1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

How fast is your picking hand?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by njones89, Apr 29, 2017.

  1. njones89


    Mar 27, 2015
    Sioux Falls
    I'm stuck and trying to improve my speed. Any tips are appreciated.

    Right now I can play 16th notes at ~140 BPM with a pick, ~100 BPM with two fingers, and ~85 BPM with three fingers. I practice with a metronome and mainly increase by 5 BPM. I don't like playing with a pick because I have less control over the strings, but I find myself needing to use it more often because my finger picking isn't up to speed.
  2. That's fast enough. :)
  3. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    fast enough to get myself fired for over playing....
  4. njones89


    Mar 27, 2015
    Sioux Falls
    Are you guys kidding? My band wants me to play faster on some parts.
  5. Bodeanly

    Bodeanly Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2015
    When you play with a pick, are you moving the fingers holding the pick? Or are you moving your entire hand? I can get more speed by just moving the fingers, but the power comes from moving my entire hand or forearm.
  6. Fat Freddy

    Fat Freddy Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2016
    Albany NY
    I can do both nostrils in about a minute and a half (depending on degree of cloggedness.....obviously.....:thumbsup:).....
    LowRenzo, DrayMiles, interp and 10 others like this.
  7. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    i can play pretty fast...without a pick! if i try to use a pick = lightning fast for a few minutes...then slower...then even slower...then confusion sets in...then nothing. ha! OP: you're way ahead of me! :thumbsup:

    one of these days i'm going to seriously study the use of a pick. maybe.

    Thumb n Fingers and TJH3113 like this.
  8. You are doing the right thing. Practice and experience will get you there. Keep working on it, gradually speeding up over time.

    I am quite fast. I can go faster with 2 fingers, than with a pick. But I've been playing 40 years.
    Helix likes this.
  9. inanimate_carb


    Aug 11, 2016
    There are no shortcuts. Work at it every day, consistently, and bump up the metronome when you are confident in playing at a certain tempo. Improvement won't occur overnight but it will happen if you put the time in.
    lfmn16, Honch and Zane DeBord like this.
  10. ofajen

    ofajen Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2007
    92.4W 38.9N
    I'm more fluent using either a .60mm or .73mm nylon pick than with thicker picks. I suspect that means I can play faster parts better. I also have more control over tone and dynamics. You might want to try that.

    jfh2112 likes this.
  11. BassFishingInAmerica


    Jul 24, 2014
    The funny thing is, most skilled bassists play fast enough.
    I'm not as fast as I'd like.
    When I can play as fast as Adam Nitti, I'll be satisfied.
    jfh2112 likes this.
  12. flam


    Sep 20, 2010
    Tempe, Arizona
    There is't really any way to do it besides practice, and focus on being efficient.

    I'd have to check exactly, but it's pretty quick. At least fast enough to match the alternate picking of the guitarists in the metal band I'm in.
  13. jjmuckluckjr


    Mar 24, 2015
    Take a tip from one who knows.

  14. john m

    john m Supporting Member

    Jan 15, 2006
    I can play with a tooth pick and over drive the 1st stage of my set up if the gain is set too high.

    Turn up your gain and relax.
    Zane DeBord likes this.
  15. Nickweissmusic

    Nickweissmusic Knows all intervals from one Fred, to Juan octave Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2014
    San Diego, CA
    I teach lessons and perform live music in and around San Diego CA. Sometimes I even make money doing it!
    Efficiency=speed. The faster you go, the LESS you dig in. Seems counterintuitive, I know, but speed metal guys let the amp do the work. Amp/bass adjustments may be necessary. With a pick, get the feeling of your hand hanging loosely, let your wrist move your hand and let the pick "flutter" on the string. 16th at 140 is already pretty darn fast, so you must be doing something right, but if you're having stamina issues, that can help.

    With your fingers, similarly let them "flutter" from the base knuckle. Eventually this can be brought under control and made to sound solid, but to get the feeling it may be necessary to back off so much it sounds wimpier than you're used to at first.

    I'll make a video of my hints sometime soon, this is a pretty common question, and I was not born with speed, all the speed I have was learned and practiced for. Here's something fairly fast and amusing I played a while back, but it's only around 130 so you may already be faster :) That said, covering the distance of 4 uke strings requires more movement than 1 bass string or 2 or 3 guitar strings, that's my excuse for getting a little loose anyway ;) .
    selowitch likes this.
  16. Gord_oh

    Gord_oh Midtown Guitars Supporting Member

    Oct 4, 2008
    Pick? What's a pick?
    packhowitzer likes this.
  17. npbassman

    npbassman Supporting Member

    Apr 25, 2002
    Steady and consistent- 16ths at 145bpm using two fingers. I start to lose control above that. With all that said, I hardly ever need that at a gig. It's more about keeping the hand sharp and articulate at much slower tempos. My feel, control and ghost notes a slow speeds are much cleaner when I can do 16ths clean at the higher speeds.
    jfh2112 likes this.
  18. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Banned Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    That's plenty fast. Speed is overrated, if you ask me.
  19. Nickweissmusic

    Nickweissmusic Knows all intervals from one Fred, to Juan octave Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2014
    San Diego, CA
    I teach lessons and perform live music in and around San Diego CA. Sometimes I even make money doing it!
    One other hint… How fast can you speak rhythms? Can you do your 1 e & a's at 160? Faster? Your voice is an instrument, if you can control it at those speeds, you can wrap your head around it with another instrument, and usually ultimately play it.
    Zane DeBord likes this.
  20. Bodeanly

    Bodeanly Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2015
    The thing is that I don't want my lighter picking to over drive anything. I like my gain right where it is.

Share This Page