picking problems

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by BboySanStorm, Feb 19, 2003.

  1. BboySanStorm


    Feb 19, 2003
    i've been playing the bass for a year now. i moved up to playing fairly fast punk songs such as At the Drive-in. i'm trying to learn how to play punk well with a pick, but i seems that i'm using it totally wrong. while i'm playing, the end of the pick slowly turns inwards and i end up playing with the side my thumb. i would think this happens cause my hand is too tilted to the string and its forcing the pick to move it. so i adjust to playing it the other way, but its uncomfortable and i can't play fast enough for the song. and tips for me?
  2. Your thumb and index finger need to grasp the pick with confidence, so the pick stays "aimed" in the proper direction. Other than 'get lots of practice,' I don't know what to tell ya.

    Maybe your guitar player friends could shed more light on the subject.

    Good luck.
  3. PollyBass

    PollyBass ******

    Jun 25, 2001
    Shreveport, LA
    ...I hope you were really trying to help him out there. Play around with different place to put your hand, and sometimes you will find a better one than the one you had been useing. Make sure your gripping the pick right (Make a thumbs up, then place your thumb so it's vertical with your knuckle, place the pick in there, and find a comfortable spot). Pick playing takes time. just keep at it.
  4. Yes, I was.... sorry if it sounded sarcastic, didn't mean it that way.
  5. BboySanStorm


    Feb 19, 2003
    thanks dudes, i'll just keep at it
  6. Thor

    Thor Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Hey, I've always played with a pick.

    I use a slightly larger triangular pick than a standard Fender style oblong pick. It is a
    medium heavy gauge pick as well.

    The larger size works well on the bass, and the extra gauge allows you to push the string around, instead of it pushing you.

    I usually stick a few extra pick into my pick guard where I can easily get it if I lose it. Sometimes there will be a passage where I want t pluck, I will then just drop it on the floor and when I'm done, slip another out of the guard.

    The pick allows me to introduce different elements into my style of playing, pulling bell tones and harmonics out, clickety click and clackety clack, little voices with pick scrapes, plinking accent notes
    very near the bridge in harmony with the guitar player, forcing him to look around the room for the other guitar player, since he knows I'm resting in this passage. And a whole little bag of your own tricks. You can get a lot of accents goin' on interwoven in, with out missing any of the basic bass repertoire.

    We all have our own style. Just work on your picking till you feel you got it. It won't ruin you for
    finger plucking, it's just another set of tools.
    ... the secret word for tonight is Mudshark.
  7. Go to Carol Kaye's site, click on "education" then click on "tips." There are all kinds of tips there so you'll have to wade through a huge amount of stuff to get to all the picking tips, but it's worth it! I ignore all the stuff about her felt mute, but I stick to everything else she says about picking. When you learn to do it her way, your picking sound will become fat and authoritative like you wouldn't believe.
  8. Thor

    Thor Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    The Carol Kaye site noted above is an excellent resource.

    For those of you not familiar with her work, she did
    a lot of the session work for Motown. The Temptations, 4 Tops, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, etc.The one song she did that I always loved the bass line on was 'Stop in the Name of Love' sung by Diana Ross and the Supremes.'
    I have seen this song covered by some very good bands, and the line really carries the song.

    Great tip!

    I got friends in low places ...
  9. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    - Have you ever given fingerstyle a serious try??? 5 fingers cover a lot more ground in a second than 1 wrist with a thumb + index finger locked into one position with a pick. (I'm not dissing picks at all......I made a living by using a pick for punk in the late 70's).

    - Is your bass's action set low enough??? High action really slows down a pick player. Take it to a tech and get it professionally adjusted if you're not sure. Once you know what great actions feels like, you can usually do it yourself.

    - Are you using heavy gauge strings??? With the hard attack of a pick, you can usually get away with lighter gauge strings without sounding wimpy.

    - Make sure you're using "the right" pick. Hell, they're cheap as dirt. Go to a music store and buy 2 dozen picks, each one different in thickness/shape/size. I found gold-colored Herco's the fastest picks for me that didn't flap over the strings too easily. Each pick player needs to find what works best for them.
  10. Also - In the meantime, you may want to try those picks that have a little rubberized grippy thing. The grippy part fits right between your thumb and index finger, but the picking end is the same as a normal pick. That may make it easier for you to keep the pick positioned how you want.

    I don't know who makes these picks, I just know they exist and they aren't just a smooth piece of slippery plastic.

    Good luck.:bassist: