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Choices - Finger or Pick


BassAdder27

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You may have seen my Finger Tone club and Pick Tone club 

 

Now here is a dilemma 

 

You play rock mostly 

 

You can play bass equally well with fingers or pick 

 

You would prefer to stick to one of them for consistent sound EQ etc 

 

Which one do you go for and why ? 
 

It really is tough deciding and I love both methods for different reasons 

 

I can get the speed and sound from both methods 

 

There is only one guitar and loud drums to compete with in terms of sitting correctly in the mix 

 

I play a Fender PBass that works well for both with roundwounds 

 

oh the dilemma 😂

 

 

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2 minutes ago, SteveXFR said:

For me it depends on the specific song. Some songs work best with the attack of a pick, some sound better with the subtlety of fingers.

This. 

I think if you can play both ways equally well then it’s not a bad problem to have.

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There's no way I'm limiting myself to one technique. I use fingers, pick and thumb /palm muting in my bands set. 

I would say just a bit of time is needed to set up levels on the pedal board, as I use different preamps for different effects, but I have gain matched. 

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Good question!  Almost always pick for me, as I dont have feeling in all the fingers of my right hand, which makes it a bit of a fate accompli.

 

That being the case I've thrown myself into developing my skills and various techniques, and its worked out very well - I can mimic the fingerstyle sound well enough now that it makes little difference.

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19 minutes ago, DawnPatroller said:

 

Would you care to mention a couple of examples of stuff you like to play of each, please?

 

Certainly 

 

Pick:

Fugazi - Waiting Room

Deftones - Rocket Skates

Deftones  - Ohms

Megadeath - Holy Wars 

Tool - Stinkfist

 

Fingers:

Kyuss - 50 Million Year Trip

Electric Wizard - Funeralopolis

Sleep - Dragonaut

Audioslave - Like a Stone

 

Both in the same song :

All Them Witches - When God comes down

 

Some bassists (Geezer Butler for example) play with fingers but hit the strings really hard so get a really sharp attack without a pick.

 

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2 hours ago, BassAdder27 said:

You would prefer to stick to one of them for consistent sound EQ etc 

I wouldn't let "consistent sound EQ etc" determine whether to use fingers or pick. I haven't heard you play, but I would think the sound difference is less than you think. Certainly not enough that a little judicious adjustment wouldn't fix it. If you have a FOH engineer you may want to give him a heads up.

 

For me, the difference between pick and fingers is more than EQ - There's a difference in attitude, and a subtle, or not so subtle difference in playing style.

Only you can decide when to use which.

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I don't think it's a decision that needs to be made - I play about 50/50 fingers and pick live and I don't find myself having to adjust my EQ for each style, nor do I think each style sounds drastically different, certainly not for the audience.

 

Why limit yourself to one or the other?

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When I started playing about 35 years ago, a lot of the bassists I knew eschewed playing with a pick. Picks were for guitarists and “real” bass players played with their fingers. I ignorantly went along with that mindset and turned my nose up at pick players for years. 
 

One of my biggest regrets regarding bass playing is that I didn’t develop both techniques simultaneously. I would be a much more versatile player today.  
 

I eventually realized my mistake and began working with a pick about 5 years ago (30 years too late) but I might never reach the same level of proficiency I have with my fingers.  If you have equal proficiency with both techniques, that’s not a hinderance, that’s an advantage!  Why would you want to limit yourself?

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Although I play mainly - although not exclusively - pick, I’m constantly fiddling with my tones, volumes, hand placement, type of attack, etc etc as I feel each part of the song requires. Do what the song requires would always be my advice. 

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Having dropped a pick too many times, I now use my index finger as a pick.  It’s easy then to change to ‘fingers’ in the song.

 

(sorry, the photo doesn’t show it particularly well)CDF13C5D-0BEB-4675-8829-B71342273765.thumb.jpeg.26245909fd602709ad2171239916cd37.jpeg

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Geddy Lee manages to get great attack and a pick sound from playing with his fingers, so it's not always down to the hard plastic creating a good percussive sound.

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I honestly have no idea when I became a fingers player. I definitely started playing with a pick but at some point I have changed and I am buggered if I can remember why or when. I like to play pick for some songs because of the attack but I admit to not being great with a pick. Certainly with string skipping.

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