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Playing over bridge pickup

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by prater, Nov 4, 2013.

  1. prater


    Aug 4, 2011
    I've always had an aggressive plucking technique, and a clanky fret board. I setup my bass last night and eliminated some of the clank but it still remains when I get excited during energetic bass lines. I figure it probably won't be noticed through the amp anyway since the parts I tend to play aggressively are loud rockin parts.

    Anyway just as an experiment I tried plucking over the bridge pickup of my Fender J bass, I solo'd the neck pickup and surprisingly got a bright yet warm sound out of it. I also found it easier to play accurately although it did tire my fingers quicker.

    I rolled the tone knob down to zero and jammed stranglehold for as long as my fingers could take it.

    I know my setup is not complete and my technique needs some work since I get clanking when playing over the neck pickup but I'm kind of digging the sound I'm getting over the bridge pickup.

    Anybody else prefer to pluck over the bridge pickup, any suggestions for best tone or technique. I expected it to sound too twangy but I quite like it.
  2. VeganThump


    Jun 29, 2012
    South Jersey
    You're in a good company, I heard same guy named Jaco used to do the same thing. :bag: I play exclusively over the bridge PU on my jazz, always have, I prefer the tone and extra tension I get. I need A LOT of tension because I like to really dig in. I actually play a 5er tuned down a whole step (ADGCF) with power slinky Cobalts 55-110 and a .135 B-String and I find that if I don't play over the bridge PU, my B-String is incredibly floppy. Unlike you though, I solo my bridge PU but that the tone I prefer.
  3. Schmorgy


    Jul 2, 2012
    Be wary of cranking your mids on the amp too much if you like playing the bridge (especially on the J) since it'll start to sound like a clavinova (unless that's what you want) and loses everything that makes it a bass.

    Digging in on the bridge might give you some neat attack, but you'd be surprised what lightening your touch a bit will do for the sound as well.

    Don't grow too detached from having the neck pickup on. Some round lows are nice.
  4. Lownote38


    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    I use the bridge pick up and play over it aggressively when I am playing something fast and want to be heard (rather than being in the mud). If I want a smooth sound, I use a more delicate touch over the neck pick up and pluck rather than hit the string. Hitting it (like a type writer) causes the fretboard clack sounds real fast!
  5. Your sound is your sound; If you like it and it works with the material you're playing, what's the harm?

    I clank. I clank HARD, right over the bridge PU. I like the attack and the tone of it, but like Lownote38 points out, for smoother passages, a lighter touch closer to the neck completely changes the character of the instrument. There's a whole palette of tone under your fingers, and it's all useful somewhere.
  6. My right hand moves depending on what it's doing in order to keep my overall sound consistent. 9 times out of 10 I'm playing normal finger style over the bridge pickup. But slapping I play closer to the neck for more lows and when I'm using my thumb along with my fingers to pluck the strings its between the two.
  7. Jay2U

    Jay2U Not as bad as he lóòks

    Dec 7, 2010
    22 ft below sea level
    I pluck wherever it produces the sound I need. This also includes plucking near the 12th fret, producing a totally different sound.
  8. The Celestials

    The Celestials

    Jul 1, 2013
    I always anchor on the bridge pickup, and pluck between the pickup and the bridge. It yields a very tight, cool tone. It is a very athletic way of playing, and needs some time to develop. Gaining the finger strength to pluck the string at that position takes sometime, but eventually the tension will become manageable.

    EDIT: And I have my bass strap up high at all times to get even more power down on the strings. It is above Timmy C height. For me, a high bass strap is necessary for this style. It actually looks pretty cool though. Being 6'4" helps as well.

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