Okay, my friend just ordered a bass and needs a basic questions answered...

Whenever I see bassists playing, why is it that their hands "hang" down and kind of pluck the string upward, whereas guitarists usually pick their strings the opposite direction?(this is a really hard question to phrase)

Also, should he set aside certain fingers for certain strings, or always use his pointer finger, or what?
whatevers comfortable
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Okay, tell ''your friend'' :

a) For the bassists that use a pick, they typically hit the upstroke faster than the downstroke, creating the illusion that they're only picking upstrokes.
Try it out with a pick in your hand.

b) eh.. I've never seen anyone set aside certain fingers for certain strings; for certain frets, maybe. You've only got 4 fingers to play all 4/5 or how-ever-many strings.

*If 'your friend' is just learning bass I suggest he get himself a theory/lesson book at Hastings or a music retailer to learn the basics of fingering and picking/plucking.

It's just more comfortable to pluck upwards when using your fingers. I usually rest my thumb on the pickup, and hang my hand over the strings, using my first two fingers (excluding the thumb) to pluck the strings.
As for the fingers issue, just tell him to do whatever's comfortable, i used to think that there was a right and wrong way to do it, then i realised it doesn't matter as long as you find it comfortable and you sound dood.
Why would I say "my friend" if it was really me who is asking the questions? It's not like I'm asking something embarassing. :/

My friend isn't going to be taking lessons most likely to save some cash, so he is mostly going to be learning from the internet. I know a decent amount of theory and I'm not an idiot, so I can help him out when we first start out to get him on a good foot. But I don't know jack **** about actual bass technique.

I guess my question is, if he plays "whatever's comfortable", if he learns to play wrong could he be limiting himself in the future when he wants to learn some of the more complicated bass techniques? I told him that most bass players just use their fingers, but should he learn to pick bass anyway?

Thanks for the help guys!
^He'll pick up the right things on the way. It tends to unfold as it should...

He'll be looking back a few months from now saying to himself, "I asked THAT?! Wow..."

We all do it... I remember my stupid questions. In ttoday's day and age, it's hard to not ask stupid questions, and it's also hard to learn "improperly."

He will learn that versatility is key... so he needs to learn picking and finger plucking methods.
Looking for my India/Django.