1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

pick vs. finger

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by jcwillcanada, Apr 7, 2001.

  1. jcwillcanada


    Apr 5, 2001
    hey, I just started bass at the end of last year and I have no idea which to use. Currently I like to use the pick because it's louder and I can do stuff that you can't do with finger, but, my jazzband teacher won't let me use a pick and all the pros and really good people don't use picks. I don't know which to do, can ya help me...thanks
  2. A) Your teacher is an ass, but whatever he's close minded.

    B) Neither one is better, they are two very different beasts.

    C) Alot of pro players use a pick (moreso hard rock guys than Jazz cats but they're pros none the less).....Jason Newsted (Metallica), David Ellefson (Megadeth), Tom Araya (Slayer), Gene Simmons (KISS), Michael Anthony (Van Halen), Duff McKagen (Guns and Roses), I could go on forever but you get the point.
  3. Use whatever's most comfortable for you , there are advantages to both styles as well as unique sounds , it depends on what you're playing. For funk jazz and blues I use my fingers for a warmer fuller tone and a pick for Fast metal and punk , learn both is my advice , versatility is the key to getting gigs.
  4. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Neither one is better or worse than the other.
    Fingerstyle is more accepted in certain genres, so you shouldn't neglect it.
    But you can use a pick in ANY style, though some people will tell you otherwise.
    Anthony Jackson plays Jazz with a pick.
    Carlos Benavent plays Flamenco in Paco DeLucia's Band. He uses a pick.
    That was my rant for those pick haters, sorry! :D

    Use what you want to.
    But it's best to use both.

    A word of advice:
    Don't think that using a pick is easier than fingerstyle. You can't really say that.
    DON'T base your decision on that. Use what gets you the sound you want.
    I use both techniques depending on the situation. But the most work is done finger-style (90% finger, 10% pick in my case).
  5. Like metro_trash said, versatility is very important, so try both, and carry piks in your gig-bag, whether you pik or not. I, personally, have been using fingering since I began playing, but I carry piks and find that I can play faster with a pick, but sound quality goes down a bit. Anyways, try fingering a little more, but most importantly get used to both
  6. Erlendur Már

    Erlendur Már

    May 24, 2000
    Use both!
    Or whatever you think is better..
  7. yeah use both. i use fingers for metal style stuff, but i use pick when i do my punk oriented stuff.
  8. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    I use fingers, always. I suggest you use them most of the time too. Nothing wrong with using a pick occasionally, but you should use fingers more often than not, imo. You have much more control with your fingers (after all, they are attached, picks arent), and are thus able to achieve MANY more sounds (including faux pick) and have much more dynamic capabilities than with a pick.

    Picks are "easier" in the beginning, but eventually, with a little practice you'll be much better with your fingers. Dont fall into the pick trap, stay with fingers for a while, youll thank yourself for it.

    Stay with fingers especially in jazz band, it will help give you a warmer tone.

    This is all my opinion though.

    And btw, Michael Anthony plays with his fingers.
  9. First of all, I use both my fingers and a pick, but I do take exception to the above points.

    The point that "you have much more control with your fingers [they are attached]" I happen to disagree with. There sure are a lot of players on this board that maybe do find they have less control with the pick, but I bet those are the same players that haven't spent nearly as much time practicing their pick technique as their finger style playing. It is very possible to play with great precision and control with a pick if you spend some time with it. As for not "being attached", I play mostly orchestral double bass these days, and I use my bow probably 99% of the time - it's not attached, and I assure you I have infinitely more control over the bass with my bow than with my fingers playing pizzicato. Of course, some people don't have much luck with the bow, but again, it's mostly through lack of solid practice - the same is true with the pick.

    The notion that the fingers can produce a bigger range of sounds or dynamics than a pick is also false in my opinion. Again, through careful practice, there is a huge range of colour and dynamics available from a pick if you take the time to investigate. Actually, regarding dynamics specifically, someone please explain to me why a pick should have any smaller dynamic range than fingers - I can't see how this is possible - I can play equally loud or soft with either - if you can't, maybe you need some more time in the practice room.

    So back to the originally question jcwillcanada, there are a lot of people that will have you believe that the pick is an inferior method of playing that real pros don't use. Don't fall for it. It is very important to learn both techniques very well then you'll be able to adapt to many musical situations with greater ease.
  10. Word up to that, yo.

Share This Page