How to Play Bass With a Pick (from an ex-Pick Hater)

Real bassists don’t use picks… except for when they do (a lot). Let’s bust this myth and find out how to play bass with a pick.

By the end of this lesson you’ll be able to answer these questions when your dumb (but endearing) friends ask you them:

  • Okay seriously, do legit bassists use a pick?
  • Why in god’s name would you want to use a pick?
  • Picking the right pick (so you can pick while you pick)
  • How to hold these weird little triangles
  • Basic bass picking technique
  • Different (pick) strokes for different (bass) folks

If you’re doing the Beginner to Badass course… this lesson is highly irrelevant, because I demand that you learn to use your fingers through the whole course until the pick masterclass in Module 16. :slight_smile:

Alright @terb, our resident pick evangelist, how did I do? :PPP

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Nice! Great coverage. Hopefully you’ll encourage some more pick players :slight_smile:

I think the only nit I would pick (sorry!) is that I would consider 1.0mm Tortex to be a medium pick for bass, not heavy - dead average. It happens to be my favorite but it’s right in the middle of the range I would consider viable. Generally .88-1.2mm is what I would consider a nice middle range of thickness.

I liked the description of Economy Picking - good to have a name for it!

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Awesome as usual @JoshFossgreen.
My foray into picking was Beatles tunes and loving it.
Need to practice it more though.

Great tips here to use as practice, thanks!

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I am very excited to find out the answer to this question! Be back later…

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Great info, @JoshFossgreen. I always played bass with a pick before B2B. I’m going to incorporate these techniques now. Thanks!

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Great video! I especially like the more detailed explanations of how to hold the pick and how to attack the string. In my opinion, this video explains those concepts better than the pick module in the B2B course.

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Agree, the video was really good for the different kinds of pick attack techniques!

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Some guys like Davie504 HATE the pick being dedicated slappers and tappers but there are some who swear by it like Rick Savage of Def Leppard, and even Cliff Williams uses the pick a lot.

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That sound of the strings while palm muting is one of the best sounds on the bass.

When I gave up on plucking and went to picking really saved the bass for me. I cannot for the life of me do alternate plucking.

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Great video @JoshFossgreen . I need to do more picking.

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It’s just part of his act. He can actually play really well with a pick :grin:

Great video. 1.0 mm Tortex is my fav too!

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Golden Gate Clown Barf picks is where it’s at!

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Yes, please do continue the tossing pick sound effects! :joy:

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Totally Appreciated The Exercise As Well - No Bass Bot Was Disappointing - Stay Creative @JoshFossgreen And Keep The Episodes Coming - Way Cool

Cheers

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I’m trying to use a pick. It hadfully evaded me. I got thumbpicks and it improved immensely. I actually like the difference in sound. I’m still a fingerstyle guy, but I’ll play with it.

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Sweet, new.
This looks interesting.
I prefer fingers, but find somethings really hard to impossible to play with fingers.
This should help.
Thanks @JoshFossgreen

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I go back and forth from pick to fingers and haven’t really decided which method I like best. I did do one of my covers with a pick (Psycho Killer), and it seems to have come out okay.
After much experimenting, I’ve settled on 1.14 tortex or ultex as my favorite.
I can’t wait to watch the video. When I get to a point where I’m able to play bass again, I’ll focus on my pick playing again.

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Great video @JoshFossgreen! Will incorporate in my practice regimen as able.

Thinking now I really should have tried a pick with Alternate picking on that last cover I did of Killing Floor - as technically, there was a triplet in there that I played as a double (theory is escaping me right now, so I can’t think of the proper term).

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Three notes but not a triplet, but two sixteenths and an eighth note, equaling a quarter note beat.

A triplet is three notes of equal duration that equal a quarter note beat.

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That’s right. There are some version (and simplified versions) where you just play 8th notes. Can be quite useful for faster takes on the song.

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