Watch the Pick & The Fingers online guitar lesson by Stu Hamm from Learn Bass 1: First Steps for Beginners
One of the first decisions that you'll have to make is how you're going to pluck the notes. Will you use your fingers, or will you use a pick? Most often times use their fingers, but there are times when the pick is used to give a different tone and for different styles of music.
We'll be using our fingers in this course, but if you are going to use a pick, you need to choose which way you'll stroke the strings. Some bass players' go to stroke is going down, and some go up. Up may be a little more natural for people who are used to using their fingers, as it's the same direction. Keep your hand loose, and don't hold the pick too tight.
When using your fingers, you alternate between your first and second fingers to play the notes. You don't have to pull the strings very hard to get a sound. Just rest your fingers on the bottom of the strings, and as you pluck it, you're just pulling the string towards your body. A nice, even stroke will help you achieve what you want. Remember: we're playing music, so it has to sound good!