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I suck with a pick.

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Shoonk, Aug 8, 2002.

  1. i've been playing bass for a year and a bit now, and whenever I have to grow my nails for an occasion or something, i hav eto use a pick to practice. but i cant use a pick! i've tried...and tried...and practiced....and practiced...tried new techniques....tried new pick sizes....tried new strings....but nothing! i just cant seem to use a pick. i know this is good in a way, that i use my fingers, but for some songs i just like that picked sound. i can use it a bit, but i always find myself mising the strings, holding it wrong, it slides between my fingers when i get a bit sweaty...and i just cant use a pick!
    any suggestions???
    thanks a bunch!
    peace & plaid
  2. just_a_poser


    Apr 20, 2002
    I always mess up when I try to use one too. So if I I'm playing little chords or want that sound I use my fingernail...
  3. Spazzout


    Aug 7, 2002
    Bellingham, WA
    you might try holding your index finger with your middle and thumb, so it acts like a pick. i've found that it gives a lot better control than an actual pick, with the same sound.
  4. PollyBass

    PollyBass ******

    Jun 25, 2001
    Shreveport, LA
    I play with a pick in one band, i play without in another, ive been playing with a pick ever sense i starting playing bass, their was always one around, so i would pick it up from time to time. With enough practise, you'll get it. just go buy a normal pick, and keep changing your attack till you find a way that suits you. if your fingers get so sweaty they let the pick drop, get some of that gross finger stuff so it wont.
  5. Learn to play some easy punk stuff. Go back to basics. Learn something like, dare I say it, Blink 182. The rhythms are very simple and basic and easy to learn from. Once you master that, learn to play the song The Theme Fiasco by MxPx.
  6. practice. trust me. just keep playing and it'll come to you by itself.
  7. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    words to live by
  8. jade


    Mar 8, 2002
    use a hole punch to punch a hole in the middle of the pick, this will prevent from sliding
  9. Tyler Dupont

    Tyler Dupont Wesly Headpush

    about the slippery pick thing..... I like to use dunlop picks because they have a raised dunlop logo on them that provides nice grip. If the blink182 doesn't do it for you, try some breeders or L7.. it's really easy stuff. If that's too easy, try some NOFX, Rancid or Vandals.
  10. Try 'Lee Press-on Nails' for those 'special' events. That way you can just take them off the next day and forget about the pick all together!

  11. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    Come on, Howard, you know better. - Mod.

    :) ;)
    Sorry! Crap joke!

    So do I. I played with one for a few months, I got pretty good until the novelty wore off and now I just can't be arsed anymore. Picks are OK, but very very limiting IMO.

    If God had meant us to play with a pick, surely he would have given us picks instead of fingers on our right hand?
  12. Lazy


    May 30, 2001
    Vancouver BC
    Practice a lot of alternate picking. There's no slack in playing the bass. You gotta keep goin' and goin', so playing all downstrokes is gonna tire you out. But if you alternate, you'll save a lot of endurance so you'll be able to keep going. People who fingerpick their whole lives have trouble switching to a pick sometimes because you have to use different muscles and it just takes time to get them in shape and get accustomed to using them!!
    This may be why the pick is slipping.......due to grip fatigue.
  13. this is exactally what i've been doing...i play like...adams song or pretend that we're dead (L7) with a pick because there are like 5 notes in those songs. i do use raised grip picks, i have tried using my finger nails, i refuse to use press on nails (the glue gets stuck to my nails and doesnt come off) **yawn** i guess the bass god just made me a finger user. i mean, i can strum three times as fast when playing punk with my fingers than with a pick. thanks
  14. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    If you really are interested in learning to play with a pick, don't give up. Keep at it, and you'll eventually find a method that works for you.

    Are you holding the pick like a guitarist would? If so, that might explain why it's sliding a lot. Bass strings, being heavier, require more force to pick properly. Try holding the pick between your index finger and thumb, while holding the rest of your fingers together as though you were clenching a roll of quarters in your fist. This tends to work quite well, especially during fast and/or aggressive lines.
  15. ChronicPyromaniac


    Jan 25, 2001
    Mike Herrera of MxPx plays fingerstyle.
  16. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    I suck with a straw.

    I play pretty good with a pick. Best excercise for building chops is just to play straight eight notes, aiming for perfect tonal and rhythmic consistency between downstrokes and upstrokes. You'd be surprised at how hard it is.

    Use as little pick and as little motion as possible.
  17. Mike played with his fingers from Pokinatcha to Life In General. Ever since Slowly Going the Way of the Buffalo, he's used a pick. I've seen them live, and my cousin has a pick Mike used at a show.

    If you look at the At The Show CD Booklet thing, you can see in the picture with Mike, he's holding a green, Dunlop Triangle pick.
  18. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    Believe me, it's rough to begin with, but one thing that surprisingly (or not) helped me was I tried my hand at guitar. I sucked with a pick, then played some guitar, then was OK with a pick then I practiced on a bass and bam I'm a regular Mark Hoppus ;) . But I still prefer fingerstyle, but picks are good for some stuff.

    StupidMatt's Pick Practice Stuff:

    1) Chromatic Scale - Pretty much every note on the bass, if you don't know, it's this...


    then work your way back down, then move up to F and start from there.

    2) Any other scale! Not only will you be working your picking, but you could learn some new scales! Cool beans.

    3) Try keeping steady eight notes going. Throw on a metronome or drum track or something and working on getting the smoothest sound possible, don't worry about speed just yet.

    4) Learn some pick songs! Might I recommend Tool's Schism, Nofx's Chick Magnet, Green Day's When I Come Around and/or Longview.

    5) Practice other songs you know fingerstyle with a pick. Don't be afraid to slow it down, remeber to shoot for a nice smooth steady sound before you bust into the fast stuff.

    6) DON'T GIVE UP ON FINGERSTYLE!!! Picking is cool, but fingerstyle is much better in my opinion, pick your nose not your bass! But it is good to know both styles.

    Good luck chief, and God Speed!
  19. That's Mxpx's song.
  20. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    Whatever they are practically the same thing, NOFX MXPX, come on... I mean seriously.

    come on.

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