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Using a pick for bass
6 February 2014
2.29am
IveJustSeenAFaceo
Somewhere other than where you are.
Apple rooftop
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I play bass, and I've noticed that Paul uses a pick for his bass, a rather unorthodox approach, so I tried it, and it's great.

I'm probably losing valuable skills because I can't even play with just my fingers anymore, actually.

I was wondering if anyone else does this, or notices a difference. Thanks!

 

(This signature brought to you by Winter. Coming for an abnormally long amount of time.)
6 February 2014
2.41am
WETSRoosa
Mountains of East Tennessee
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I'm not musically inclined at all, but I don't hear a difference between bass guitar with a pick and bass without one. Bass sounds like bass to me. Is there any clear differences between the two? Is it just a matter of preference for bassists on pick/no pick?

"There's no such thing as bad student... only bad teacher."
6 February 2014
2.47am
IveJustSeenAFaceo
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wetsroosa said
I'm not musically inclined at all, but I don't hear a difference between bass guitar with a pick and bass without one. Bass sounds like bass to me. Is there any clear differences between the two? Is it just a matter of preference for bassists on pick/no pick?

Yeah, I don't actually hear much difference, if any. 

I think it's a matter of preference. Me and Paul appear to prefer using a pick. Some people don't, I know that.

(This signature brought to you by Winter. Coming for an abnormally long amount of time.)
6 February 2014
3.10am
Musketeer Gripweed (kezron9)
Coldspring Harbor, NY
Carnegie Hall
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I forget what late night show it was, but Paul also mention that when his nail gets worn down on tour he goes and gets a fake one put on. He said Nancy suggested it. I believe it was either 2012 or 2013. Anyone have any insight?

6 February 2014
3.17am
4or5Magicians
The Foothills of the Headlands
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I'm better with my fingers than a pick, but I find that using a pick gives the notes a slightly louder, harsher attack on each note. I actually prefer the sound I get when I use a pick, but I don't really play anymore so it's kind of a moot point.

6 February 2014
3.17am
IveJustSeenAFaceo
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kezron9 said
I forget what late night show it was, but Paul also mention that when his nail gets worn down on tour he goes and gets a fake one put on. He said Nancy suggested it. I believe it was either 2012 or 2013. Anyone have any insight?

Hmm... I know he uses a pick at least sometimes. Maybe the fake nail basically functions as a pick attached to the finger? It's certainly interesting.

(This signature brought to you by Winter. Coming for an abnormally long amount of time.)
6 February 2014
3.18am
IveJustSeenAFaceo
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4or5Magicians said
I'm better with my fingers than a pick, but I find that using a pick gives the notes a slightly louder, harsher attack on each note. I actually prefer the sound I get when I use a pick, but I don't really play anymore so it's kind of a moot point.

I've actually got to the point where I'm better with a pick. I feel like my fingers are moving better. I just learned Come Together today, it's actually easier than you might think from listening to it

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6 February 2014
12.47pm
ScrambledEggs
Behind the moon
Hollywood Bowl
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Being primarily a guitar player, the few times I've picked up bass came naturally with a pick. 

For louder songs, like Come Together, it's of course easier for you to play it with a pick, because finger playing reduces the sharpness that's essential. It's much easier to keep the rhythm that way and you don't need to focus as much.

On the other hand, though, on softer, quieter songs, I prefer finger playing as it's easier to bring out the emotional side that way (to me, at least.)

But what is most important of all is to not limit yourself to either. Practice both, imitate other bass players and then, the best part, - improvise :)

Good luck on your playing :)

6 February 2014
7.08pm
Ben Ramon
Candlestick Park
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I always used to play bass with my fingers until I got into the Beatles - now I far prefer playing with a pick (which in turn has improved my guitar playing immeasurably). I think it does alter the sound a bit. For instance the thick, chugging sound of Paul's bass on the White Album would be impossible to attain playing fingerstyle.

 

 

SHUT UP - Paulie's talkin'
6 February 2014
8.24pm
fabfouremily
Sitting in an English garden
Apple rooftop
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kezron9 said
I forget what late night show it was, but Paul also mention that when his nail gets worn down on tour he goes and gets a fake one put on. He said Nancy suggested it. I believe it was either 2012 or 2013. Anyone have any insight?

Yeah, he wears it on his ''little'' finger, doesn't he? I wondered what that was all about the first time I saw it.

 

''We're just knocked out. We heard about the sell out. You gotta get an album out, you owe it to the people. We're so happy we can hardly count.''

6 February 2014
9.32pm
IveJustSeenAFaceo
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Ben Ramon said
I always used to play bass with my fingers until I got into the Beatles - now I far prefer playing with a pick (which in turn has improved my guitar playing immeasurably). I think it does alter the sound a bit. For instance the thick, chugging sound of Paul's bass on the White Album would be impossible to attain playing fingerstyle.

Get Back has that too. Just relentless.  I just learned that recently.

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6 February 2014
10.57pm
Funny Paper
America
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I've been a finger-picker all my life (sounds like the title of a country song...)

While I think Paul is easily among the top 5 bassists of all time, I still tend to prefer the finger-bassists -- two of whom I rank in some ways higher than Paul:  Peter Cetera (of Chicago fame) and Paul Jackson (mostly known for his work with Herbie Hancock).

Faded flowers, wait in a jar, till the evening is complete... complete... complete... complete...
7 February 2014
6.02pm
Von Bontee
A Hole In The Road
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The few times I've picked up a borrowed bass and messed around with it, my instinct was to use a pick, but I hated the way it felt flimsly in my fingers when striking those thick strings. So I was satisfied with using my index fingernail as a pick and playing it that way. I tried plucking with alternating thumb index finger but could only manage that as long as I was simultaneously alternating between two bass strings. And I found using any fingers past the middle is even more confusing.

One day, a tape-op got a tape on backwards, he went to play it, and it was all "Neeeradno-undowarrroom" and it was "Wow! Sounds Indian!" -- Paul McCartney
7 February 2014
7.20pm
Funny Paper
America
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I've been playing acoustic guitar for years, fingerpicking (no pick), yet I've always had a dream to buy and practice an electric bass (but that means buying a speaker and some kind of converter so I can jam using headphones that are mixed with the music I'm playing along with, and the cost and research have put me off doing it). 

If I had an electric bass in addition to my acoustic guitar, that would present an immediate ongoing physical problem for me:  I need my right hand's fingernails to be long, but I could not play the electric bass with fingernails -- I would need to clip my nails down all the way for the style of fingering I want.  Once I do that, however, I can't play the acoustic guitar for my pleasure, since I absolutely need the nails. 

It would be an ongoing dilemma; the only way to solve it would be to alternate: Spring/Summer for acoustic guitar playing, Fall/Winter for bass playing -- with the intermediate week or two while my nails are regrowing every end of Winter consigned to scraping my guiro.blue-meanie

Faded flowers, wait in a jar, till the evening is complete... complete... complete... complete...
7 February 2014
9.40pm
IveJustSeenAFaceo
Somewhere other than where you are.
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Von Bontee said
The few times I've picked up a borrowed bass and messed around with it, my instinct was to use a pick, but I hated the way it felt flimsly in my fingers when striking those thick strings. So I was satisfied with using my index fingernail as a pick and playing it that way. I tried plucking with alternating thumb index finger but could only manage that as long as I was simultaneously alternating between two bass strings. And I found using any fingers past the middle is even more confusing.

I have to use a Heavy pick, Fender's work well.

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3 September 2014
8.45am
Oudis
Shea Stadium
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4or5Magicians said
I'm better with my fingers than a pick, but I find that using a pick gives the notes a slightly louder, harsher attack on each note.

Couldn't agree more. Same thing happens when you play guitar. 

21 September 2014
11.16am
BobGreaves
Binghamton, NY
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I've learned to play the bass both ways, with and without a pick. It was after watching Mark Knopfler once many years ago I started playing lead guitar both ways. I've even gotten to where I can do pinch harmonics easley by using just my fingers. Whether it be the guitar or the bass I think it creates some very interesting nuances. 

Professor of Sound Engineering SUNY Broome, Broadcast host for NCG
21 September 2014
2.08pm
Mr. Kite
910 Penny Lane, Strawberry Fields, Pepperland
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@BobGreaves Welcome to the forum! Mark Knopfler is part of why I use a pick to play guitar less too.

You can introduce yourself to the forum here if you want to!

If I spoke prose you'd all find out, I don't know what I talk about.

Can buy Joe love! If you're shopping at one of these two websites use the links below to support the Beatles Bible: Amazon | iTunes
21 September 2014
11.54pm
Oudis
Shea Stadium
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Mark has influenced many of us. Another guitarist that didn’t use a pick was Robbie Krieger (The Doors). At this stage I like their style better than Clapton’s. And welcome Bob.

23 September 2014
2.17am
Billy Rhythm
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Using a pick to play is like using a condom, something between you and your lover that just shouldn't be there (safety issues aside), it's all about becoming one, isn't it?...:-)

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