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More I play, the less I use a pick...

whaiyun

Member
Messages
3,597
Seems like I'm gravitating towards using my fingers more and more, it's almost a hassle using a pick! I don't get the fast attack of the pick, but it seems like I have better control of other aspects of my playing.

Once in a while, I might use a pick for faster songs, but I usually end up flicking the pick between my fingers and going back to finger style.

Oh yes, stop with the umpteenth EVH threads and when is someone going to create a relic guitar picks thread?
 

mbargav

Member
Messages
6,372
I played classical for a good 10 years before I got into electric, so it's always been pickless for me. I do like breaking out a pick to play some surf or funk stuff once in a while, though. I think both have their place & use.
 

teletalkin

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,253
I stopped using a pick 4 or 5 years ago. I believe my control and especially tone has improved as a result.
 
Messages
8,093
Forgive me, but I do not fully understand the "better control" claim. For more intricate, faster playing, I need the precision and facility offered by a flatpick. But, the tone! Electric guitar sounds soooooo much better when I use fingers/thumb!
 

MORE BARN

Member
Messages
1,226
I hardly ever used one, and even after trying to adapt to one, it seems that it always feels as if I have a tennis ball between my hand and the strings. I lose that touch. There are so many articulations that can be made with the fingers-and I know the same can be said for a pick-it just seems (the pick) to be one less thing I need to carry.
 

Nada

Member
Messages
1,044
i tend to jump back and forth between flat- and finger-picking pretty regularly. I also do a lot of hybrid-picking as well (pick and fingers together).
 

MORE BARN

Member
Messages
1,226
I played classical for a good 10 years before I got into electric, so it's always been pickless for me. I do like breaking out a pick to play some surf or funk stuff once in a while, though. I think both have their place & use.
This explains it for me too-I started by playing fingerstyle acoustic blues and folk, so the pick always seemed unnatural for me.
 

Lublin

Senior Member
Messages
3,693
I LOVE playing without a pick, but how do you strum power chords with fingers and not have them sound muddy? The pick is a huge part of an aggressive rock sound.
 

BluesForDan

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
8,423
i tend to jump back and forth between flat- and finger-picking pretty regularly. I also do a lot of hybrid-picking as well (pick and fingers together).
same here. I have no problems with picking up a guitar without any picks around. Jeff Beck was hugely instrumental in my wanting to learn to play with my fingers.

That said, there are certain chord things that just sound better with a pick, so I like having one around.
 

omfg51

Member
Messages
2,915
Props man. Honestly, I've been focusing on how to master ALL aspects of playing, pickless or not. I really enjoy the idea of being a jack of all trades. If you can pick like a madman and make sound good, do it. But don't let that pick just gather dust. Find a reason to use it and hone your skill with it. Can't go wrong there.
 

supergenius365

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
10,869
Why limit yourself to one style? Use fingers when it sounds good. Use a pick when it sounds good.
 

Guinness Lad

Senior Member
Messages
15,860
Quit back in 95' after watching the pick rotate in my fingers when playing live. Before this I always felt like two different guitar players...not any more.
 

mbargav

Member
Messages
6,372
Just curious...when you play with your thumb, are you using the side of your thumb or your fingernail.
I've always kept my thumb-nail long, and only nail hits the string. In tone, it sounds the closest to what I get with a pick. For me at least, the challenging thing going from classical to electric is how much more sensitive electric guitars are to picking dynamics. You don't really notice this playing classical, but your thumb hits the strings much harder than rest of your fingers, and the effect can be pretty jarring on an electric (IME, especially on a humbucker Les Paul). Took a bit of trial and error before I could comfortably use classical RH technique while playing electric.
 

02Singlecut

Member
Messages
2,473
I envy you....ever since I cut the 3 fingers on my right hand off in a home accident, my index and pointer fingers have been numb at the tips. It's like shock therapy if I use those two fingers without a pick.
 

whaiyun

Member
Messages
3,597
I've always kept my thumb-nail long, and only nail hits the string. In tone, it sounds the closest to what I get with a pick. For me at least, the challenging thing going from classical to electric is how much more sensitive electric guitars are to picking dynamics. You don't really notice this playing classical, but your thumb hits the strings much harder than rest of your fingers, and the effect can be pretty jarring on an electric (IME, especially on a humbucker Les Paul). Took a bit of trial and error before I could comfortably use classical RH technique while playing electric.
I have all my nails short, I use the side of my thumb. I also use a compressor in my setup, mildly, but it does help reduce the difference between a pick and my fingers.

I envy you....ever since I cut the 3 fingers on my right hand off in a home accident, my index and pointer fingers have been numb at the tips. It's like shock therapy if I use those two fingers without a pick.
I'm so sorry to hear that. I sometimes take for granted things which others might not have. I've been asked if in a situation what appendage I'd give up.. Hard to say, I love guitar but driving and walking is pretty necessary =(
 

teletalkin

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,253
Forgive me, but I do not fully understand the "better control" claim. For more intricate, faster playing, I need the precision and facility offered by a flatpick. But, the tone! Electric guitar sounds soooooo much better when I use fingers/thumb!
For me it is better control with several things. I think being able to "feel" the string allows for dynamics to improve. Accuracy and precision seemed to improve as well. For smoother sounds I use the fleshy part of the thumb and fingers......for more aggressive tones I lean into the nail a bit. This is purely my take with my style of playing though. To gain the intricate faster playing is possible with just fingers I believe......check out some of Richie Kotzen's playing without a pick. It is quite inspiring.
 

zul

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,330
I was always comfortable with both and eventually evolved to do both at the same time. Most of the time pick and fingers but sometimes just pick or just fingers too. It all depends on what I want to hear. Flesh is warmest and blooms, pick is brighter and immediate, with all sorts of combinations in between.​

Twenty years of this and its like breathing to me but sometimes feel like I'm cheating when I'm reading charts that call for all pick; almost always it's easier for me with pick and fingers. I appreciate the economy of motion while doing both but usually practice both independently too for the obvious developmental advantage and to stay humble.​

Sometimes it's about tone since I feel that I can adjust on the fly when I want finger warmth and in an instant, pick when I want more bite. It's also in the attack and phrasing in that I may dictate the notes than I want emphasized accordingly. So many shades are available along the strings length and certain rock phrases need 'pick aggressive' rather than 'finger assertive'. Fingers can pull, caress, pluck and bounce while picks can scrape, emphasize harmonics, bow, strum, kerrang, and the like. Not to give the impression that I can do all of this at virtuoso levels mind you, just that I may aspire to, with patience and diligence.​

Latest trick for me is to always record everything (iphone) even my daily practice. I don't listen back all the time but will just to check since I have a tendency to be efficient at the expense of original intent.​
 
Last edited:

Strato62

Member
Messages
628
I love playing without a pick. The physical connection to the strings on both hands really challenges me to play better. It helps with the slide playing, too.
 




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