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I'm giving up on fingerstyle after 3 years.....

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Squidfinger, Nov 14, 2004.

  1. Squidfinger

    Squidfinger I wish I could sing like Rick Danko.

    Jan 7, 2004
    Shreveport LA
    I know I know :rolleyes: . I've been playing for 3 years now (yeah, a noob) and I've been solely fingerstyle the whole time. I tried playing with picks but hated the tone. Lately I had been becoming depressed about my playing :( . I just felt like I'd been on autopilot always playing the same patterns. I have low ceilings and very bad acoustics in my small cell like room and am constantly wrestling with my eq against boominess and muddiness.

    Then a few days ago I was cleaning some stuff up and came across a few of my old picks. I started playing and lo and behold I'm grooving my ass off. The definition and tone is great, all muddiness gone (I'm also much better with the eq now). I put on some albums and start playing along and catching on faster than I used to. I can hear the scale tones clearer now. Everything just seems to flow better. It's like with fingers I was thinking too much. So I'm trading up and crossing over. Fingerstyle will still be there for me, but I think I'll only bring it out for slow, ballady stuff.

    I was guilty of a measure of anti-pick snobbery, for this I am sorry. Has anyone else become primarily a pick player after years of fingerstyle?
  2. I keep on switching...I think I like fingers better,they're more my forte.
  3. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    nothin' wrong with a pick. Lots of Master Players use them. I have fun with one now and again.... it's just another tool to express yourself :bassist:
  4. Personally i prefer fingerstyle, but if you like using a pick then use it! There's nothing wrong with that.
  5. hyperlitem

    hyperlitem Guest

    Jul 25, 2001
    Indianapolis, IN
    ive been recently kinda digging the tone but i still cant really bring myself to play with one. I just use too many techniques when im jamming that a pick limits me on. When you play with a pick thats all your playing with till u throw it down, then u cant have it back/
  6. Did you ever think about using one of those picks which you attach to your thumb so that when you don't need it you just ignore it. (You could even slap with them although it might be a bit harder and sound a little different) Furthermore you can also do a lot with a pick.
  7. I jammed with a dude once who was playing a felt pick on a vintage 1950's P-bass. The dude could play and his tone was SWEET!

    There are sooooo many factors that affect tone. Do what's best for YOU, and please keep experimenting!
  8. Well, whatever works best for you!

    Personally I don't use a pick because I'm no good at it and I prefer slapping/fingerstyle better. If you have a good bass sometimes a pick sounds cool. Especially in jazz.
  9. keb


    Mar 30, 2004
    It's good to mix things up when you feel like you're in a rut with your playing. Playing with a pick (or playing fingerstyle if you're a picker), trying different tunings, trying a completely different tone than what you usually go for, even playing a different instrument. Fresh approaches, fresh perspectives. And sometimes you'll accidentally discover something that's your calling, that you never even knew was in you.

    And there's nothing wrong with playing with a pick. I don't think anyone sane can question Anthony Jackson's credentials. ;)
  10. secretdonkey


    Oct 9, 2002
    Austin, TX
    I've never played much with a pick, but I've been coming to the conclusion lately that some of the best bass sounds in rock/pop recordings come from a pick. Go with what works for you! :)
  11. i began playing with a pick years ago, and only in the past have learnt to play fingerstyle. Now, I'm glad I learnt fingerstyle simply for the odd occasion where i drop my pick and dont have time to pick it up. Other than that, I feel playing with a pick is wayyy beneficial for me, and although lots of people seem to criticise it, if it works, then why not do it?
  12. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Yes - this has been a problem for me too.

    I play predominantly finger-style now after originally playing with pick-only (two finger - three for triplets and some arpeggios - with a floating thumb trailing and muting; plus some fretboard hammering, tapped and plucked harmonics; also a little slap/thump/pop - and boy, am I bad at that!).

    There are some things where pick just sounds better - but not just the tone; I'm also refering to the groove feel with the kind of hand motion that's used with pick. Sometimes when I could use that hand motion, but not necessarily the sound of a pick, I'll even 'pick without a pick' by pinching thumb agianst index, and playing with my index finger like it was a big-fat pick!

    ..As I started out saying: I'd use a pick more often if I could grab one faster from my lips or pickup cutout or mic stand or whatever, without fear of loosing the groove.

  13. DaveBeny


    Mar 22, 2000
    London, UK
    I'm with you! Have made the transition after playing fingerstyle for the last seven years. Switching to using a plectrum has helped me to break out of the rut that I had been in for a long time. I am mostly into jazz and funk, and over the last couple of years found it increasingly difficult to avoid the typical Jaco-style cliches. The plectrum offers new rhythmic and melodic possibilities and has stimulated my interest in continuing with bass guitar, following a long period where I had virtually given up playing.
  14. So you'll be Squidpick now.
  15. He he - right on Funkycarnivore :D
  16. whiteXcorpse


    Oct 21, 2004
    I've been playing 4 three years and I started w/ a pick, but I could never feel the grove then that after I played w/ my fingers and it all came together.
    I'm intigued by the idea of using a pick again but at this point I think I should conentrate more on my theory and what not. Plus my skill w/ a pick is little to none anymore. Maybe after I get more comfortable w/ the left I'll work on the picking idea...
    Ya feel me?
  17. I use my fingers and my thumb as a pick when I want to thump, but I definately have alot of respect for some pick players out there. Some of my favorite pick players include Dave Schools, Mike Gordon, and Phil Lesh. Allen Woody used a pick too. All these guys are good non-metal rock bassists. I say go for it if it works for you.
  18. Squidfinger

    Squidfinger I wish I could sing like Rick Danko.

    Jan 7, 2004
    Shreveport LA
    :D Yeah, I'll have to change it when I become a supporting member. Thanks for all the info guys. Something I've been finding:

    I need to let my groove motor warm up for awhile each day before I play well. I always suck when I first pick up the bass. Starting out on fingers, like I mentioned above, I just feel like I'm playing on autopilot. It's like my fingers are in ruts playing from muscle memory. It's hard to break out of the box. My groove motor is sputtering :( .

    If I start out on pick.......it's like it takes all the thought away from the plucking hand and puts it on the fretting hand. I break out of the box by not playing the same stuff. The evenness of tone helps alot too. My groove motor is purring like a kitten :cool: .

    If I play fingerstyle after warming my motor up with the pick it's always better :) . Did that sound dumb?
  19. cowsgomoo

    cowsgomoo gone to Longstanton Spice Museum

    Feb 8, 2003
    about 12 years ago, I switched from mainly fingers to mainly pick after about 3 years, and it wasn't easy at first... for a while I found myself switching back to fingers for gigs, but after a while, you get stronger with whichever you do the most of...

    I think a lot depends on the bass you have... some just sound better with fingers than others, and some just sound better with a pick... my favourite tone ever is the old 'P-Bass with a pick', wheras the sound of a Jazz bass with a pick really doesn't thrill me much... (Jazz bass with fingers on the other hand.... *drool*)

    I like the fact that there's 'pick snobbery' because it means you can whip out a bunch of hard stuff when people aren't expecting much from you :bassist:

    and let's face it... you get laid more when you play with a pick and a long strap :) girls dont think 'mr bass under his chin/wiggly thumb' is cool :D
  20. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Whoa... I never considered that.