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Using a pick

Discussion in 'Ask Steve Lawson & Michael Manring' started by BDC, Jul 11, 2000.

  1. I started playing the bass about 7 months ago. For a couple of years before that I messed around with the guitar. I feel very comfortable playing with a pick, especially with the type of music my band plays (ROCK). I also switch to finger picking on a few songs. Do you think playing bass mostly with a pick hinders or helps the learning process? Have either of you ever tried using a pick?
  2. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    There's nothing at all wrong with using a pick, and there are some amazing players around who play predominantly or exclusively with a pick and make a great noise! :oops:) Carol Kaye, Steve Swallow, and Michael's band mate in SadHappy, Paul Hinklin would be three that immediately came to mind, as well as scores of rock and metal bassists. Oh, and not forgetting the great Anthony Jackson!

    So no pick snobbery here - I've just started investigating them again recently, particularly because I was given a load of F1 picks ( www.f1pick.com ) at the NAMM show to try out and I really like the design. It something I intend to do more of in the future... I also work in a duo with a cellist who's started using a pick for some melody lines, which is a great sound!!

    You may find that there are certain things that you want to do that require you to play with your fingers, though there are various fingerpicking techniques that allow you to use a pick and also use the other two fingers... The key is to experiment, and see what works, and when a sound comes to mind, develop a technique to match it. There's something to be said for working on technical ideas and seeing what music comes out of them, but I find that the other way round is a more organic way of writing and improvising...

    Good Luck and if you get anything recorded on MP3, let us know!

    Steve www.steve-lawson.co.uk
  3. Michael Manring

    Michael Manring TalkBass Pro Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Amen! I'm not sure where the bias against playing with a pick came from, but I've always felt it was a viable and cool sound. I agree that it's probably important for a working bassist to be able to play fingerstyle, but why not have an extra sound available to you?


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