Pick technique

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by TOM274, Jul 26, 2009.

  1. TOM274

    TOM274 Guest

    Dec 17, 2007
    I always see pick style bass players pick very close to the bridge. So close almost look like they aren't muting the strings with the side of the picking hand. If they are, the hand position don't seem to be in a position to keep the strings from ringing. How do they keep their strings quiet? Just by left hand muting? Or how?

    But to me, not muting with the picking hand is only possible when playing repeated single notes. At 0:35 of the video. Jerry Peek pick a series of notes with the picking hand close to the bridge.

    If I were to play a major scale with my picking hand in the same position, i always hear they ring into each other. Can someone plz tell me how its done? Thx
  2. M.Wrenn

    M.Wrenn Guest

    Feb 9, 2009
    Santa Barbara, CA
    a lot of that is left hand muting, if you just let off on the note immediately after you play it it wont ring
    i dont normally play with a pick but when i do thats how i mute
  3. JSK5String

    JSK5String Guest

    May 19, 2008
    Littleton, CO
    I primarily use a 2.0 Dunlop Gator Grip pick, gives me as close to a finger thump as I could find. I play as you said in your OP, close to the bridge. I do my muting with mostly my left hand. I play Chrome flats and it can sound very heavy down there near the bridge, a bit more classic nearer the neck.
  4. TOM274

    TOM274 Guest

    Dec 17, 2007
    But how would it be possible to mute with the left hand if playing scalar licks? Mute with thumb?
    How would you mute with the left hand when you are say playing a major/minor scale?
  5. TOM274

    TOM274 Guest

    Dec 17, 2007
    Do any1 know?
  6. MEKer

    MEKer Supporting member

    May 30, 2006
    for me, I almost always mute with left hand as needed, sometimes I reach over with my left thumb and its become totally second nature and does not interfere even on really fast stuff.

    But mostly you find no need to mute when each note is firmly struck no matter at what speed. Mostly I find muting only necessary when moving from a lower pitched power chord (double stops) on strings E+A or A+D UP to a higher pitched chord on D+G (sometimes my thumb does this also).

    When moving the chord DOWNWARD in pitch your hand will automatically mute as you reach upward to the A+D to E+A--very occasionally do I use my right hand to mute.

    I do it so automatically as to when I know its needed or not that I really do not even think about it. You'll get the same way with practice. Hope this helps.
  7. i play fingerstyle and pick, depending on the setting. im having trouble understanding your question. i do all of my muting with the left hand and theres nothing i have trouble muting. i dont even think about it. ill have to go play with a pick for a while and study myself, then if i notice anything worth adding, ill repost.
  8. Pruitt


    Jun 30, 2005
    Danbury, CT
    I've been playing bass with a pick for almost 30 years now. My string muting is all done primarily with my left hand, though depending on what I'm playing, I sometimes mute with my right palm, the other fingers not holding the pick on my right hand, or sometimes even the pick itself. None of that is really conscious though, it's just how I've been doing it for so long that I don't even think about it. lol

    Oh, and I play a 6er, and muting it in this manner really is no more difficult than the 4 string basses I used to play. ;)
  9. JSK5String

    JSK5String Guest

    May 19, 2008
    Littleton, CO
    +1 here. I've playing about 30 years as well and use the same technique and it's truly become like breathing, I don't even think about it while playing, it just happens...
  10. Jay Corwin

    Jay Corwin Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Sanborn, NY
    I've played both styles for years, and agree with all the others here. Muting is easy with the left hand when pick playing.
  11. Pruitt


    Jun 30, 2005
    Danbury, CT
    Have you ever tried Wedgie rubber picks? I use both the 1.5mm and 5.0mm Hard versions and they can get the finger thump sound pretty well when needed. I also play with my fingers in those circumstances, but I'm better with a pick, so for some of the more difficult prog tunes I play, I'll sometimes use those to get the right tone.
  12. TomA1234


    Jul 27, 2009
    Fareham, England
    I have been playing bass for a year now and use a pick. personally if its an open string that is muted ill use my right hand but if its fretted ill use the side of my pick hand (left).
    I play very close to the start of the fretboard (where I play is highligted in the attachment) but sometimes go between the pickups or near the bridge to get the right sound for the intro bass solo in King Nothing.
  13. I pluck and pick and I move my right hand, whether I'm picking or plucking, from back near the bridge to the end of the fretboard--depending on the sound I'm seeking. I mute with both my left and right hands, again depending on the situation. I've reduced a lot of my need to hand mute, however, by using felt or sponge to partially mute the strings back by the bridge.

    Remember also that a string struck back by the bridge--whether picked or plucked--naturally vibrates/resonates much less than when struck nearer its midpoint, reducing the need to mute.

    Bluesy Soul :cool:
  14. Dogbertday

    Dogbertday Commercial User

    Jul 10, 2007
    SE Wisconsin
    Blaine Music LLC
    Try experimenting with playing very short noteswith your fourth finger and using left hand muting to stop the pitch. a combination of this and some right hand muting should be what you're looking for.
  15. TheFrogPrince

    TheFrogPrince Guest

    Jun 4, 2009
    I pick using the wrist in upstrokes on the upbeat and down-strokes on said downbeat. Basically you control the note-length with your fretting hand. I also like using thicker picks, 1.5 or 2mm is good.

    Use a metronome and work on holding half-notes and whole notes. When you can hold a whole note for exactly four beats consistently, it will be much easier to play other notes. Learn to tap your foot on the downbeat if you don't. It helps.

    Also, if you're getting noise, turn down the treble know on your bass. It's largely overtones and string-noise I'd guess.