Anyone else play w/o a pick?

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by JayLock, Feb 17, 2009.


  1. JayLock

    JayLock Member

    Messages:
    194
    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2008
    Location:
    Syracuse, NY
    I was just wondering who else out there plays w/o a pick, and what the advantages/disadvantages of it are. I'm seriously considering stopping using a pick.
     
  2. Jwoo

    Jwoo Member

    Messages:
    183
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2008
    Location:
    Baltimore, MD
    There's a band called Relient K. The lead singer doesn't use a pick. I had no idea...
     
  3. cheetah77

    cheetah77 Supporting Member

    Messages:
    754
    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2008
  4. quinnamps

    quinnamps Member

    Messages:
    1,224
    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2007
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ.
    Only thing in my coin pocket is lint.

    I do however use one a lot, however half the time it is folded up between two fingers that are busy picking.

    Hybrid picking is cool too.

    I like plectrums just fine but never worry if there is none handy.
     
  5. Austinrocks

    Austinrocks Member

    Messages:
    7,026
    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2007
    jeff is certainly the most famous, Mark knopfler, Mike Oldfield has very distinctive no pick style, check out their videos on youtube, lindsay buckingham, noticed steve hackett was not using a pick for a lot of his stuff.

    I go back and forth, I am left handed playing righty, so finger picking has always been easier, but I do use a normal but find the hybrid picking drives me nuts, used a thumb pick for years, finally got tired of trying to find the perfect thumb pick, and use the calous on my thump.

    no pick really opens up my playing, Mark Knopfer drives me nuts to watch, just one style, really just play like I am holding a pick without the pick, tapping is easy, don't have to figure out how to hold the pick, now if I just tap worth a damn. I can get false harmonics using my index finger nail, that was what kept me hooked on the picks and I am better with a pick TBH on the false harmonics,

    the thumb pick was used to get the bass palm mutes in travis picking, and it does make it easier, just limited me to that style of music,

    my teacher taught me the important rule for finger picking, keep the finger nails short, which suprised me since he had classical guitarist nails, and play with the pads the nails keep you from doing an upstroke and realy sound horrid, the pads are solid and much more consistant.
     
  6. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    16,439
    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2002
    Most of my playing is without a pick. I certainly can use a pick, but I have a lot more control and flexibility playing fingerstyle.
     
  7. jazzandmetal?

    jazzandmetal? Supporting Member

    Messages:
    8,663
    Joined:
    May 14, 2006
    Clean and plugged in, I don't usually use a pick. W/ Distortion and acoustic I do.
     
  8. wichita

    wichita Supporting Member

    Messages:
    8,160
    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2002
    Location:
    AUSTIN
    I haven't used one in years and I really like not using one.
    I have found that the connection with the guitar is a lot better for me.
    Better dynamics.
     
  9. re-animator

    re-animator Senior Member

    Messages:
    8,255
    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2007
    Location:
    New York/San Diego
    I certainly play more fingerstyle acoustic guitar, but I often employ a fingers only approach to electric. A few things are holding me back from entirely abandoning the pick, but I get a lot of mileage out of my fingers.


    IMO, its a big deal especially when you play a strat. There's so much you can do with that guitar, that you really want to have as many fingers free as possible. Trem arm, muting, riding the tone/volume controls, harmonics, and of course the intense dynamic range that you can get with your fingers that you just can't with a pick are all good reasons to go fingerstyle.

    About 85% of the time, I just use a jazz iii. They're so small, its easy to palm them for a lot of fingerstyle playing . When I don't have a pick at all though, I feel really unchained because you get to use that extra finger.

    also I tend to use thumb picks sometimes.... its tough to build dexterity with them though.
     
  10. jmcerlain

    jmcerlain Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,364
    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2002
    Location:
    New York City
    I do both. There are advantages and necessities to both in my mind. For an extreme example, try playing a Metallica riff without a pick. Conversely, try playing the Stairway To Heaven intro with a pick. You see my point.

    I love the direct connection and tone you can get with just my fingers but if you look at Beck, he doesn't really play "rhythm" guitar at all. Knophler's approach is similar in that the style of music he plays doesn't require a pick. So as a working musician and professional I need to be able to do both. I'll just tuck my pick between my 1st +2nd fingers when I want to use my fingers. Hybrid picking is great as well.
     
  11. JayLock

    JayLock Member

    Messages:
    194
    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2008
    Location:
    Syracuse, NY
    Yeah, I just started using my fingers, employing flamenco style strumming. I have used my middle finger for popping along w/ my pick for the past few years, and have started working on dropping the pick. The only thing is that for funk it's so my easier w/ a pick. I may start trying to figure out a way to subconsciously hold the pick in my hand while playing fingerstyle.
     
  12. CharAznable

    CharAznable Member

    Messages:
    14,190
    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2008
    Location:
    Leesburg, VA
    I do both. I really have a lot more facility for playing without a pick. I should stop using picks and start developing my finger playing more.
     
  13. Marty s Horne

    Marty s Horne Member

    Messages:
    2,902
    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2004
    Location:
    Palmetto, Florida
    My band's sax player is an accomplished fingerstyle guitarist. When he's not playing sax in the band, he plays acoustic/electric guitar and never uses a pick. I use a pick and my remaining fingers.
     
  14. buddastrat

    buddastrat Member

    Messages:
    14,698
    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2005
    I like to do different styles. chickn' pickin' stuff or classical style, hybrid or flatpick. It's all important and like jmcerlain said, use what fits the music.
     
  15. elkym

    elkym Member

    Messages:
    1,323
    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2007
    Location:
    Provo, UT
    Occasionally I use a pick... but most of the time it's my thumb. I feel weird playing chords with a pick, not sure why, though.
     
  16. DS88

    DS88 Member

    Messages:
    787
    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2009
    Location:
    Netherlands/Australia
    I usually switch using both fingers and a flatpick. Whenever I switch to fingers only I move the pick between my middle and index finger and just leave it there, untill I need it again. Works for me..
     
  17. Guinness Lad

    Guinness Lad Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    15,327
    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2004
    Location:
    On top a mountain of Chocolate Chips
    I don't use a pick anymore, it's been 15 years with and 15 without. I stopped using it because I got tired of the tension in my wrist and the constant fight to keep hold of the damn thing.

    Pick - better for crisp biting type stuff, two note chugging, sweep picking, really fast lines, but not always.

    Fingers - any picking with string skips, playing notes within chords, playing bass lines while doing chords, chord melody. For solos I can play just as fast w/o the pick as with it my solos are a little different then they used to be but that could just be more time on the instrument.
     
  18. ptgold

    ptgold Member

    Messages:
    1,141
    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2008
    Ive been practicing fingerstyle recently but getting that callous to form on your thumb hurts like a b$%&! Its true that it could be limited as Id think youd have a hard time playing riffs...be they rock or metal without a pick...especially metal
     
  19. GovernorSilver

    GovernorSilver Member

    Messages:
    11,975
    Joined:
    May 30, 2007
    I'm happy with my progress with hybrid picking. It did not come naturally to me at all, so I had to put quite a bit of time into the open string drills presented in the Assis-Brasil book. I got the hang of it though.

    I've been an admirer of the acoustic fingerstyle approaches used by Kaki King, Andy McKee, Preston Reed, etc. so I'm starting to get more into that kind of stuff. McKee, Antione Dufur (another great player!), and others provide written arrangements, some free, some paid, making it easier to learn their tunes. I realized this when I noticed almost all of Sungha Jung's Youtube videos mention the author of the arrangement he used for a performance. I finally got a decent solid top acoustic and look forward to trying my hand at this stuff.
     
  20. Kingbeegtrs

    Kingbeegtrs Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,926
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2008
    Location:
    Lufkin, Texas
    I have never owned or used a pick in my life. I've always considered a pick to be like using one finger. There are things that I can't do that I could probably do with a pick, but there are many things that I can do that I couldn't do with a pick. I have this really thick burr on the edge of my thumb that out performs any pick made.
     

Share This Page