I've decided to take on bass playing as a career, but I want a distinct playing style and right now I'm juggling between playing with a pick or playing with my fingers. They're both fun to play but I want just a single way that I play...So in your own opinion, which way should I play?
It's all your preference. Personally I prefer fingers, it sounds smoother and is more fun, but pick is definitely more edgy. Of course, you could make it your "thing" to use both, maybe even switch mid-song?
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Why settle for only one way? I go both ways and I like it
Exactly. I prefer fingers personally, but if you like both then why choose one and boot the other?
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Exactly. I prefer fingers personally, but if you like both then why choose one and boot the other?

I'm fingers 80% of the time, the other 20% is when I want a nice definition while still playing quietly ... or if I'm playing Tool.
Why would you want to limit yourself to playing one single way? Why not use your fingers, a pick, slapping, tapping, and/or any creative and effective way to play you can come up with?

You would be a much more versatile bassist if you learned to effectively use both your fingers and a pick. There's no need at all to limit yourself to one or the other.
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Quote by pwrmax
Why settle for only one way? I go both ways and I like it

this. if you pick only one way, you limit only your own ability.

it's like a violinist saying "i'm always going to bow the strings, i'll never play pizzicato" - or vice versa.
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Use whatever you feel sounds good to you. I personally enjoy using all kinds of skills finger-picking,slapping,regular picking, and others because then your room for creativity will be expanded. My favorite style of playing has to be with picks but its all a personal choice.
Last edited by bassplayer4444 at Jun 24, 2010,
Learn both so you can develop yourself fully. They both have pros, I think that fingers has the most pros and least cons if you want to look at it that way tho. I think thats pretty much the concensus too.
Career and distinctive style doesn't mix. You're gonna have it tough if you want to be distinctive in either being a solo artist or make it big in a band. The music industry is getting smaller and smaller. So you're gonna have to fight real hard for that piece of cookie. On the other hand, if you want to be in a cover band, or a session player, then you better learn all the tricks of the trade. You'll play what the person pays you to play. If he wants you to play the song w/ your teeth, then you better learn how to strum w/ your teeth. Being a session player is not about being distinctive. It's the ability to play the genre that's call for.
Agreed with mac on this, learn both. Fingers in my opinion are soooo much better. You feel it, you don't judge it. You get pure tone and warmth, none of this metal scratch thumping, (Which you may actually want to use) and there's less need to get all caught up when you realise you want to you skin in a section. But, just have a go, see what you prefer, in sound wise. Most new players will turn to picks because you don't want saw fingers, however, just wait it out and the callus (hard skin) will soon come.

Sorry if I've repeated a lot of people.
i play with a pick. i like the feel, i have low action on it. i feel you can play faster. you dont get as tired, you can play more unique things. go with a pick all the way
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I'm mostly a pick player but will use my fingers from time to time. Do whatever feels best for you. Its all preference. And mine is pick.
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look man, This is the age old debate. And you wanna know the real answer to it? whatever sounds right.

I'm a finger player. finger playing is more comfortable for me, and thats saying a lot because I play guitar as well so I was already comfortable with picks when I started. They both serve there purpose, I play pick on some stuff, I play fingers on most stuff. it all depends on whats called for and what I can EQ on my bass.

long story short. learn to pick, pluck, slap, tap, pop, strum, punch, slide, bow.......
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It's largely personal preference, but I find the instrument itself factors into it too -- some respond better to certain styles than others.

I play fingerstyle, but I'll often use a Dunlop medium thumbpick for more definition on the lower strings. Also means much less finger wear when I'm playing unplugged.
When I do play bass, I switch depending on what I am playing.

If I am playing metal, punk, or heavier-rock, I use a pick. I especially need it for punk, since I love playing tremolo-picked bass parts.

For other things like jazz, blues, etc., I prefer using my fingers.
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