Speed picking.

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Jesse Pinkman, Mar 21, 2014.

  1. Lately I'm trying to work on new techniques. I've been playing bass for almost 12 years now. I learned with my fingers first, then decided to learn with a pick too, just to have variety under my belt. I'm really good with my fingers and with a pick. I've never had any interest in slap whatsoever. I do want to broaden my horizons though, so for the last few weeks I've been working on speedpicking, which isn't really all that common on bass, but that's why it intrigued me. Here are two videos that give a more detailed example of what I'm talking about.

    1:32 on this one -

    I've been able to get my speed up considerably, but I've reached kind of an impasse here. I can't seem to get past a certain speed, because my wrist just doesn't want to move that fast. A guitarist friend of mine tells me that you can't just use your wrist alone, but have to get your arm/elbow into it to compensate for the fact that your wrist can't flick back and forth that quickly on its own. What I'm asking is, has anybody else here run into this issue? Are there any specific physical techniques or exercises that would help?

    Thanks in advance ;)
  2. Matt B

    Matt B

    Mar 31, 2012
    New Zealand
    I would say your guitarist is wrong. You cannot play accurately enough moving you whole arm. It is not strumming.

    Best thing to do is do it a lot and relax while doing it. You can not last long with out relaxing.

    Also learn the parts slower and accurately first and build your speed up over time.
  3. I don't think he implied that I should be moving my entire arm in a strumming fashion. I think what he meant was that I need to get some arm strength into it. After watching those videos a few times I noticed that it's not completely in the wrist. There's some elbow movement there too.

    I have software that can slow tracks down while still keeping definition and clarity, so I am able to learn things accurately note for note. I always start really slow and build speed gradually.
  4. No, you should not be moving your entire arm. What you should do is move starting lower than your elbow in the same direction as your pick, but only slightly. Call it more of a rotation then a side to side movement.
  5. NeverIsNow


    Jun 25, 2013
    The short and simple answer... More practice.

    Practice it so much to where it becomes more of a twitch. Too were you are no longer thinking of each individual stroke.

    Good luck