So, you want to know how to strum bass guitar with picks. Traditionally, bass guitars are played with one's fingers, each one striking a string hard enough to provide that low, powerful tone everyone loves to hear behind a lead guitar. Sometimes, however, the use of a pick allows you to do things with a bass that you would not otherwise be able to achieve with fingers alone–like play notes very quickly—and there are are a few new things one should learn.
- Practice your bass lines on a guitar. Using a pick is different from using your fingers to play a bass. Many of those who have figured out how to strum bass guitar with picks have learned on guitar first, and there are good reasons for that. Strumming a guitar is much different than plucking each string individually with the fingers because one must hold a small object (the pick) and line it up directly with the strings. Without practice, this can be difficult. Furthermore, one now has to throw upstrokes into to the mix, whereas with one's fingers, the motion involved in playing a bass guitar is most similar to a picked guitar's downstrokes. Practice keeping a beat on the guitar while picking with a healthy combination of upstrokes and downstrokes.
- Learn some guitar chords. Since you're a bassist, you may already know some guitar chords. If not, however, it's good to learn some so that you can practice strumming multiple strings at once as opposed to just one string at a time, which is probably what you're used to doing on the bass. Since what you want to do is figure out how to strum bass guitar with picks, it's crucial that you can do this on guitar first to get a feel for how a strummed chord sounds when played correctly.
- Choose a bass pick. Those learning how to strum bass guitar with picks will often use a guitar pick in order to do so, but this is not the best idea. Special picks are made especially for picking bass strings, and those should be used instead. They are thicker and heavier than guitar picks. Therefore, they are more effective when it comes to striking the heavy strings one uses on a bass guitar. If you use a guitar pick, it will not only feel flimsy, but your playing will sound notably weak.