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To pick or not to pick

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by mijarra, Feb 2, 2001.

  1. mijarra


    Jan 20, 2001
    Ok, I prefer to use a pick when I play, both because I am used to it from playing guitar and because I like the brighter sound better than using the fingers. I just feel like a weinie because it seems that all the good players use their fingers. I can play just fine with my fingers, and when I practice I usually do. So what's the best way to practice, advantages/disadvantages? Stick with the fingers or concentrate on the preferred pick?

    BTW, hope y'all aren't getting sick of my dumb questions, as there will be many more to come. :) Everyone has been very helpful so far. You've even convinced me to learn to read music, which in 17 years as a guitar player I never cared about.
  2. :eek:
    I think I can speak for (most?) everyone when I say "Stick with the pick, but keep with the fingers, too."
    Assuming you understood that...I'm not too sure if I phrased that grammatically correctly. Why did that sound so weird? I think I'm turning back into Mr. Smarty pants...

  3. Dragonlord

    Dragonlord Rocks Around The Glocks

    Aug 30, 2000
    Greece, Europe
    I play with fingers,because I prefer the warm sound I get this way and the great control on the strings.But IMO,there is no "right" way to play bass...if you like the pick,go for it.But,as Sheep Man said,keep the finger technique too,you may find it handy.Actually I'll learn sometime how to play with pick too,it's nice to have two techniques to combine.

    PS:Keep sending "dumb questions".They are the only ones I can answer:D
  4. Dragonlord

    Dragonlord Rocks Around The Glocks

    Aug 30, 2000
    Greece, Europe
    Seriously now,feel free to ask whatever you want.That's what Talkbass is all about anyway...
  5. i prefer fingers but if my hand is sore i will use a pick for a little just to cool my fingers down. there are a lot of great pick players out there
  6. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    The biggest difference between the sound of picked bass and finger style is a difference in attack and tone. When I play electric, I use both, depending on the sound I'm trying to get: if I want a warm sound that will not draw a lot of attention to itself, I almost always play fingerstyle, often using freestrokes to pluck the string closer to the fingerboard; this fits the role of the bass as accompanying instrument - providing a harmonic foundation while allowing other sounds (vocalist, guitarist, etc.) to stay in the foreground of the overall sonic space. If I want to drive the band in a song with a more aggressive rhythmic groove, I'll often use a (very heavy) pick, which makes the attack of each note part "note" and part "percussion".

    In the end, it really depends on what type of energy and vibe you're trying to get across, and like the previous posters, I'd agree that it's good to be able to do either when you want.
  7. SnoMan

    SnoMan Words Words Words

    Jan 27, 2001
    Charleston, WV
    Keep up with what you're best and most comfortable with, but if you want to learn other techniques go with it. Don't have anything else useful to say. Just keep on playin

  8. FuturePrimitive

    FuturePrimitive Supporting Member

    Nov 14, 2000
    Rochester, NY
    The biggest problem I've found using a pick is I can't play fast enough to hit 16ths. As a reult I stopped using the pick. This morning I picked up a pick for the first time in 3 months and could barely play 8ths! (not speed wise, just the timing between left/right hands) Oh well, Geddy doesn't pick and I'm playing 90% Rush tunes right now anyway. No loss.
  9. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    Any of you ever try a felt pick? They pretty well tone down that sharp attack. They are thick enough to get a good grip on when your hands are sweaty and they are easier to keep up with because they dont disappear when they're laying flat.

  10. FuturePrimitive

    FuturePrimitive Supporting Member

    Nov 14, 2000
    Rochester, NY
    I've tried a felt pick but found they were even slower than plastic. They seem to drag quite a bit on the strings. Definately a different sound but too slow.

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