Pick or Fingers?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by DaPhotoGuy, Jun 15, 2004.

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  1. DaPhotoGuy


    Jun 15, 2004
    Omaha, NE
    My first post so forgive me if this is a stupid question. I've played guitar for quite a few years now. I recently started playing bass (Peavey Grind 5 BXP NTB). It feels natural to use a pick on the bass the same way I would with my guitar. Will I be limited to what I will eventually be able to play if I continue using a pick? Would most experts suggest learning a two or three finger technique? Just want to start down the right road with bass playing.
  2. tim99

    tim99 Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2003
    It is not a stupid question, but it is one of the most asked "first posts" questions, so we get tired of covering it.

    I just did a search for threads with [pick and fingers] in the title of the post and came up with 16 posts that cover this exact topic. Use the "Search" function above this post, go to Advanced Search, pull down to Search Titles Only...

    You need to learn to use both a pick and your fingers, but the punk rock bass picking method is not alternate picking, it is all downstrokes, so...no, do not use a pick with bass just like you did with guitar.

    Oh, and two fingers, 1 and 2, alternate fingering...

  3. dabshire


    Dec 15, 2002
    McKinney, TX
    First, welcome to Talk Bass. Lots and lots of good info here.

    Second, when I started playing bass, I played with a pick. I now play with my fingers (index and middle alternating). I switched because I liked the sound I got finger style better than the sound I got with a pick. It's really up to you, and it all comes down to which sound you like more. But, it never hurts to know both, incase you want to switch back and forth.

    Whether Pick or Fingers are better or worse is all opinion. It's like asking, "Which is better blue or green?" Don't let anyone make you feel bad because you do one or the other.

    Again, welcome!

  4. When I made my switch from g@#^%r(yuck!) to bass I used a pick for about two years because it was a natural transition. I noticed that I was always turning my treble down to try to emulate a finger sound so I knew I had to make the switch to fingers. Pain in the A@# at first but I got it. Not only does it sound different but it changes your approach to the instrument. No one way is better, just different. Do them both if possible. I wish I didn't drop the pick completely because I am no longer efficient at it.

    I use two alternating fingers on faster stuff and just my index finger on slower repeating notes. Picked that up from watching Geddy.
  5. DaPhotoGuy


    Jun 15, 2004
    Omaha, NE
    Geddy is the MAN. I've loved RUSH since I was 13 (I'm 37 now).
  6. Thor

    Thor Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Welcome to Talkbass! Hope you find all kinds of neat answers here
    to questions you have.

    I have played bass almost 30 years, 27 years with the pick

    Now I play both.

    All my 34" basses I play only fingerstyle. The 30.5" bass I stil use a
    pick as I like the tone with that bass.

    There is no right way, but in my opinion you should have facility
    with all styles. If you don't know fingerstyle, learn it.

  7. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Done before. thanks to Tim99 for so nicely pointing out the search function. Thread closed.

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