Major Breakthrough - Pick Playing

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Rlbragg15, Jul 20, 2018.

  1. Rlbragg15


    May 25, 2013
    TBers -

    I've been playing bass seriously for over 10 years - exclusively finger style, with some slap. Recently, I've been trying to incorporate pick playing into my skill set, especially after falling in love with my AVRI '63 P bass with flats. I've been struggling for months, but finally had a breakthrough.. Guess what, you don't have to kill it with your picking hand! I would say I have a moderately aggressive finger style and I suppose I transferred that to pick playing. I found myself cramping holding the pick and not being very fluid. I finally loosened up a little bit and focused on a more easy, fluid picking style and the light came on. I'm still working on it, but the lesson to folks in the same boat as me is loosen up and don't pick as hard. The volume will be there and you'll be better able to move across the strings.

    Badwater, brumebat, Rocker47 and 3 others like this.
  2. lowplaces

    lowplaces Got Punch ?

    Dec 20, 2015
    Louisville Kentucky
    Using a pick while palm muting on a bass strung with Flats is a killer Punchy tone.

    I like thick mandolin picks.
    Badwater likes this.
  3. As to the pick. I really like the Big Stubby 2.0 mm. I've used 1.00 to 3.00 mm and have zeroed in on the 2.0 Big Stubby.

    Offered for what that is worth.
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2018
    lowplaces likes this.
  4. Rlbragg15


    May 25, 2013
    Thanks - I've really gotten along with a .73mm dunlop
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  5. AFRO


    Aug 29, 2010
    FWIW, this approach applies itself to finger style as well.
    I watched a Gary Willis video from years back. His approach is to crank the volume on the bass and let the amp do most of the output work. and use technique to control the muting and dampening. By lightly attacking the strings it helps to keep your hands relaxed and minimize fatique as you have done with your new Ah-Ha moment with the pick.

    on topic. I like the triangle Dunlop 2.0 I believe it is. I have XL hands so big pick is easier to manage for me, plus digs in on the lower strings for those 8-16 note rhythms.
    Once I switched to 5 string, the tighter spacing made it much easier to play with a pick, though I do mainly play/prefer finger style in most cases. but I cant deny the growl a pick can add to the sound of phat bass. coming from cover band back ground I needed to be flexible enough to switch from pick to fingers to "fit the song" during the gigs. :thumbsup:
    lowplaces and Nashrakh like this.
  6. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Gold Supporting Member

    i have no 'pick skills' to speak of. it's a real skill and so many take it for granted because they're really good at it. glad you're 'getting it', OP! :thumbsup:

    your advice to go "lightly" is good stuff. thanks!
    lowplaces likes this.
  7. csc2048b


    Apr 4, 2010
    I remember an old BP mag where Steve Swallow says the exact same thing about a light touch with a pick. Steve said he learned it watching Jerry Hahn play blazing guitar lines on his bass offstage. Same article has Chris Squire saying he does lots of palm-muting.

    27 years ago I used a pick for my first year playing bass but shifted to fingers until tendonitis/bursitis took it's toll. Now I reserve fingers for walking and soloing - rest of the gig is mostly pick or slapping.
  8. ryco


    Apr 24, 2005
    Pretty much an old dog finger style guy who took up learning pick style a couple of years ago.
    After trying lots of different brands and styles have grown to like the Dunlop PrimeTone 1.5mm.
    Little bit spendy, but feel really good!
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2018
    Badwater likes this.
  9. AFRO


    Aug 29, 2010
    this is wrong, I grabbed my pick yesterday, its a "Clayton" 1.0mm triangle pick.
    Maybe I used to roll the Dunlop.. lol
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  10. BAG


    May 5, 2014
    New Zealand
    Yep..... I'll play fingerstyle on mellow songs but i really like the attack and punch of a P with flats and a pick for most songs. I use a 1.5mm green Dunlop Gator.
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2018
    lowplaces likes this.
  11. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    I played with a pick for 15 years and then played exclusively fingerstyle for almost 15 years. I started using a pick again in the last few years and I love it.
    lowplaces likes this.