Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

who uses a PICK??

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by nirvanafan13, Jun 16, 2000.


  1. nirvanafan13

    nirvanafan13

    Apr 14, 2000
    Austin, TX
    i have only been playing about 4 months, but i have never used a pick except in the first month i got the bass, i used a pick a few times to play "Adam's Song" by Blink 182 (in case you didn't know , the bass player for Blink uses a pick), but i have never used a pick since , and think the sound of a pick takes away from the whole sound of a bass,and teh theory of kinda backing up a guitar with its sound. i also know a few people that never use a pick and think that people that use a pick really aren't very good at bass, or something liek that... i don't think that, but still don't use a pick..
    Please reply because this is almost a poll type thing for me to find out how many people are like me, and how many people use a pick in their regular playing style...
    Thanks,
    Evan
     
  2. It is true that most of the "accomplished" players do not use picks. Playing with a pick completely changes the sound of the bass, and IMO you have a lot more versatility when you play with the fingers. Most bass players that use picks are rock players. Some players use both picks and fingers. I don't know if you've heard any Faith No More (a rock band whose mainstream popularity diminished) but their bass player uses both fingerstyle and pick depending on the sound he was going for. When he wanted a rounder, groovier sound he used his fingers. But when he wanted a sound with more attack and clearly separeted notes, he would use a pick.

    But IMHO, and I think many would agree, it is worth your while to learn to play with your fingers. If you don't like it, you can always go back to using a pick.

    BTW, Steve Swallow uses a pick and he is definitely one of "the accomplished" players around.
     
  3. Playing with a pick was the easiest way into bass for me, as i learnt guitar first and then switched to bass after about a year. Plus it was easier to play the fast up-tempo rock stuff i liked. But since i've become more experimental in my style and music tastes, i've started really loving the deeper, cleaner sound off fingerplaying and the cool *pop* of funk and jazz.

    I guess it comes down to what song i'm playing. The main concern is speed, then sound, THEN looking good/crap

    ------------------
    <>< Crosh <><
     
  4. Biski2Dope

    Biski2Dope

    Mar 26, 2000
    Uhhhmmm...depends on which genre of music i am playing...for all punk i use a pick, simply because punk band bassists tend to use picks and i like to mock them. If i play ska, i use my fingers, lets me go faster...

    I too used a pick in my first month...stupid music store gave me the things and i didn't know any better...took me forever to get weaned off of them...

    And why am i over in this area anyway? Back to off topic, bisk...

    ------------------
    My mother sez i'm speshul...


     
  5. DaveTomasi

    DaveTomasi Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 15, 1999
    Baltimore, Maryland
    Biski,

    Just wanted to say that you are always welcome over here in Technique. [​IMG] So, don't be a stranger.

     
  6. msaygilar

    msaygilar Guest

    Apr 18, 2000
    Istanbul
    You're feelings are on your fingers man... And I think it is easier. I've been trying to learn that pick style playing for a years on my own but I couldn't succeed it yet.. And really don't want to.. And lots of bass player say that playing with a pick with provides speed when playing I don't really believe that.I saw lots of bass masters who are playing with 2 fingers...Anyway fingerstyle picking is a good thing [​IMG]
     
  7. i play with both, i play much faster with my fingers, but use a pick with powerchords and a few riffs, i cant play wipeout with my fingers, only with a pick.
     
  8. ScottE

    ScottE

    Jun 2, 2000
    I can't use a pick, and there are two reasons. Number one, they were designed for guitar! Which means they're way too thin for the fat bass strings. To me, it just doesn't feel right to use that thin little pick on bass.
    Number two(and this is more philosophical) if you think about some of the most intricate, beautiful guitar music is played with the fingers. So why should bass players give up such a valuable resource? Besides, you can get an almost pick-like sound by playing close to the bridge and turning up the treble.
     
  9. I can play with both my fingers or a pick.
    It depents on what I'm playing. Though I like playing with my fingers more.
     
  10. Germz

    Germz

    Jun 19, 2000
    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by nirvanafan13:
    i have only been playing about 4 months, but i have never used a pick except in the first month i got the bass, i used a pick a few times to play "Adam's Song" by Blink 182 (in case you didn't know , the bass player for Blink uses a pick), but i have never used a pick since , and think the sound of a pick takes away from the whole sound of a bass,and teh theory of kinda backing up a guitar with its sound. i also know a few people that never use a pick and think that people that use a pick really aren't very good at bass, or something liek that... i don't think that, but still don't use a pick..
    Please reply because this is almost a poll type thing for me to find out how many people are like me, and how many people use a pick in their regular playing style...
    Thanks,
    Evan
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I think your right.Playing with a pick takes
    away the tradition of all styles of bass and
    sounds and sucks alot more than with your fingers.
     
  11. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    California
    I have always been a fingerstyle bassist because of my classical guitar background, but I know of a lot of great bassists who use a pick in styles such as Jazz (Anthony Jackson, Steve Swallow) and Funk Rocco Prestia style (Bobby Vega), so I'm into playing with a pick just so I have the skill in case I need it. Regardless of the style you play, It's possible for you to sound as credible with a pick or without. It's all up to the way you strike the strings and your sensitivity as a musician. I strongly encourage you to play fingerstyle, though, not because of tradition, but because you'll have an easier time switching techniques between slapping and pizzicato and raking the strings.

    Will C [​IMG]

    ------------------
    You can't hold no groove if you ain't got no pocket!


     
  12. Decided to join this discussion JUST for the sake of diversity [​IMG] The matter is that I always play with a pick, and I never play fingerstyle.

    The worst thing in playing with a pick is that the low end goes out, but you can just boost it with EQ. I personally love the ATTACK of the pick, this really makes bass more distinguishable (I hate bass lines that no one notices). Of course, all depends on the style. Playing a ballad with broad bass notes with a pick must surely SUCK. But I play something punkish (which doesn't mean playing the tonics of chords only!!! [​IMG] ) and fast, so pick is quite natural.

    The main thing I want to say is to play as you want. I don't give a damn if somebody accounts me not a real man because of the pick [​IMG]
    If you say I'm not a bassist, then alright, then I play a guitar an octave lower [​IMG]
     
  13. I don't agree that you will sacrifice low end by using a pick - you just need to find out how to get it with a pick. If you want more low end you can always play closer to the fingerboard while still maintaining lots of treble and clarity.

    The great pick players like Joe Osborn and Carol Kaye, tended to play close to the neck and they got very big, warm sounds out of their basses. Even guys like Chris Squire and Mike Rutherford got a lot of low end out of their Rickenbackers with roundwound strings by playing close to the neck. They had a lot of treble but ALSO a lot of bottom end at the same time.

    I highly recommend using a pick AND your fingers. Both approaches are very versatile if studied carefully but neither is nearly as versatile on its own as both methods combined.

    There should be no shame in using a pick though. The top 2 most recorded electric bass players, Joe Osborn and Carol Kaye, were both pick players and nobody can tell me they were lousy players.
     
  14. i agree about using both. I do use both, and depending on what type of music i'm playing, i'll decide what to use. if its blues, i feel i'll use the figners. but if its punk, hands down, i'm gonna use a pick, no matter what. there is a reason why almost all punk player use a pick, and its not cause they suck, its cause its just easier to use a pick for punk, because of the way you attack the stings. like, me, its easyer for me to do and up/down stroke with a pick, and get it out a lot faster, and last longer doing that, than with my two fingers.
     
  15. Paladin

    Paladin

    Jun 15, 2000
    I normally just play fingerstyle, but sometimes I pick up a pick for a different sound. Has anyone else ever tried a felt pick? They will produce a softer sound as opposed to the plastic or steel picks.
     
  16. MetalBass

    MetalBass

    Apr 19, 2000
    OK, I use both. I tend to get used to fingerplaying and then pick up a pick again. Of course many people out there think that hte pick robs the bass of it's original sort of moving along the notes softly sort of thing. However, using the pick keeps the bass from being drowned out by the annoying guitar players. It seems to shine through and hit you in the face every time you hear it. Now, fingerstyle I use mainly for solos just because there's no one to drown me out and I can get some faster switches between strings with my fingers. I think both have their own ups and downs but it all depends on the situation.

    As good examples to the difference between pick and no pick are my two idols, Jason Newsted and Cliff Burton. Jason uses a pick and on the albums with him playing you can hear a sort of melodic thump in the back for most songs (mainly because he has a heavy picking style that even interfered with studio equipment). His solos, when he uses a pick, are much crisper, clearer, and more distinct in sound. Now the other extreme, Cliff did not use a pick, his playing was not very audible behind the guitar power chords, but his solos were mad (rather fast I would have to say)

    So the moral of the story is: do what you think sounds better or feels better for what you're playing and those who critize you can go to hell!

    ------------------
    When you play bass do you ever wonder what idiot had the idea of making a lead guitar??

    "Ihr glaubt zu töten wäre schwer. Doch wo kommen all die Toten her?" (Translated: You thinking killing is hard to do. But where do all the corpses come from) -Rammstein
     
  17. Ktulu

    Ktulu

    May 8, 2000
    I use either my fingers or a pick depending on what the song I'm playing calls for. I've seen this on the post already, and I agree with it: it's best to learn to play both ways. It just gives you more sounds to work with. There's NO shame in using a pick. IMHO, it's worse to simply dismiss the idea of using one, and i.e. throw away a useful tool.

    MetalBass, good point w/ Newsted and Burton (my idols [​IMG]). This is a perfect example of how either method can work with the same type of music. I really like the way Newsted's bass comes through on the Black Album. You have to know what to listen for, but it really cuts through. And I don't know if it's possible to get My Friend of Misery to sound right without a pick. I know I can't do it, anyway.

    Burton's style is pretty much on the other end of the spectrum, but his bass still cuts through. It sounds more "standard" to me (I guess that's what you'd call it). Most of the time there's not a whole lot of attack on his notes, but they can still be heard. The man was a genius.

    Later, all.
     
  18. bassguy187

    bassguy187

    Jun 27, 2000
    Nazo, PA
    I definately play better with a pick, i'm into nirvana very much and other grungy kind of music and punk as well as many other types of music, and i think it depends on what type of music you play if you use a pick or you fingers. a pick gives you a nice crisp clean sound though [​IMG]
     
  19. DW

    DW

    Jun 22, 2000
    MetalBass, you don't need to tell your would-be critics to go to hell. It's best to ignore them. Anti-pick elitists have been bashing picks and pick players for 30+ years and it hasn't yet occurred to them that pick players don't give a sh*t about their criticism and are going to continue to do as they please. Don't give them ammunition. Don't think ill of them, just don't think of them at all!

    When I started playing bass in 1962 (ouch!) anti-pick bias was unheard of. It was started in the 60s by second-rate studio guys, mainly from the east coast, mostly string bass guys who hated electric bass to begin with and then were forced out -- or into the background -- by west coast studio bassists who came from a guitar background and often used picks.

    So why is it still around when most of those guys are long gone from the scene? Because it's not really an anti-pick thing. Scratch the surface and you'll find it's very much an anti-guitar, anti-rock thing. It's more convenient to attack picks, it diverts attention from their real hatred.

    I play fingerstyle or pickstyle, whatever I think is the best tone for a given song. You should go for whatever gives you the tone you want, not because someone else does it.

    But I can't agree with you on Burton vs. Newsted. That's a studio situation. A pick is just one of several things that may help you be heard better in a live situation. But if you're not heard well on a professionally engineered recording, then it's because the engineer, producer or bandleader wanted it that way. I own many recordings with a pickstyle bassist who's mostly buried and many with a fingerstyle bassist who stands out in the mix.
     
  20. MetalBass

    MetalBass

    Apr 19, 2000
    DW, thanks for the lessons.

    I am still a teenager and the whole history thing didn't really occurr to me.

    Sorry about the "go to hell" part, I'm a bit impulsive.

    Also, I didn't think about the whole studio editing bit (in all the studio editing I saw it was only the drummer Lars who was repeatedly trying to turn the drums up more). Just a funny fact is that when they had Newsted playing in the studio they put a wall of foam around his playing area because the pick noise was so loud that the technicians could not hear what was coming out of the speakers.