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BassAdder27

Fingers and or pick ( that old chestnut )

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Most if not all of my bass playing has been with fingers ( rock / pop ) and I’m pretty good at it ... however I love the tone you get from a pick especially with a PBass 

As a guitar player I’m decent using a pick so I’m leaning towards playing mostly pick instead of mostly fingers 

I think the pick tone for certain genres cannot be beaten and try as I do with fingers it’s not as punchy as using a pick 

Anyone else given over to the pick only ?

Naturally I could use both but I think for playing rock and setting my amp EQ etc I will stick going forward with a pick 

Edited by BassAdder27

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I've always used both. Some songs sound better with fingers, others sound better with a pick. I like to think that I choose how I play based on the tone that I want to create. The truth however,  is that some songs are impossible for me to play fast enough with my fingers, so I have to use a pick instead.

Edited by MrDaveTheBass
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From learning to play at 14/15 on I never played with a pick at all. It never felt comfortable to me, to the point that even playing guitar I still don’t. That said, my current band is a bass/drums two piece and playing fingerstyle just doesn’t work for what we do. I tried but it needs the attack of pick playing. As a result I’m using a pick for the first time ever. And playing shortscale basses for the first time too. 

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I learned to play with a pick and whilst I have recently learned to play finger style I doubt I’ll ever use that method in a band.

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A mixture for me, some bands will be just fingers, some just plectrum, some I'll alternate when appropriate. I usually have one in my back pocket ready to go.

Along with my callouses softening, not having a plec constantly poking my buttock has been one of the things I've had to get used to during lockdown!

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Being an early disciple of the Steve Harris/Geddy Lee/Flea school, I've always been a fingers player. I've experimented with a pick, but it wasn't for me - I found it a little cumbersome across strings (I use a lot of octaves) and certain damping techniques were lost to me.  Some people play their stuff fantastically with a pick - horses for courses and all that

It's all about the music - I couldn't give a monkey's chuff HOW people get there. 

Edited by odysseus
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I was converted when I saw the video of Bobby Vega playing with a pick 😍 I use it for certain things, like if I'm doing a wedding and the song was played with a pick, or if I'm recording something and I want a clickier attack. Depends on the song/style

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15 hours ago, MrDaveTheBass said:

I've always used both. Some songs sound better with fingers, others sound better with a pick. I like to think that I choose how I play based on the tone that I want to create. The truth however,  is that some songs are impossible for me to play fast enough with my fingers, so I have to use a pick instead.

This for me too, though it does cause other problems ie strap height comfortable for fingers is not the same as for picking.

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Pick pretty much exclusively - although fingers are creeping in - if I have to sing and play I can’t co-ordinate all my fingers 

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I havent been playing bass that long but for me it's both.  Slower songs generally fingers and pick for anything that my fingers cant keep up with. But it depends on the style of music as well.  

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 I started with a plectrum in the mid 80s. By about 88 I was all fingers and occasional thumb. In fact I probably became a bit of an anti plectrum snob if I am honest. 

Now, get this. During the first lockdown, I bought a mustang. I also watched the AWB on Soul Train doing Cut The Cake and loved the tone. So I thought I would have a little dally with a plectrum too. I am now a fully fledged plectrum player who can still (and do occasionally) use fingers and thumb, but I get neither the satisfaction, tone I want, nor the feel and groove I get with a plectrum when jamming my own stuff. Obviously I will use fingers when playing along with or covering Motown, or that early Bootsy with James Brown stuff for example. But for my own style and sound "the pick is just sick" 😂

 

Sorry for the long post, but I am still gobsmacked at how the little. 73 nylon Dunlop has has made me her forever bi%ch. 😂😂

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2 minutes ago, TheLowDown said:

Never bothered with a pick. Fingers for maximum control.

Could a pick not give maximum control?

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33 minutes ago, Cuzzie said:

Could a pick not give maximum control?

No, how could I effectively mute the lower strings when using a pick? Fingers do a much better job.

Edited by TheLowDown
second thoughts

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36 minutes ago, TheLowDown said:

No, how could I effectively mute the lower strings when using a pick? Fingers do a much better job.

Palm or thumb and fingers of fretting hand

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6 minutes ago, Cuzzie said:

Palm or thumb and fingers of fretting hand

Doesn't that mean less control? That's what i mean - the fingers alone can do it a lot more effectively. On a 5 or 6 string it would become a nightmare if I have to phrase the notes with the pick while keeping the lower strings muted, and is making unnecessary hard work of the situation.

Fingers of fretting hand are for the higher strings.

Edited by TheLowDown

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Not necessarily - there are some things you can’t quite get with a pick that fingers do, but also the same the other way round too - it’s just a different technique

Check out Bobby Vega, Cody Wright, Glenn Hughes, Dave Ellefson to name a few - they play super clean and complicated bass lines

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When I switch to pick playing I have to reduce the amp volume. Is that my inconsistent technique or do other players have to do the same? I favour Dunlop 0.88mm nylon picks as thinner ones sound too "clicky" for me. My two main bass playing regrets are that I didn't learn to sing whilst playing or practice enough with a pick. 

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6 hours ago, Sparky Mark said:

When I switch to pick playing I have to reduce the amp volume. Is that my inconsistent technique or do other players have to do the same? I favour Dunlop 0.88mm nylon picks as thinner ones sound too "clicky" for me. My two main bass playing regrets are that I didn't learn to sing whilst playing or practice enough with a pick. 

Nope it’s just different - that click gives you a cut through. You may be playing slightly harder or it may be that because you are using a pick it’s the slightly higher register sound which appears louder compared to your fingers.

If it really loud louder use your bass on 75-80% volume with a pick and then turn up for fingers to max - that means you can control on the bass what’s going on.

I do have to EQ differently for fingers vs pick though as my spring rolls are quite bass-eeeee, and also I naturally play closer to the bridge with a pick so there is a change in sound

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As a child of 80s rock / alternative, I learnt with a pick because all my heroes did. I learnt finger style early 90s because lots of people.(wrongly) said that was how.to play properly and more recently I have played more pick again. It depends on the style and song, and I am at a loss as to why it continues to be such a contentious subject. 

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5 minutes ago, Cat Burrito said:

As a child of 80s rock / alternative, I learnt with a pick because all my heroes did. I learnt finger style early 90s because lots of people.(wrongly) said that was how.to play properly and more recently I have played more pick again. It depends on the style and song, and I am at a loss as to why it continues to be such a contentious subject. 

Fear of the unknown and the love of moaning about stuff that doesn’t really matter, but its great to get knickers in a twist and have a good old moan

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I learnt with a pick and default to a pick for faster lines or where I want more precise control over the notes.  Dunlop 1mm black nylon.  Sometimes I'll use the fat end of the pick for a different attack.  Increasingly I am using my fingers, especially in my blues band.  Often with that 'typewriter' type style for funkier blues.  Very occasionally I'll use my thumb.  Sometimes my fingernail.  Depends largely upon the song. 

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Only ever use my fingers playing bass, just don't like the sound with a pick though when playing electric guitar I use a pick mostly !! ;) 

John 😎 

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Used a pick when i was taking lessons for 18mths about 40+ yrs ago then changed to fingers since. Been asked on several occasions to use a pick for more attack (usually by guitarists). I can do fast parts with a pick when palying a lot of different notes across all 4 strings but struggle playing broken 8ths on same note for some reason. 

I've gone down the route of growing my nails long enough to catch strings and provide enough attack that everyone is happy. I enjoy using my index finger as a pick. I find that quite a comfortable playing style altho the finger gets a bit painful under the nail after a while.

I keep working with a pick at home as it could be a useful tool in future.

I also get sore fingers holding a pick after about 20-30 mins but i'm putting that down to lack of practice with it.

Dave

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I think it depends on the style of music, not many finger players do punk for instance, having said that there are pick players that do styles that are usually done by finger players, Carol Kaye and Macca spring to mind, so if you've got to choose (nearly said pick there 😃) I'd say go for pick, you can do any style with a pick but I don't think stuff like Ace of Spades works with fingers, having said that somebody will be along shortly and tell me I'm wrong

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