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pick or no pick. im not sure if thats the question

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by satchafunkilus4, Nov 5, 2010.

  1. satchafunkilus4


    Nov 4, 2010
    hello fellow bassists, :bassist:
    ive only recently begun playing bass and ive always been a big fan of finger picking, however i enjoy playing some metal like Dream Theater, Exodus and Megadeth and im just wondering if it would be worth consideration to try a pick for certain things. im not so much against it as i am not a fan of it. my favorite band is Rush so i want to stick primarily to fingers. just wondering if i should stay that way or use a pick ever. (is it bad to alternate?)
  2. Febs

    Febs Supporting Member

    May 7, 2007
    Philadelphia, PA
    Is it worth consideration? Yes. Try it and decide what you like. Versatility is a good thing.
  3. rockstarbassist

    rockstarbassist Banned

    Apr 30, 2002
    The Woodlands, TX
    Endorsing Artist: HCAF
    You should be equally adept at both. I primarily play with a pick in my original band. And in cover bands, on the songs where the original artist used a pick, I used one. When they used fingerstyle, I did the same.

    Pretty straightforward. :cool:
  4. plangentmusic

    plangentmusic Banned

    Jun 30, 2010
  5. tangentmusic

    tangentmusic A figment of our exaggeration

    Aug 17, 2007
    Try a thumb pick. You can alternate between pick & fingers without dropping it on a dark stage.
  6. jpTron


    Apr 19, 2010
    Bolth. I always played with fingers, but lately I've been having lots of fun just slamming the strings with a pic. And I love the tone I get from it
  7. barebones

    barebones Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2005
    Denver, CO
    Don't box yourself into any one technique. Use any and all methods to get the sound required for the song. Fingers, thumb, pick, slap, tap, prosthetics, whatever. I always tell people I'd throw a brick at my bass if I thought the song demanded it. I cannot in good conscience recommend this approach to anyone else, however. Hurl items at your own risk!
  8. NKBassman

    NKBassman Lvl 10 Nerd Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2009
    Winnipeg, MB, Canada
    Learn to use them both, definitely. When you get to a point where you're equally comfortable either way, then you can base your decision on which technique benefits the song more.
  9. Stealth


    Feb 5, 2008
    Zagreb, Croatia
    Not much of a pick player, but I respect people who take upon it.

    Regarding Dream Theater in particular, John Myung plays fingerstyle, predominantly.
  10. Both. For me some songs are easier to play with a pick, some with my fingers. Like someone else mentioned, it can depend on how the song, if being covered, was originally played as well...
  11. I play 99% pick and I was never a guitar player but i can play finger style and slap to, its important to learn other styles. I use finger style for covers where the songs were played fingerstyle.
  12. BullHorn


    Nov 23, 2006
    Both with emphasize on finger-picking. :p
  13. JanusZarate

    JanusZarate Low End Avenger Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 21, 2006
    Petaluma, CA, USA
    It's never bad to alternate. Some techniques work better than others in different circumstances.

    In my current band, I play pickstyle for most songs because of the nature of the mix and the style of the song; fingerstyle often lacks the drive and punch some songs call for (e.g., "Vagues de Vapeur"). But there are others which simply demand fingerstyle to get the right groove going (e.g., "Queen of the Delta"). We even have a few songs where I switch between fingerstyle and pickstyle mid-song (e.g., "The Exile")!

    A good bass player should learn how to play pickstyle and fingerstyle at minimum, IMO. They're the most frequently used techniques in popular music.
  14. tekhedd

    tekhedd Tone chaser Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2009
    Colorado, USA
    Owner/operator of BYTE HEAVEN
    Hey, neat idea! Although it won't work if you also use your thumb as a "finger" when finger-picking. :) When I started crossing over to a pick sometimes, the thumb became a useful part of the non-pick fingerings.
  15. I use both, depending upon the song and the sound.

    A friend of mine, who has played in and with a lot of great Canadian musicians, also uses both. He says it's not about technique or who's wrong or right, it's about the sound you want. I've even seen him switch from using a pick to fingers back to a pick during a song.
  16. rockstarbassist

    rockstarbassist Banned

    Apr 30, 2002
    The Woodlands, TX
    Endorsing Artist: HCAF
    I do this too from time to time. We'll be banging away on a tune and I'll have a little chord part or whatever I want to do and need to pluck three strings at a time or whatnot and yeah I just pop the pick in the side of my mouth and then nab it when it kicks back in.

    I know we have stickies about this but it's getting a lil silly at this point... :eyebrow::bag:
  17. T40Chump


    Jul 12, 2008
    Plano, TX
    I don't care for picks either, but necessity breeds adaptation so I work picking in when I have to. Know what...? It ain't that bad.

    Actually tried picking near the bridge on one of our originals during rehearsal last night and I really liked what what came out. A nice "twangy" bass thing was happening and I got into it.

    So learning to pick--even if you're not a fan of it--can lead to some cool stuff. Don't throw the baby out with the bath water (and other antiquated sayings).

  18. bifbugie56


    Feb 25, 2006
    forever i've been playing with a pick live. however i practice almost exclusively
    fingerstyle. i like the bite and attack a pick adds to a live mix. i also use a pick
    that is super extra heavy or a stone. a felt pick can mimmick fingers. ymmv
  19. Shaky


    Jul 6, 2006
    Roanoke, VA
    Chris Squire of YES gets some cool harmonic sounds by using a picking technique where he holds the pick with his fingers near the picking edge so his thumb barely brushes the string directly after the pick hits the string.
  20. cobra314


    Aug 23, 2010
    Owasso, OK
    I've been using a felt pick some lately and really liked it.

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