I’ve always wanted to be able to play with a pick, and after seeing The Stranglers playing at the Cambridge Corn Exchange in March 2019, I decided that it was time to give it another go.
I’d got some picks I’d received as freebies from various sources, but these were all too flimsy for any serious bass playing. Some research told me that J-J Burnel from The Stranglers used Gibson Heavies, so anything which was good enough for him, was good enough for me.
I duly ordered half a dozen heavy picks from DirtyRiffs.co.uk via Amazon. They came packaged in this nifty pick box:
Trouble was, the heavies weren’t heavy enough. Luckily, Fender turn it up to 11 with their Extra Heavies, which are just right for me.
Whilst searching for picks on Amazon, I noticed that a company will engrave a stainless steel pick for you. Here’s mine. If you’re interested, here‘s the page.
Finally, in my Facebook group, someone mentioned Felt picks. Felt? Surely not. Well, they do exist. These came from China. They’re about four times the depth of a heavy pick and quite comfortable to use. The sound produced is a fairly gentle thump. Apparently they don’t last long though.
So how’s it going? Not badly as of the time of writing. I still can’t play as fast with a pick as I can with my fingers, and at rehearsals I’m often dropping the pick so I can carry on as before. I’ll get there though.
I’m still unsure of the best way to play. Make all the movement in my wrist, or use my lower arm. Either way is quite tiring at the moment!