Finger-Picking: Nails? Flesh? Both? | Page 2 | The Canadian Guitar Forum

Finger-Picking: Nails? Flesh? Both?

Discussion in 'Theory and Technique' started by david henman, Jun 2, 2009.

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How Do You Fingerpick?

  1. Flesh/Fingertips

    57 vote(s)
    51.4%
  2. Fingernails

    13 vote(s)
    11.7%
  3. Both

    41 vote(s)
    36.9%
  4. Finger Picks

    4 vote(s)
    3.6%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. zontar

    zontar

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2007
    Location:
    Somewhere around here
    I went back and took a couple of years of classical lessons as an adult when I was teaching myself. It helped a lot, although I don't play classical a lot, and I'm sure I've forgotten a lot--but I still enjoy playing classical now & then, and the right hand technique helped with some other stuff as well.
     
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  2. eric_b

    eric_b

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2008
    Location:
    N/A
    I flat pick or finger pick, with or without thumb and finger picks, depending on the instrument and/or sound or style I'm trying to play.
     
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  3. pdks

    pdks

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    One fairly unique style that I've tried to copy, but have never really got the hang of, is Richard Thompsons. Rolling Stone put him in the top 20 of their top 100 guitarists of all time.

    He uses a pick for the low three strings, and his three fingers (incl pinky) for the three high strings.


    Quite the player....
     
  4. montreal

    montreal

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2008
    i've been playing almost exclusively with my fingers since i saw jeff beck in 1974. the other players who led me down this path include stephen stills, lindsay buckingham and pete townshend. i never have to worry about not having a pick........although i have to pull out my vintage jazzIII pick for those occaisonal moments when i feel like shredding.............
     
  5. Key_of_Off

    Key_of_Off

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    Amen to that.

    Mark Knopfler's another guitarist who's got me trying more fingerwork on the electric as opposed to just the acoustic.
     
  6. breakfast

    breakfast

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2009
    Location:
    Edmonton, AB
    I use my fingertips seeing as how I have little to no extruding nail. I rarely fingerpick, though.
     
  7. bw66

    bw66

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2009
    Location:
    Uxbridge, ON
    Lately, I'm fingerpicking about 95% of the time. Years ago, when my instructor first introduced me to fingerpicking I used fingerpicks, but I found it was always hard to keep track of 4 separate picks when I was switching back & forth between fingerpicking and flatpicking. For a long time I went with just a thumbpick and would hold it like a flatpick when I was flatpicking - Herco used to make thumbpicks that did double duty. Now I just use bare fingers. I keep the nails on my fingers just long enough to get a bit of bite on the string, but most of my tone comes from the pads of the fingers. The thumb is all flesh - I've tried to grow my thumbnail long enough to use it but I find that I'm always catching it on things and I've given up.
     
  8. mrmatt1972

    mrmatt1972

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2008
    Location:
    Espanola, On
    Thanks to a minor table saw accident, my thumbnail is essentially another pick, so it's always doing the alternating bass Travis thing during my "pickless" times. The next three fingers are both pad and nail depending on the tine and how long ago I cut my nails.
     
  9. keeperofthegood

    keeperofthegood

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2008
    Location:
    Burlington, Ontario
    Im finger picking on my re-set-up-to-be-a-uke little guitaralelle @[email protected] LOL pulled off the 6 strings put on new uke strings and went. The trouble with my nails is that my psoriasis mutilates them frequently, and my tips simply sound better. I do have some felt picks on their way from the UK though. From https://myworld.ebay.ca/feltrums/ the item "Ukulele Ukelele Banjo Bass Plectrum Sample Pack Of 5"
     
  10. Gazoo

    Gazoo

    Joined:
    May 3, 2010
    Location:
    Saskatchewan
    A great question and one that made me remember why I like it here so much.

    I have found while playing acoustic guitar I really prefer flesh on strings for two reasons. First I prefer the tone I can achieve this way with little or no effort. Picks of any kind on my acoustic tend to have a harsh or shrill sort of a sound where as fingers have a really mellow sound but without being muddy or too thick. Second it allows me much better control when playing. My playing hand is in a better position to grab the strings and snap them or gently glance off them, I can slide my hand forward ever so slightly to mute or slide it back if I want to tighten everything up. For some odd reason its just much more comfortable and effortless this way.
     
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  11. OldSoulBluesMan

    OldSoulBluesMan

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    I gave up on using picks years ago. The constant search for a pick on stage when ones were dropped wasnt as much fun as you'd think.

    I've grown to really appreciate the intricacies you can implement when using fingers. So many subtlties to tone it's unreal. I find myself limited when using a flat pick because there are so many different rhythm variations to be done with fingers that a flatpick just cannot emmulate.

    But when strumming chords, I hold my thumb and index as if I'm holding a flat pick. This lets my fingernails strike the strings instead of my fingertips resulting in a crisper tone.

    So I suppose I use a mix of both.

    On fingerpicks - I can't stand them things. Just don't feel right.
    Ironically my three fav players right now are Tommy Emmanuel, Adam Rafferty and Smokin Joe Robinson and they all swear by thumb picks.

    To each their own. As long as you're happy with the sound :)
     
  12. zontar

    zontar

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2007
    Location:
    Somewhere around here
    I've been using fingers a lot more these days, but I doubt I'll ever give up using picks.
    I won't give up buying them, as I like trying out new ones, and have several more as souvenirs than to actually use.
     
  13. mrmatt1972

    mrmatt1972

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2008
    Location:
    Espanola, On
    I saw Steve earle using this nifty thumbpick that has more of a conventional pick attached. I got 2 a few days ago and now I don't have to choose between pick and fingers, it's always both. Love it. Here's a site with an image:

    Nantel Music Store - Picks / Herco HE113
     
  14. Brigham

    Brigham

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2009
    Location:
    Windsor, Ontario
    I'm a very serious fingerstyle guitarist, and I use only fingernail. I started out in classical guitar, so I guess it's only natural. I think it gives way better tone than fingerpicks or flesh.

    I considered fingerpicks for a while, but then I read and interview of Leo Kottke saying years of using fingerpicks gave him severe joint pain in his fingers, and he eventually switched to using the nails on his fingers and the flesh/nail on his thumb, which is pretty much what I do now.
     
  15. Robert1950

    Robert1950 Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2006
    Location:
    Edmonton
    I only recently tried it again with my living room guitar, but only because I couldn't find a pick and I was feeling too lazy to go downstairs. Of course, I'm trying to play just about the same stuff I would do with a pick and I am not near a good as I am with a pick.
     

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