Plucking question

So I have been playing bass for about 6 months and just now realized that when I am plucking either the D or G string my middle finger hits the pickup after the pluck. This makes a soft tap sound every time my finger hits the pickup (which is directly under where i pluck those strings. I tried moving further down the neck to pluck but then i lose the the part of the pickup where i rest my thumb. Am I doing something wrong or is this normal? Am I just accidentally plucking at a downward diagonal rather than straight across?


I do exactly the same thing sometimes.


I know exactly what you mean.
I have a few Basses, and it is different on each one.
I on my Ibanez GSR200SM, I don’t have the problem so much.
On my Ibanez SR300, I feel the pickups, but do not have a noise issue with them.
On my ESP LTD, the pick up is far enough down that I do not feel the pick up even tho I have super low action.
On my Sterling SUB Stingray, I don’t have a neck pick up, and don’t have the problem at all. I anchor my rhomb to the E string, and it kind of floats when plucking the E. I have not found this to be a problem for me, or uncomfortable.

The Yamaha RBX170 had this problem, and I found it unplayable.

Have you thought about adding a thumb rest away from the pickups so you can get comfortable with a different anchor point?

I could have done that with my Yamaha, but with other Basses to choose from, I gave it to my youngest daughter when she showed interest in it. She will do B2B over the summer with it.


Now that you’re aware of it, you’ll be able to fix it.
My bass professor in college drummed that into me: Awareness Cures.

Where is your thumb when you’re playing? Is it always on the pickup in the same place, or does it move to anchor on the E and A strings when you pluck the D and G?

If your thumb isn’t moving, the changing angle and reach of your fingers as you move to the D and G will be adding pressure, and that’s probably making you hit the pickup.
If you DO move your thumb, then it will be a matter of adjustment of either pressure or angle.

Lemme know if that’s helpful and we’ll fix this!


Yes, it was very helpful for me.


I move my thumb down to rest on the E string when I pluck the A, D, or G string. But when I move my finger down from where it is positioned when resting on the pickup (When I pluck the E string), it is positioned directly over the pickup which then results in that tap sound. Should I position my hand further down towards the bottom of the bass so I am not directly over the pickup when plucking the A, D, or G string or would that result in too much movement in between plucks?


I think you can reposition your hand, or make a total adjustment to a new position.
However, I don’t really have advice how to best do it other then play around with it and come up with something that feels good, doesn’t get the tap, and is still good for,.

Love the bass color btw, I gotta get one to sti next to my GSRM and SR300.


So the thing I found myself doing was I had adopted a sort of downward strike to my pluck. I was still plucking directly through the string like we are supposed to, but due to how I was plucking my finger would come down with kind of a percussive tap on the string before i plucked it.

It actually sounds kind of cool. But not what I wanted in the context of normal plucking :slight_smile:

Anyway, like Gio said, just being aware of it helps a lot towards avoiding it.


Without being in a room with you to check things out, I would say to try two things:

1.) Lighter touch. try and find a sweet spot where you can control the follow through - where you’re not pulling so hard that you’re slamming into the PU.

2.) Slight adjustment on angle - less down into the PU (only slightly!) and more across, aiming for that next lower string to rest on, making sure you avoid the PU.


Taking a second look at your wrist angle, you might want to push your wrist outward as you come down to the D and G strings, so you keep your same finger angle to the string. In effect, helping you to naturally pluck towards your thumb across the string more parallel to the pick up, instead of the same motion resulting in your finger touching the pick up. I recall an instruction video saying to do the to keep your finger motion the same as you move up and down the strings. Your wrist moves away from the bass as you go down, and back in as you come up.
Hope that is clear and helps any.