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Pick Playing

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by bigbass611, Jul 28, 2000.

  1. bigbass611


    Jul 14, 2000
    I was wondering what was the best way to use a pick when playing bass. Should you hit the strings hard or soft? Should you just hit the string or hit the string and go through allowing the string to spring back up? Should you use downstroke only, or both down and up strokes. It's tougher for me and sounds different when I do both strokes alternating. Thanks for the help.
  2. You should make all the movement just out f your hand-joint. Your arm shouldn't move more than about 1 inches in every direction.
    After a time, you will feel the float coming just like that. And donĀ“t push it too hard, strings shouldn't hit your frets so you could hear it. It's got to sound smooth and floating.

  3. nixrick


    Aug 12, 2000
    also, experiement with different places on the string. playing near the bridge will give you a very tight, ballsy sound, and the further into the body you go, the more your tone will mellow.

    as far as should you alternate, or use just up or down strokes....yes. whatever sounds right for what you're playing.
  4. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Picking style can depend on the music style. Metallica, for years, used all down strokes. As I dig Metallica, that's the way I chose to pick. You have to be super fast, as there is no sound on your way up. Your strings will sound only on the way down. So, I hope I am explaining this right...your wrist will be doing twice as much work. But the reward is a super aggressive sound.

    I was in a Rage Against the Machine/Biohazard/Korn style band in which the lead guitarist and I almost came to blows over all downstrokes. He insisted that the two guitars and bass all use up and down strokes. That way sound comes from both the down and up stroke. He believed that would result in faster picking. To a certain extent he is right, but I am firm in my conviction that the sound is less aggressive.

    Actually I think that a combination of styles is probably the most effective, up and down picking in certain passages and all downstrokes in a particularly aggressive passage or the outro, for example, or an agressive bridge.

    Last, I read about one guitarist who uses all upstrokes!! Well, try all methods. Take a favorite song, play all down, a combination, and all up and see what you like. When I first started to play bass I was rigid about techniques, but now I have loosened up considerably. Play what the song demands. Play inservice of the music. Jason Oldsted


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