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Old 04-09-2013, 10:19 PM   #1
crazysam23_Atax
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Technique for playing Bass w/ a Pick?

So, I'm a guitar player who is also learning bass. Start from the ground up and all that, man.

Anyway, I'm using 2mm picks for my bass. (I used them on guitar anyway; it saves me having to buy 2 kinds of picks). I've been muting strings (that I'm not playing, of course) with either my picking hand palm or with my fretting hand fingers. I suspect there's a better way to do this...

What is the proper technique to play bass with a pick?






inb4 use your fingers. I like the tone of bass with a pick.
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Old 04-09-2013, 10:32 PM   #2
ihartfood
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I play near the bridge, or strum like I would an acoustic, kinda hovering over the strings.

not sure if it's proper though
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Old 04-09-2013, 11:08 PM   #3
crazysam23_Atax
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ihartfood
I play near the bridge, or strum like I would an acoustic, kinda hovering over the strings.

not sure if it's proper though

How do you mute strings? I was told that, when using your fingers to strum/pick, you rest your thumb against E (for instance) if you're strumming the A string.
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Old 04-10-2013, 01:10 AM   #4
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I'm a guitar player, who mostly gets asked to play bass in bands. As for picks, when I use my thinner guitar picks, they often break, so I used 8mm for my bass. I agree, I like the tone of a bass with a pick better than my fingers. I only really use my fingers for softer/quieter parts of songs. I play closer to the neck. My reasons are because the pick already gets a trebly tone, playing by the bridge for me, just adds to it too much. I play closer to the neck to combine the treble of the pick with a lower a tone. As for playing it, I would just play it like you do single notes of a guitar riff/solo. I didn't really find a difference, though it has been about 5 years.
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Old 04-10-2013, 07:55 AM   #5
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A lot muting the strings on bass is done with the fretting hand, unlike on guitar.
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Old 04-10-2013, 08:34 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guitarist5477
I'm a guitar player, who mostly gets asked to play bass in bands. As for picks, when I use my thinner guitar picks, they often break, so I used 8mm for my bass.

am i being stupid, or isn't 8mm nearing a centimetre? or do you mean .8mm?
i use .81mm max grip grey picks, i think they're dunlop? haven't bought any in a while. when i first started out using a pick, i was really big into nightwish and i seem to have emulated - somewhat - the style of marco hietala's playing.
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Old 04-10-2013, 09:25 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moody git
am i being stupid, or isn't 8mm nearing a centimetre? or do you mean .8mm?
i use .81mm max grip grey picks, i think they're dunlop? haven't bought any in a while. when i first started out using a pick, i was really big into nightwish and i seem to have emulated - somewhat - the style of marco hietala's playing.


You're not being stupid...we'll I don't know what you do in your daily life. I did mean .8mm, I always forget the (.).
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Old 04-10-2013, 10:17 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fudger
A lot muting the strings on bass is done with the fretting hand, unlike on guitar.

That makes sense. Thanks.
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Old 04-10-2013, 02:28 PM   #9
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I think (I can't confirm this because I hardly play with a pick any more and don't have a bass with me at the moment) I usually mute the strings above the one I'm playing on with my fretting hand and the strings below with my plucking hand. There's certainly nothing wrong with using either hand to mute strings. I'd recommend getting into playing with your fingers too though if you haven't already.
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Old 04-11-2013, 11:34 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ziphoblat
I think (I can't confirm this because I hardly play with a pick any more and don't have a bass with me at the moment) I usually mute the strings above the one I'm playing on with my fretting hand and the strings below with my plucking hand. There's certainly nothing wrong with using either hand to mute strings.

Cool. So, I was sort of doing it right, lol.

Quote:
I'd recommend getting into playing with your fingers too though if you haven't already.

I sort of have done this, but I'm not too fond of the tone of it.
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Old 04-12-2013, 01:33 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crazysam23_Atax
Cool. So, I was sort of doing it right, lol.


I sort of have done this, but I'm not too fond of the tone of it.


It's worth experimenting with how you pluck the strings. With enough practice of the right techniques you can achieve a tone very similar to that you'd get with a pick, but you have a lot more control over the sound/dynamics/feel etc (in my opinion anyway).
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Old 04-14-2013, 02:57 AM   #12
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Here is my method...mute with the palm aswell as the fretting hand, both will add a certain flavour to the sound. For quieter lines I love to palm mute to get some tight thumping going. Also you can look into Carol Kayes, she is a very accomplished Bassist who played with a Pick, and she even has tips for pick playing! Dont let the pick fool you she is a complete badass at the bass!
Also you might enjoy Flatwound strings with picks, they can give you some nice thump to your picking and certain brands such as D'Addario Chromes have some brightness so they wont rob you completely of the pick tone.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carol_Kaye
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Old 04-23-2013, 08:49 PM   #13
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First, you need heavy picks. I had a Carol Kaye pick once... was a bummer when I lost it. Now I use fender heavy's, I really like the twangish accent it gives notes. Started using a pick in some of my playing because of Berry Oakley, and because I peel the skin on my hands. Genetic/skin disorder (long story), doesn't exactly help with my preferred playing style - I was always more a fingers kind of guy. I've developed an interesting style that sounds like a mix of him and a more Entwistle-style attack, even though I'm a more blues based player (for bass and guitar). Have you ever seen Stevie Ray Vaughan playing guitar on video? I do something like that, but with a little bit extra wrist motion to get the string ringing. I also mute with both hands. Mostly the right, but sometimes when I'm fretting with the left I can mute a note or three by flinging my hand flat over the fretboard and stuff like that.
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