To Finger-pick or Use-a-pick

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JKHC
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To Finger-pick or Use-a-pick

Post by JKHC » April 12th, 2011, 7:18 pm

I recently bought a bass guitar(today) and when I tried to search for some lessons, most people do not recommend using a pick. I know that it is a little bit sharper and more aggressive with a pick but is there any major difference? I am already used to a pick because I play guitar and I don't really want to learn fingerpicking.....laziness...... :mrgreen:

Another thing I don't get is that my bass has P and J bass pickups(in the picture below). I couldn't really tell the difference when I switched between the bridge and neck pickups. What are the advantages or need to use the pickups separately and what tone does each produce(cuz I can't tell)
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Nuno
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Re: To Finger-pick or Use-a-pick

Post by Nuno » April 13th, 2011, 5:22 am

There are many differences in tone as with pick vs. finger as middle vs. bridge pick-ups.

You can use the pick but you should learn to play fingerstyle also, the tone is completely different and you will need one or the other depending on the style of music you are playing (or you own style or the feeling that you want to give). Probably, the way in which you play a bass is the main source of 'effects' for basses. You can achieve many different tones by moving your right hand (I'm assuming you are right handed because the picture shows a right handed bass).

The middle (split coil) and bridge (single coil) picks sounds completely different, too. The middle, the P, comes for the Fender Precision basses. The other, the J, comes from the Fender Jazz basses. Both are classical models. You (and your ears) will need some time to get used to them but you will be able to distinguish them. Use them depending on the tone that you want achieve.

For example, the P is good for rock, blues, jazz, etc. But you can also play the some music styles with both pickups or the J alone. The J is usually used when slap&pop but the original Precision is one of the best basses for slapping and it only has the P pick-up.

My bass also has two pickups (it is a Jazz bass) and I tend to use the middle pick-up for rock, blues, country, and even jazz. I use the bridge pick-up for soloing or when I want a most 'modern' tone (well, relatively modern tone, it is a passive Jazz bass).

On the other hand, if you need some help with the bass, try to get the The Complete Idiot's Guide to Playing Bass Guitar. There are several reviews and opinions in the main site (http://www.guitarnoise.com/books/). I got it and it is one of my favorite books on music.

Congrats on your new bass and enjoy!

And remember you must post some pics of it! :wink:

Edit: I saw the other thread. You finally got an Ibanez GRS 200. Pretty good basses for the money. You will get a lot of fun with it!

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Re: To Finger-pick or Use-a-pick

Post by Alan Green » April 13th, 2011, 10:36 am

I find it feels so un-natural using a pick on a bass.
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JKHC
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Re: To Finger-pick or Use-a-pick

Post by JKHC » April 13th, 2011, 10:58 am

Alan Green wrote:I find it feels so un-natural using a pick on a bass.
Lol, I find it feels so un-natural fingerpicking on a bass. :lol:

Are there any tips for someone new to fingerpicking? It seems impossible for me to get it but Im guessing enough practice will solve that.
When we started the band, it was because we were waiting for a sound that never happened. We got tired of waiting, and we decided to just do it ourselves. - Mike Shinoda

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Re: To Finger-pick or Use-a-pick

Post by cnev » April 14th, 2011, 4:54 am

JKHC just take it slow and I think it will come with time. I know what you are saying I don't play bass but I sometimes mess around with my buddies bass and try to play with my fingers. It's not totally uncomfortable but definitely something I'd really have to work on to get used to as I always use a pick when playing guitar.
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Re: To Finger-pick or Use-a-pick

Post by Minotaur » April 14th, 2011, 7:29 am

JKHC wrote:I recently bought a bass guitar(today) and when I tried to search for some lessons, most people do not recommend using a pick.
Congratulations on coming to The Dark Side, er I mean The Low End. :mrgreen:

If anyone tells you anything authoritatively or definitively how to play your music on your instruments, they are full of themselves and full of dookie. I guess they need to tell Bill Clements he's doing it all wrong. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcMyE8o3 ... re=related

I think most bass players finger pick with the first and second fingers because it's handed down (no pun intended). I play that way because that's what I've seen and gotten used to, but Paul McCartney is a pick player, Robbie Merrill now uses finger picks after having experimented. Bass players that use picks are legion, and those who don't are legion.

Whatever works for you. :wink:

Btw, none of my comments are directed at anyone here. I go to a bass site that is overflowing with pundits.
It is difficult to answer when one does not understand the question.

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Re: To Finger-pick or Use-a-pick

Post by hbriem » April 15th, 2011, 7:30 am

I always use a pick but I have nothing against those who don't.

I use a pick mostly because that's the way I started and I'm too old and lazy to learn something new. It works fine for the sort of music I play (punky indie) and I've never really felt the need to learn fingers. Whenever I try I get frustrated because I'm so crap at it.

Learning both is of course, ideal. Even slapping and popping may have its place.
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Derek Wilkerson
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Re: To Finger-pick or Use-a-pick

Post by Derek Wilkerson » April 15th, 2011, 3:34 pm

i am personally a fingerstyle bassist, but at times ive found it useful and versitile to go the other way and use a pick. i use very bright strings in the first place, but added grit can be a nice effect :) i learned on guitar, so it took a while for me to transition to fingerstyle on bass, but i got it, and got better at it than playing with a pick. i just find the picks to be clumsy sometimes. it all depends on taste and application.

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JKHC
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Re: To Finger-pick or Use-a-pick

Post by JKHC » April 15th, 2011, 4:35 pm

Thank you, so its just practice to get used to it.

When is the answer never practice??????? :x
When we started the band, it was because we were waiting for a sound that never happened. We got tired of waiting, and we decided to just do it ourselves. - Mike Shinoda

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JKHC
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Re: To Finger-pick or Use-a-pick

Post by JKHC » April 17th, 2011, 10:32 am

Hmm...Also confused about what to do with your finger after playing the note. People say to keep your finger in motion until it touches the string beside it.
Ex. While playing open A, are you supposed to play the note and leave your finger in midair, or continue the motion till it touches the E string??
When we started the band, it was because we were waiting for a sound that never happened. We got tired of waiting, and we decided to just do it ourselves. - Mike Shinoda

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Re: To Finger-pick or Use-a-pick

Post by Nuno » April 17th, 2011, 1:37 pm

It depends on the tone you are looking for. Sometimes you "pull" of the string. Usually you will rest the finger in the "upper" string (as you said, if you play the A string, you can rest in the E). Explore and listen.

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JKHC
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Re: To Finger-pick or Use-a-pick

Post by JKHC » April 17th, 2011, 6:57 pm

Thank you for clarifying that Nuno :mrgreen:
When we started the band, it was because we were waiting for a sound that never happened. We got tired of waiting, and we decided to just do it ourselves. - Mike Shinoda

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Re: To Finger-pick or Use-a-pick

Post by jwmartin » April 26th, 2011, 6:55 pm

I play 95% finger style, even when playing in my punk band. The only time I use a pick is for 1 Misfits cover, a Motorhead cover and 2 of our originals, because of the particular sound. I can usually play faster finger style, plus I put a little bit of "swing" into it my playing that way. Seems like it would be strange for punk rock, but it's become our style.

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Re: To Finger-pick or Use-a-pick

Post by kommando84 » May 16th, 2011, 12:27 pm

I think the reason many (well-intentioned!) bass players try to steer new players toward playing fingerstyle is because it's easier to learn something when you're new at an instrument before you build up your whole playing repertoire and develop a full set of habits you may have to unlearn. They may give the impression that fingerstyle is the "true" or "best" way to play a bass.

The honest-to-God answer is that both picking and fingerstyle have a place in bass music, especially nowadays where a player is expected to know a good variety of styles. There is no orthodoxy, there is no high church that dictates what you must or must not learn.

I am backwards from most bass players I know in that I originally learned fingerstyle and have had to open my mind up to playing with a pick. Like others have said on this thread, now I find some songs that I can't seem to play properly without a pick (I'm thinking of the galloping bass of "Barracuda" by Heart or "Stone Free" by Jimi Hendrix)!

Bass is great, and I hope your journey on this instrument is as full of joy as mine has been.

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Re: To Finger-pick or Use-a-pick

Post by Kingpinjones » November 29th, 2012, 4:40 am

I just picked up the bass a few weeks ago myself, but i'm no stranger to it i played at the bass when i would visit my cousin who had one, interestingly enough it was passed to me. (see beginning statement lol.) but now that i really play it i prefer finger style, i feel wrong using a pick, i'll leave that to shredding the 6 string. i toggle between using just the index and ring finger and playing like it was an acoustic using my thumb and first three fingers. for more basic bass lines i dig the 2 finger style the more melodic i get the more fingers i tend to use, but i really want to pick up on some slap bass because honestly... my name is mud and there are just too many puppies. <.< .... >.> .... :D i get the thump, and the pop, but i have a hard time with the thumping and popping put together but i'm new to the idea so it's practice practice practice for me.
So you're telling me i can sing AND play guitar at the same time.....? Since when?

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