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Picking Technique

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Eli V, Dec 13, 2016.


  1. Eli V

    Eli V

    Dec 3, 2016
    I mostly play with my fingers, but I figured I should learn to pick too. I have a problem with mostly only being able to do down strokes and something always feels off. Any advice?
     
  2. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    Metronome

    1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &
    down up down up down up down up
    1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &
    down up down up down up down up
    1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &
    down up down up down up down up
    1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &
    down up down up down up down up

    (repeat)
     
  3. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    This. Like everything else, it just takes practice. You'll be sawing away in no time.
     
    Eli V likes this.
  4. Try practicing your picking to Some Kind Of Wonderful. The whole song is the chunk-a chunk you need
     
    Mushroo and Eli V like this.
  5. +1, and just as importantly, no faster than you can play cleanly and accurately, which at first may feel excruciatingly slow. But you can't jump to full tempo right out of the gate, unless you want to be sloppy for the rest of your picking days.

    If you need a bridle, fire up that metronome.

    Or as I used to tell my students, "To play faster sooner, play slower now." First comes muscle memory, then comes velocity.

    Also, your pick grip is important. Don't hold it like a dead bug. Choke up a bit until you feel control, kind of like you do with a pencil. Finger 1 and thumb always worked for me on all stringed instruments. Most bass players do better with a thicker pick (.90mm or heavier).

    Use a combination of flexing your pick fingers, wrist, and forearm. Over time, all pick players begin to favor one or the other, or some combination, and there is no right or wrong. Your pick style will come to you naturally.

    Don't get frustrated; be patient, and stay determined. Don't play through pain, give your pick hand a rest when you feel discomfort. Don't put an artificial timeline on it, everyone learns at a different pace. Those of us who can go back and forth between pick and fingers are glad we made the effort and have the tonal variety that goes along with it.
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2016
    Eli V likes this.
  6. Eli V

    Eli V

    Dec 3, 2016
    Awesome! Thank you for the advice. It's been very helpful already!
     
    electracoyote likes this.
  7. Eli V

    Eli V

    Dec 3, 2016
    Cool, I'll try it out!
     
  8. fearceol

    fearceol

    Nov 14, 2006
    Ireland
    Eli V likes this.

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