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Bass Pick Or No Pick?




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#1 thesmelloftrees

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Posted October 17 2015 - 09:24 PM

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? 


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#2 notrick

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Posted October 18 2015 - 07:37 AM

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

 

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? 

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

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Posted October 18 2015 - 07:41 AM

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

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Posted October 18 2015 - 09:28 AM

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

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Posted October 18 2015 - 10:49 AM

I rarely use a pick when playing a guitar, not sure why I'd get one out when I play bass.


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#6 Alimination

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Posted October 18 2015 - 12:24 PM

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!


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#7 thesmelloftrees

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Posted October 19 2015 - 02:55 AM

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 :)


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#8 Reverand JC

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Posted October 19 2015 - 09:35 AM

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.

C/S,
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#9 notrick

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Posted October 19 2015 - 07:31 PM

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

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Posted November 11 2015 - 12:00 PM

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


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#11 guerillabedlam

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Posted November 11 2015 - 12:54 PM

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.

Bvztpo7.png

 


#12 Reverand JC

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Posted November 11 2015 - 03:56 PM

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.

C/S,
Rev J

"I believe that creative imagination rules the universe.
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I believe in dreams and dreamers, being one myself.
I believe in the power of modern medicine and the wisdom of ancient medicine as well.
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#13 Rocklobster

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Posted December 04 2015 - 12:36 AM

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.

Edited by Rocklobster, December 04 2015 - 12:37 AM.

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#14 handfulofnothing

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Posted December 16 2015 - 09:44 PM

I switch between depending on the piece I am playing.



#15 Chodpa

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Posted December 17 2015 - 05:12 AM

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? 

 

 

depends on your attack


:sunny:

#16 Reverand JC

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Posted December 17 2015 - 11:31 AM

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:
https://m.youtube.co...h?v=F5vviWys5x0

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

C/S,
Rev J

"I believe that creative imagination rules the universe.
I believe in the beauty of first love and the eternal power of all love.
I believe in dreams and dreamers, being one myself.
I believe in the power of modern medicine and the wisdom of ancient medicine as well.
I believe in the power of laughter and the beauty of a good joke." Willie Nelson


#17 Barocoon95

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Posted January 26 2016 - 11:53 AM

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!

 

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#18 BlondeSunshine

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Posted May 09 2016 - 09:27 AM

I have done so in the past. sifone.gif



#19 Terrapin2190

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Posted May 12 2016 - 06:55 PM

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.


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#20 Reverand JC

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Posted May 14 2016 - 04:31 PM

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.

 

C/S,

Rev J


"I believe that creative imagination rules the universe.
I believe in the beauty of first love and the eternal power of all love.
I believe in dreams and dreamers, being one myself.
I believe in the power of modern medicine and the wisdom of ancient medicine as well.
I believe in the power of laughter and the beauty of a good joke." Willie Nelson