picking techniques

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by letitrumble, Nov 22, 2004.

  1. letitrumble


    Nov 22, 2004
    My friends band is loosing thier bass player around mid april/early june and I am the lucky person who has been chosen to replace him. My problem: I don't play bass. I have played guitar for over four years however and I think that that will give me some sort of advantage whereas starting from the very beginning. My main concern is picking techniques, this is where most of my problems have been. Should I use a pick or should I just drop that and use my fingers? I would just like to know a few picking and/or strumming techniques that will help me play more fluently.
  2. cowsgomoo

    cowsgomoo gone to Longstanton Spice Museum

    Feb 8, 2003
    whether you use a pick or fingers is (of course) entirely up to you, but the easiest transition (or the one that gets the most immediate results) will probably be if you adapt a guitaristic 'alternate picking' approach for the bass...

    with a few differences... you can't palm-mute as easily on bass.. instead you might want to use the side of your hand and pinkie to lightly dampen the strings

    the big change for bass will be that you now need to make every note a good solid one, so you'll probably need to pick a little harder than you did on guitar.. maybe use a heavier pick

    apart from the wider string spacing, you'll find most of your guitar picking technique will translate across.. the biggest change will not be technical, but adapting to the function of the bass... many guitarists have never had to develop the discipline of playing the same phrase over and over as accurately and as cleanly and evenly as possible... it's a different approach entirely to most guitar playing
  3. RollingMonkey


    Nov 11, 2004
    I find that reformed guitarists tend to treat bass like a guitar with 4 strings, which is totally wrong.

    The pick vs. finger thing is a matter of feel and sound. Picks are more for the "chug" sounds, but are a bit limiting. They're great for playing straight 16th notes, however. Fingers are more for the warmer sounds.

    I prefer fingers to picks, because I find them more versatile and with a pick, I feel more distant from the strings. Also, one has more control with fingers, IMO.

    One other very important thing to remember is that you have to groove! Well, not "have to", but it's another thing that separates guitarists from bassists. Locking in with the drummer helps.
  4. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    That's all very true - and the main reason why it might not be a bad idea to go with FINGERS. Not only is it arguably the superior method (I for one think it is) for several reasons, but while you're getting the bass-thing together, it's at least a constant phychological 'reminder' that you're NOT playing a guitar!

  5. Rich600


    Nov 22, 2004
    I actually used to play guitar before i saw the light and became a bassist, i hated guitar so i didnt look at bass like a 4 stringed guitar, mainly because i started out with a 5 but yknow what i mean, i just took a totally new approach to bass.