Finger-Picking: Nails? Flesh? Both? | Page 3 | 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

    56 vote(s)
    51.4%
  2. Fingernails

    13 vote(s)
    11.9%
  3. Both

    40 vote(s)
    36.7%
  4. Finger Picks

    4 vote(s)
    3.7%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Morkolo

    Morkolo

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2010
    Location:
    Western Newfoundland
    I love the sound of the bare thumb but when I play with my father who is a heavy strummer it gets hard to have any volume without the thumbpick. I've tried fingerpicks and could never get used to them, I could only liken it to someone putting huge rings around the ends of my fingers and then attempt to play something intricit. It's just not going to happen with me haha.
     
  2. Andy Fake

    Andy Fake Banned

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2010
    Location:
    Montreal Quebec
    I am absolutely terrible at finger-picking these years.

    I use to be somewhat ok at it once....it was a HUGE hurdle for me to cross; way back when.
    Both a phsychological(sp?) and physical hurdle.

    Back then i ended up contacting the strings with both flesh and nail.....i sound like Vincent Price.....though i first started off with nail only....then went to flesh only...to end with the combo....almost sounds like the combo # 5, with mustard and some ketchup with no mayo buy yet pickles and onions yet no bacon but still yet called a bacon burger with tomatoes and stuff yet.

    Ha.
    Fancy that.

    But!!!

    A guitar player should also practice holding the pick with the index and thumb(as normal?) while using the other left-over three fingers to finger pick.

    It becomes easy with practice.....like almost most things. Ha.


    ...most chords require finger-picking....it doesn't seem like this is true because we intelligently avoid using those chords....Ha.




    Fake with The Early Settlers
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2010
  3. Jim DaddyO

    Jim DaddyO

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2009
    Location:
    C4th, On
    Just getting into finger picking....man it's hard! Just using my fingertips as my nails are short because, well, I have worked all my life with my hands and pretty nails just don't cut it in that world.
     
  4. Andy Fake

    Andy Fake Banned

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2010
    Location:
    Montreal Quebec
    But this is what worked for me!

    Very short nails(i.e. trim/file them all the way down...);
    Yet still use the fleshed padded part of the finger too/simultaneously!!!!!!!!!!...sometimes the fleshy pad alone...sometimes in conjunction with the nail(even though its filed as low as you can file it).


    But this obviously won't be to everyone's fancy....this is a matter of STYLE!





    Andy CrampWrist Fake
     
  5. 3vz180

    3vz180 Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2009
    Location:
    East Coast
    After seeing some great finger stylist using fake nails,I tried them and they work great! You might get a few looks and questions about what's wrong with your nails.I use 3 on 2nd 3rd and 4th fingers as i can use both flat pick and thumb pick. Trim them with clippers and file fairly short.Great for acoustic and electric.I can 't get the attack without them.
     
  6. Bevo

    Bevo

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2006
    Location:
    Toronto
    Intersting topic!

    I have been spending some time trying to learn and have just been using fingers no nails.
    Its coming along as I am teaching myself using classical music.
     
  7. Moosehead

    Moosehead

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2011
    Location:
    Niagara
    I dont play with my fingers as much as i used to when i was just learning to play ('94) but im playing a lot more electric guitar these days.
    I owe any fingerpicking technique to my guitar teacher (big ups Jeff Bond!) who was big into classical guitar. So I still have the ability but it needs some polishing to say the least.

    I use both flesh and nails but i never grew my nails out too long or they would get in the way. My thumb nail was probably the only one that I let get longer than the rest.
    As was said before I too feel a connection between me and the guitar when i use my fingers but i like fingerpicking more on an acoustic or classical guitar not so much on electric.
    That said its harder to do on an electric but the tones and dynamics open up a whole new dimension.
     
  8. bw66

    bw66

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2009
    Location:
    Uxbridge, ON
    I was at a workshop two weeks ago for the launch of the new Royal Conservatory guitar curriculum. I found it interesting that after grade four, they start docking marks for not having fingernails - the thinking being that not having fingernails severely limits your tonal palette.
     
  9. hummingway

    hummingway

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2011
    Location:
    Gabriola, British Columbia
    I really prefer the sound of nails and when I have a broken one it really affects my playing.

    I've been playing about 45 years and have used many approaches. For a long time I played with pick and two fingers most of the time but have always finger picked on an acoustic at times. About 8 years ago I began experimenting with just fingers on electric as well and 5 years ago made the switch. I've played many styles and instruments but began concentrating on a original latin jazz acoustic thing playing only nylon strings about 2 years ago and finally was able to grow my nails in. I've begun playing electric again and it's really important that I file a nail if it begins to fray. In fact staying on top of filing my nails is an important part of having them survive. I like to sail and have a sailboat. I'm conscientious about wearing gloves if I'm working on the engine or doing anything that might bust a nail. It makes it difficult playing piano and I rarely play acoustic steel string for fear of wearing the nails out but I think it's worth it.
     
  10. ccuwan

    ccuwan

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2008
    Location:
    Arden
    modified thumb pick

    I too had great difficulty adjusting from thumb play to thumb pick play. The scale was all screwed up as the pick stood so far from the edge of my thumb. The change was too great to adjust to on short notice. What I've been doing and it works great for me is file down the thumb pick until it extends just past the edge of my thumb. I find this is much more comfortable than the great extension on an unmodified pick. The pick in the picture is the basic Dunlop thumb modified to my needs.

    As for preference, I'm primarily a slide player and I must agree that the level of control and subtle tonal changes that can be achieved with flesh are for my style superior to using a pick of any kind. However, if playing acoustic with a second player who insists on using a flat pick is in the cards then I find the subtleties are buried in the volume of the second instrument anyway so out comes the modified thumb pick and a couple of brass finger picks.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. hummingway

    hummingway

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2011
    Location:
    Gabriola, British Columbia
    That's a good idea. It won't help with the finger picks though since my nails extend out. I'm actually adjusting my picking to play softer on the steel strings and it isn't quite so devastating on the nails. I've always had a pretty brutal attack but I guess you're never to old improve. Playing a nylon string has done a lot to improve my right hand I think.
     
  12. wingsfan

    wingsfan

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2010
    Location:
    Sarnia Ontario
    I use both, pad of my thumb for 5th and 6th string base rythm and usually nails for the rest. I've almost forgotten how to use a pick.
    I'm afraid I'll start dropping them inside my flat tops again lol.
     
  13. Simonstoneblues

    Simonstoneblues

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2012
    Location:
    London
    I use fingers. I'm in the building trade and nails have a short life expectancy there! Lol
     
  14. bw66

    bw66

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2009
    Location:
    Uxbridge, ON
    Adam Rafferty just wrote a blog post on this topic:

    https://artistdata.sonicbids.com/ada...d-technique-nails-vs-flesh-mar-19-2012/105217

    Worth reading in its entirety, but to summarize:
    and
     
  15. ampaholic

    ampaholic Gold Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2006
    Location:
    NB
    I've tried a bunch of different things but for me what works best is a Herco thumb pick and two fingers (no nail) for electric. I like the dual purpose of the Herco but I find they wear out really quick.
    There are not a lot of unique options out there for thumb picks although I am anxious to try the new one from Vpicks. Only problem is that it appears they are $25 each!
     

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