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Question to the experts

Discussion in 'Welcome Forum - New Member Intros' started by Sep, May 9, 2006.

  1. Sep


    May 27, 2005
    You're probably sick of this one.

    I'm new to the Bass, and my questions is Pick or fingerstyle?

    While I am sure it's the latter, is there any shame to be had in using a pick for a heavier 'rock' approach?

    Or should I take the Billy Sheehan route, if not his hairstyle?

    Thanks for any and all answers...

  2. barebones

    barebones Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2005
    Denver, CO
    Why not learn both? More tools, more sounds, more fun!

  3. I am no expert here, but similar to learning a language, I am a fan of learning the proper basics before I start "slangin' it up". What I mean is that there is a "proper" playing technique that involves learning fingerstyle, correct left and right hand position, how to hold the instrument, getting good tone from your fingers, etc... So my personal take is to learn the proper traditional technique (fingerstyle) from a good teacher first. Then as you grow feel free to experiment with picks, power tools, other body parts, what have you. I know many bass players who will occasionally grab a pick for novelty's sake - but most of the ones I know find the fingers to be the pure form and anything else is otherwise. And if it is speed you are concerned with just remember some of the speediest players on this here earth use, you guessed it... their fingers! (Well, there are thumbs tossed in there too, but that counts!)

    my $.02
  4. wwittman


    Apr 21, 2004
    Westchester, NY
    there's nothing "improper" about using a pick.

    McCartney, Entwistle, Carol Kaye... the BEST players ever, used a pick.

    it's great if you can do both by choice... but there's never any "shame" in any sound you produce if YOU like it.
  5. Not to be defensive here, but just because I refer to learning to play with your fingers as 'proper' does not necessarily mean that I consider anything else 'improper'.

    My point is this; Slang is not necessarily 'improper' when it comes to being effective, but speaking using correct grammar and sentence structure is 'proper'. Both are perfectly fine ways to communicate, but I feel it is important to learn how to speak correctly before you choose to branch out and explore more colorful ways of communicating. Imagine if you never learned that "ain't" in not necessarily the most appropriate word and you had a very important job interview where your ability to speak properly would be considered...

    The same concept applies in many disciplines, including bass playing. In my opinion, there are fundamental skills that a person who is just starting out should learn. Hell, they don't HAVE to do anything and no matter what direction they choose - pick, fingers, toes, whatever, they could make an amazing contribution to the musical world as did McCartney. But when a beginning bass player asks the question, "To pick or not to pick?" I am always going to say "Start with your fingers, then experiment with other techniques and don't rule out anything" Music is not only a language, it is an art and should not be restricted by opressive rules.

    Just my opinion.
  6. Sep


    May 27, 2005
    Thanks to all for the replies. Going to start out with the digits and see where that takes me.
  7. Good luck! One last small suggestion; Find a really good teacher. I have been playing for over 23 years and I started taking lessons again recently. It is absolutely amazing the difference a good teacher makes!
  8. Sep


    May 27, 2005
    thanks again tZer. Am actually on Craigslist looking for a teacher as I write.
  9. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    Well said. So, the answer to the question is, use pick and/or fingers and/or slap and/or eBow and/or anything else. There's no right answer; there's no shame in using whatever works... FunkFingers, anyone?

    That said, I definitely give a huge +1 to those who have said all of the above. Someone desiring to be a well-rounded electric bassist should know pickstyle, fingerstyle, and slapstyle.

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