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Pick or Fingers for Live Playing.

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by FunkyFever, Feb 17, 2020.

  1. FunkyFever


    Jan 26, 2020
    There is always the pick vs fingers battle in the world of bassists, and I tend to use them interchangeably depending on the song at hand. I wanted to know which you prefer and if you prefer picks, what pics do you use. I use 3 pick types
    1: Fender Large Thumb Pick (I won't drop them)
    2: Dunlop Jazz III Pick
    3: Dunlop Tortex Standard 1.114 Milimiter.
    I like really heavy picks because I hit the strings with a lot of force, and am in general play heavy music that require forceful picking, so heavy picks dont bend (like fender mediums or lights touch my thumb when I use them) and require less force to hold.
  2. FunkyFever


    Jan 26, 2020
    edit. Dunlop Tortex Standard 1.14 Millimeter.
    zontar and JeezyMcNuggles like this.
  3. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    Finger style is my preference. Some songs sound better with a pic. Injuries are great for practice with playing EVERYTHING with a pic. And that can be very challenging when you play lots of different material :).

    I use Dunlop .88s.
    mikecd1, whero, Nomogram and 5 others like this.
  4. Kro

    Kro Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    New Jersey
    Both. Depending on the tone and composition of the song. Sometimes a piece just flows better if a pick is used, or vice versa.

    I find that I like a certain amount of flex when I play with a pick, and that the perfect amount of flex is a combination of string flex and pick flex. I tend to use thinner picks (like 1mm) with my more stiff Medium Chromes, but with more flexible strings like Slinkeys I preferred the 3mm Big Stubbys.

    Sweetwater used to have a few different pick packs that had varying assortments of picks in a bag. Great for testing them out to see what you like the best - that's my top recommendation.
  5. James Collins

    James Collins

    Mar 25, 2017
    Augusta, GA
    I don't think there is a battle. Maybe in the minds of pick players because they feel judged inferior, but I don't think anyone else cares.
  6. grimjim


    Jan 26, 2014
    Chicago, Illinois
    Endorsing artist;DNA Amplification, GHS strings
    Almost always fingers. I do play in a cover band that has a couple songs that just need that pick click, so I do use one occasionally. Not really enough to decide on a favorite pick though. I'm using the Tortex 1.14 also, but just because that's what the store had that I thought I'd like. Probably get used to them and have them as my favorite, knowing me.
    DukeCC likes this.
  7. FunkyFever


    Jan 26, 2020
    honestly I prefer both equally, but lets say I had a gig were I was doing Jefferson Airplane style songs, I would go with fingers because that fits the style more, but if I was doing a gig with a band were we did songs similar in style to Bongripper, then a pick is obviously the way to go.
    Bruiser Stone likes this.
  8. FunkyFever


    Jan 26, 2020
    Yeah u have a point, but I have seen like in stores bassist get very snobby about "fingers is the only way" and their wearing a Nirvana T-Shirt and Novoselic plays with a pick. So there is both no battle and a battle.
  9. James Collins

    James Collins

    Mar 25, 2017
    Augusta, GA
    I think bass guitar is an interesting instrument because it is in between guitar and double bass so techniques from both seem to form the foundation of technique. And of course there is only one way to do anything.
    Andre678 likes this.
  10. DavidEdenAria


    Dec 13, 2013
    On a Hill
    I Definitely use heavy picks...but i prefer to let the amp do the work (as in LOUD).
  11. two fingers

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

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    These days I'm at about 60/40 fingers to pick. I usually have half a dozen different types of picks on my pick holder for different attacks.
    Bboopbennie and Stumbo like this.
  12. Gustopher


    Jul 30, 2018
    I play both, but I come from a long past of playing guitar and my picking game is strong. When I started playing bass, I made myself learn fingerstyle because I wanted to have the control and dynamics from that. During out sets, out of 45 songs, I probably use a pick for 10 of them. Mostly because it has its own unique sound that I enjoy on those songs.
    mikecd1 and Frans688 like this.
  13. Smooth_bass88

    Smooth_bass88 Groove it Supporting Member

    I’ve not seen any evidence of a pick vs. fingerstyle battles, at all, anywhere. That being said, I play mostly fingerstyle but I make it a point to keep my pick-playing chops up because some songs absolutely require it.
    lfmn16 and MynameisMe like this.
  14. FugaziBomb


    Jun 5, 2017
    I use a pick in the studio, but typically not too much live. In the studio I literally use whatever picks are laying on the floor or the mixing console... table, whatever.
  15. Esteban Garcia

    Esteban Garcia bassist, arranger, chaat enthusiast Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2018
    Portland, OR
    I tried using a pick on my P bass in the 80s playing jam bandy stuff (melodic bass lines, improvised counterpoint under gtr. solos, etc.). I was really looking for the attack/high-end bite that you've got to coax out of a P. I found I could get that tone I was after more naturally from two-pup basses or a stingray eventually, and that fingers offer a broader expressive range. I can also play faster finger style.

    Picks just aren't for me, it turns out, but I don't play any styles that would demand it. Some do. And for people who like that kind of thing, that's the kind of thing they like. :thumbsup:
    quindecima and Ggaa like this.
  16. Bruiser Stone

    Bruiser Stone Supporting Member

    Dec 7, 2017
    Fingers for Funk, Picks for Punk.

    Last edited: Feb 17, 2020
  17. trofud


    Mar 28, 2018
    Montreal, Canada
    Song demanding. I use any Tortex 1mm pick when I need one.
  18. dramatwist


    Sep 27, 2019
    Fingers. Always.
    Sixgunn, CosmicRay, craig0316 and 2 others like this.
  19. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    Fingers - I have very hard callouses on my plucking hand, so tonally I'm a bit of an in-betweener. If that isn't enough attack, my basses are set up so that, if need be, the frets aren't that far away, and I can bounce the strings off 'em for certain sections or songs.

    I do sometimes (not too often), when I want a softer attack, use my thumb, but if I practice that too much, it gets a callous that's as hard as my fingers, so mostly I use that technique at a gig.

    For some reason, I carry a few picks in my gig bag, but I've never used them at a gig.

    I don't look down at pick players, but I have had a few comments from other musicians here and there that they liked me better than some other bass player who...used a pick (said with derision). So, that perception is out there, but I'm not the one feeding it.

    Feel free to pick your bass on stage, but not your nose.
  20. bobba66


    May 18, 2006
    Arlington, Texas
    comatosedragon likes this.

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