Using a pick

Today is day ten for me as a bass player. Surprisingly, I haven’t received any calls from rock bands to go on tour with them. (Just kidding)

I believe I"m making progress. I can play scales in a variety of different places on the fret board using all five fingers (albeit rather slow). I’m learning to find where every note is on the fret board, and I’m learning to read music. Josh’s very entertaining and informative lessons have been a big help in developing technique… which leads to my question.

Although I don’t have a problem plucking with the index and middle finger, I have discovered that I’m more comfortable using a pick… a wee bit faster too. I don’t want to paint myself into a corner by becoming proficient with a pick, only to learn down the line that I should have focused on finger plucking. But I want to go from Beginner to Bad-Ass regardless of the technique.

I’ve seen YouTube videos of some really fierce bass players using a pick. What’s everyone’s opinion on me following in this direction?

Future Bad-Ass Bass Player

Pam

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I think Josh addresses this best in the video attached at about… 9:23 or so…
Check it out.
Both are great, but certainly learn both, and certainly learn that fingerstyle!

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Yeah I’ve seen that before, good stuff. Yeah I practice both ways so I’ll see how it shakes out. Thanks for the response.

Pam

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Good plan!

Anecdotally, my favorite bass player uses a pick, and maybe a third of my other top bass shredding idol-heroes do too, and I used one when I first learned a bit of bass years ago - but surprisingly I think I am actually faster plucking now, after only a few months in on this go-around with the bass. Pick is faster on single or adjacent strings for me but the moment I need to jump a couple strings I am way faster plucking. I’m also more accurate time-wise on a single string with plucking. I would not have expected that (though the last bit is probably due to the relative amounts of recent practice time.)

Love the sound of a pick with a chorus+reverb pedal though.

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I’m happiest with a pick and shredding. But, there’s not a lot of call for that out there in the real world (the one I’m in). Most of my real world work on the bass has involved finger pluckage, dub, ska, blues and pub rock. As I’ve got older and the Punk gigs have died off so has the amount of pick work. However, I’ve always got a choice selection on me and they’re always in my case, just in case…

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Hey @Pampurrs, my bias will alway be towards fingerstyle, but pick playing is awesome too! I really think everybody should learn fingerstyle either way though because

  • Even when a pick is awesome, you can get away with using your fingers
  • If you use a pick when you should be using fingers… it sounds awful

So fingers feels more “essential” for being a versatile player, but definitely pursue both if you’re feeling it! And I’d encourage you to pick between them based on the sound that comes out, not just how it feels. And you’ll get a better ear for that with time - see if you can hear whether songs have fingerplucked or picked bass on them!

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