Would you have caved in & used a pick?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Butch Bobcat, Jun 3, 2020.

  1. Butch Bobcat

    Butch Bobcat

    Jul 11, 2018
    I'd like to hear some opinions from fellow bassists on whether it matters to you that a bassist uses a pick in a cover band when the original bassist recorded with a pick.

    To start at the end, I've washed my hands of the mainly 90's cover band I played bass in. The reason stemmed from me not wanting to use a pick because I found the tone that I, like all of us, have sought after.

    Okay, so I was in a cover, not tribute band. I feel that gives me more liberties to not have the exact tone as the original bands.

    The guitarist & singer argued that we don't play songs that we used to like In Bloom, Killing in the Name, or Song 2 because me picking with my fingers makes the songs "sound like s#&t" even though they take liberties of their own in the music. When I tell them that they & the 2 purist musicians in the audience are the only people that will care that the tone isn't exactly like the original recording.

    Ultimately, I decided to leave the band after hanging out the other night for the first time since the lockdown started because of things like being told that my knowledge is inferior to the guitarist because of his master's degree in music. Also that I'm ignorant to what the music needs to be & sound like. There's plenty more drunkardly trash talking & belittling of my abilities that I won't get into. I will however say that for over an hour of this argument, I was literally not able to finish a single point I was trying to make before getting interrupted.

    I know this was long winded, but with all the BS aside, what are your opinions on using a pick or fingers in a situation like this?
  2. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Snaggletooth Inactive

    I would have done it with a pick IF your bandmates weren't being so-and-sos about it, but they clearly were.
    If you can't literally win, do it figuratively by voting with your feet!

    I wouldn't even be in a room with folks who treated me like that, let alone be in a band with them, if I'm being completely honest.

    In truth I have ended relationships over this sort of thing, including a TB member who came to my humble abode, fiddled with the knobs on my rig while I played it (w/o asking first) & then promptly came on here to trash my rig!
    Before you comment it's not the same, it's stemming from a deep lack of respect in both cases.
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2020
  3. Jeff Hughes

    Jeff Hughes

    May 3, 2020
    If the gigs pay and they book the gigs, just use a pick.

    If a pick really ruins the experience for you, then don’t torture yourself.

    Maybe they hear something in the mix that you don’t hear.

    But it sounds like they were powertrippers anyways.

    I would use the pick personally. The older I have gotten, the more I appreciate any kind of meaningful musical direction from band leaders.
  4. Dean N

    Dean N

    Jul 4, 2006
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Sounds like you won't enjoy the the hang, or playing the music. Unless the money is stupendous, 33% is a failing grade. Bye.
  5. Lagado

    Lagado Inactive

    Jan 6, 2020
    I haven't used a pick for some time, I've usually been forced to due to burst blisters, which means at that point I've got to use one. My technique had atrophied due to lack of use, but I like a lot of pick players, and that sound. It has a different sense of drive, and tone of course. Take "Video Killed the Radio Star", the original, I used to play that with my fingers, but I know it would have more defined drive and edge with a pick.

    If it was requested by that particular band that I use a pick for the track, yes I'd work it. And I'd know why they wanted it played that way.
    Butch Bobcat likes this.
  6. gln1955

    gln1955 Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ohio, USA
    IMO, It's better to use your fingers to strangle the guitarist. A pick takes too long and can get messy.
  7. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    I don't use a pick.
    db59, Huw Phillips, Mr Cheese and 6 others like this.
  8. LBS-bass

    LBS-bass Guest

    Nov 22, 2017
    I wouldn't have caved. I would like to think that, after listening to the originals, I would have said, "oh, the sound of this being picked is important in this song," and decided to do it on my own. Or not.

    My band plays three sets and I use a pick on ONE song because I felt that was integral to the sound of that song. The rest of them, nobody cares, including me. The drummer laughs at me because he thinks that song was played without a pick because a silly video shows it being played incorrectly. But I laugh at him because he's wrong about that. He has proven to me many times that he thinks he has a good ear, but it's not as good as he thinks it is.

    If I liked the guys, and they asked me NICELY, I might have tried it. I don't have "a tone," I have many tones, depending. But beyond that, I need to be in a band where we respect one another. Ordering me what to do, unless you're paying me good money, isn't going to work for me, but I know it works just fine for some others.
  9. I never use a pick. Not even on guitar, let alone bass. No one ever complained, but they probably knew better.
  10. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru..........

    Apr 11, 2006
    Out there!
    I make the choice to play with a pick or fingerstyle, whatever I thinks sounds best for any particular song, not them. No one has ever told me, in almost fifty years of playing, how to play my parts.
  11. Thumper

    Thumper Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2000
    Syracuse Ut
    I used to be amberpickterous, now it's all fingers, all the time. I still practice with one once in a while because I think it's just another tool.
  12. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru..........

    Apr 11, 2006
    Out there!
    In my early years of playing bass and guitar I always used a pick. Nowadays, for bass, I can do both pick or fingerstyle fluently.

    As for guitar I almost never use a pick (for many years, now), but I do have two special picks to use, depending on the music's needs. Paul Richards gave me a pick several years ago so I can sound like three guitars playing at the same time :D, and I also got a pick from the late Bucky Pizzarelli for when I want to do that jazz thing. :thumbsup:
    Iristone and Butch Bobcat like this.
  13. Lagado

    Lagado Inactive

    Jan 6, 2020
    From 1.40 on, try it with your fingers. It's difficult enough with a pick.

  14. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2008
    I would have left, too.

    I’m always receptive to feedback so long as it’s constructive. Likewise, I’ll voice my thoughts if it’s in service of the band and not someone’s ego (including my own). However, when someone starts making things up and insults me then they can pound sand. Life’s too short.
  15. JW56789

    JW56789 Guest

    Feb 18, 2017
    Wouldn't comment on all the social machinations at work here, but I've always used a pick (exclusively at first as it was just faster than my right hand in the beginning), and use it now where I think it's the right tone. Some guys get a wonderfully hard sound off their fingertips or from their technique, but I'm not one of them. My fingers alone just sound round.

    Besides, I'd rather have several 'tones' than just one. But that's me, and everyone has their own ideas as what works best for them.
  16. JeezyMcNuggles

    JeezyMcNuggles Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2018
    Santa Maria, CA
    I suck, but nobody really notices
    It probably does sound like crap without a pick. You just can't see that because "you've found your holy tone." Your tone and style needs to change along with every style and genre your are playing. Bass is very important. Its also very influential. if the bass doesnt sound right, nothing sounds right. Your stubbornness has now ended a nice friendship and yet another music group. Oh well, live and learn. If you don't, the next group will do the same thing.
  17. gln1955

    gln1955 Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ohio, USA
    What friendship??

    These guys are jerks and no one with an ounce of self-respect would stay in that band.
  18. Lagado

    Lagado Inactive

    Jan 6, 2020
    I've played to eat. If you want it played with some tangerine peel for that "orange" sound, I'll do it. If people want to leave the whole thing to me then fine, but it's not for me to call the shots, or walk into someone's manor and start telling them what's what.
  19. Mvilmany


    Mar 13, 2013
    Upstate NY
    Well does it sound better playing with a pick? I play 70% fingers, 30% pick. I’d be willing to try any song with the other method if a bandmate thought it would improve the song. I think certain things definitely sound better or at least more natural based on whether you’re using one or the other.
  20. Gearhead17

    Gearhead17 Supporting Member

    May 4, 2006
    Mount Prospect, IL
    They could take liberties with the songs and you could not? Hmmmm, not worth your time. I did the variety cover band thing with 90's, 80's and so on. My personal rule was; if the song has an identifiable bass part and it's obvious it was played with a pick or a predominant effect, then I would try to achieve that. For anything else, I did what I was comfortable with.

    In addition, I too had a certain bass tone, but I was never against changing it if it was clashing with the overall band sound. You had mentioned that you found a tone you liked and were not willing to change it. I suggest you revisit your perspective there. An attitude like that is going to make it much harder to work with other musicians.