Alternate picking is the first basic technique of picking you learn. It’s a combination of upstrokes and downstrokes, and made for ultimate speed.
A downstroke is when you push away from you, down onto the string. An upstroke is when you take the pick and brush it up against the string. Hold the pick firmly, but not so tight, otherwise your picking will be very uncontrollable.
Start by playing a downstroke on open E (the thickest string) and then pull the pick back up across the string with an upstroke. It’s really that simple.
Here is a tab taken from my how to play bass guitar with a pick article.
Now try on this riff- and focus on technique before speed!
Also look at some tabs or videos of your favorite band- I’m sure they use alternative picking some way.
If you have any questions, comments, or tips for other bass players to benefit from, leave that below!