Advantages Of Playing Bass With A Pick You Should Know

The ongoing debate surrounding bass playing often revolves around the use of a pick. Some argue its merits, while others advocate for traditional fingerstyle techniques. Consider the following points to determine if playing bass with a pick repertoire aligns with your musical goals and preferences.

Understand playing bass with a pick

Playing bass with a pick, also known as “pickstyle” or “picking,” is a technique where the bassist uses a plectrum (pick) to strike or pluck the strings of the bass guitar. Based on the paragraph above, we can classify picks as follows:

By Thickness

Picks with a thickness of 1 mm or more: Recommended for playing bass to ensure sufficient strength when striking the thick bass strings. Extremely thin and fragile picks: Not recommended as they may not be strong enough to strike the thick bass strings effectively.

Triangle-shaped picks

Some people refer to these as “bass picks,” but many bass players often use teardrop or jazz-shaped picks instead of triangle-shaped ones. Teardrop and jazz-shaped picks: Popular choices for bass playing, favored by many players.

Picks can be made from various materials such as nylon, celluloid, Delrin, metal, and wood.

Some Shapes Of The Pick To Playing Bass
Some Shapes Of The Pick To Playing Bass

Reason you should play bass guitar with a pick


Playing bass with a pick offers a unique sonic quality compared to fingerstyle playing. It delivers a sharper and more pronounced attack, allowing for techniques such as down-picking and palm muting simultaneously. This results in a tighter, more precise, and percussive sound that can help bassists stand out in music dominated by heavily distorted guitars. 

Learning to play with a pick can be particularly advantageous in recording situations, especially in genres like metal, as it provides clarity and simplifies the editing process during post-production. For a demonstration of the tonal differences between fingerstyle and pick playing, consider watching a comparison video.

Advantages Of Playing Bass Guitar With A Pick
Advantages Of Playing Bass Guitar With A Pick


The speed of playing bass with a pick can vary greatly depending on individual technique, practice regimen, and musical context. However, using a pick can often facilitate faster playing compared to fingerstyle techniques for some players.

Picking allows for a more consistent attack and can enable rapid alternate picking patterns, making it well-suited for playing fast-paced bass lines, particularly in genres like rock, punk, and metal.

Additionally, some bassists find it easier to achieve speed and precision with a pick due to the uniformity of attack it provides. 


If you’re accustomed to playing fingerstyle bass, incorporating a pick into your playing repertoire can be advantageous. Similar to mastering slap technique, learning to use a pick expands your range of playing techniques and musical possibilities. 

While it’s not mandatory, having diverse techniques at your disposal enhances your flexibility as a bassist. It enables you to experiment with different sounds and textures, ultimately allowing you to find what best complements the song and resonates with your personal musical style.

Certainly, the topics covered here shed light on the advantages of playing bass with a pick. By exploring the benefits outlined, you may find compelling reasons to consider learning this approach.