
  12. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    It depends.

    If I want all of the notes to ring out together, I will either rake or strum.

    If I want to arpeggiate the chord, I will use thumb, index finger, and middle finger, for a quick run, or one finger for a slower one.

    I use a lot more doublestops than I do chords. For doublestops, I will do one note with my index finger, and the other with my ring finger. But I will occasionally play the root, fret the second note, and then tap the harmonic twelve frets up.

    On one of our newer songs, I use chords, but I arpeggiate them by tapping each note and then holding it until all are sounding.
  13. Petary791


    Feb 20, 2005
    Michigan, USA
    I pop 2 strings at the same time or I flamenco. :bassist:
  14. depending on the song and what effect im after, ill either

    A) Pop using my index and middle, ring if needed
    B) Strum ala Les Claypool
    C) Pluck using my Thumb, Index and middle if needed
    D) Tap it out
  15. Jazzin'

    Jazzin' ...Bluesin' and Funkin'

    Thumb+index(+ middle)
  16. LittleJaco


    Nov 4, 2004
    it really depends on what kind of chord sound you want. basically for average chords I'll play the notes at the very end of where the strings are at the body and pull on them. this causes the tones all to come out evenly. In like raggy jazzz or something very outta control i use my thumb on the fretboard to fiercely strum the strings. otherwise i just pull at them at random places.

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