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Pick converts share your journey

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Mrmatt1972, Apr 13, 2018.

  1. I began playing bass at 15. I exclusively played fingerstyle, followed Chuck Rainy's advice in his book about a light touch and using some fingernail. Also slapped a bit because I was a big Flea fan in High School. As I entered the workforce I had less time and opportunity to play bass with a group so I transitioned into an acoustic guitar player and songwriter. Mostly fingerstyle there too. I started playing with a pick in my 30s as I got into electric guitar. I also started home recording and playing with people regularly. I would rarely play bass, always a borrowed one, and only fingerstyle.

    Last year I bought a bass to have in my studio. I became hooked again, but still only played fingerstyle. I now play in 2 groups and sub in a third.

    As a lark last week I grabbed a heavy pick and decided to rock out one day in my garage. It turns out all the pick skills I gained playing guitar are transferable! I guess I was never any good at using a pick as a young man. Now that I am I can't get over the versatility! So many sounds just from changing angle and palm muting. I'm a convert. Fingerstyle will be a secondary technique for me moving forward.

    Tl:dr. Used a pick as a guitarist: turns out I'm goid at it on bass now too.
    knumbskull likes this.
  2. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Cali Intergalctic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
    I started on guitar and always used a pick for bass, for decades.

    It wasn't until I joined TalkBass in 2008 that I learned that I was a douchbag, rat-bastard, no good, low-life picking fool for not learning how to pluck a bass. And those were the good points.

    So I did.:thumbsup:
  3. Pug the Pig

    Pug the Pig Banned

    Mar 21, 2018
    I never understand this pick hatred...some things work better with pick , some things work better without... it's another tool, use what's appropriate , for you and the music.
    ( I actually use a pick most of the time nowadays but who cares....)
    lz4005, DirtDog, Stumbo and 1 other person like this.
  4. knumbskull


    Jul 28, 2007
    I have done both, but until recently focused almost exclusively on fingerstyle for 10+ years. then a few years ago, on a whim I tried using a pick with my alt-rock-ish trio... and the sound and approach just "clicked" into place with the songs.

    fingers will always be my go-to technique, but i'm really enjoying pickstyle and find it takes me to a looser, more improvisational style - not deliberately, just kind of having fun with it.
    Mrmatt1972 and Stumbo like this.
  5. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Honestly, the pick hating these days isn't nearly as bad as it used to be. Pick players got knocked off their top spot on the "you suck" list by slappers. :D

    I was an anti picker for quite a while. Then I got into the fill in gig business. There were tones I needed in my arsenal that I couldn't get with my fingers. So I learned how, and in the process gained a lot of respect for those who are really good at it.

    These days I'm about 49/49 fingers/pick and 2% slap when there's no other way to get that sound.

    Pick hatred is just as dumb as slap hatred. They are both based on ignorance and listening to the worst examples of each.... a.k.a Youtubers and kids at Guitar Center. There are just as many finger players who make you want to grab their basses and wrap them around their heads.

    @Mrmatt1972 for some reason slap and picks topics always break down to us vs. them. Dunno why.

    Frankly, the vast majority of us don't give a crap what Jaco needed. ;)
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2018
    Mrmatt1972, lz4005 and Pug the Pig like this.
  6. Acoustic356


    Jul 3, 2014
    Recent I am a recent convert. I am currently taking lessons from Cody Wright to enhance my picking and understand more of the Bobby Vega style flavor.

    Bobby gets so many different tones with a pick, plus understandI got of how to make it groove without doing just down strokes.

    Tasteful ghost notes, percussive texture... so many possibilities...
    Stumbo and Mrmatt1972 like this.
  7. I'm not saying there is not difference on using different techniques because obviously there are huge differences. But most of the time, it's mostly you and maybe other musicians who notice that. At the end, IMO, whatever technique (or combination) you use is based on your comfort and feel, if you feel you get the best sound on a certain song using the pick, then, even if it nos not exactly like that, you will make it work (of course there is exceptions and bad choises).
    With that I don't mean "do whatever it's all the same crap", but if you want to make it work, you will. People will tell you that Jazz is finger-style exclusive and I'll reply "ok, tell that to Steve Swallow" or stuff like Hard rock and Heavy Metal needs a pick, then check Steve Harris.
    Carol Kaye is another amazing pick player thaat doesn't play an style you will relate with pick.... So, whatever you feel will make you reach the goal, whatever makes you reach the sound you ahve in your head, that is the right thing to do.

    BTW I mostly play fingers, I only use the pick for like 2-3 songs and is all palm-muted, because that is how I feel comfortable
    Acoustic356 and Mrmatt1972 like this.

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