So I am an old (60 yr) rhythm guitar player kind of getting back in to bass. I played it in an original band for a while about 16 years ago. Back then I played it with a pick.
Tonight I was playing for over an hour messing around trying to learn Whipping Post form Live at the Filmore East. I know that Barry Oakley played with a pick but I am trying to learn basic blues and stuff using my fingers.
Well, I got a blister on the index finger. So I guess that I was going at it either pretty good or pretty bad.
I used to play guitar but began with classical guitar as a child. For me, the bass was all about going back to playing fingerstyle
No picks that fly away due to sweaty fingers, or get lost, or whatever
The first ever instrument I ever played is the bass, still playing with a pick most of the time. That is just what my favorite bass players are using.
To the blisters topic: I also managed to get a blister once. On my left hand index finger, when I was practicing a riff with slides from the third to the twelve fret on the E string.
I couldn’t play for a week or so and had to wait until it healed.
But it will get better with time, I remember when I first picked up the bass and went through the first lesson of B2B. My plucking fingers felt like they were on fire after only 5 mins and I stopped to give them some rest
I was working on a song last night from SBL called “Steel Maiden”. Really fast chuggin 8th notes and some quick transitions. After working it for a while, I did not get a blister but could tell if I kept on, one would pop up so I stopped and will resume tonight.
That’s exactly how to deal with a potential blister, Eddie. I’ve done the same thing on occasion and your skin rebounds tougher afterwards. But if you try to push through the warning stage, expect a blister.
My fingers are tough from years of being a hack on guitar, but the sliding from E string 5th to 3rd to 1st fret using the Ken Smith Bass Burners on the 54P got about two slides away from a blister. I expect, over time, they will grow immune to this type of problem. I just gotta keep working it.
Pick playing is ingrained in me for playing rhythm guitar. Not so for bass. But fingersyle works out fine because the music I play on bass doesn’t require a pick, ever.
That said, I long ago developed a way to play rhythm guitar without a pick at all, by just using my strumming hand’s index finger: the back of the nail on the downstroke and the side of the fingertip on the upstroke. This technique evolved naturally when I felt like playing but didn’t have a pick handy.
I followed that up by playing rawdog fingerstyle guitar (no fingerpicks) for years.
Learning bass finger plucking was a shock at first. The string spacing and overall hand anchoring was like nothing I’d done before. Now it’s second nature.