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Pickstyle stereotype

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by motionkid, Apr 18, 2009.

  1. motionkid

    motionkid Guest

    Jan 28, 2008
    Central Wisconsin
    I was watching a bass battle between Jason Newsted and Robert Trujillo. Alot of the comments stated "Roberts better because he plays with his fingers and not a pick". Would sombody PA-LEASE explain to me what is the big deal with this? Why do alot of people resent bassists who play with a pick over there fingers?
  2. Nolifer


    Apr 14, 2009

    And I don't know why..
    I personally never want to start playing with a pick because it's not comfortable for me, I just need to play with my fingers but it's up to everyone else what they feel like playing with better..
  3. rap138


    May 29, 2007
    south of Spain
    It's been covered many times
    just different ways to play, not better or worse. I play with fingers and would love to play with a pick to change the style.
  4. why do they resent players who play with a pick?

    I have a theory... it may be because bassists who use their fingers strive for an identity as a bass player. In other words, they try to distance themselves from our 6-string guitar playing brothers who mostly use picks. When they see a bassist who uses a plectrum, maybe they think "hey, this guy is barely a bassist. Just a guitar player who picked up a bass." Sure, it's pretty stupid.

    The bottom line is that there are different tools for different jobs. I use a pick mostly, but I also do 2-handed fretboard tapping with my fingers. For any bassist to rag on anyone else for the tools they use to get the job done is just plain ignorant, and a total waste of time.
  5. ive been picking more and more lately. i used to feel that way until i realized that its all about the result. heck if you can slap out a beatles song and it still FITS THE MUSIC, why not?
  6. ethancrater


    Apr 17, 2009
    i agree with ryognbass, what ever fits the style, but thats one of the issues, sometimes you shouldnt pic a song, sometimes it needs the softer less harsh sound of finger style, but some bassists (Joe Principe of rise against for example) will only play pic style, sometimes its just not right for the song but they do it any way
  7. GianGian


    May 16, 2008
    I think it is mainly because people see bassist that play with a pick like converted guitar players. I personally think it makes no sense, but I never use a pick. Not my style.
    On a side note, Metallica with Jason was much much better than it is with Trujillo.
  8. tpmiller08


    Mar 15, 2009
    Boston, MA
    Pick, fingers, whats it matter if it all sounds good? I recently recorded the first bass line for my bands first demo. I keep better time than my drummer (which is also a bassists role, but the drummer should be at the same level at least usually, but hey, its all in fun =). Hows THAT for a run on sentence? lol), so I had to record first, and solo. I opted to use a pick for my low B, which is the pre-verse for the song. I tried it, thought it sounded ok with the extra attack, everyone in my banded looked at me like I was crazy. Its a completely different sound. So stay familiar with both, just in case, but MASTER one :D. I see alot of pick bassists shadow the guitars on root notes the whole time.....DO NOT BE ONE OF THESE BASSISTS. Unison is great, but pulling away from the guitars, then bringing it back can truely sound amazing if done right.

    Do what feels comfortable. The only problem with using a pick is you lose some of the bass' diversity. I'm sure you can pick tap like a guitarist, or even slap and pop with a pick in your hand. It just not commonly done. I love finger plucking. I love the tone, and how intimate it feels when playing. You literally feel every pluck ya know?

    Also, in my opinion, it's a hell of alot easier to finger pluck, then slap and pop a chorus, then finger pluck again. Or slap and pop, then two hand tap, then slap and pop again, or any variation there of.

    I just went to Music as a Weapon Tour IV. It was awesome, all the bands were kickarse.....and they all used a pick. Keep in mind, these are touring bands, so they're doing something right!

    In the end it just what works best for you. I don't agree with bashing pick bassists anymore then I agree with me getting bashed for being self-taught. To each their own. And the end result is the same... TO HAVE FUN AND PLAY SOME BADARSE BASS!!! :bassist:

  9. rarbass


    Jul 3, 2008
    I'm going to assume I misunderstood this, but it seems like you said that bass players who play with their fingers do it simply to distance themselves from guitar players. Doesn't really make sense. I can assume the original idea to play with fingers came from where the instrument originated, and that was the double bass (which I don't think was ever played with a pick). However, the idea to play with a pick could have come from the similarities to the electric guitar.

    So really, each technique is equal in it's origins, neither being better than the other (perhaps in opinions, but that's a different story) and so should not be used as a judgment factor.
  10. bThumper38

    bThumper38 brian ebert

    I'm sure I'll get flamed but it takes more work to develop a good pizzicato technique.
  11. Ramstien


    Aug 19, 2007
    People are stupid and will argue over completely inane things for no reason.

    This is the whole reason for the pick vs fingers debate.
  12. svp


    Mar 12, 2007
    I play both ways, it all depends on the sound for the song.
    At this point in life It's hard rock/metal, so I mainly play with a pick. I love the huge, edgy punch sound I get with a pick.
  13. I never once generalized that all fingerstyle bass players are the same. I made a point to refer to only the bassists who judge others by how they play (fingerstyle, with a pick, whatever).

    Also, I said it was a theory, not an opinion.

    I'm neither for or against anyone who uses their fingers or a pick, I said that they are tools to do a certain job, and that anyone who puts anyone down for using a certain tool is pretty ignorant.
  14. I have also heard many bass players claim that "real" bass players don't use a pick. That is narrow-minded thinking in my opinion. Playing with a pick, finger style, slapping, tapping, or whatever technique just gives you a more diverse range and style. It's more "tools in the toolbox" and you never know when you may need them. There is no right and wrong way to play, it's whatever works for you.
  15. Rock-Bassman


    Dec 25, 2008
    One of my favorite bassists, Duff Mckagan uses pretty much only a pick and I think he's pretty good! You should REALLY know how to do almost evry style half-decently (well not necisarrily tapping but...)
  16. I find tapping the most rewarding of fingerstyle techniques, it allows for great amounts of melody, expression and dynamics.

    I usually play a very aggressive pick style, I find the action that my bass requires for this style makes it a lot tougher to do two handed tapping. I'd like to one day have a dedicated fretless (lined, of course) jazz or maybe something a bit more "up there" (modulus, sadowsky or a custom warmoth are some options I've been considering) just to have set up for two handed tapping.

    Just another example of needing different tools for different jobs.
  17. Guz2


    Apr 18, 2009
    But it doesn't work the same way with bassists who use distortion, even though most guitarists use distortion
  18. again, effects like distortion are TOOLS to be used towards achieving a desired product.

    i'm sure 100% anti-effect pedal bassists exist out there.

    but you're looking beyond the point... it shouldn't matter how you get the final product, whether playing with a pick, running 20 distortion pedals in your signal chain, or rubbing your strings with an allen wrench while screaming "this is for the people of the sun!".

    musicians who knit-pick about what other bassists may or may not be doing "wrong" can be a problem. and to address the OP, it's the ignorance displayed by these Bass Nazis (bass nazi = bassist who spends all their time putting down others for how they play and believing that their way is the ONLY way) leads to young players thinking there might be some sort of stigma against playing... say with a plectrum, or with effects.

    know what i mean?

    anyways, there are LOTS of really good bassists who use a pick. don't let anyone ever tell you otherwise.

    i do think it's very important to be well-rounded in bass playing. by this i mean being proficient at fingerstyle and with a pick. everything you learn and put into your memory will help. don't let anyone tell you that a certain way of playing is "frowned upon".

    now.. if you guys would excuse me, all this talk has gotten me awfully bored. I'm going to head downtown to band practice.
  19. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Here's why bassists say things like that to other bassists:

    Bassists are by and large fascist a-holes who think everyone should do as they do 100% of the time. It's as if they don't get enough validation by merely playing the bass, so they constantly have to look to others for validation. They goof on your equipment, they goof on your stylistic choices, they even goof on your stage presentation. I used to think it was isolated a-holes, but through coming on here and other internet sites, I've discovered that there are a buttload of a-holes playing bass. People always think the bass player is the cool guy in any band...wrong. They're just as narcissistic as anyone else in the band. They just don't talk as much.
  20. BobaFret


    Jan 22, 2008
    Send them to Bobby Vega school if they have an issue with picks.

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