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#232171 by Planetguy
Wed Apr 09, 2014 3:31 pm
i started playing bass back in H.S. after a yr of playing gtr (both flatpicking and fingerstyle). i had two gtr playing buddies and when we added a drummer it was time for someone to pick up a bass.

i used to haunt pawn shops in nyc and one day i walked into one and there was the '63 P bass i'm playing in my avatar. snagged it for $75!

even though i fingerpicked on gtr....it felt better playing bass w a pick until i started paying more attention to all the bassists i dug and realized they were predominately fingerstyle players.

these days i play probably a good 90% of the time w my fingers (two finger pizz, pop/slap, palm muted thumb style, thumb,index, and middle fingerpicking, etc.)

i have pretty good chops w a pick but there are just soooooo many more sounds i can pull out of a bass using my fingers.


plus.....there's also the tactile intimacy and connection of fingers on strings. to me that always feels one step removed by putting a pick between MYSELF and the BASS.

i liken this to playing drum set (with sticks) as opposed to playing hand drums (congas, bongos, dumbek, etc) where it's skin on skin and you can actually "dig in" and feel more of a connection.

bottom line (pun intended)....in the end it's all about what sounds good. if it sounds good...it is.

#232352 by Starfish Scott
Sat Apr 12, 2014 1:55 pm
omg a 63" p-bass for 75$???????????????????


omg omg omg..

Oh you got some Luck going on there, Mister Mark.. wowowowowwwoo

#232361 by BestGuitarist
Sat Apr 12, 2014 7:38 pm
I prefer fingers to a pick.. there was a time when I had to use a pick because I had not yet become comfortable using fingers.. Stanley Clarke is hard to beat..

#232389 by Planetguy
Sat Apr 12, 2014 11:30 pm
Starfish Scott wrote:omg a 63" p-bass for 75$???????????????????


omg omg omg..

Oh you got some Luck going on there, Mister Mark.. wowowowowwwoo


scott, not to brag.....but i AM one of THE luckiest motherfuckers on the planet. and i (almost) never take that for granted. :wink:

#232390 by ANGELSSHOTGUN
Sat Apr 12, 2014 11:40 pm
Planetguy wrote:i started playing bass back in H.S. after a yr of playing gtr (both flatpicking and fingerstyle). i had two gtr playing buddies and when we added a drummer it was time for someone to pick up a bass.

i used to haunt pawn shops in nyc and one day i walked into one and there was the '63 P bass i'm playing in my avatar. snagged it for $75!

even though i fingerpicked on gtr....it felt better playing bass w a pick until i started paying more attention to all the bassists i dug and realized they were predominately fingerstyle players.

these days i play probably a good 90% of the time w my fingers (two finger pizz, pop/slap, palm muted thumb style, thumb,index, and middle fingerpicking, etc.)

i have pretty good chops w a pick but there are just soooooo many more sounds i can pull out of a bass using my fingers.


plus.....there's also the tactile intimacy and connection of fingers on strings. to me that always feels one step removed by putting a pick between MYSELF and the BASS.

i liken this to playing drum set (with sticks) as opposed to playing hand drums (congas, bongos, dumbek, etc) where it's skin on skin and you can actually "dig in" and feel more of a connection.

bottom line (pun intended)....in the end it's all about what sounds good. if it sounds good...it is.


Oh my goodness... There is not one word i would disagree with. Shocker huh? Obviously PG thinks like a good bass player. He is absolutely right. If it sounds good IT IS.
#235378 by AirViking
Wed Jul 16, 2014 11:13 am
I have been in the no picks on bass crowd since I started, I am trained in upright bass as well though.
Here is my reasoning: it comes down to these principals;

1. Tone - This is the 2nd biggest reason I hear for the argument. A picked bass is much brighter than a plucked, since guitar is naturally a bright instrument, you are in a sense "crowding" bright tones together, it leaves little depth into the overall tone when the only deep tones are the floor tom and bass drum in a band. Most modern instrument strings are made of more than one metal (like nickel plated steel) which creates conflicting resonation, the harder pick allows the outer layer to vibrate more than the core, where the softer finger allows for a better meshed ringing in both metals (since all metals conduct sound differently). Normally this isn't a problem, until you get into much larger gauges. My B string is a .130, so that's a lot of metal having to ringing.

2. Speed - This is a no brainer, 4 fingers vs. 1 pick. Slap pop vs. pick. Raking vs. pick, tapping vs. pick. Need I explain?

3. Technicality - This is the most hit on issue I have heard on the topic. Something I personally use in songs is pulled chords, something that is not possible with a pick, popping 3 or 4 strings at the same time just isn't possible with a pick. Then you are removing the ability to spice up runs or otherwise menial lines by only picking, when maybe just dropping the thumb with the bass drum could add more depth to a sentence, perhaps even answering a guitar back with a 4 fingered tapping response could also be another possibility you are leaving behind just by adding a pick into the mix. On a technical level, the bass offers way too many possibilities to really add depth to pieces to just sentence it to picking and weak fingered tapping.

4. History of the instrument. The joke where you said "well... that's just how it's done" may have quite a bit more merit than you are giving it credit for. Most bass players made the switch in the mid 1900s from upright to guitar. Plucking was something that just came along with the transition. Plucking gave the upright a deeper tone than a bow, so it has been used to separate the instruments from the drums and guitar for quite sometime.

Anyways, that's just what I've gathered from it and some of my opinion mixed in as well. It's a topic I really care about.
#235383 by sanshouheil
Wed Jul 16, 2014 1:27 pm
Never seen anyone do c rap with a real instrument involved.
That would be refreshing from the mind numbing bump thud buzz of a PA system being assaulted with bullshit by an idiot whom has no idea how to mix sound from his iphone.

When I played at the Bass guitar I used my fingers. My ol Peavey T-40 just sounded too bright when picked for my preference.
#235387 by schmedidiah
Wed Jul 16, 2014 4:12 pm
This is the best "live band" in the history of hip hop. One of the most amazing concerts I ever saw. They played for about two hours. I miss these cats. The album sounds about 1,000 times better. Digable Planets-Blowout Comb is what it's called, btw. The track is "9th Wonder".http://youtu.be/y9foxHXZZkI

Back on topic, I've always picked bass ( and electric guitar, for a while) with me fingers. I've always preferred to see bass players finger pick live, and felt that it adds a dimension to recordings, that only the greatest musicians and producers can begin to tap into. Even though I listen to heavy music, there's always the comparison to Metallica's Clif Burton and Iron Maiden's Steve Harris. Those two could play as fast as any bass player who uses a pick, with more dynamics. Then you add in Geddy Lee, from Rush. They're back to rocking as hard as possible, for 2 1/2 hours a night, and he's no worse for the wear.
I have recently softened my stance on this subject, and I've been building a list of bass players who I previously thought should be fingerpicking (given their overall sound). Here's a starting point;
Paul McCartney
Roger Waters
John Doe (X)
Damn! Too tired to think!
#254224 by schmedidiah
Fri Feb 05, 2016 1:43 pm
Bump! Let's attack some strings and heads, not our fellow bandmixers. :roll:
#254323 by Planetguy
Sat Feb 06, 2016 4:37 pm
steve swallow! yeah, that's a great ex. of a wonderful pick weilding bassist. and a jazz cat no less! ironic that his background is acoustic bass. i was trying to think of some other "pickers" to add to schmed's list and my brain isn't working much better than his was at the time. chris hillman (orig Byrds, Burrito Bros, etc) comes to mind and i always loved his tone w the Burrito Bros.

fayetteville AR back in the early '80's i was playing w a fairly mediocre 5 pc country band for a few mos and we went to some VFW or Eagles Club midweek to audition for their house band slot. i was playing my '63 natural finish P bass and we're the first of two bands to hit. i thought our band was at best....well...mediocre. i was OK w my contribution and thought i did a good job but even before hearing the other band i was pretty sure they were gonna smoke us. these guys just looked like the real deal...and they were.

they're a three pc, and the bassist comes up as we're striking the stage, says some nice encouraging words about my playing and w a sly smile compliments me on my very cool bass. i'm telling him how i came about it....blah, blah, blah and then he pulls his '64 P out of his case.....also natural! and we both had a good laugh...had we put them down next to one another we easily might have confused the two instr!

so, they get set up....and proceed to just TEAR it up. and the bassplayer is just killing it and laying down these great Bakersfield style walking lines w boatloads of tone...playing w a pick! it really made me rethink my views on pick vs. fingers. i ran into the guy a few mos later and he told me they got the gig (no surprise) but after a cpl mos bailed on it cos' the guy running the place was such a putz.


ooh, ooh...just thought of two more...carol kaye, and i believe brian wilson also used a pick.
Last edited by Planetguy on Sat Feb 06, 2016 5:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
#254356 by MikeTalbot
Sun Feb 07, 2016 1:23 am
Chris Squire, Marco in Nightwish both pick players. Did Ron Wood use a pick on that Jeff Beck Truth album where he played great basss?

Talbot

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