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The (old) Pick Debate

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by drunkenDAYlewis, Mar 3, 2014.

  1. So the old pick debate has been going on for decades and I've never really understood it.... I'm personally past the point in my playing where I feel like I need to prove myself or be self conscience but I digress:

    I see a lot of finger players that heavily criticize pick users and I want to ask where this mentality comes from?

    Is there just reason behind this hatred?

    I ask because while I play mostly with my fingers (and thumb:smug:) sometimes the attack of a pick is a cool tone.

    I just don't see why the exclusively finger players feel like they're better, same team after all....
    codycon96 likes this.
  2. Astronaut


    Jul 21, 2013
    Funny but my favorite bass players play with the pick.
  3. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
  4. To clarify, I want to get the opinions of these kind of finger-style players to understand why they feel pick players are worth dismissing, I can't count how many times a bassists has said "he's good, too bad he plays with a pick

    But not an argument of which is better.
    I want to look in to the sociology behind finger style
  5. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    IMO it's a pointless pursuit. So what...?...if someone says "he's good, too bad he plays with a pick". Just feel sorry for them and move on.

    It boils down to the idiosyncrasies of the human way of thinking, and nothing to do with the sociology behind finger style.

    IMO it's best just to let people have their opinions and get on with playing the bass in the best way that suits ME.

    YMMV. :)
  6. MrTaff


    Jan 20, 2014
    A lot of the hatred I've seen towards pick players comes from them often being seen as a guitarist 'relegated' to playing bass, Paul McCartney being a good example, joining as a rhythm guitarist but ended up playing bass when Sutcliffe left.
  7. Bassisgood4U

    Bassisgood4U Banned

    Jan 30, 2014
    You have to palm mute with a pick most of the time, or it sounds out of place. If I want it that steady, I just thumb pluck..which sounds better anyway.

    There are some things though, that wouldn't sound right at all fingerstyle, like Pantera..Skid Row, G and R. Edgy stuff..
  8. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    IMO, fingerstyle purists - meaning those who claim fingerstyle as the only correct playing technique - tend to be unnecessarily traditional, conventional, orthodox and dogmatic. Whether these same traits are manifest in other aspects of their lives as well, I leave for you to determine on your own. But generally speaking, pickstyle players & slappers are not nearly so rigid and dogmatic about the issue: they typically concede fingerstyle to be a perfectly legitimate playing style - though obviously not the only one.

  9. Manichga


    Aug 13, 2013
    Yawn - let's dismiss 50 years of incredible bass playing based on a tiny bit of plastic.
    A finger player who loves great playing, whatever that may be.
    codycon96 likes this.
  10. Shardik


    May 24, 2011
    Halden, Norway
    There is no right or wrong as long as you make it sound the way you want.

    I mainly play fingerstyle, > 90% of the time. I used to play a bit guitar using mostly a pick, but also some acoustic fingerpicking. This discussion seems to be a non-topic in the guitar world.

    When I bought the first bass, I started alternating between fingerstyle and pick. I felt I had more speed and timing control with the pick, but it also made me play the bass more like a guitar, and for a lot of the music I play, I didn't like the sound of the attack of the pick. Fingerstyle was the only option for me at the time to play like a bassist and sound the part.

    These days I have started to pick up the pick for some tunes, but then it is because I need that attack sound of the pick for those tunes. Other songs call for an almost upright sound, where I combine palm muting and thumb picking.

    I sometimes try that slap thing when I am practicing alone, but I am no good at it yet, and our band plays no songs where it fits.

    Bottom line: Horses for courses. Use whatever technique that suits you and the song you are playing.
  11. pharmakon


    Jun 15, 2010
    Do you think there are ever discussions on the double bass side of the forums about arco vs. pizzicato?

    No, because they produce different sounds and both techniques are widely used.

    That's my analogy, and I'm sticking to it!
  12. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    Classical upright players say the same crap about jazz upright players all the time. Whether there are threads about it or not.

    For the record, I think everyone should learn how to do both and STFU about which is better.
  13. pharmakon


    Jun 15, 2010
    Having come from the classical world (cello, though, not bass), I know that classical bassists use both. And for them, it's not really a choice. It's written that way!

    And agreed. Learn both. I think the pick-bashing is worse on youtube comments.
  14. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    I have never met a fingerstyle player (including me) who criticized pick players.

    If I did, I would keep in mind that their opinion is worth exactly what it cost me:

  15. DerTeufel

    DerTeufel Supporting Member

    Nov 11, 2011
    Wildomar, CA
    I hate that my pick technique sucks :(
  16. If finger style players think using a pick is being too much like a guitar player, they should realize their instrument is an electric bass guitar and upright players look at them the same way they look at pick players.
  17. bengolding


    Mar 7, 2014
    I am a fingerstyle player, and I would never insinuate that a player who uses a pick is inferior. I play many different genres, and some require a pick, some require fingers. It is totally dependant on the tone you want, or the genre you are playing. I love using a pick, and I love using fingers, I would definitely recommend getting both methods up to par, that way you can alternate quickly between genres :)
  18. Beatlejuice53


    Feb 15, 2013
    I'm am quite capable at both finger style and pick. I always use a pick because when I use my fingers, my right hand swells to the point of not being able to use it.????? This is after only about an hour of playing. Thus I have to use a pick.
  19. Ibbyguy 13

    Ibbyguy 13

    Mar 4, 2013
    Land of Oz
    I play bass with a pick....love the attack...but I do hold it with my fingers! Does that count?:meh: