One for the bass players..... Why do so few bass guitarists use a pick/plectrum?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by frimleygreener, Mar 27, 2020.

  1. frimleygreener

    frimleygreener "It 'a'int just is" Thread Starter

    united kingdom
    Something I have noticed yet not seen discussed in general: Why do so few(if any) bass guitarists use a plectrum?
  2. jwoverho

    jwoverho Senior Member

    Mobile, AL USA
    It seems more difficult to pluck those much bigger strings with a pick as opposed to a guitar. Also, I don’t know if I’ve seen any upright bassists use a pick. Maybe that’s a carryover to the electric bass.
  3. Johnny Action

    Johnny Action Forum President

    Kailua, Hawai’i
    Simon Gallup has always used one.
    Maurice likes this.
  4. Zoot Marimba

    Zoot Marimba And I’m The Critic Of The Group

    Probably a carry over from the upright, where a pick is impractical.

    That said, plenty of bassists do use picks, particularly those who play more aggressive music like punk or metal.

    Putting that aside, Paul McCartney uses a pick, Chris Squire used one, and then there’s people like John Entwistle, Sting, Adam Clayton, John Paul Jones, And John Myung from Dream Theater who use or used both methods.
    hi_watt and FloydMaui like this.
  5. wellhamsrus

    wellhamsrus Duke of Earl

    I saw The Police 40 tears ago and remember Sting complaining that his thumb had to be gaffer-taped because it was raw and bleeding. Good reason to use a pick, I thought.
    FloydMaui likes this.
  6. Gila

    Gila Forum Resident

    A lot of bass players use pick nowadays, at least a lot more than is 50s or 60s for sure. And if you check any bass community, it's full of "pick vs fingers" endless arguing.
    hi_watt likes this.
  7. Craig Slowinski

    Craig Slowinski Forum Resident

    And then there's Lindsey Buckingham, who doesn't use a pick on his guitar!
    FloydMaui likes this.
  8. Synthfreek

    Synthfreek Drum machines are not inherently evil.

    Austin, TX
    Davey504 says use picc have small pp.
  9. Evethingandnothing

    Evethingandnothing Forum Resident

    With a plectrum it's more difficult to dampen/mute the strings that you're not playing. There are techniques to do it either way though. I often use fingers on both bass and guitar, 'cos I can't be bothered to hunt around for a plectrum. I do like plectrum bass though. Great sound.
  10. Woodville

    Woodville Forum Resident

    Windermere, FL posted a new interview with Carol Kaye from the Wrecking Crew and the headline quotes her as saying “98% of bass parts cut in Hollywood in the ‘60’s were done with a pick on flatwound strings.”

Share This Page