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! :)

Picking(using a pick)

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by bassnewbie11, Dec 24, 2003.

  1. bassnewbie11


    Jul 18, 2003
    is there anything WRONG when using a pick, picking upwards instead of downwards? I mean I start below the start and go up instead of going above and going down
  2. If you want to put the bass on the ground and play it with your big toes, there isn't anything wrong with that, is there?:D

    Of course there is nothing wrong with alternating the pick, play how you want.
  3. bassnewbie11


    Jul 18, 2003
    well i alternate when i paly fast notes.. but mostly i JUST go upwards.. never downwards. Im not asking if I can do it, im asking if this is bad technique
  4. Does it impair your playing?

    If so, it's a problem.

    If you don't want to do that, just practice your downstrokes.

    :p Do what works for you.
  5. Joe Turski

    Joe Turski

    Jul 29, 2003
    It's not necessarily a bad technique, but I hope it's not your only technique.

    If your going to use a pick, learn how to use it in more ways than one.

    If you do a search on pick playing, you may just find how to use different picking styles.
  6. How to use a pick

    Learning to use a guitar pick can be extremely awkward. Here are some guidelines to help you learn to use a pick easily and effectively.

    Difficulty Level: easy Time Required: 10 minutes

    Here's How:

    1.Open your picking hand, and turn the palm to face you.
    2. Close your hand to make a very loose fist. Your thumb should remain beside your index finger.
    3. Rotate your hand until you are looking at it's profile, with your thumb's knuckle facing you.
    4. With your other hand, slide your pick between your thumb and index finger. The pick should be approximately located behind the knuckle of the thumb.
    5. Be sure the pointed end of the pick is pointing directly away from your fist, and is protruding by about a half an inch. Hold the pick firmly.
    6. Position your picking hand over the soundhole of your bass, or over the body of your bass guitar. Your picking hand, with thumb knuckle still facing you, should hover over the strings.
    7. Do not rest your picking hand on the strings or body of the guitar.
    8. Using your wrist for motion (rather than your entire arm), strike the (lowest) string of your guitar in a downward motion. If the string rattles excessively, try striking the string a bit softer, or with less of the pick surface.
    9. Now, pick the low string in an upwards motion.
    10. Repeat the process several times. Try and minimize motion in your picking hand: one short picking stroke downwards, then one short picking stroke upwards. This process is referred to as "alternate picking"
    11. Try the same exercise on the third, second, and first strings. Play any scales you know using this alternate picking method (down, up, down, up, etc.)


    1. Holding the pick in this manner will invariably feel awkward at first. You will initially have to pay special attention to your picking hand whenever you play guitar.
    2. Try and create fluidity in your alternate picking. Your downstrokes should sound virtually identical to your upstrokes.
    3. Pay attention to the rhythm you are playing when picking. Are your upstrokes and downstrokes identical rhythmically? Practice until they are.

  7. X2N


    Dec 1, 2003
    Sydney, Australia
    ive played guitar for a good 6 years (played bass for a good 6 days...).. and conventional guitar wisdom says that you should try to alternate pick, always start by picking downwards, then up and then down and then up and so on.... even if you are changing strings.. alternate strictly.. and then later when you get really good at that you can possibly do some sorta rakes and sweeps and things... but alternate is good for keeping in time and a very easy motion (as your arm has to go down then come back up again..)

    picking downwards just gives a muhc stronger sound, and often if your playing slowly (or are say in a heavy metal band...) you can pick only downwards to get a powerful and even tone....
    (if you listen to metallica say.. they almost exculsively downpick... im not quite sure about their bassis... like i said im new to bass...)

    its funny i can play my bass with my pick pretty well... if i try playing with my fingers i sound like ive been playing for the 6 days that i have been ... =]

    hope that helps...

  8. ImpactBass04


    Jan 9, 2004
    Erie PA
    Can't immagine any style of using a pick or your fingers "wrong" I have seen people work wonders with both. Although I think that in the end, having learned with a pick and your fingers, will benefit you greatly.
  9. Stephen Soto

    Stephen Soto

    Oct 12, 2003
    the bassist for rancid is shreds mad with a pick (listen to maxwell murder). i say not to though, there not for a lot of people.

Share This Page