When a 'guitarist' learns to play bass, the question is......

SWeAT hOg

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Wow, a personalized video! Thanks Leu, I get it. One thing I do notice is the pick playing is much louder and has a sharper sound. I would choose to play a Ramones song with a pick over fingers for that reason. However, I nailed getting the groove down for Respect with fingers while practicing yesterday and this sound is better for the song.

Do you find switching back to a pick to be much easier?

BTW, KILLER playing!!
 

Leumas

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Thanks NGG! As for easier...not really, I think more in terms of what do I want to accomplish for the song. The one I did the vid for gets played a little differently each time. In my opinion the song gets a little slicker when I use a pick, but when I do slap and fingers it has much more of the greasy groove and people dance more to it.

That's a bit of an oddball though, most of our set list for me falls firmly in either the pick or no pick category. We're a 3 piece with a lot of room for improv, which is a nice place to be for a bass player. I have the freedom to play around with styles and arrangements. I find for ME that if a tune has a lot of dynamics going on it's almost always better to leave the pick behind. If it's more straightforward without a lot of loud/quiet then pick it is.
 

zontar

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As someone who also plays fingerstyle guitar, I never wanted to cut my nails to play bass. My bass tutor (jazz musician) always said you can't play proper finger bass with long nails- and I think he's right: you don't get the full attack. I work round it, and sometimes play with my thumb - easier to avoid the nail touching the string when playing with the thumb.

I play classical more with my finger than the nail.
There are some talented classical guitarists who use the nail, that use the finger, and that use both.
 

GuitarToneFreak

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Here's one thing I've noticed after playing Bass since about October of last year.

I love playing both with a pick and without, they both sound great to me. However, I've noticed that when I play with a pick, I tend to copy the guitar part, more or less. When I play without a pick, it forces me to slow down and play 'bass', because I can't go as fast, etc. etc.

For that reason, I prefer to play without a pick, because it forces me to differ the bass part from the guitar, and when in the context of a song, it just flows better.

:dude:
 

JonR

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I play classical more with my finger than the nail.
There are some talented classical guitarists who use the nail, that use the finger, and that use both.
I use both, to be precise - in the sense that the fingertip connects with the string before the nail picks it; but also sometimes (with a little positional adjustment) I can pick with the flesh alone
And I do find that the shorter my nails are the better, on classical at least; but I still like the tone when picked by the nail (rather than flesh alone).

On steel string, it's definitely more nail than finger for me.
 

JonR

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For that reason, I prefer to play without a pick, because it forces me to differ the bass part from the guitar, and when in the context of a song, it just flows better.

:dude:
That's an important point, because the bass really has a very different role from the guitar. It's a rhythm instrument, whose prime function (at least in jazz, blues and most rock) is keeping the beat, laying down a groove; the underpinning of the harmony is secondary; and anything more fancy is a distant 3rd place.

This is where a lot of guitarists who move to bass get it wrong. (As do a lot of bassists who wish they were guitarists!)

The bass CAN be upfront and in your face, like any lead guitar, but without a firm rhythmic grounding in the bass the whole band can fall apart.
 

Job-Job type Job

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When I started with bass I was naturally inclined to use a pick, and I did. Over time I developed my fingers. Eventually I found that I played the more aggressive tunes with a pick and the mellower ones with my fingers. Simple as that.

I certainly can't operate on the level of a Flea, Harris, Entwistle, Butler, etc.

There's certainly no right or wrong. When I see guys like Glenn Hughes using a pick I know it can't be wrong because he's badass!
 

SWeAT hOg

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When I started with bass I was naturally inclined to use a pick, and I did. Over time I developed my fingers. Eventually I found that I played the more aggressive tunes with a pick and the mellower ones with my fingers. Simple as that.

I certainly can't operate on the level of a Flea, Harris, Entwistle, Butler, etc.

There's certainly no right or wrong. When I see guys like Glenn Hughes using a pick I know it can't be wrong because he's badass!

Tell Lemmy that he shouldn't use a pick. He'll send you to Boy-Band Hell

3752254346_c0529c06b5_o.jpg
 

Thumpalumpacus

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The bass CAN be upfront and in your face, like any lead guitar, but without a firm rhythmic grounding in the bass the whole band can fall apart.

First Rule of Bass: Never lose the One.

I've heard this rule broken successfully a few times ... heard its dismissal cause trainwrecks more times than I care to relate.

One of the few successful disregards of it:

[ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2rxWPEdYCnI&feature=related[/ame]

... but even then, Tiran Porter never loses the One -- he's only playing around it.
 

JonR

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First Rule of Bass: Never lose the One.

I've heard this rule broken successfully a few times ... heard its dismissal cause trainwrecks more times than I care to relate.
Reggae bassists often omit One ("One Drop"), but then of course they know exactly where it is. That's what matters!
Here's Bob Marley singing about it:
[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=74NCfS3h2JY]Bob Marley One Drop - YouTube[/ame]

Same in the Cuban "tumbao" pattern, beat one is usually missing. The bass hits "2-and" and "4", or 3 and 4, as here:
[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8zFgtqK39Zg]Tito Puente - Ran Kan Kan - YouTube[/ame]
(Beat 4 is actually a syncopation of the following beat 1, playing that chord root.)

I've played this kind of stuff myself, and getting used to missing one is hell to begin with, but once you get it it's an amazing groove, because you still feel the one.
 

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