Bass Pick Or No Pick?

Discussion in 'Musicians' started by thesmelloftrees, Oct 17, 2015.

  1. Playing bass do you use a pick or not? I have just started and have not been using one, but now my brother says to me that i should be. I want to learn led zeppelin, iron maiden, motorhead. so i know steve harris of maiden does not use one but anyway it depends on the style i guess what are your thoughts?
  2. notrick

    notrick Member

    I hate to admit but I use a pick most of the time. Maybe it's because I've only been playing bass for 10 years and guitar is my second instrument to

    John Paul Jones played bass like piano which gave Zepplins bass a unique sound. Not sure how he did it but I read it on page on FB dedicated to Zepplin.
  3. notrick

    notrick Member

    I hate to admit it but I normaly use a pick. a friend gave me pick made from a tiger shark tooth. Guess I'm sorta attached to it and it's too stiff for a guitar. It was made for bass and is 40 years old.
  4. rjhangover

    rjhangover Senior Member

    I've never used one, but I could see using one for a certain kind of song...Don't know if I'd ever play that kind of song though. I would think it would be a very fast metal type song.

    But now that you've mentioned it, I think I'll start watching bass players on youtube videos to see if any are using a pick. Thanks.
  5. Tyrsonswood

    Tyrsonswood Senior Moment

    I rarely use a pick when playing a guitar, not sure why I'd get one out when I play bass.
    1 person likes this.
  6. Alimination

    Alimination New Member

    There are benefits to both.

    Picks generally create a sharp attack to the note, while the fleshy characteristics of your fingers give the full roundness of the lower end of a mix.
    In a mix context (with a full band) generally the bass shines around 50- 150hz. Most of that fleshy characteristics shine there, giving it a "synth pad" type sound, making the band feel more full in general.

    Obviously, some bass players like Steve Harris from Iron Maiden, or bryan beller from Aristocrats/Joe Satriani have mastered their fingers enough to emulate pick strikes with their fingers from all the years of practicing.
    On the flip side, the guitar player Jeff Beck is most known for his playing without the use of pick.

    It's all up to you mate! No right or wrong way to make music!
    2 people like this.
  7. Thanks for the replies, ive started using a pick today and i can play things i couldnt yesterday just due to being able to go faster and more accurate. I actually like it better and will stick with it, now it feels funny using my fingers :)
  8. Reverand JC

    Reverand JC Willy Fuckin' Wonka

    Part of the reason I quit using a pick was because I kept losing them. Plus playing with fingers I can switch techniques from regular playing to slap, to tapping easier. If I want a little more attack I'll use a little bit of fingernail with my standard technique.

    Rev J
    1 person likes this.
  9. notrick

    notrick Member

    A few years ago I read an interview with Steve Via about why he stopped using picks on a lot of songs. He said _"I was on tour with band I had never played with before in South America. Sitting in my hotel room the night before our first show I got my rig and began looking for a pick in my gig bag. I was almost in panic because I'd never played electric without a pick." Apparently he pulled himself together and began going through the songs without a pick. He played the first show pickles and said he found placeses he could not have played with a pick. I think he said he played the whole tour without a pick.

    He hasn't made it a habit but said when he needs a pick he uses a pick, when he needs to play open fingered--he's does. As Alimination said " there is no right or wrong way in music!".
  10. iriegnome

    iriegnome Member

    To most bassists, this is one of the most insulting questions to put to us. Ok. here is how it goes. Use a pick if you want, don't use one if you don't want to. However you develop your own personal style will make it an easy choice. Hell, use a pick sometimes and play finger style sometimes. IMHO, it doesn't matter at all what you do. As long as you play, enjoy what you play, who really cares. Here's the thing about the No pick purists. Paul McCartney, Phil Lesh, Mike Gordon, Lemme, and on and on and on all use picks. Chris Squire, Pick player. John Entwistle used both his fingers and picks. John Deacon of Queen used his fingers. All are highly professional players, extremely talented and choose to use or not to use a pick.
    Have fun
  11. guerillabedlam

    guerillabedlam Senior Member

    I' m more of a guitarist but have dabbled in some bass, I prefer no pick on bass. I prefer having a pick with guitar so I don't know if that is unusual but I found fingers on bass allowed for more fluidity and control over my timbre and cut-off.
  12. Reverand JC

    Reverand JC Willy Fuckin' Wonka

    I highly recommend the book "Extreme Metal Bass" by Alex Webster. It has a lot of good exercises from beginner to advanced finger picking and tapping techniques and musical examples. It takes good technique to play those types of lines at fast tempos cleanly.

    Rev J
  13. Rocklobster

    Rocklobster Senior Member

    Fingers only used to use a pickup when I first started and was getting blisters. For me its a sound and feel thing speed does really come into it been playing so long I can rattle off most bass runs.
    1 person likes this.
  14. I switch between depending on the piece I am playing.
  15. Chodpa

    Chodpa -=Chop_Chop=-

    depends on your attack
  16. Reverand JC

    Reverand JC Willy Fuckin' Wonka

    You don't necessesarily have to use a pick to get more attack. You can either use a little more fingernail or a few other techniques. Case in point:

    Stanley Clarke has always played finger style and had plenty of attack. Granted I think that comes from years of playing upright.

    Rev J
  17. Barocoon95

    Barocoon95 Member

    There are a few variables for both methods that give it a different sound. Playing with your fingers will give a lower sound with a delayed slapping sound if you tickle the strings hard enough. Playing with a pick will sound slightly higher in tone and with both methods remember the pressure you pluck the strings with will affect the sound. I think using your fingers helps the dynamic of the music and you could play 3 strings; a harmony, background chord progression and a melody. You could also do that with a pick though to some extent using your free fingers + pick. Try both methods. Go with your gut feeling. The choice is yours.

    Have fun playing!

    - Connor :guitarist: [​IMG]
  18. I have done so in the past. [​IMG]
  19. Terrapin2190

    Terrapin2190 I am nature.

    Personally, I tend not to use a pick while playing guitar or bass. It just feels more natural for me. More maneuverability.

    Now, I can't get the hang of fingerpicking, so I mostly just use my thumb to pick, slap, strum, etc. It really depends on the song and the setting.

    I always use a pick while tuning. It depends on how 'pick-heavy' the song is and you have to take into account, while you're playing acoustic, how loud your surroundings are compared to how much sound you'll be producing from your instrument.

    Still, 'not' using a pick very much or at all has decreased my ability of playing with a pick to a substantial degree. I slip up a lot when I do have the need to use a pick because of that extra length protruding from my thumb and the tension it created while strumming the strings.

    All in all...

    It's personal preference lol. Though there is a bit of a science to it I guess.
  20. Reverand JC

    Reverand JC Willy Fuckin' Wonka

    I just got one of these pedals and am using this guys preset and it give an amazingly clear sound with lots of attack:

    The whole concept of these pedals is pretty cool. There are preset sounds in an app that you can download to your phone or tablet and beam to the pedal.

    Rev J

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