Check out The Best DJ Controllers of 2022.

Can You Use a Pick on the Bass Guitar? (Answered)

`As a music producer, I’ve been asked this question countless times: can you use a pick on a bass guitar? The answer is a resounding yes, but like any good producer will tell you, it’s all about how you use it. See, the bass guitar is a versatile instrument, capable of producing a wide range of sounds depending on your playing style and technique. And while some purists may scoff at the idea of using a pick on a bass, I’m here to tell you that it can add a whole new dimension to your playing.

In this article, we’ll explore the ins and outs of using a pick on a bass guitar and offer some expert tips on making the most of this versatile playing technique. Buckle up, and let’s dive in!

Image of a guitar and a pink guitar pick on top. Source: rombo, pexels
Image of a guitar and a pink guitar pick on top. Source: Rombo, Pexels

You can definitely use a pick on a bass guitar in a home recording studio. In fact, using a pick can provide the player with more control over the attack and dynamics of their playing, which can be useful when trying to achieve a particular sound or when playing with a tight, punchy rhythm. However, you will not be able to get that funky, soapy sound that the bass is so well known for. 

Why would a bassist use a guitar pick?

You’re a bassist recording in your home studio, and you’re looking to add some punch and clarity to your playing. You’ve tried playing with your fingers, but the sound just isn’t cutting through the mix the way you want it to. That’s where a guitar pick comes in.

Using a pick on your bass guitar can provide several benefits in a home recording studio setting. For one, it can give you more control over the attack and dynamics of your playing, allowing you to add more definition and punch to your sound. Additionally, using a pick can help produce a brighter, more defined sound that can cut through a mix and add clarity to a recording.

Advantages and disadvantages of using a pick on a bass guitar

Using a pick on a bass guitar has both benefits and drawbacks.

Advantages

One advantage of using a pick on a bass guitar in a home recording studio is that it can provide the player with more control over the attack and dynamics of their playing. This can be especially useful when trying to achieve a particular sound or when playing with a tight, punchy rhythm. Additionally, using a pick can help produce a brighter, more defined sound that can cut through a mix and add clarity to a recording.

Disadvantages

However, there are also some disadvantages to using a pick on a bass guitar in a home recording studio. For one, some bass players may find that using a pick limits their ability to play more nuanced, expressive passages, which can be important when trying to capture the right mood or emotion in a recording.

Additionally, using a pick can produce a sound that may not always fit the desired vibe of a particular recording, particularly if the player is trying to achieve a warmer, rounder tone. But let’s be real. The biggest disadvantage of using a pick on a bass guitar in a home recording studio is that it just doesn’t look as cool because of the stigma.

Is it bad to play bass using a pick?

Using a pick can give the bass player more control over the attack and dynamics of their playing. It can also help produce a brighter, more defined sound. However, some bass players find that using a pick can limit their ability to play more nuanced, expressive passages.

Playing with the fingers allows for a wider range of tonal variation and can provide a warmer, more rounded sound. However, it can require more practice and skill to develop the necessary finger strength and control.

Ultimately, whether or not it is “bad” to play bass with a pick is a matter of personal preference and depends on the individual player’s goals and musical style. Some bass players may find that using a pick enhances their playing, while others may prefer to stick with fingerstyle playing.

Why do some bases hate picks?

There could be several reasons why some bass players may not like using picks. For starters, using a pick can produce a brighter, more defined sound that may not always fit the desired vibe of a particular recording. Additionally, some bass players may find that using a pick limits their ability to play more nuanced, expressive passages, which can be important when trying to capture the right mood or emotion in a recording.

Image of a black guitar and a green guitar pick. Source: rombo, pexels
Image of a black guitar and a green guitar pick. Source: Rombo, Pexels

But let’s be real, the most likely reason is that using a pick just feels (and looks) plain awkward for some bass players. It can take a lot of time to get used to holding and playing with a pick, and if a bass player is used to playing with their fingers, it can be a bit of a struggle to adjust.

Plus, let’s face it, using a pick just doesn’t have the same cool factor as laying down some funky fingerstyle bass grooves. As a result, in the end, it comes down to the player’s unique inclination and what seems most natural and at ease to them.

If you want even more tips and insights, watch this video called “Should you play bass with a PICK? (let’s end this B.S argument for good)” from the Scott’s Bass Lessons YouTube channel.

A video called “Should you play bass with a PICK? (let’s end this B.S argument for good)” from the Scott’s Bass Lessons YouTube channel.
Advertisements

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Do you still have questions? Below are some of the most commonly asked questions about whether you can use a pick on a bass guitar.

What are the best bass picks?

Picking the right guitar picks for bassists in a home recording studio requires some careful consideration of a few crucial variables. First and foremost, you’ll want to choose a pick that is comfortable to hold and use. After all, if you’re not comfortable with your pick, it’s going to be hard to focus on your playing.

Additionally, the thickness and material of the pick can have a significant impact on the tone and attack of your playing. For a warm, round tone, many bassists prefer to use picks made of softer materials, such as nylon or celluloid. These picks tend to produce a mellower sound that can be well-suited to more laid-back, groove-oriented playing.

Picks fashioned from harder materials, such as metal or stone, may produce a brighter, more defined tone. These picks can produce a sharper, more articulate sound that can be well-suited to more aggressive playing styles.

Are guitar picks and bass guitar picks the same?

Despite their apparent similarities, there are important distinctions between the two that may have a major influence on your performance.
First and foremost, bass and guitar picks (also called plectrums) differ in size. Bass picks are generally larger and thicker than picks made for guitarists picks, which can make them more comfortable to hold and use when playing bass.

Additionally, the larger size of bass picks can produce a different tone and attack when playing compared to smaller guitar picks.
Another key difference between bass and guitar picks the material they are made of.

Bass picks are often made of softer materials, such as nylon or celluloid, which can produce a warmer, rounder tone. Guitar picks, on the other hand, are often made of harder materials, such as metal or stone, which can produce a brighter, more defined sound. So, you would find many best picking with guitar picks.

How does picking affect bass?

Picking a bass guitar can have an impact on the strings, particularly if the player is using a lot of force or playing with a heavy pick. When a bass string is picked, the pick strikes the string, causing it to vibrate and produce sound. The harder the pick strikes the string, the more the string vibrates and the louder the resulting sound.

Conclusion

It’s advisable to study both approaches to playing bass guitar. However, it’s not necessary to be an expert at both approaches in order to become a skilled bassist. Ultimately, the most important thing is to find the approach that works best for you and to focus on developing your skills in that area. Whether you prefer to play with a pick or with your fingers, the key is to practice regularly and continue to improve your technique.

So if you’re a bass player who loves the sound of a pick and doesn’t mind sacrificing a little bit of expressiveness for the sake of a punchier tone, then feel free to use a pick! After all, music is all about experimentation and finding what works for you. Just remember to have fun and don’t take yourself too seriously, especially when recording in your home studio.

However, just as you can’t become an expert cyclist by reading a book, you can’t become a great bassist by reading articles alone. It’s time to take action! Go and put what you have learned into practice.

This article covered why a bassist would use a guitar pick, the advantages and disadvantages of using a pick on a bass guitar, and whether it is bad to play bass with a pick. Here are some key takeaways:

Key takeaways

  • You’re a bassist recording in your home studio, and you’re looking to add some punch and clarity to your playing.
  • There are a number of advantages and disadvantages to using a pick on a bass guitar.
  • Using a pick can give the bass player more control over the attack and dynamics of their playing.
  • When attending a live show, you can count on the guitarists to be using picks, but the bassist can be plucking the strings with his fingers.

So, does using a pick improve your sound effects? And did I cover everything you wanted to know? Let me know in the comments section below (I read and reply to every comment). If you found this article helpful, share it with a friend, and check out my full blog for more tips and tricks on music production. Thanks for reading and never stop making music.

Helpful resources

Audio Apartment Author
Written By Andrew Ash
Hey there! My name is Andrew, and I've been making music since I was a kid. I now run this blog all about home studios and music production. If you want to improve your home studio setup, this is the place for you!

Leave a Comment