OK, my further depth into picks vs fingers, plus a new song I recorded for reference.

FortyEight

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So, a few weeks back I got into a discussion in one of my threads about picks vs. fingers on bass. I've been playing bass for a long time. And guitar. It has gone back and forth in my life. Mainly more guitar when I was younger. Cuz I was writing a lot of songs and playing in bands where we played original music. I found it much easier to write and come up with vocals with guitar. I still do.

I learned on an old acoustic that my Mom had bought my sister for her to learn growing up. At 17 I picked it up and started to teach myself. I knew nothing. I got a chord chart and started learning the chords. I watched people. I already had been singing in a band so I was around guitar players.

The first instrument I bought was a bass, if my memory serves me correct. I don't really remember how it all went but had a black kramer bass and then a red kramer guitar. The price was right I guess.

Point being, I sort of jumped into bands and such like as soon as I could play. I was playing all the time. I took 4 guitar lessons and learned some scales but my focus was to write music and play rhythm guitar and I think classically speaking, the way people always taught leans towards teaching lead guitar. Which is fine. But not what I wanted at the time.

Anyways....

Back then I played a little bass in bands cuz sometimes we couldn't get one. A gal and I that played well together, we would switch off. If we were doing her songs, I would play bass. If we were doing mine, She would play bass. To be sure I was playing bass more like a guitarist.

In my adult life after growing up and attending churches I wound up playing more drums (which I also did in a band as a young man) and bass. Guitarists in churches seem to be the norm and many of them seem to think bass is this instrument that one should not touch if you are a 6 stringer. Which I always thought was dumb. So most of my older grown up adult life I've played bass in church. With a pick.

Over the years I would dabble with my fingers but I was so lousy at it.

Now, in the last two years I've been playing in a country band. We do all covers. We get paid. First time I ever made money playing music. We try to do the songs as close to the original recordings or live versions chosen as we can. I noticed that virtually NO country bass players that we are emulating use a pick. I DO know that some bass players in bands I like DO use a pick.

So whenever I heard the arguments about REAL BASS Players use their fingers I was like, whatever. I know guys that play in bands that are well known that don't follow that condescending advice.

But as you play and listen and grow you listen for tone more and I could not hear pick playing in the country band stuff. So somehow I started playing with my fingers. It seemed like my learning curve was less than other times I've tried it. We play about 50 songs a set and I'm down to only playing 2 with a pick and 2 with my thumb. The rest are fingers. Mainly those are choices of tone.

The ones that were hardest for me were ones that do like a western swing, cuz I do like these quick ghost notes to help accentuate the swing. I don't always hear the bass players do this. But for me it helps the flow of the song with the people we play. It sounds empty without it there cuz sometimes the drummer's aren't always doing exactly what the studio drummer did. Like all my Exes by George Strait. But after practicing a bit I got those dialed in a lot better. Like Don't rock the jukebox by Alan Jackson.

So..... What's my point. Well first off I'm like having a ton of fun playing with my fingers. There is something very simplistic but maybe visceral about not using a pick. I think cuz I play drums too it almost feels MORE like the bridge between the drums and melody. Although I feel like I can do that with a pick too. The tone is definitely different. In some cases I feel it's much better. It's rounder. It seems like it sustains better. And it's a bit warmer.

The flipside is I still think a muted bass with a pick is one of the best sounds a bass can have. And I can't do it with my fingers like I can with a pick. I don't really get the science behind it but how does muting boost the bass frequency so much? Obviously you can hear it on guitar. You would think putting your palm on the bridge would just stifle ANY frequency. But when you mute bass with a pick, you get the sharp attack PLUS gobs of low end too. I love that sound.

But I do find that if I'm gonna play more up towards the neck with a pick, like I mainly did with a pick when I wasn't muting, I might as well use my fingers cuz I think it's a better sound. And just more fun at this point. I now also find myself playing more towards the bridge with a pick when I do. I do it on two songs. And oh yeah, in the devil went down to Georgia I'm still using it in the fast notes during the big fiddle solo. I'm starting to use my fingers but I prefer the pick just in that part. LOL.

So..... in my songs I may go back and forth. But this is the first song I ever recorded with my playing with my fingers. I had only started to a few weeks before this. But I also did some slapping in the chorus. LOL. I figured I'd go all the way. It's hard to tell that I am and I'm still trying to figure out how to record the bass really well.

Comments on my song, my bass playing, etc are welcomed.

 

JL_LI

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It’s been a long time since I played bass. 1968 to be exact, and the bass I played was a double bass. FWIW, I played with my index and middle fingers. I’m playing guitar now but I still think I can help you. I play mostly finger style but sometimes use a pick. I play using a large variety of finger styles, from thumb picking, to thumb strums with thumbnail upstroke accents, to two finger (thumb and index finger) country to three finger, chicken pickin’ and other.

There is a metaphysical principle that applies. The song knows how it wants to be played. I’m not kidding. I sit down with a new song and know what it wants in minutes. I sometimes switch finger styles within a song. The song just knows. If what you’re doing is right, the song will let you know. It will. The song will let you know when you’ve got it wrong too. The song knows. Think about it.
 
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FortyEight

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JL LI. I hear you. I can sense it to. Obviously now that I know how to do both. I might not always know within the first few minutes though. That's good.

Maybe I'll eventually learn to use fingers more on guitar now. LOL. I've been trying a bit as of the last year. But not a lot.
 
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FortyEight

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Oh yeah, I've watched that video. I like what someone said in the last thread, I think Carol Kaye said most of motown bass lines was a flats and palm muting. Or someone. Anyways.. Yeah, lately I've been trying to watch what Paul does on some of the vids I see. But I'm sort of Beatled out right now. Not sure why. I always loved them but I'm sort of tired to listening to them. I haven't watched the Disney thing yet too.

For some reason I loved John's songs. Paul always sort of annoyed me but obviously had some songs that are WOW. But then as I got older John annoys me and I like Georges the best. But then they barely ever did any of his songs.

And despite what most critics say I actually love Ringos drumming. I'm not usually that big of a fan of his songs but you can't discount them.

Back to my point. I feel like some of the old vids I see, it looks like hes using a pick, but I can never see it. Like he's almost using just his finger tips.

Here's one for the discussion. One day I watched several of The Cars live stuff to see what the lead singer does. It looks to me like he grew out his right thumb nail and mostly used that. But not the whole time. Seems like it would make a weird sound.....
 

68Telebass

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Here's one for the discussion. One day I watched several of The Cars live stuff to see what the lead singer does. It looks to me like he grew out his right thumb nail and mostly used that. But not the whole time. Seems like it would make a weird sound.....
Ben Orr was fantastic and left us far too young. He had a red semi hollow teardrop VOX bass on one vid- I’ll find it and post.
Great intro for the band as well- cars screeching, honking and crashing. Lol



Early Cars stuff was really cool- the synth/keys if Greg Hawkes really pointed the way to some later stuff. And Ric Ocasek’s Dean guitar inspired legions!
Oh hey! Elliot Easton is a lefty! Fun stuff.
 

Killing Floor

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Nice. I use traditional fingers (4 of them too), thumb, pop, pick, whatever. I think it’s smart for a bassist to learn to play pick and fingers. You can argue slap/pop may or may not fit the style you play. But pick and fingers are in all genres.
 

Volcanicash01

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So, a few weeks back I got into a discussion in one of my threads about picks vs. fingers on bass. I've been playing bass for a long time. And guitar. It has gone back and forth in my life. Mainly more guitar when I was younger. Cuz I was writing a lot of songs and playing in bands where we played original music. I found it much easier to write and come up with vocals with guitar. I still do.

I learned on an old acoustic that my Mom had bought my sister for her to learn growing up. At 17 I picked it up and started to teach myself. I knew nothing. I got a chord chart and started learning the chords. I watched people. I already had been singing in a band so I was around guitar players.

The first instrument I bought was a bass, if my memory serves me correct. I don't really remember how it all went but had a black kramer bass and then a red kramer guitar. The price was right I guess.

Point being, I sort of jumped into bands and such like as soon as I could play. I was playing all the time. I took 4 guitar lessons and learned some scales but my focus was to write music and play rhythm guitar and I think classically speaking, the way people always taught leans towards teaching lead guitar. Which is fine. But not what I wanted at the time.

Anyways....

Back then I played a little bass in bands cuz sometimes we couldn't get one. A gal and I that played well together, we would switch off. If we were doing her songs, I would play bass. If we were doing mine, She would play bass. To be sure I was playing bass more like a guitarist.

In my adult life after growing up and attending churches I wound up playing more drums (which I also did in a band as a young man) and bass. Guitarists in churches seem to be the norm and many of them seem to think bass is this instrument that one should not touch if you are a 6 stringer. Which I always thought was dumb. So most of my older grown up adult life I've played bass in church. With a pick.

Over the years I would dabble with my fingers but I was so lousy at it.

Now, in the last two years I've been playing in a country band. We do all covers. We get paid. First time I ever made money playing music. We try to do the songs as close to the original recordings or live versions chosen as we can. I noticed that virtually NO country bass players that we are emulating use a pick. I DO know that some bass players in bands I like DO use a pick.

So whenever I heard the arguments about REAL BASS Players use their fingers I was like, whatever. I know guys that play in bands that are well known that don't follow that condescending advice.

But as you play and listen and grow you listen for tone more and I could not hear pick playing in the country band stuff. So somehow I started playing with my fingers. It seemed like my learning curve was less than other times I've tried it. We play about 50 songs a set and I'm down to only playing 2 with a pick and 2 with my thumb. The rest are fingers. Mainly those are choices of tone.

The ones that were hardest for me were ones that do like a western swing, cuz I do like these quick ghost notes to help accentuate the swing. I don't always hear the bass players do this. But for me it helps the flow of the song with the people we play. It sounds empty without it there cuz sometimes the drummer's aren't always doing exactly what the studio drummer did. Like all my Exes by George Strait. But after practicing a bit I got those dialed in a lot better. Like Don't rock the jukebox by Alan Jackson.

So..... What's my point. Well first off I'm like having a ton of fun playing with my fingers. There is something very simplistic but maybe visceral about not using a pick. I think cuz I play drums too it almost feels MORE like the bridge between the drums and melody. Although I feel like I can do that with a pick too. The tone is definitely different. In some cases I feel it's much better. It's rounder. It seems like it sustains better. And it's a bit warmer.

The flipside is I still think a muted bass with a pick is one of the best sounds a bass can have. And I can't do it with my fingers like I can with a pick. I don't really get the science behind it but how does muting boost the bass frequency so much? Obviously you can hear it on guitar. You would think putting your palm on the bridge would just stifle ANY frequency. But when you mute bass with a pick, you get the sharp attack PLUS gobs of low end too. I love that sound.

But I do find that if I'm gonna play more up towards the neck with a pick, like I mainly did with a pick when I wasn't muting, I might as well use my fingers cuz I think it's a better sound. And just more fun at this point. I now also find myself playing more towards the bridge with a pick when I do. I do it on two songs. And oh yeah, in the devil went down to Georgia I'm still using it in the fast notes during the big fiddle solo. I'm starting to use my fingers but I prefer the pick just in that part. LOL.

So..... in my songs I may go back and forth. But this is the first song I ever recorded with my playing with my fingers. I had only started to a few weeks before this. But I also did some slapping in the chorus. LOL. I figured I'd go all the way. It's hard to tell that I am and I'm still trying to figure out how to record the bass really well.

Comments on my song, my bass playing, etc are welcomed.


Playing with fingers gives you the opportunity to actually ‘feel’ the notes, but look what it does to your digits! This is the result of a lifetime of country picking.
 

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JustABluesGuy

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So, a few weeks back I got into a discussion in one of my threads about picks vs. fingers on bass. I've been playing bass for a long time. And guitar. It has gone back and forth in my life. Mainly more guitar when I was younger. Cuz I was writing a lot of songs and playing in bands where we played original music. I found it much easier to write and come up with vocals with guitar. I still do.

I learned on an old acoustic that my Mom had bought my sister for her to learn growing up. At 17 I picked it up and started to teach myself. I knew nothing. I got a chord chart and started learning the chords. I watched people. I already had been singing in a band so I was around guitar players.

The first instrument I bought was a bass, if my memory serves me correct. I don't really remember how it all went but had a black kramer bass and then a red kramer guitar. The price was right I guess.

Point being, I sort of jumped into bands and such like as soon as I could play. I was playing all the time. I took 4 guitar lessons and learned some scales but my focus was to write music and play rhythm guitar and I think classically speaking, the way people always taught leans towards teaching lead guitar. Which is fine. But not what I wanted at the time.

Anyways....

Back then I played a little bass in bands cuz sometimes we couldn't get one. A gal and I that played well together, we would switch off. If we were doing her songs, I would play bass. If we were doing mine, She would play bass. To be sure I was playing bass more like a guitarist.

In my adult life after growing up and attending churches I wound up playing more drums (which I also did in a band as a young man) and bass. Guitarists in churches seem to be the norm and many of them seem to think bass is this instrument that one should not touch if you are a 6 stringer. Which I always thought was dumb. So most of my older grown up adult life I've played bass in church. With a pick.

Over the years I would dabble with my fingers but I was so lousy at it.

Now, in the last two years I've been playing in a country band. We do all covers. We get paid. First time I ever made money playing music. We try to do the songs as close to the original recordings or live versions chosen as we can. I noticed that virtually NO country bass players that we are emulating use a pick. I DO know that some bass players in bands I like DO use a pick.

So whenever I heard the arguments about REAL BASS Players use their fingers I was like, whatever. I know guys that play in bands that are well known that don't follow that condescending advice.

But as you play and listen and grow you listen for tone more and I could not hear pick playing in the country band stuff. So somehow I started playing with my fingers. It seemed like my learning curve was less than other times I've tried it. We play about 50 songs a set and I'm down to only playing 2 with a pick and 2 with my thumb. The rest are fingers. Mainly those are choices of tone.

The ones that were hardest for me were ones that do like a western swing, cuz I do like these quick ghost notes to help accentuate the swing. I don't always hear the bass players do this. But for me it helps the flow of the song with the people we play. It sounds empty without it there cuz sometimes the drummer's aren't always doing exactly what the studio drummer did. Like all my Exes by George Strait. But after practicing a bit I got those dialed in a lot better. Like Don't rock the jukebox by Alan Jackson.

So..... What's my point. Well first off I'm like having a ton of fun playing with my fingers. There is something very simplistic but maybe visceral about not using a pick. I think cuz I play drums too it almost feels MORE like the bridge between the drums and melody. Although I feel like I can do that with a pick too. The tone is definitely different. In some cases I feel it's much better. It's rounder. It seems like it sustains better. And it's a bit warmer.

The flipside is I still think a muted bass with a pick is one of the best sounds a bass can have. And I can't do it with my fingers like I can with a pick. I don't really get the science behind it but how does muting boost the bass frequency so much? Obviously you can hear it on guitar. You would think putting your palm on the bridge would just stifle ANY frequency. But when you mute bass with a pick, you get the sharp attack PLUS gobs of low end too. I love that sound.

But I do find that if I'm gonna play more up towards the neck with a pick, like I mainly did with a pick when I wasn't muting, I might as well use my fingers cuz I think it's a better sound. And just more fun at this point. I now also find myself playing more towards the bridge with a pick when I do. I do it on two songs. And oh yeah, in the devil went down to Georgia I'm still using it in the fast notes during the big fiddle solo. I'm starting to use my fingers but I prefer the pick just in that part. LOL.

So..... in my songs I may go back and forth. But this is the first song I ever recorded with my playing with my fingers. I had only started to a few weeks before this. But I also did some slapping in the chorus. LOL. I figured I'd go all the way. It's hard to tell that I am and I'm still trying to figure out how to record the bass really well.

Comments on my song, my bass playing, etc are welcomed.


I go back and forth on the use of a pick, mostly with guitar, with bass as well.

I used to be concerned that I should specialize in one or the other, but I have only been able to do it on a song by song basis. I made a point of playing lead with only my fingers during a recent practice, and it was great. I feel more directly connected without the pick getting in between me and the guitar. I also was able to mute strings easier.

However, there will always be some things one can do with a pick (or with fingers) that they cannot with the other. It’s good to be capable of both. I no longer kick myself for not specializing in one or the other like I once did.

I used to wonder, would I be a better player if I had specialized more, and that’s possible. But I AM definitely a more “versatile” player for having mixed things up.
 

dlsnyd2003

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So, a few weeks back I got into a discussion in one of my threads about picks vs. fingers on bass. I've been playing bass for a long time. And guitar. It has gone back and forth in my life. Mainly more guitar when I was younger. Cuz I was writing a lot of songs and playing in bands where we played original music. I found it much easier to write and come up with vocals with guitar. I still do.

I learned on an old acoustic that my Mom had bought my sister for her to learn growing up. At 17 I picked it up and started to teach myself. I knew nothing. I got a chord chart and started learning the chords. I watched people. I already had been singing in a band so I was around guitar players.

The first instrument I bought was a bass, if my memory serves me correct. I don't really remember how it all went but had a black kramer bass and then a red kramer guitar. The price was right I guess.

Point being, I sort of jumped into bands and such like as soon as I could play. I was playing all the time. I took 4 guitar lessons and learned some scales but my focus was to write music and play rhythm guitar and I think classically speaking, the way people always taught leans towards teaching lead guitar. Which is fine. But not what I wanted at the time.

Anyways....

Back then I played a little bass in bands cuz sometimes we couldn't get one. A gal and I that played well together, we would switch off. If we were doing her songs, I would play bass. If we were doing mine, She would play bass. To be sure I was playing bass more like a guitarist.

In my adult life after growing up and attending churches I wound up playing more drums (which I also did in a band as a young man) and bass. Guitarists in churches seem to be the norm and many of them seem to think bass is this instrument that one should not touch if you are a 6 stringer. Which I always thought was dumb. So most of my older grown up adult life I've played bass in church. With a pick.

Over the years I would dabble with my fingers but I was so lousy at it.

Now, in the last two years I've been playing in a country band. We do all covers. We get paid. First time I ever made money playing music. We try to do the songs as close to the original recordings or live versions chosen as we can. I noticed that virtually NO country bass players that we are emulating use a pick. I DO know that some bass players in bands I like DO use a pick.

So whenever I heard the arguments about REAL BASS Players use their fingers I was like, whatever. I know guys that play in bands that are well known that don't follow that condescending advice.

But as you play and listen and grow you listen for tone more and I could not hear pick playing in the country band stuff. So somehow I started playing with my fingers. It seemed like my learning curve was less than other times I've tried it. We play about 50 songs a set and I'm down to only playing 2 with a pick and 2 with my thumb. The rest are fingers. Mainly those are choices of tone.

The ones that were hardest for me were ones that do like a western swing, cuz I do like these quick ghost notes to help accentuate the swing. I don't always hear the bass players do this. But for me it helps the flow of the song with the people we play. It sounds empty without it there cuz sometimes the drummer's aren't always doing exactly what the studio drummer did. Like all my Exes by George Strait. But after practicing a bit I got those dialed in a lot better. Like Don't rock the jukebox by Alan Jackson.

So..... What's my point. Well first off I'm like having a ton of fun playing with my fingers. There is something very simplistic but maybe visceral about not using a pick. I think cuz I play drums too it almost feels MORE like the bridge between the drums and melody. Although I feel like I can do that with a pick too. The tone is definitely different. In some cases I feel it's much better. It's rounder. It seems like it sustains better. And it's a bit warmer.

The flipside is I still think a muted bass with a pick is one of the best sounds a bass can have. And I can't do it with my fingers like I can with a pick. I don't really get the science behind it but how does muting boost the bass frequency so much? Obviously you can hear it on guitar. You would think putting your palm on the bridge would just stifle ANY frequency. But when you mute bass with a pick, you get the sharp attack PLUS gobs of low end too. I love that sound.

But I do find that if I'm gonna play more up towards the neck with a pick, like I mainly did with a pick when I wasn't muting, I might as well use my fingers cuz I think it's a better sound. And just more fun at this point. I now also find myself playing more towards the bridge with a pick when I do. I do it on two songs. And oh yeah, in the devil went down to Georgia I'm still using it in the fast notes during the big fiddle solo. I'm starting to use my fingers but I prefer the pick just in that part. LOL.

So..... in my songs I may go back and forth. But this is the first song I ever recorded with my playing with my fingers. I had only started to a few weeks before this. But I also did some slapping in the chorus. LOL. I figured I'd go all the way. It's hard to tell that I am and I'm still trying to figure out how to record the bass really well.

Comments on my song, my bass playing, etc are welcomed.


I have to admit I liked the song. I cant tell with my little 1.5 speakers what you are playing with other than the snare ringing through. But good vocals. I usually hate everything I hear because of the vocals but you did a great job and sound good. That is 100 percent of the problem with bands. They usually play their ass off and sound like crap because of the voice of the singer. I hope you find happiness an money making music!
 

FortyEight

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@JustABluesGuy Yeah, I'm starting to delve into playing guitar more with my fingers. But that's still really odd to me. I have a song coming up that I have an intro and ending with some finger picking but it's pretty simple. LOL. I've never been a finger picker with chords doing the whole like 123 alternating fingers and strings thing. I actually never really liked how it sounded that much. I mean I get it, it has a nice warm, folky sound. It's not completely my thing but I SHOULD learn how to do it well. I've started to mess around with that.

@dlsnyd2003 I really appreciate the comments. I don't ever plan to make money other than the country band. I just don't think it's possible with my own music. I mean if we we're gigging in that band maybe. But even then... not very likely. Play for beer. And I don't even drink. LOL. (not cuz I'm totally against it, lyme disease sort of put the kabosh on it. I feel terrible when drinking any little bit) I love harmonies and vocal melodies. It's one of the things I like most about music. The drums and the singing are what I like hearing. Everything else is sort of, I mean I like guitars and love bass. But I will admit, there are a lot of people putting up instrumentals and it's not my favorite. Sometimes I will dig them. I've even done a few in my time. I almost always have some kind of small vocal element in my instrumentals. But I haven't done one in forever. I'm too busy trying to say something to someone. Or just vocally get my feelings out. LOL. I'm glad that they came across nice to you. I'm sometime kind of lax on what I let go through. I use J Mascis as an excuse but really he's one of the few that could get away with it and sound good while doing it.
 

JustABluesGuy

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@JustABluesGuy Yeah, I'm starting to delve into playing guitar more with my fingers. But that's still really odd to me. I have a song coming up that I have an intro and ending with some finger picking but it's pretty simple. LOL. I've never been a finger picker with chords doing the whole like 123 alternating fingers and strings thing. I actually never really liked how it sounded that much. I mean I get it, it has a nice warm, folky sound. It's not completely my thing but I SHOULD learn how to do it well. I've started to mess around with that.

When I talk about using fingers I’m not talking about traditional “fingerstyle” with the use of all the fingers and certain picking patterns. My finger playing is more akin to Lindsey Buckingham or Muddy Waters. Muddy is probably my
Main inspiration when it come to the fingers. I often do sort of a “dead thumb”, where the thumb is playing the root and then I do melody lines with the other fingers.

I also do a bit of hybrid picking. I don’t really think of what I do as finger style in the traditional sense at all. I sometimes call it “bastard” finger style, since that seems to describe what I do a bit more accurately.

@dlsnyd2003 I really appreciate the comments. I don't ever plan to make money other than the country band. I just don't think it's possible with my own music. I mean if we we're gigging in that band maybe. But even then... not very likely. Play for beer. And I don't even drink. LOL. (not cuz I'm totally against it, lyme disease sort of put the kabosh on it. I feel terrible when drinking any little bit) I love harmonies and vocal melodies. It's one of the things I like most about music. The drums and the singing are what I like hearing. Everything else is sort of, I mean I like guitars and love bass. But I will admit, there are a lot of people putting up instrumentals and it's not my favorite. Sometimes I will dig them. I've even done a few in my time. I almost always have some kind of small vocal element in my instrumentals. But I haven't done one in forever. I'm too busy trying to say something to someone. Or just vocally get my feelings out. LOL. I'm glad that they came across nice to you. I'm sometime kind of lax on what I let go through. I use J Mascis as an excuse but really he's one of the few that could get away with it and sound good while doing it.
 




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