To pick or not to pick

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by svp, Jun 24, 2008.

  1. svp


    Mar 12, 2007
    I play in a metal band that does all original material. Years ago I used to play with my fingers but I was involved in an accident and broke a couple of fingers so I went to playing with a pick. I having been working my fingers back and at this point I would like to go back to playing shows with my fingers. The problem is getting a metal tone with my fingers, I am so used to playing with a pick I can't find the metal EQ for fingers. I think my rig can handle it I use the following- Yorkville xs800 head, Eden 4x10 XLT, Eden 2x12 XLT, active bass with Delano pups, and glock pre, 3band eq. Some help please so I can put down the pick:bassist:
  2. crazyguy832


    Dec 17, 2007
    Winnipeg, MB
    Turn down your very lows slightly (30-50 Hz). Boost your low mids very slightly (220-250 Hz). Boost your hi mids a bit more (400-700). Boost the hi end of your trebble very slightly. On your bass, roll up the mids very slightly. (really, you're trying to boost the frequencies not taken up by guitars; look at your guitarist's eq for hints at where the majority of your power should be going)

    Any particular reason why you don't want to use a pick? I've recently switched from predominantly fingers to predominantly pick and I'm loving it.
  3. joelc1319


    Sep 12, 2007
    +1000. Too often do bassists (and other musicians) not realize that you can't be in the same frequency range as another instrument. What sounds good playing solo may not work at all in a band setting due to the frequency range.

    crazyguy832, you're dead on about the bass needing to occupy ranges not already taken by the guitar.
  4. Do you like the tone and feel?

    Then do it!
  5. MrBorisSpider

    MrBorisSpider Inactive

    May 8, 2008
    All you need is a good overdrive pedal like an MXR Blowtorch for 'metal' tone; maybe some chorus or a wah if you like some extras. You also don't need to beat the crap out of the strings either; in fact, try lighter gauge strings unless you're downtuning a step or more (even then, try mediums).
  6. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    Am I alone in thinking pick is the ideal tone for metal (at least in the extreme genres)? With all the super fast fingerstyle bassists in metal, they get props for their speed, the gymnastic element, but they end up being a low warble buried in the mix. But a nice clear pick tone usually stands out more.

    IMO: Play with your fingers if you want to get m3tAl props, play with a pick if you want to be heard. IMO, once again.

    I should note that I am primarily a fingerstyle player, this is a non biased opinion.
  7. MrBorisSpider

    MrBorisSpider Inactive

    May 8, 2008
    It's all about how you EQ things. Most guys cut their mids for some mysterious reason along with downtuning at least a half-step. Dimmu Borgir was like the only extreme metal band I can think of that played in standard and even they now down-tune.

    It also doesn't help that the guitarists down-tune en masse and crank their lows. Everything is in the low-end; the drums, guitars and bass. There are also tons of idiots who produce albums and mix out the bass. We suffer, of course.
  8. If you're good with a pick - use it.
  9. porkchop[


    Dec 10, 2005
    Alex Webster of Cannibal Corpse is a finger guy and has a great aggressive metal tone, no distortion either.
  10. neuromancer


    Apr 28, 2005
    CT, USA
    Having played exclusively with my fingers - I ended up slamming my face into a musical brick wall the first time I heard a guitar player pick up my bass and play it with a pick. I've covered this in other posts, but let's just say it didn't sit well with me for some time. ;)

    Having played with my fingers for so long, I didn't see where there'd be an easy/quick transition to playing with a pick so I ended up growing out the nails on my picking fingers. The end result is a tone that is the rounder, warmer sound of your fingers crowned with a pick-like attack. It's really not identical to either one - it's got its own thing going on.