Poll: With a pick - How?
Poll Options
View poll results: With a pick - How?
All in the wrist - alternating
48 70%
All in the wrist - all downstrokes
6 9%
Whole arm - alternating
9 13%
Whole arm - all downstrokes
2 3%
Other (Explain in thread)
4 6%
Voters: 69.
#1
So this isn't a finger vs. pick thread - I've been playing bass (and hovering around UG) for long enough to know that the argument is old, boring, and most likely filled with retards arguing over 'facts' (read: opinions).

My question is about picking technique. I've searched, but not found anything of note - if there is a thread, feel free to point me to it.

Here's the deal: when playing with a pick, what do you find to be the best technique? Obviously the amount of answers to this could well fill a small book, and with such variables as speed, genre, etc, could make it a little pointless, but I'm curious. For example, do you play with the 'full arm' movements, or the 'all in the wrist' method? Do you make a habit of using palm mutes, or hover free? Alternating, or all downstrokes?

I'm also curious to know what the general consensus is, regarding which would be better to focus on - currently, I find myself playing the 'all in the wrist' way, which is completely different to the way I play guitar, and wondering if people think whole arm movement is better (or worse) for speed/precision/stamina etc.

Thoughts?
Quote by Dogruitag
i think he wants to dream theater to be considered more metal, so he dyed his beard.


...

Quote by LookAlive
Lmfao, this is the best thread ever, aside from the fact that it involves a girl being harpooned through a tent.
#2
I voted first option, though I use a mixture of all downstrokes, alternating and hybrid picking depending on the situation.
Quote by UraniYum
Fuck you I'm trying to be caring and shit


Quote by Cb4rabid
Okay guys, I have a confession to make. Not really a confession since it's something that's been bugging me for awhile but I've always been in denial about it.

**** you gilly, it's not what you think
#4
Quote by Spaz91
Other - I rest the side of my palm on the bridge and do the up/downstrokes just using my thumb and fingers.


not sure if serious

Quote by UraniYum
Fuck you I'm trying to be caring and shit


Quote by Cb4rabid
Okay guys, I have a confession to make. Not really a confession since it's something that's been bugging me for awhile but I've always been in denial about it.

**** you gilly, it's not what you think
Last edited by gilly_90 at Sep 3, 2011,
#5
I use a playing-style where i actually don't hold a pick. I rest my middle and ring finger beneath the G-string, and have my index and thumb together as if I was holding a pick, but hit the string with the nails on my index and thumb instead.
Gear:


Fender American Hand Stained stratocaster
Fender 72' Telecaster Deluxe FSR

Squier Vista Venus

Boss TU-3
Boss OD-3
Pro co Rat 2
EHX Big Muff Nano
EHX Small clone
Boss DD7
Hardwire Supernatural


Vox AC30cc1
Blackheart Little Giant stack
#7
Quote by Spaz91

>Implying there are major veins/arteries on the side of your palm.


Just sounds like a really weird way to hold your arm and surely your whole wrist would be tense as hell.

I'm still not sure if you're serious, it sounds ludicrous.
Quote by UraniYum
Fuck you I'm trying to be caring and shit


Quote by Cb4rabid
Okay guys, I have a confession to make. Not really a confession since it's something that's been bugging me for awhile but I've always been in denial about it.

**** you gilly, it's not what you think
#8
Quote by gilly_90
Just sounds like a really weird way to hold your arm and surely your whole wrist would be tense as hell.

I'm still not sure if you're serious, it sounds ludicrous.


It's actually a fairly comfortable way of playing, it sounds pretty similar to the way I do it most of the time. Although I tend to vary it a bit depending on what I'm playing (on the rare occasion that I use a pick). For faster stuff that jumps strings a lot I'll hold the pick between the pad of my thumb and the side of the joint on my index finger farthest from my hand, with the rest of the hand closed, usually free floating or resting my palm against the lower strings. The motion is mainly in my wrist for this one.

EDIT: Always alternating strokes too. I've never seen a sensible/logical/economical application for only stroking in one direction.


Last edited by Ziphoblat at Sep 3, 2011,
#9
The only times i use a pick is for Palm Muting: sounds pretty cool with a clean setting, and it's a good step forward to getting a good Paul McCartney sound!!
#10
Quote by Spaz91
Other - I rest the side of my palm on the bridge and do the up/downstrokes just using my thumb and fingers.



Quote by Fishybones
I use a playing-style where i actually don't hold a pick. I rest my middle and ring finger beneath the G-string, and have my index and thumb together as if I was holding a pick, but hit the string with the nails on my index and thumb instead.


Just dropping knowledge on this technique: this sort of "picking" style is known as chucking. Bernard Edwards of Chic was famous for playing in this fashion.
Back to the classic avatar.

Quote by KISSguitarist
You are the best writer ever Graybass. Sig me for that. But i love you! You should make a book!

Quote by Phil_Bass_Boy
Jesus christ, your avatar is the best I have seen in my life.

Quote by mh400nt
Graybass_20x6 has a better avatar than you
Last edited by graybass_20x6 at Sep 3, 2011,
#11
It's depends on what I am play. Slower stuff with the wrist. Fast stuff whole arm.
#12
Pretty much everything from the wrist with alt picking and downpicking depending on the song's speed.
Tried to play with my fingers, but I cant get comfortable playing like that
#13
I mix between whole arm and wrist alternating, depending on the speed.
WHole arm for faster.

Also on straight notes sometimes ill do downstrokes only, as if i was playing guitar and doing powerchords, but im making the habit of alternating

I dont strictly alternate : /
Quote by thunderbritches
I would still call him a regular musician...just a very irregular person lol

Warwick Pro Series Corvette
Hartke HA 3500
Genz Benz LS410
#15
Pick bass playing should be in the wrist, with alternate/downstroke picking. Mix of both, whatever makes sense. Just don't wear you bass too low, it'll kill your wrist to play that way.
ESP/LTD F-50
1989 Kramer Showster
Rogue RADH Acoustic
Fender CD-60 Acoustic
Washburn XB-100 4 string
Peavey Millenium AC BXP
Fender Rumble 150
Crate BV60H Head
Crate BV412 Cab
Vox AD15VT
#16
Quote by Spaz91
Still no fingerstyle purists/bigots! Go bass forum, keep it up.

Damnit, now you've jinxed us all!
#17
I rarely use a pick to play but I use one if I have to tremolo pick.
Damn it! Disable can't use disable to disable Disable's disable because disable's disable has already been disabled by Disable's disable!
#18
Quote by ThrashMetal014
Pick bass playing should be in the wrist, with alternate/downstroke picking. Mix of both, whatever makes sense. Just don't wear you bass too low, it'll kill your wrist to play that way.


That doesn't seem to stop a lot of people :\ Watched a couple of local bands the other night, the bassists were determined to have their bass at their knees..!

But yeah, I just can't play like that. Even when I use my 4 string, I can't have it too low.


Quote by Spaz91
Still no fingerstyle purists/bigots! Go bass forum, keep it up.




I was half expecting something to kick off, even though I tried to make it clear in the first post that this wasn't for debate as to finger vs. pick.
Quote by Dogruitag
i think he wants to dream theater to be considered more metal, so he dyed his beard.


...

Quote by LookAlive
Lmfao, this is the best thread ever, aside from the fact that it involves a girl being harpooned through a tent.
Last edited by ToolBass_dude at Sep 5, 2011,
#19
I'm a mainly fingerstyle player but I use a pick to mess around, maybe with palm muting and stuff. Wrist movement + alternate picking makes the most sense to me - a full arm motion would kill you when tremolo picking
Professional lurker since 2009.
#20
I downstroke a lot when possible ala Jason Newsted, but I've also been trying the way David Ellefson plays with wrist planted using alternate picking.
#21
If there's something that calls for a pick specifically, I guess alternating but I'll double thumb most of the time when I want a more aggressive sound

Ibanez SR506BM
Ashdown Little Giant 1000w
Peavey TVX 115+410
A big ass upright

#22
I don't ever use a pick because I'm a purist in that sense (sorry guys) but I definitely don't look down on others for using them. I'd figure the best way to pick is really smooth with your wrist, unless you're in some trash metal band or something.

Just watch a bit of Nate Mendel from the Foo Fighters play, that seems like good technique
[Insert something clever here]
#23
I too, only play finger style nearly exclusively , but when I play guitar or pick on bass, I always use my thumb and index themselves, so I can switch between that and finger style with ease.
#24
Quote by Spaz91
Still no fingerstyle purists/bigots! Go bass forum, keep it up.

I was doing a bit of research on Matt Freeman a month or so back. A thread on here from about 4 or 5 years ago a guy asked about his sound or something. It turned into a good few pages of people completely ripping on him for using a pick. The thread was all finger style purists, not one person spoke in his defense lol. Seems like this place has come a long way.
On topic. I switch between wrist and arm. Always alternate picking.
Basses:
Fender Precision Bass
Fender Jazz Bass
1967 Fender Coronado Bass II
Warwick Star Bass
Squier Precision Bass TB
#25
Quote by 13Kelly13
I don't ever use a pick because I'm a purist


I hope you only play upright and don't take any influences from any musical style or composer since the invention of the electric bass.


I barely use a pick either, but it's not something that you can be a 'purist' about. It's all about the sound.
Quote by UraniYum
Fuck you I'm trying to be caring and shit


Quote by Cb4rabid
Okay guys, I have a confession to make. Not really a confession since it's something that's been bugging me for awhile but I've always been in denial about it.

**** you gilly, it's not what you think
#26
Quote by gilly_90
I barely use a pick either, but it's not something that you can be a 'purist' about. It's all about the sound.


You're right about how it's all about the sound, for example I can't get a Chris Squire sound with my fingers, it just can't be done and I love the tone he produces.

Perhaps it was a poor choice of words - I've really never had the desire to play with a pick and have only tried a few times.
[Insert something clever here]
#27
I don't use a pick too often, mainly because I tend to use too many of my habits formed as a guitarist, which don't relate to bass too well.

But when I do, I try to do something similar to how Phil Lynott picks:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5jDrqB83Ls

So in terms of wrist/arm movement, it's alternating (though there will be larger amounts of down/up strokes when it's called for) with the wrist mainly used, but a bit of arm action lies in there too.
#28
I've been trying more of a wrist approach where I mute if necessary with the flesh below my thumb. Sort of works :\ Anyone have a pick muting technique that isn't just palm muting?
Standard Fender Telecaster
Fender Blues Jr
Ibz10
#29
I use only all in the wrist downstrokes because I'm lame,and if I wanna play fast I use my fingers,but I'm working on alternating with a pick.
Give a man a fish and he'll be hungry tomorrow,but put his ass in fishnets and someone will buy him dinner-Gene Simmons
#30
It depends on what I'm playing. If I need to play some pattern with odd timing(think Metalshock by Flotsam and Jetsam...which is also pretty much the only time I'll pick if I'm not tired), I alternate, but generally I just downstroke, and I use my whole arm(I had to look to check, but I use my whole arm. xD).
Quote by SlayingDragons
Nah, I prefer to tune lower. My tunings usually go into weird Hebrew symbols.