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Picking

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Ketch27, Jun 19, 2002.


  1. Ketch27

    Ketch27

    May 4, 2001
    IL
    Ok. I'm decent at most styles of bass playing (slap, fingerstyle, thumb, etc.) but I blow at playing with a pick. I've tried different picks but that was no use. I know I have to practice and all, but is there anything I can do to improve my speed and whatnot with a pick? Like some kind of drills or something? I want to be a well rounded musician, so I wanna be about to play with a pick as well as my hand.
     
  2. Hi there..


    Hey.. I'm not very good at picking either but I'm not really interested at it. I don't like playing with a pick, but have nothing against people who does.. SOme of my fav rock bands' bassplayers play with a pick.. (Sevendust, tool, glassjaw)

    Well.. the things is that you don't have to play with a pick if you cant.. Try using more fingers.. Practice playing with your ring finger, and if you succeed start using you pinky fingertoo.
     
  3. lo-end

    lo-end

    Jun 15, 2001
    PA
    Take some guitar lessons. A guitar teacher will give you picking exercises every week to help you with your technique.

    I had a pretty hard time teaching myself how to use a pick. A teacher would save you a lot of time and effort.
     
  4. SCH

    SCH

    May 3, 2002
    San Antonio, Texas
    My situation was the opposite. I started with a pick, and had to teach myself how to play finger style (which I now prefer).

    When you're using a pick make sure that you are not just using down-strokes (or just up-strokes). Alternate between them. Practice doing alternating down and up stroke quarter notes on one string at a time, and slowly build up from there to doing simple scales, etc.

    I had to use the exact same concept to learn finger-style (strictly alternating between two fingers). It'll come if you keeping plugging away at it.
     
  5. thrash_jazz

    thrash_jazz

    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    NO - don't take guitar lessons to learn how to pick a bass! The technique and feel are completely different!

    Bass strings are a lot heavier than guitar strings (duh); as a result, strumming them a la guitar doesn't work. You have to have a better grip on the pick (depending on the line, use index/thumb or, for more bite, hold it like you would a roll of quarters). Also, I prefer very heavy picks (Dunlop Jazz III's) as thinner ones tend to sound clicky and scratchy to me.

    Despite what some others might say, there is nothing wrong with playing with a pick - if it's your thing, it's your thing. DO NOT switch to a pick if it's only a speed issue - you can play just as fast with your fingers with practice.

    As for learning it, it's just like incorporating any new technique - play lines you are familiar with, using the pick, until you can do them.
     
  6. Ketch27

    Ketch27

    May 4, 2001
    IL
    Thanks guys. I want to be able to pick not just for speed, but for the sound too. I know that picking a bass is way different than guitar. I can strum a guitar fine. I think that's the problem. The bass strings are thick and I can't get a nice even up and down strumming on it. I'll keep practicing like I have. One of the main reasons I wanna pick is a song my band does. It starts off all punkish, but ends up all funky with my slapping. The first part sounds awesome with a pick, but I can't play it fast or rhythemically with it. It'd be cool to pick the first part, then throw the pick away and slap away. So...that's my story.:D Thanks for the advice guys.
     
  7. a thing you could do is to find a BASS teacher that can play with a pick very well, that's what I did my teacher was deeply into punk rock when he was young so he know a lot about picking.

    things he kept saying to me :

    pick near the bridge with a heavy pick( he said thin pick are for guitars). (i use dunlop 1.14mm)

    he also said use your wrist, your arm should not move. All the up and down strokes are made by a wrist motion.

    do not put tension in your arm your muscle should be relax, do not use unnessary strengt.
     
  8. just_a_poser

    just_a_poser

    Apr 20, 2002
    When I first got my bass I wanted to use a pick, but once I started lessons, it kind of dropped off. (My instructor plays for like jazz bands, and doesn't believe in picking at all.) Lately I've been wanting to try it out, and also feel kind of awkward with it. So I'm kind of with you, and don't have much help to offer, heheheh. A friend of mine plays with a pick, so I was going to see if he could help me get more used to it. Maybe if you know anyone they could help you out...
     
  9. Ketch27

    Ketch27

    May 4, 2001
    IL
    Well there is this kid I know that only plays with a pick. The problem is that he's joining jazz band next year and he can't play with his fingers. Maybe he'll show me how to pick and I'll show him how to finger (wow. that kinda sounded gross) I totally perfer fingerstyle or picking, but for some music, a pick would sound good.
    btw, I've never taken a lesson in my life and I don't really plan to. The best bassist I know personally never took a lesson either and he's incredible, so I know I can be good without lessons.
     
  10. i "grew up" playing with a pick but i would like to play finger a little bit.
    to start u should do sum wrist excersises, however u wanna go about that.
    then start only plucking one note during a song at a time, in a group where u need to play fast and increase your speed as you get more comfortable playing. in parts where u need to play quick use up and down motions because it puts less strain on ur whole body because i dunno why it just happens, play up and down.
    hope its a help
     
  11. i "grew up" playing with a pick but i would like to play finger a little bit.
    to start u should do sum wrist excersises, however u wanna go about that.
    then start only plucking one note during a song at a time, in a group where u need to play fast and increase your speed as you get more comfortable playing. in parts where u need to play quick use up and down motions because it puts less strain on ur whole body because i dunno why it just happens, play up and down.
    hope its a help
     
  12. start listening and playing along to some punk stuff, especially blink 182 (thats how i learned to pick). once you practice with some of that, get the song "the theme fiasco" by mxpx, you'll know your getting pretty good if you can play that. ;) :D
     
  13. sleazylenny

    sleazylenny

    Jun 20, 2002
    Mpls, MN
    I started with a pick and still use them for certain types of music. The key to making a pick work is not to be a weak sister with it.

    Get a heavy pick. I like a Jim Dunlop 1mm nylon. They have a nice authority and snap off the string well.

    Choke up on it. I hold mine with my thumb, fore and middle, leaving only 1/4 " exposed. This will also help with your up and down strokes because there is less pick to get tangled up in the strings.

    It's all in the wrist. Try to keep your wrist movements short. Just enough to clear the string after the stroke. Anything more is wasted energy. But keep them strong and consistent.

    If you keep the pick at a slight angle to the strings, it will produce a dirty rasp the sounds kinda neat in rock music. Otherwise try to keep the picking surface relatively parallel to the strings.

    The real bitch in picking is fast string transitions, which are easy with fingers. Try to keep your alternate picking consistant when you jump from string to string i.e...if the last note you play on the A string before transitioning to the D is a downstroke, the transition to D should be an upstroke.

    Keep your down strokes on the downbeat, ups on the upbeat whenever possible.
     
  14. Ketch27

    Ketch27

    May 4, 2001
    IL
    I've been taking your guy's advice and it's helping a lot. I personally prefer a medium-heavy pick, like .9 (I'm using a fender pick now). I've be practicing and stuff trying to play stuff by ear while I do it. I've been playing a lot so System, but an octave up cuz I hate dropping down to C. I can play some blink too, even though I don't respect Hoppus much for a bassist. I'll always prefer fingerstyle and slap over picking, but it's good to know how to pick too in case some die-hard punk band needs a bassist. I feel so versitile. :D
     
  15. i dont recommend fender picks because they break too fast.

    i recommend dunlop tortex or dunlop sdd picks because they are strong but flexible......you guys all have ur own playing styles so you can pick out the size but that my choice....they work the best!

    if any u guys got tips on learning to play fast with fingers let me know cuz im always willing to learn with my baby.:D :cool:
     
  16. bleachstained

    bleachstained

    Apr 22, 2001
    Snaggletooth nailed it. Aspire to play MxPx's Theme Fiasco, great song, but I never could get it picking, only fingerstyle. Very good song to practice picking to.