Discussion in 'Theory and Technique' started by david henman, Jun 2, 2009.
Pictures at 11. Stay tuned ..............
I think I need to delete my account before that happens....................
I took beginner lessons from a classic country player - thin soft flatpicks.
Then tried to learn fingerstyle on my own
Then took classical lessons. Willie taught me how to shape my nails and better technique with the right hand for a good sound.
So I grow my right thumbnail quite long and the fingers vary some. Longer if I'm gonna be playing classical and shorter for steel string. Or shorter if I've been hanging drywall and they're worn off
Filing them to a fair edge and keeping a bit of 400 grit autobody sandpaper around to keep them smooth helps with the tone. So does attacking along the round edge of the nail rather than straight on. I sand the edges of my picks smooth and round now too so kind of a nerd in that department.
When I'm nervous I get better tone with a pick since I don't anchor my right hand and get the shakes. But some songs are hard to play hybrid or with a pick. Dire Straits Why Worry is one and more driving stuff like Joey Landreth Runaway Train. If I have a longer set I'll try to put a few songs with a pick first til I get the bugs worked out and leave the fingers till later in the set when I'm settled down.
I'm surprised they wait until that far along before requiring good nails.
I play with short nails and a bit of flesh, which gives me a variety of sounds depending on how rigid my fingertips are. My thumb, when I'm playing a lot, develops a nice callous that sounds good on the bass strings. I also use a two-fingers locked together strum to get a thwonky sound. On electric, I use my thumb a lot for damping and harmonic-ish sounds and thwonky stuff. And then there;s the palm of my right hand. Gets to be an all-body experience. I always drop picks, so I just stopped using them.
I'm kind f surprised by that as I assumed they would have used thick picks, or at least mediums.
Finger-picking as opposed to flat-picking unlocks great things for composition work like chord-melodies and other deliciously polyphonic techniques u can't acheive with flat picking. I use all my fingers to finger-pick but keep a slight nail on my pinky for doing high notes and harmonics.
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