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! :)

Playing with pick not "bassy"?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Demon, May 15, 2006.

  1. Demon


    Mar 17, 2006
    Sweden, Stockholm
    Are picks considered for guitars, and if you play with bass, will you be considered a bad bassist or a guitarplayer on bass? Is that how it is? i Really had that feeling seeing some posts etc. I Can just imagine this: pick + distortion = everyone saying, get a guitar. Thing is i can play both pick and fingers fairly well for being a beginner, and i really like the feel when pushing through a string with the pick, but i like fingers too. But how is the view on pickplayers?
  2. DaemonBass


    Mar 29, 2004
    Sacramento, CA
    Personally, I try not to care what other people think too much, especially concerning something as trivial as how you play your bass. You tend to get some fingerstyle purists on here that will say ditch the pick though. In the end, it's your choice just do whatever you want. Also, Justin Chancellor from Tool is frequently cited as a major bass influence for a lot of players and is considered to have awesome tone and musicmanship. I think he plays with a pick all the time and also uses distortion.
  3. ras1983


    Dec 28, 2004
    Sydney, Australia
    play the way that you like. thats the bottom line.

    i like using my fingers, you like using a plectrum

    big deal.
  4. A pick can be incredibly effective. Tool is the obvious example.

    I used to play with one all the time in a covers band as it just suited the material.

    Chris Squire used one so its OK alright.
  5. cowsgomoo

    cowsgomoo gone to Longstanton Spice Museum

    Feb 8, 2003
    look... do you think all the great musicians, the geniuses of the world ever gave a hoot about what others thought of their technique or their general approach to how they made music?

    do you think Jimi Hendrix ever sat round worrying and asking his friends if other people would think he was a crappy guitar player if people saw him using technique x,y or z?

    no.. he just got on with it and let his music speak for itself

    stop worrying about whether people will judge you on technique and let them judge you on your music...

    I don't want to single you out specifically but we regularly get a lot of people obssessing over whether they'll be judged a crappy bass player if they use this or that technique... and it's frankly ridiculous and a bit childish... your only concern should be making fantastic music, not impressing people with how your music making looks, and if you choose to make your fantastic music with your fingers, a pick, drumsticks or a pair of spoons, that's up to you and no-one else
  6. flatwoundfender


    Feb 24, 2005
    Well techinically a pick will produce a more treble filled sound, but if you like how it sounds with a pick play with a pick. If you are planning on playing upright I'd say play with your fingers unless your really want the pick sound. If not, it's your choice though I will admit I generally predict a pick player may not have talent if I've just seen and never heard a band. Often times this is true, but some guys like Jack Cassidy sound great with a pick and even Tommy Shannon uses one sometimes.
  7. Thunder Lizard

    Thunder Lizard

    Dec 7, 2005
    Lethbridge, AB
    Canadian Distributor, Basson Sound Equipment
    I use a pick about half the time, for a variety of reasons, but not the least of which is that I really like the attack of a picked note for some stuff. I definitely yields a brighter sound than fingerstyle, and I have 2 "Bassic" presets for general use in my Pod, if the song doesn't call for something unique....one for using a pick, and one for not, and they're designed to give a fairly consistent tone and volume between the 2 styles.
    I agree with those that say it's a tool, to be used as needed. I generally use the pick for playing stuff that is fairly straight ahead and doesn't use a ton of dynamic *see "eighties rock*..... for "feel" songs, ballads, or blues songs, I use fingers, as I seem to be able to get more 'expression' out that way, more of the tiny dynamic differences.
  8. Demon


    Mar 17, 2006
    Sweden, Stockholm

    Dude, okay, first of all, i never even said that it was about me, i said i like playing both a pick and fingers and can play both decent, and if i really lovd picking very much over finger i wudnt care, i was just asking for your views. But ye well said otherwise.
  9. I am a fingerstyle player, and my band's guitar players are constantly hounding me to play with a plectrum. I have played with my hands my entire life, and I feel like a pick reduces my contact with the strings, and also gives a sharper attack than fingers. That being said, if that is a sound you like, go for it! I find playing at speed to be far, far easier with a pick, but I do not like the sound of it. My belief is that bass hsould sound round, and a pick doesn't do that for me. That being said, with EQ and compression you can almost make a finger sound like a pick, and a pick sound like a finger. It's really all personal preference.

    Whatever works best for you is most important. As it's been stated, in the end, the song is what counts, and if you're playing live the audience probably can't tell the difference, and as far as they are concerned whatever you are playing is "right", because YOU are the bass player for YOUR band.

    A lot of passages are easier with a pick, and others are easier with fingers. I think certain styles lend themselves better to the sound a pick produces, and vice versa. In the end, again, it boils down to the most important part of all of this:

    What do you want your tone to sound like?

    When you can answer that, you will easily answer your plectrum conundrum. Imagine in your mind the perfect bass tone, and experiment until you get that.
  10. wwittman


    Apr 21, 2004
    Westchester, NY
    I'd like to see one of these armchair experts walk up to Paul McCartney, or Chris Squire, or Carol Kaye and say "you're only a guitar player playing bass because you play with a pick"

    I'd also like to see the enusing laughter.
  11. TechZilla


    Jun 18, 2005
    Owensboro, KY
    The Lizard is wise, I follow the same philosophy.
  12. mlwarriner


    Nov 8, 2003
    KC, MO, USA
    IM(not so)HO, playing with a pick (or slapping, or fingerstyle) only makes you a bad bassist in the eyes of bad bassists. if your ideas come out of your head better when playing with a pick, then play with a pick. if slapping helps you express yourself better, then slap away.

    i think that some people tend to get too caught up in appearances, and stereotypes, that they tend to forget why we all started this in the first place. there are thoughts, ideas, dreams inside our heads that we want to share with other people, and the way we share them is through music. we use our tools to the best of our abilities, and the fullest extent possible, to make others understand what we're thinking...

    (ok, sorry for the philosophizing, it just sorta slipped :D:D )
  13. I love playing with a pic, I mainly only play with a pic when I am in my bedroom, but I like to think that I am an above average pic player. When I need to I can bust out the pic and make some interesting lines. I find that I can be a lot more creative when I play with a pic, if I need insperation I pick up a pic and just play.

    In the end you must do what YOU feel is best for YOU.

  14. Tehdouglas


    Feb 10, 2006
    Music is music! A Pick is just another tool. Guitarists didn't use a pick way back when. Some of my favorite bassists use picks, and i personally like the sound alot in some situations however I feel more comfortable with fingers.
  15. Demon


    Mar 17, 2006
    Sweden, Stockholm
    Ye agree with all of you here^^ On other forums itd be "Get a guitar" everywhere^^ Anyway, i really feel the tempo and energy much better with a pick.
  16. More important than "what sound do you want?" I think is to ask "what sound is good for the song?"
    Don't be afraid to alter your technique depending on the song. Most slap/pop or tapping guys also play straight fingerstyle plucking sometimes.
  17. Demon


    Mar 17, 2006
    Sweden, Stockholm
    Yeh, guess ill stick to picking and finger, slapping aint really my sound anyway. Maybe some technique where you pick and for slow parts one cud use the other two fingers if trained enough for plucking and then change back?
  18. EricF

    EricF Habitual User

    Sep 26, 2005
    Pasadena, CA
    If the songs calls for a pick sound, use a pick. If the song calls for a finger sound, use your fingers. If the song calls for a slappy-poppy sound, slap and pop that thing. Be proficient at everything and do whatever is right for the music. It has nothing to do with other people's mis-informed opinions.
  19. Tired_Thumb

    Tired_Thumb Guest

    As has been said, using a pick is fine if that's what you need to do. I've recently taken up pick playing, after swearing against it, and playing with a pick requires much more than mindlessly banging the strings up and down as the stigma of the plectrum has brought about.

    For quite a bit of my playing, I actually find pick playing more expressive and more versatile than playing with an open hand, but that's just a personal flavor issue.
  20. clockworkwar


    Mar 20, 2006
    I use a cross between a pick prob 60% of the time and fingers (any assortment of them) about 40% of the time. Both these techs. are incredibly effective and you just need to choose the right one, that your comfortable with.

    I would say that in a rock outfit you might need to use the pick more due to pounding root notes (which guitarists only seem to write when they make bass riffs) but in blues/jazz fingers might be appropriate, it depends work it out for yourself!

    I have to say though im better at using the pick than fingers (can get more speed etc) so im more comfortable with it, also it stops my hand from getting so tired but thats because i only took up fingerstyle about a month ago, im going to keep working on it to get good.

Share This Page