MEGADETH’s DAVID ELLEFSON On Why He Switched From Playing Bass With Fingers To Playing With A Pick

In an interview with, MEGADETH‘s bassist David Ellefson was asked why he opted for a pick instead of playing bass with his fingers, to which he replied (as transcribed by

“Well, when I very first started I played with fingers.

“Then I pretty quickly moved to a pick because it helped me play louder and cleaner and clearer so I could be heard through the guitars.

“And to me it wasn’t, ‘He plays with picks! What would it be like if he played with fingers?’ I just wanted to be more versatile versus the funk techniques which had no place in any music that I write.

“I wanted to be skilled as a bass player, so I learned all kinds of stuff – fretless, different things…

“When we started Megadeth I was predominantly doing finger stuff. But I realized as the tempo sped up, [the pick] grooved better with the drums.

“I was actually able to put guitar parts, and the guitar parts were played with a pick. And I was very comfortable with it. I’m not a snob, whatever is required for a song that’s what you should use.”

During the rest of the chat, Dave was asked to single out what he sees as the funniest moment in MEGADETH history, to which he replied:

“I remember this pretty funny one. We were playing in Vancouver, I think on a Judas Priest tour.

“We had pedalboards at the time, we played ‘Holy Wars,’ and Marty [Friedman] wanted the clean tone.

“And this [fan] in front of the stage started grabbing his leg. ‘Marty you’re God!’ And Marty couldn’t get the clean tone, and his guitar was ‘BOING, BOING, BOING…’

“This tender soft moment where the entire arena is paying attention to Marty, and his fighting with this fan to get him off his foot.

“Those are just one of many. It’s usually the dumbest things that happen that seem embarrassing at the time, but it’s pretty funny.”