Possibly the dumbest question ever on this forum

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by pdq90, Jul 31, 2003.

  1. pdq90


    Jul 26, 2003
    Okay, I've been playing bass for about 3 years and plan on starting to play out this fall....this may seem pointless, but its been bugging me a lot when ive been watching live music videos lately....i play with a pick, but generally stay tight around the string to ensure accuracy, how do some bass players pick almost like its a guitar, do they mute the strings they're not trying to hit, because theres no way they can only hit one string the way they're playing...when i pick with a bass i tend to just use my wrist, but ive been watching these guys play wider out along the strings and using their elbows.....does anyone know what i mean and does anyone know how they do this without getting a cluttered sound?
  2. Thor

    Thor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    There are no dumb questions on technique, except the ones you don't ask...

    In order to get a good sound with a pick, it is important to work on your right hand picking technique. I use both finger and picking techniques in my playing. Both belong in the toolbox. I have also played 12 string guitar as long as the bass and the key to picking the bass is the same as every guitar, you have to practice picking accurately.

    Here is a simple exercise:

    Pick open
    E - D - A - G
    Play each one a a quarter note.
    When you have it, speed up the tempo.

    What you are doing here is picking the E with a downstroke, the D with a upstroke, the A with a down stroke, the G with an upstroke.

    Do this until you master it.

    Then do this:

    Play a E chord with the open E, your index finger on the seventh fret of the A string, and the other 2 fingers at the ninth fret, so that the NOTES sounding are E, E, B, E.

    Now do the same exercise you did with the open above until you master the technique. It is really no different than finger style because each string is plucked individually.

    Edit: For later variations, you can vary the chording, every 4 beats, slide the same chord up and down the fretboard, but KEEP the picking regime going steadily with no break. Start at the beginning and move to more advanced, Remember, this is a right hand exercise. [/Edit]

    That is not the only picking technique, but it is a basic one, and should help you improve the picking feel you have with the right hand.

    The bass I use has a hand rest I use to work off of, but it all depends on how your style develops.

    That being said. also take some time to work on your fingerstyle technique, which means spend a week or more without the pick. A competent teacher could help you with exercises to improve your fingerstyle attack. One should know both. Why limit yourself?

  3. These guys can strum the bass and not sound horrible because they're muting the rest of the strings with their left hand. It's very simple, you just use the hand and the fingers you're not using to lightly touch the strings you're not playing, that way they make no sound even if you accedentally hit them. It's pretty much the same technique funk guitarists use.

    But it could be argued that they're not using very good technique but are more concerned with looking cool playing bass. It feels great playing like that, elbow and hands flying everywhere, but it's damn near impossible to play anything but root notes because your left hand is so busy muting all the strings. Not to mention the fact that while it's simple it's not very easy to do properly. I think you'd be better off doing it the way Thor suggested. And whatever playing style you prefer, pick or fingers, learn both. You'll never know when it comes in handy.
  4. i play with a pick, and it seems to me to be alot easier to play with your wrist unless youre playing chords, then its easier to use your whole arm. i also tend to anchor my hand on the bridge.
  5. Picking like that has no real sound value, it is just for looking cool. It will probably even make you sound sloppier.

    I pretty much always anchor my pinky to the bass body, it makes it more easy to pick accurately.
  6. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Absolutely not the dumbest question ever on this forum. Not by a long shot :D
  7. MMiller28

    MMiller28 Supporting Member

    Apr 27, 2003
    they do that so they look cool

    i hope you know that in the music videos they're not actually playing the music you hear. its just the recording from their cd
  8. Yeh, these punk guys who look like they're strumming their bass are just hitting the crap out of their bass and hoping that they mute the other strings just to look cool. I don't even move my olbow up or down and play with just my wrist. It took my a while to pick and slap but now I'm great at it.