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How to emulate a pick noise w/o a pick

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by ThePaste, Feb 4, 2001.

  1. How do you do this? I don't like using a pick, but when I play covers and the original was with a pick, then I want to emulate it, anyone have any tips? Long fingernails?
  2. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    Just dig in with the nail of your forefinger,thats what I do.
  3. I know Geddy Lee keeps his fingernails long so he can use get that pick sound with his fingers. The nice thing about this technique is you can control the tone with the flesh part of your fingers.

    If you really want to emulate a pick tone, though, I would learn to play those songs with a pick. :)
  4. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
  5. seansbrew

    seansbrew Supporting Member

    Oct 23, 2000
    Mesa AZ.
    Also,play as close to the bridge as possible
  6. dheat


    Feb 5, 2000
    Seansbrew's right about closing in on the bridge, but you will necessarily lose bottom end. I get more control and clarity by holding the tip of my first finger as though it was the pick, doing down strokes with the nail. (Thumbnail how?)
  7. You know, I just don't get it. The easiest way to get pick sounds is WITH A PICK! So why not just use one.

    I think a lot of people who say they feel using a pick is unatural and foreign just need to practice using one a bit more. Like any other technique (slapping, fingerstyle, etc.) it takes practice before things will feel natural.

    There also seems to be this misconception that you are 'less' of player if you use one, which is ridiculous.

    I don't care what anybody says, I have yet to hear any fingerstyle player replicate the FULL RANGE of tones available from really solid pick techniques or vice versa. That's why I use BOTH techniques.

    On the upright bass, I don't like playing pizzicato (plucking) all that much, but when I have to do it, I don't try to 'simulate' the sound with my bow.

    I really don't understand why people have such strong biases against using a pick. Nobody gives guitar players a hard time about it or thinks any less of them for using a pick. Why are bass players any different? If there is a sound you're looking for, just use the tool that will do it for you.

    When's the last time you heard a mandolin player use his/her fingernails instead of a pick? Using a pick is an accepted tool for them, why shouldn't it be an option for us?
  8. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Rob, thank you so much for telling it like it is. LIke you I feel that the pick is just one more technique, one more way of playing the bass. And I am glad you brought up the bow which is a technique upright players are expected to know. Therefore, why is it a bass guitar player would not be expected to know how to use a pick as well as how to use finger plucking? A well rounded bassist, especially one who hopes to do studio work, should be prepared to use a pick, use his fingers, slap, maybe tap, and do whatever other tricks of the trade might come his way...using a wah, using foam to mute, using an e-bow, and on and on.

    I know many players might never in their playing lives put foam in their bass to mute, but why disparage those who do? It is just another technique. If learning a technique takes your bass playing to a new level, well so much the better.

    jason oldsted
  9. I use both, and I feel it would be wise for every bassist to learn using both picks and your fingers. I can emulate a finger sound (pick near the neck with the tone down) far easier then a finger player can try to make a pick sound.
  10. eric atkinson

    eric atkinson "Is our children learning "Is our teachers teachin

    Feb 4, 2001
    I get under thin string with my fingers to do that! Long nail just get in my way! Well that because i slap and pop alot and when i do that my nail will get caught up on a string then you fudge up! Just try to curl your entire wrist and fingers and get up under the strings kinda like your going to pop the string but just not as hard! Watch steffan from dave mathews he does this alot!~
  11. I boost the mids on my bass and amp and it sounds like I'm using a pick. Long fingernails are a another way. hehe
  12. darthspada


    Jan 20, 2001
    Lancaster, PA
    I have to disagree with the long nails. I keep my nails quite short. This prevents them from breaking. I played guitar for many years and developed a knack for dropping picks during solos, so I'd use my finger nail. If it was long, though, it would inevitably crack in half... much pain! The nail doesn't need to be long to be used in lue of a pick. Ideally, use a pick. My index finger's nail is so warped from use... I can't even describe it. Sure is strong now, though!
  13. Q: How do i make my bass sound like a piano?

    A: Learn to play the piano.

    Actually, if anyone CAN make their bass sound like a piano ...

    Incidentally I'm much stronger with a pick, but can do both pretty happily (dont quite have the speed / stamina with fingers though).

    I can't imagine using fingernails to be very consistent, especially at speed - but then again, some people can do amaxing things ... mine are too weak anyway.
  14. seamus


    Feb 8, 2001
    Long nails get in the way of my finger playing and they look bad anyway.

    I therefore use a pick to emulate a pick, I can't pull it off any other way.

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