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 why...it just is" Thread Starter

    Location:
    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

    Location:
    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

    Location:
    Kailua, Hawai’i
    Simon Gallup has always used one.
     
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  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.
     
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  5. wellhamsrus

    wellhamsrus Duke of Earl

    Location:
    Canberra
    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.
     
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  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

    Location:
    Omaha
    And then there's Lindsey Buckingham, who doesn't use a pick on his guitar!
     
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  8. Synthfreek

    Synthfreek Drum machines are not inherently evil.

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

    Evethingandnothing Forum Resident

    Location:
    Devon
    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

    Location:
    Windermere, FL
    Guitarworld.com 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.”
     

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