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Why is there so much hate against using picks?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by thathatman, May 17, 2011.

  1. thathatman


    Sep 17, 2002
    La Mirada, CA
    The other day a buddy of mine said, "Real bassists don't use picks."
    I asked him if he was afraid of rock and roll bass tone. I argued with him for a while. This happened a few days ago and it still makes my blood boil as much as being asked to play "the Seinfeld theme."

    Why is there so much hate against using picks?

    What are some memorable basslines that are played using a pick?
  2. Febs

    Febs Supporting Member

    May 7, 2007
    Philadelphia, PA
    Besides the entire catalogs of Yes and the Beatles?
  3. bluesdogblues


    Nov 13, 2007
    Too many
  4. GoesThump


    Jul 13, 2007

    Pretty much anything w/Carol Kaye on it?

    Tons of stuff - wasn't McCartney also a pick player?

    Although I'm a finger player myself (never did get the hang of a pick) that's a fairly clueless comment on your buddy's behalf.

  5. Marial

    Marial weapons-grade plum

    Apr 8, 2011
    No idea. I use whatever gives me the sound/attack I feel is appropriate for the song. Fingers, thumb, pick, whatever. The one thing I don't do is slap/pop and that's because I just never put the time into learning how to do it properly as I've never really played a style of music where it was called for.
  6. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I grow organic carrots and they are not for sale
    maybe some players hate the pick for the same reason they hate slapping ... they have trouble with that technique.
  7. whisper14072


    May 16, 2008
    Grand Island
    +1 to all above...

    Next time he says that ask him if Chris Squire or Paul Mcartney are "real" bass players.
    I am a finger player.... tried a pick... but just not me :)
  8. Im slowly learning to use a pick....and I do mean slowly. Between work, learning songs, and perfecting my finger style technique, theres not much time to practice it, plus Im not THAT interested in it, just want to be a little more versatile tone wise. It never feels like ME making the music when using a pick for some reason, kinda artificial. But with fingerstyle it feels more like Im making the music. Who cares what anybody else uses if it sounds good?! So, no, I dont understand the hate...or gear snobbery. Rock on!
  9. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    Because stupid people are entitled to stupid opinions. Don't let it bother you: Idiots abound.
  10. T-MOST

    T-MOST Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2004
    NJ via NYC
    I have never needed to use a pick. I can get a really nice pick tone from my fingers. I played guitar for 5 years and still play so I am comfortable using picks. I just dont need one on bass. For those who do use picks more power to you.
  11. pacojas

    pacojas "FYYA BUN"

    Oct 11, 2009
    i can't remember why i don't use a pick.

    oh wait,... no one has ever asked me to. but... i would try it if i was required to.
  12. I've always played straight fingers because that's how I was taught, but lately I've spent some time learning slap and pick. All techniques are useful for some things. Sometimes I joke that "real bassists use fingers", but it's only a joke.

    I also tell people real photographers use film. That's not a joke...

    As for famous bassists who use picks, how about Burke Shelley of Budgie? I don't think he could get that sound without a pick. Same goes for Roger Waters. They both use P-basses with that rich low end and they both get the hard attack from the pick.
  13. That is the great thing about the bass: you can pluck, pick, slap, tap, thumb, pull, chime harmonics, double thumb, use one finger or all five....do what pleases YOU.

    I'm a fingerstyle player but would like to get some dexterity with a pick to have in the tonal arsenal.
  14. pedroims


    Dec 19, 2007
    I have never used a pick in a live situation but practice with a pick is part of daily routine.
  15. Steve Swallow, Carol Kaye, the late Michael Been of the Call...
  16. jgroh

    jgroh Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2007
    Ive been playing for almost 26 years. My teacher started me playing with a pick. He also taught guitar but was an excellent bassist and teacher and so I used one. There was no internet at that time, so I never heard anyone say anything to me about using a pick other than "hey, how come your tone is so consistent and even compared to every other bass player I know?" I played in tons of bands over the years in front of thousands and the only place i heard it was on the internet or from someone that heard it from the internet.

    By the way, about 4 years ago I decided to get my finger technique up to where my picking was and I did that. And since my original teacher taught me slapping well, I have 3 strong techniques in my arsenal.
  17. I agree here. Using fingers makes playing feel more personal and intimate. Each technique has its place and provides a particular sound that one might be trying to achieve. For me. Fingers feel more personal and intimate, while slap style feels like I'm beating on my wife, and picking feels like I'm watching someone else do her while keeping my left hand busy fingering my "neck".
  18. Duke21


    Nov 14, 2010
    Narvik, Norway
    You can add Genesis, Marillion which are major acts.
  19. Duke21


    Nov 14, 2010
    Narvik, Norway
    Yeh yeh, so what do feel while Tony Levin uses his funk finger?
  20. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Banned Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    when I was coming up in the '70s, conventional wisdom was that the only bassists who used picks were frustrated guitar players, so it was that "Real" bassists used their fingers.

    While there might be an element of truth in that statement, it's pretty silly. If using a pick works for you, great. If it doesn't - Great.

    What I want to know is why do you care what people think?

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