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So how many people use a pick?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Andy Daventry, Jan 31, 2000.

  1. Just out of general interest. I would imagine that 98% or what I do uses fingers. But every now and then I launch into picking, when playing the bass like a guitar. I particularly find I use the standard bluesy picking technique of flatpick held between thumb and 1st finger and middle,ring and occasionally little finger also used to pluck the strings..

  2. RobB


    Dec 17, 1999
    Frankly, I don't play with a pick because I find it harder to use a pick.

  3. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I have played with a pick in the past - it was almost "de rigeur" in the 80s Joy Divison/New Order period, when everyone wanted to sound like Peter Hook.

    Nowadays though, I just wouldn't give up the control and sound-shaping potential of using my fingers. I feel that I can get so much more of my "own" sound, when using my fingers and to give this up, would almost make me feel "naked" and with only one sound to use. Like a painter being told that they can only use one colour or just black & white.

    I also feel now that I can get any sound using my fingers, that in the past would have menat I had to use a pick. For example, I used to quite like Jean-Jacques Burnel's sound on the early Stanglers' stuff, but I tried the other day and I can get exactly the same sound, using my fingers and my Roscoe Beck bass - although I know the original was on a Precision with a pick.

    So I don't think there's anything that would make me use a pick now. biggrin.
  4. Scottzo


    Jan 20, 2000
    For certain sounds a pick is useful. Like if you're doing a Yes cover.
    Otherwise I concider it a tool to use sparingly. Fingers is where your feel is!
  5. Rockinjc


    Dec 17, 1999

    It’s rare that I will pick in public - bass or nose. I do mess around at home with a pick as I imagine that someday it will come in handy. I like the distorted Stranglers (JJB) sound as well as the pick next to the bridge all clean and high/mid sounding or even that tic tac sound from the countrypolitan sounds of the sixties. I don’t know if this is just snobbery or demographics or what, but even thought there are plenty of examples of fine pick bass players, locally I see mostly beginners or guitarsist that dabble in bass using a pick.

  6. ShadowChaser


    Jan 20, 2000
    I have to agree with Rock; the vast majority of pick-using bass players I've seen have been either beginners or converted guitarists. I learned with my fingers, and I can't use a pick now, I've tried. Personally, I don't see how one can properly play a bass with a pick, it just seems artificial to me. Finger-picking sounds so much better, much fuller. Of course, I've been called a snob when it comes to this topic, but I'm doing better...

  7. MorganM


    Dec 11, 1999
    I am a converted guitarist and a pick has absolutely no challenge. I can get fast lines with alternate picking BUt i don't use a pick. I consider it cheating it is so easy for me. Plus i have improved my finger dexterity by using my fingers
  8. Chop


    Dec 12, 1999
    As a former guitarist, I abstain from using a pick completely. I wanted to learn to play bass in all styles and though more difficult at first, I am glad that I did-it certainly has allowed me to achieve sounds that I desired. Even things that I hear where the bassist used a pick I feel that fingerstyle is plenty effective.
  9. I tried a pick after about a months worth of playing bass with my fingers and i couldnt get any speed and i was clumsy on slow stuff. So I shot the pick in the trash can and havnt used one since.
    Maybe someday i'll work at learning pick style but I work on mostly funk and jazz playing so i dont really need a pick at all.
  10. I am a pick person myself....I know that alot of bassist think it is sacriligious but it helps me acheive the sound I look for which is punchy and tight as a knats ass.
    Picks all the way for me.

    Mike Linkletter
  11. I have dabbled in picking.One thing I tried was finger picks and thumb picks(like what banjo players use)it was fun for a while but I soon got bored with it.One technique I tried was turning the thumb pick around and slapping\popping...gives a mallet like sound...cool but not really useable.To answer your question I use my fingers...to get a pick sound I use my fingernail of my index finger and downstroke
  12. Robert B

    Robert B Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2000
    Hampton, Va USA
    I use a pick at times. In fact, I started out using a pick and later picked up fingerstyle. Especially when playing rock I find I can do certain lines and rhythms with less effort and more economy of motion using a pick, and it doesn't hurt the sound. Never saw much point in waxing philosophical over whether or not to use a pick -- frankly I don't take myself that seriously. The only people who seem to care about whether or not you're using a pick is other bassists. Kind of puts it in perspective, I think. After all, what percentage of your audience is made up of other bassists?... When was the last time one of them paid you? And does it really matter what they think?

    Robert B
  13. eli

    eli Mad showoff 7-stringer and Wish lover Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 1999
    NW suburban Chicago
    I'm primarily fingers but will use a pick to get a fresh perspective when things are bogging down. It makes me think and play differently, which can be just the thing when I'm beginning to bore myself.
  14. Staci


    Dec 11, 1999
    I am also a guitarist/former guitarist. I have only used fingers on my bass. Which is weird cause I could never "rest" stroke when I had some guy teaching me some classical tunes. But I can on the bass. I either use a pick or fingerstyle on my guitar. depends on the song.---Staci.
  15. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    Same as Staci fingers and plectrum for bass and guitar.

  16. Bryan


    Dec 24, 1999
    I haven't used a pick since I first started taking lessons.
  17. big_goofy_bass_player


    Dec 13, 1999
    There seems to be a really prejudice against pick players, espically in guitar shops.

    You ask to try out your latest fantasy, the assitant picks it up, plugs it in, tunes, then proceeds to play a 70's guitar solo on the bass. Looks at you to see how impressed (or un-impressed) you are. Then before he hands the bass to you, knocks its slightly off tune to make anything you play sound awful. Then low and behold if you should ask for a pick to use, your request is answered with a look of shock/amazment.

    Just wondered if anyone else had noticed that.

    Oh yeah, how come at least 75% of guitar shop employees have pony tails or mullets.

  18. Usedtobejim


    Jan 3, 2000
    I used my fingers forever and have been using a Mediup guage pick for a while now. I personally find no shame in attempting to diversify my attack on the instrument as much as possible...So There wink.
  19. David


    Jan 30, 2000
    When I first started playing (way back this last summer) I started with a pick more or less by accident - because I didn't realize most people played with their fingers. I dabble with playing with my fingers some of the time now but predominantly use a pick - I like the clear notes it produces, so you can hear what I'm playing rather than just sort of feel it. I'm sure someone who knows what they're doing can achieve that same sound without a pick, but I don't see any reason to stop using a pick. Just personal preference I guess.
  20. chromeguy


    Mar 20, 2000
    I always use my fingers 'cept for 1 or two songs out of our 4 hour setlist.

    'Too Rolling Stoned' is one that I use the pick on, for most of the song -till the end.

    Other than that, I find that fingers give a better sound and more control.

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