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String types for pick playing?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by dan1977, Feb 20, 2003.

  1. dan1977


    Feb 20, 2003
    was just wondering if certain strings are more suited to pick playing than others. I am currently using rotosounds but the sound is very bright, particularly when brand new.

  2. BassWizard55

    BassWizard55 Guest

    Dec 21, 2002
    Rome, Ga
    Most people buy Rotosounds (66's) for their brightness. If I were you, I would checkout their halfwound and flatwound models.
  3. I used to use Ernie Ball Slinkies, then switched to the Roto 66's. I played primarily with a pick when I did that.
  4. I have been told that for exclusive plectrum playing, flats are what you want.

    It makes sense, there's not the wire wrapping for the pick to scrape off, and they're generally more middly sounding, so they counteract the pick's naturally bright attack.

    It might be worth a try.
  5. 5stringDNA


    Oct 10, 2002
    Englewood, CO
    That should work pretty good soundwise- I use half-rounds and flats exclusively because although I don't like to use a pick, my technique usually sounds very bright on rondwounds and I can get a more dulled sound that I like on the flats and half-rounds. One thing to beware of however- quality flatwound strings won't last long with a pick, es[ecially if they are round-core and not hex-core. It is almost guaranteed you will be spedning significantly more on strings if you start picking on flats (flats are more expensive as well..most of the time). Try what sounds good to you and if the cost doesn't end up bein a big issue, then cool rock on eh. :bassist:
  6. Tsal


    Jan 28, 2000
    Finland, EU
    I do use pick with my Rotosound Jazz 77's (flatwounds) sometimes, they have very cool tone with metallic "ping" from the pick.
  7. I think what everyone wants in a good pick sound is raw power, and you can't have that without real meat in your sound. The two ingredients in getting meat in your picking sound is good pick technique and proper muting. Good pick technique is one of the hardest things to get a handle on. Go to Carol Kaye's site, click on education, then click on tips and start reading. Her advice is priceless (might be worth your while buying the book she explains picking in--I think I learned it from reading "Personally Yours" but that's probably out of print; you can e-mail her to find the best book, they're cheap). She also writes about using a piece of felt close to the bridge. But I like having that area free so I can decide where to whack the strings and not worry about where I mute using the heel of my thumb (it's easier for me to pick wearing the bass super high). To me, this maximizes attack and meat when playing crunch. It's much more aggressive and nasty than anything you can do with your fingers ("Sweet Home Alabama" offers a great crunch exercise where you can experiment with very legato stuff, very tight punches, and mixing things up, always trying to project max raw power). People might think you're a wuss seeing you wearing your bass high and holding a pick, but they'll change their minds fast when you start playing. By the way, most folks think pick click lives way up high in the EQ spectrum. It's not, it's down somewhere between 2,000 and 2,500 Hz. So if you don't like hi-fi highs but you want your pick click to happen, you can do that. Me, I like to hear everything. Anyway, there are many things to experiment with after you get your basic technique together (wrist flat, power from the elbow, allow your forearm to roll in a relaxed way around its axis, etc.) but back to the subject, for the ultimate in meat and power, I like roundwound strings.
  8. Oops, sorry Dan, I didn't make something clear. I mute on the attack, that is, the heel of my thumb is grazing the string as or just before I whack the string with the pick, NOT after (that is, I don't first hit the string then mute it, even if I let my thumb heel rest on the string a while after the attack). The muting colors the tone of the note and gives it that thick, thick bottom and also emphasizes the crunch of the attack. If you do this right, you will not be bothered by the highs of new strings being uncontrolled in any way.

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