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  #1  
Old 2005-04-05, 13:57
Rattlehead Rattlehead is offline
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How hard do you pick: click noise

I've been thinking about this alot lately. I need advice.
Everyone is familiar with Iron Maiden probably has heard Steve Harris getting that clicking sound in his recordings. This happens because he plays with his fingers, and when his fingers strike the strings the push the string against the frets for a moment. This gives a click sound of metal hitting metal along with the regular note of the string ringing.
This is exactly what my playing sounds like.

Now I'm wondering if this is something bad that I want to get rid of. The only problem is that I don't have many alternatives, and that maybe I don't really want to change this.
I know that if I play softly enough, I don't get that click. The problem is that I you have to play VERY softly for this to happen and I can change how hard I pick, but not play THAT softly when I'm playing something fast. Another way to get rid of this is to raise the strings. That sucks for people like me who like to play high stuff at times. It also sucks for picking hand tapping. Anyways the problem with both of those approaches is that I get just the opposite problem: not enough attack. Playing softly is good but doesn't sound good when you play something thrashy.
Some people pick close to the bridge to get a more powerful attack while avoiding the click of strings on the frets. This does not work for me. I pick with four fingers. There are two problems that arise. First is that my pinky is the closest of the four fingers to the bridge. Because of this every note my pinky plays gets more attack. The second is that my index is the furthest from the bridge. If I try to pick harder with this finger to make up for it's lack of attack (as compared to the pinky) then I get the "clicking" problem again on that finger.

Since I like the sound of the clicking to a certain extent I might want to keep it. But sometimes I don't want it. The problem is that I can pick softer when I want, but not soft enough to get rid of the clicks. Plus if I do manage to pick soft enough to get rid of them, then my volume is too low. If I crank it I will be too loud for the thrashier parts where I do pick hard.
So right now I'm stuck with the Steve Harris syndrome: I can play great sounding fast stuff, but I can't get rid of that click-attack in parts of songs that are supposed to be softer.

Is there anything I can do to fix my problem?

I would just switch to pick but there are two reasons why I don't. First is that I've been playing fingerstyle for 3 years and I've probably playing with a pick in total for 3 hours. Playing with a pick is just very difficult for me. I don't want to have to practice it for at least a year just to become as good at it as I am now at fingerstyle. Secondly I don't really like the sound of a pick as much as I like fingerstyle. It has the attack but it sounds like there is something missing. It needs more bass and tone.

I'd like to buy a fretless, but that's some day in the distant future when I can afford such spending. And I'm also worried that with a fretless I won't have enough attack.

What do you suggest? How do you deal with the clicking problem (if at all)?

Edit: Fixed mistake.
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Last edited by Rattlehead : 2005-04-05 at 14:01.
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  #2  
Old 2005-04-05, 14:47
Zionist Zionist is offline
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The clicking your bass makes isn't bad at all, but if you don't like the clicking, it takes practice to get rid off. Fortunetly for me, I don't have the clicking because I practiced long enough to disable it when I want to. The only advice I can give you is to practice, practice, practice.
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  #3  
Old 2005-04-05, 15:21
Rattlehead Rattlehead is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zionist
The clicking your bass makes isn't bad at all, but if you don't like the clicking, it takes practice to get rid off. Fortunetly for me, I don't have the clicking because I practiced long enough to disable it when I want to. The only advice I can give you is to practice, practice, practice.


Practice how? Should I practice but playing very softly and making sure I get no clicks and slowly build up my speed? I should have mentioned that my string action is low and my neck is pretty straight so it doesn't take much to get clicking. The only way I can pick hard (somewhat) without clicking is by kind of pulling the string until just before it touches the frets and releasing. When you're playing fast there is no time to "pull" the string, all you do is "strike" the string. Please be more specific.

Oh and do you usually make those clicking sounds or usually avoid it? Or change from one part of a song to another?
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  #4  
Old 2005-04-05, 17:03
Zionist Zionist is offline
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You should practice playing soflty without clicking then increase speed still avoiding the clicking sound, if you hear the clicking sound still just keep repeating until you get it right.

I usually try to avoid the clicking noise while i'm practicing at home or something, but when I play Iron Maiden songs with my band I try to get the clicking sound. Also, if you've ever heard Maiden play live you can hear Steve clicking on parts of the song and not clicking on other parts.
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  #5  
Old 2005-04-07, 15:22
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Local_Hero Local_Hero is offline
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My old bass had low string tension, and it was quite easy to make it click with a little bit more aggression. I have tried several higher tension basses, and none of them clicked(unless I used all my strenght for plucking). You could check into it, maybe it'll help you.
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  #6  
Old 2005-04-12, 15:38
Rattlehead Rattlehead is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zionist
Also, if you've ever heard Maiden play live you can hear Steve clicking on parts of the song and not clicking on other parts.

True. Usually on the higher strings he gets no clicks, because they do move as much. Is this what you mean, or are there other times when he plays low and still doesn't have clicking?

Local Hero, do you mean a bass with a string length longer than 34 inches? Unless you change the size of the strings you buy, or the length of your neck, I thought changing the string tension meant changing the tuning of your bass.

In case anyone asks, I play in standard tuning, so that's not the problem.
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I say do away with it. You can always stand in its former location if you need to make use of the perspective it gave you, but will benefit from the ability to situate yourself in different loci with ease.
Destroy the box.
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  #7  
Old 2005-05-08, 06:16
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blitz906 blitz906 is offline
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If you want to get rid of the clicks....maybe try picking more near the bridge? I play a Fender Jazz (Geddy Lee model) when I'm playing metal....and I always play fingerstyle near the bridge.....right over the Jazz-Pickup with my thumb resting on it.....point being....no clicks, give it a try if you havent already. good luck
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  #8  
Old 2005-05-10, 17:36
hearken hearken is offline
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my suggestion

eq is a valid solution, eq enough to offset the clicking. i really don't see it as a "problem" there are places that you don't want that sound. practicing to be able to control the click is simply becoming more consistent, which is the best option. i love the sound personally. i would use a parametric eq so you can get that upper mid frequency out so as to not be so sensitive to the "clicking". with a parametric you can control the frequency and the width of the band that will effect the boosting or cutting of a specific frequency.
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  #9  
Old 2005-05-11, 08:10
MurderLegendre MurderLegendre is offline
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I used to have this problem, not so much in the studio, but whenever i played live and got into the song a barrage of clicks would follow. Since i didn't really want the clicks at any point, i just raised the action and lowered the front pickup a tiny bit, and now i can hammer away as much as i like without changing the sound.
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  #10  
Old 2005-05-11, 08:46
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Tattered Tattered is offline
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I also used to get this..

More than the action setup and the EQ of your tone, its your fingerstyle.. a lot of people do whats called 'typewriter fingerstyle' when your plucking downwards more than backwards in your fingerstyle.. rather than walking, you wont usually know if your doing it or not.. but just walking across the strings as straight as you can usually perfects it..
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