Tennessee Jedi wrote:
You ever play with your fingers ?
I know Phil did both pick and fingers ...
You have a opinion on the subject ?
Me? Not have an opinion on a bass subject? Surely you jest.
Phil's finger phase was just a brief experiment in 1970/71 or so as far as I can tell. I think when the EB3 got stolen and he switched to the Godfather that was the end of his finger experimentation - Starfires are a little weirder to play fingerstyle, and there's not a good way to install a thumb rest like he had on the EB3. Every so often I think he'll still pluck a chord like a flat-picking guitarist but it's more of a specialty thing.
Personally I'm a fingerstyle player by nature but 100% of the time that I'm in Phil mode, I use a pick. I believe you just cannot get his phrasing to pop correctly without one, and the pick really really helps the band's mix sound like the GD. It also gives an edge to the bombs that fingers can't quite get. Flatwound or half-round strings are also key to his sound, picking on roundwounds is harsh and generally ugly. You can compensate to some degree with your tone knob but it's not quite the same.
Some players grow their fingernails out to simulate a pick attack, like flamenco guitarrists. I've done this by accident on occasion and it works, but I'm not disiplined enough to keep them consistent. There's also something different about the up/down nature of picking vs. the index/middle of fingering... it makes you think differently about how you build your lines especially in how and where you switch strings.
With JGB tunes I always
play fingerstyle, and prefer to use something Fender P-bassish with roundwound strings.
You might be able to hear the differences on this recording: http://www.archive.org/details/Fen2011- ... he.Elevens
All tunes are my Starfire with a pick, except for Althea which is my Warmoth/Tiger bass with flats and a pick, and Rubin and Cherise which is my fingers on the maple-necked J-bass that I use with Don't Let Go.