To pick or not to pick, When is the question.

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Buzzkiller, Mar 17, 2014.

  1. Hello everyone,
    I am new to playing bass (like less than a week new). I have been a hobby guitar player for a while, never in a band nor exposed to anyone playing bass very often.

    From searching forums for an answer to my question, I see that I am probably bringing up two things that may be a source of heated debate. I am certainly not trying to open any can of worms.

    I have mostly played from Tab in the past. Other than trying to find video of the original bassist is there a way such as a note in tabs to indicate whether a pick or finger is used?

    If there is already an answer on the forums somewhere or if this type post belongs in a different forum, I apologize. I really did search.

    Thanks for any assistance,
    That new guy
  2. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    Do what's comfortable.
  3. Helaskold

    Helaskold 100% Mediocre

    Jul 22, 2012
    Austin, TX
    Pick when you want it to sound like you are using a pick. Finger when you want that sound instead. There really isn't much more to it. Anyone who gets heated because a bass player does or does not use a pick is just being ridiculous.

    There typically aren't notes in tabs to let you know what you should use. You will get to the point where you can pretty much hear what they are using but until then, just look up videos of the bassists and see if they are picking or not.

    Good luck!
  4. Winfred


    Oct 21, 2011
    Use a pick when it sounds like you need a pick. Use your fingers (or whatever) for everything else.
  5. musicman666


    Sep 11, 2011
    Don't pick a fresh one, only dry crusty ones should one pick if they must pick!
  6. I'm not sure if any tabs indicate a pick or not. It should be easy to tell if you're covering someones song if it was played with a pick or not, there are a few songs where it's not as obvious. I have played whole sets of material that was originally played with a pick finger style & nobody ever suggested I play it with a pick. I recently played 2 Alice In Chains songs with a band where a pick was necessary for me to get the rite tone for the songs. Youtube is the best tool today for this kind of thing, when I was struggling back in the day trying to figure out tricky parts of my favorite songs I never dreamed such a thing would exist someday, it would have saved me from endless hours of trial & error.
  7. Ukiah Bass

    Ukiah Bass

    May 10, 2006
    Some types of music are better played with a pick. Pumping a steady stream of eighth or sixteenth notes goes well with a pick. Surf music goes well with a pick. A lot of hard-edged rock goes good with a pick. The pick provides a sharper edge of attack and ability to play faster. If you want to learn a good technique to play with a pick, Google "Carol Kaye pick" and she'll be a good teacher on this one. It's easy to hurt your muscles if you don't learn to pick with correct technique.

    This is also a good thread:
  8. aggrokragg


    Dec 18, 2013
    I have seen a few tabs that indicate whether the song is played with a pick or finger-style. Mostly they are the nicer tablature in printed publications, and not the ones you find in online tab DB's.

    As already mentioned, Youtube is probably the easiest resource to figure it out.
  9. Thanks for all the responses, truly appreciated.