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McCartney's pick groove

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Alex E, Mar 31, 2006.

  1. Alex E

    Alex E

    Mar 2, 2006
    Pick players, I need your know-how.

    How does McCartney get that smooth feel, while still playing with a pick? Does that make sense? It's smooth, yet slightly trebly do to the fact that he's picking rather than plucking

    I practice with a pick (probably not enough), but when the gig comes, I always lose my nerve and revert to playing with my fingers cuz I just can't coax out the sound I want with the pick.

    Did he use a pick other than a plastic pick? Maybe it was all due to the flatwounds? :help:
  2. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    Keep your wrist loose and your grip on the pick relaxed. Practice eighth notes using a fluid, legato-like wrist motion until your up and down strokes sound the same.
  3. gjooro


    Mar 27, 2006
    Maybe its because you play with pick that it isnt for bass or its too thin. There are some really good picks for bass that make nice sound. Try usink at least 1.5 mm pick thickness. I use 2.0 mm jim dunlop delrin pick because with that pick i get the sound i want. Try to play with it if you can get it.
  4. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Geoff Emerick?
  5. Hehehe...

    I'd suggest practicing until you can control the dynamics of your plucks. When pick playing is as natural as fingerstyle, you can manipulate the pick in order to get certain sounds and feels. Also, I wouldn't rule out the possibility (probability?) that Sir Paul used flats... picked flats sound great, thumpy and warm all around.
  6. seanlava


    Apr 14, 2005
    He may have been using a felt pick, which were popular back in the Beatles' day.
  7. Alex E

    Alex E

    Mar 2, 2006
    Aha, 'felt' picks do exist! My 4003 has rounds and so does my hofner copy, and I know those are not "60s" strings, so I can't fully get the pick tone I want, but I was wondering if Paul used a non-plastic pick, too!

    Are they still made? Anyone know where to get them? I guess I would have to get some flats, as well.

    Does anyone have flatwounds on their 4003? What manufacturer do you use and what gauge?

  8. seanlava


    Apr 14, 2005
  9. I play about 80-20 fingers to pick, and I usually do pick work as an exercise more than anything. The challenge is to play with a pick the entire set and no one notices.

    For years I've had one triangular tortoiseshell pick left over from my days of playing bluegrass rhythm guitar. You can't get them commercially anymore due to a ban on trade in endangered species. It sounds great with the bass, and if I lose it I doubt I'll ever see another one - legal, anyway.
  10. DaftCat


    Jul 26, 2004
    Medicine Hat
    Keep in mind what you hear of his Beatles recordings is studio-level. Getting his sound live is another matter.

    Sorry, but had to be said.
  11. Alex E

    Alex E

    Mar 2, 2006
    Good point! Hadn't thought about that too much!
  12. vier-personen


    Apr 10, 2006
    My provocational question: why play pick at all, if one wants the finger sound?

    I have to admit that I didn´t listen to McCartney yet really, but when I play pick I´m looking for a hard attack, a more aggressive sound that I can´t get by playing with fingers (maybe with nails, but I´m afraid this would hurt).
    Also I like the mute/unmute riff style that guitarplayers use a lot.
  13. phxlbrmpf


    Dec 27, 2002
    You also have to keep in mind that his Höfner bass tended to sound pretty bassy so even when it's played with a pick, it's pretty smooth-sounding. I tried a Gibson EB-0 once and even when using a pick you almost couldn't hear the attack "click" you hear when picking treblier-sounding basses.
  14. Jimbo


    Dec 4, 2000
    Philadelphia, PA
    yeah felt picks are pretty easy to find online. i've seen a lot of places offering them as "ukulele accessories"


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