How to pluck the strings....?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by bassman519, Jun 29, 2003.

  1. bassman519

    bassman519 Guest

    Jun 22, 2003
    I just picked up the bass recently. I'm already a guitarist and drummer and can read bass clef. What a don't know is how to pluck the strings on a bass. I know there are several different ways (pick, slap) Can anyone get me some pictures of different ways with their descriptions.

  2. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    I can't get you a picture, but among the most common ways to pluck the strings are:

    1. With a pick, just like guitar, but you may have to use a heavier grade pick than you use for guitar because the strings are thicker and can eat up a fine grade guitar pick. Also you can do alternate up and down strokes or all down strokes, Metallica style.

    2. Fingerstyle, alternating two (and sometimes three fingers). You roll your finger upward over the string; don't grab the string.

    3. Thumb. I have seen bassists pluck with down strokes of their thumb. Usually they are English bassists. I haven't seen many North AMerican bassist play this way. This is not to be confused with slap and pop technique which also uses the thumg to "hit" the string, not stroke it in a downward manner.

    4. Slap and pop: A more complex manner of playing, often connected with funk music, but can be applied in practically any style. The thumb hits the string, creating a bouncy sound. The pop part comes from a finger pulling a string giving it a sharp snap, that creates an unmistakeable accent note.

    If you can possibly manage it, your best bet is to have some one demonstrate each of these techniques for you because they are hard to describe and pictures don't really tell the whole story either, especially with slap and pop.

    Also, the alternating fingerstyle technique is best demonstrated, too, so that you can see how much pressure to apply and how to alternate fingers on the same string, on adjacent strings (such as the E and A string) and when strings are further apart, such as plucking one note on the E string and the next on the G string.