#1
I'm mainly a guitarist who occasionally plays bass, and I've got a problem when it comes to using a pick. Usually, on every string except the e string, I can get a powerful, straightforward sound. However on the e string, the sound is too bassy, has a lot of a 'clicking' noise, and the notes are indistinguishable on this string, even when I change it if it's getting old. Overall it just sounds bad. Any idea as to why this is?
#2
Because picks make the "clicky" sound when you play bass. Bass notes sound much better when you use your fingers. It takes some practice, but its well worth it in the long run, it also makes you a better bass player IMO because you have this "feeling the groove" kind of sensation goin when you play with your fingers.

Try resting your thumb on the pickups, and then pushing the stings inward towards the pickups. Some players just pull the string upwards, which works, but you'll get a nice fat bassy tone if you get in the habit of pushing them in.
Treble>Epiphone Prophecy EX - MXR micro Amp - MXR Blue Box - MXR Fullbore - MXR Noise Clamp - Vox AD30VT
Bass>Ibanez BTB505 - MXR Blowtorch - MXR D.I. - Peavey MaxBass 700 - Peavey TVX410
#3
Quote by Vypor
Bass notes sound much better when you use your fingers.

That's pretty subjective, personally I prefer fingers too but many others may prefer the sound of picks.

TS, you might want to try a thicker pick, I used to play ocassionally with a 2 mm pick and the sound was much less "clicky".
Professional lurker since 2009.
#4
Quote by Vypor
Because picks make the "clicky" sound when you play bass. Bass notes sound much better when you use your fingers. It takes some practice, but its well worth it in the long run, it also makes you a better bass player IMO because you have this "feeling the groove" kind of sensation goin when you play with your fingers.

Try resting your thumb on the pickups, and then pushing the stings inward towards the pickups. Some players just pull the string upwards, which works, but you'll get a nice fat bassy tone if you get in the habit of pushing them in.


No. Just no. Picking segregation is worse than racism.

Seriously though, if the feller wants to pick let him pick, some of the greatest tones in the world are thanks to picks.

On topic: A little strategic EQ'ing might help, roll off some of that treble perhaps?
#5
Quote by Vypor
Because picks make the "clicky" sound when you play bass. Bass notes sound much better when you use your fingers. It takes some practice, but its well worth it in the long run, it also makes you a better bass player IMO because you have this "feeling the groove" kind of sensation goin when you play with your fingers.

Try resting your thumb on the pickups, and then pushing the stings inward towards the pickups. Some players just pull the string upwards, which works, but you'll get a nice fat bassy tone if you get in the habit of pushing them in.


Try playing metal at 240 bpm with your fingers, doesn't work too well. Fingers are better for lighter, not super fast music styles, picks are better for fast distorted styles.


TS, just EQ in some more bass, and less treble.
#6
Quote by ethan_hanus
Try playing metal at 240 bpm with your fingers, doesn't work too well. Fingers are better for lighter, not super fast music styles, picks are better for fast distorted styles.


TS, just EQ in some more bass, and less treble.



I can think of more metal bass players that use fingers than a pick...
#8
Quote by ethan_hanus
Try playing metal at 240 bpm with your fingers, doesn't work too well. Fingers are better for lighter, not super fast music styles, picks are better for fast distorted styles.


TS, just EQ in some more bass, and less treble.



Sorry dude, I do play mainly metal on my bass.

Cliff Burton refused to play with a pick, and he never seemed to have a problem.

If your playing at 240 bpm on your bass, its likely your just pounding root notes of the power chords the guitar is playing, which is just not really productive IMO.

But the first post after mine was right, it is a subjective issue. I wasn't saying that good tones can't be gotten from using a pick, but I was just addressing the "clicking" sound he was talking about.

You don't have that problem when you don't play with a pick.
Treble>Epiphone Prophecy EX - MXR micro Amp - MXR Blue Box - MXR Fullbore - MXR Noise Clamp - Vox AD30VT
Bass>Ibanez BTB505 - MXR Blowtorch - MXR D.I. - Peavey MaxBass 700 - Peavey TVX410
#9
Quote by Vypor
You don't have that problem when you don't play with a pick.

...Or when you play with a thick pick.
Professional lurker since 2009.
#10
this sounds like a set up issue to me. but it would help if you could describe the sounds you are talking about better? by 'clicking' do you mean fret clank or is it picking noise? does it come through the amp?

my guess with the information I have at hand, is that the action on your string is too low. this could cause a drop in tension making your strings a little muddier and would add to fret clank.

and everyone else, lets not turn this into a pick vs fingers thread.
no sir away a papaya war is on
#11
i think that you just trun up the bass EQ and that should stop it.For metal i like using my fingers when your are playing music at 240 bpm its just roots and a dude screaming in the mic thats not metal but anyways wouldnt that sound to light fingers us a deeper sound?
#12
Lower the e-string side of your pickup and pick closer to the bridge so that you get a little less volume and woomp--if you don't already, then actually use your tone knob to cut some of the presence out of the click sound.

If the notes are actually indistinguishable, something is very wrong and I don't have any idea what to tell you.

Also check the nut to make sure the E-string isn't loose. That can lead to an extra thumpy, less clear or "powerful" sound.

edit* and drop the pics v. fingers crap, that's against the bass forum rules and will get you a warning at the very least (hopefully a ban).
Last edited by dullsilver_mike at Jul 11, 2011,
#13
Wow, tons of suggestions, thanks guys!

I'm thinking that it isn't an EQ problem, because all the other strings seem to sound fine though I may have to settle with a loss of some tones to round out the overall sound of the instrument.

The setup thing might be an issue though, as the clicking noise I'm talking about makes the string sound like it's hitting against something, and also results with a less powerful sound as I've mentioned. I'll try out the tips though, hoping for the best
#14
I think pickup height and amp settings help here.

Something I didn't see suggested is string size.
You can get a smaller gauge string for the E string.
That may help. But, it could also be the source of
more noise and require some set-up tweaks.

In the end, you will have to do what the rest of us
do. Find what suits you is the best,

Tabdog
#15
Fret buzz.

Raise the E string's saddle a little bit at the bridge. MAYBE lower the pickup a bit.

If you have a spare $40 or so, it's totally worth it to get it professionally set up. If you're nice, ask them to be present so that you can learn how to do it so that any future set-up issues can be taken care of by you.


Pick or fingers... play what feels and sounds good to you. I've played with fingers, as well as pics varying in size from .50mm to 3.0mm, everything has its place.
"Punk Rock should mean freedom, liking and accepting anything that you like, as sloppy as you want, as long as it's good and has passion."
#16
I played with a pick on and off for years.

After all, I started with an old flat top.

I have played bass so long now, I never
use a pick any more at all, even guitars,


Tabdog
#17
Im a finger player. Ive also played in about 4 or 5 metal bands ranging from prog-death-core.

I think it works very well, however it is a long and difficult road to get a good metal sound like Alex Webster or Steve Harris. If you really want to put in the time go for it.
However if you stick with a pick try using big picks. Triangle ones work well. And try to control your pick strokes, go from piano to forte and back. Try to crecendo while tremming. Stufff like that works well.