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Need help with my right-hand strumming

mtmartin71

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
5,015
I'd call myself somewhere between an intermediate and advanced guitarist...closer to intermediate. Over the years, my right-hand technique has developed such that I strike the strings when doing rhythmic stuff with the top (nail-side) of my index finger first and then on the pick as I come down through the chords. Basically, it wears the middle, end part of my fingernail out on my index finger and can get painful when it's exposed. When I play lead lines, I anchor my pick hand such that I don't strike the strings that way and don't have that problem.

Where I'm at is I have a very comfortable feel for my current play right now. Is there a way I can improve this without having to completely relearn my right-hand techniques? Anyone else play like this and have the same problem?
 

stevel

Member
Messages
14,737
I'd call myself somewhere between an intermediate and advanced guitarist...closer to intermediate. Over the years, my right-hand technique has developed such that I strike the strings when doing rhythmic stuff with the top (nail-side) of my index finger first and then on the pick as I come down through the chords. Basically, it wears the middle, end part of my fingernail out on my index finger and can get painful when it's exposed. When I play lead lines, I anchor my pick hand such that I don't strike the strings that way and don't have that problem.

Where I'm at is I have a very comfortable feel for my current play right now. Is there a way I can improve this without having to completely relearn my right-hand techniques? Anyone else play like this and have the same problem?
You got a case of "bad-habit-itis" my friend.

I've got to say, I just had the same thing happen to me within the last couple of days. But I caught myself doing it and have already corrected it.

I'm afraid to say it, but I think you're going to have to "unlearn" this habit.

Maybe you should try finger picking for a while to get you a "clean slate"

Since you don't typically pick with your index finger's nail side when fingerpicking, you'll be forcing your finger to move in the opposite direction of what it does when you have the pick in there. Maybe that will help???

(p.s., there's nothing wrong with picking in this way but to me it's more for an effect, or a specific type of sound, than something I would play all the time).


Good Luck,

Steve
 

Squatch

Member
Messages
236
I had/have the same problem. i notice it more with funk or more accented strumming patterns, where im really digging in for stronger dynamics, feel, and swing accent. i have diminished the wear on my index greatly in 2 ways (not saying they're correct or by the book, it's just worked for me!)

1. use a slightly heavier pick and strum with a little less intensity, similar sounds with less force. Sounds annoying because you have to break a "comfort zone" but as you said... your "comfort zone" is killing your index so something must change!

2. i started using tomo's (AYGP) warm-up techniques, both single notes lines, and strumming (no this is not an info-mercial). I thought "hey that guy strums the bee-jeezus out of his funk riffs... how come his finger isn't killing him?" So, yes... i'm re-teaching myself to not angle my pick so much... but remember that angled pick is a big part of a certain "style/sound"- that choke'd up on the pick sound. so u have to find the happy medium- that's what im shootin for?

So far my playing's better and so is my finger.

just my $.02
 

The Captain

Member
Messages
12,718
There was a thread about nail damage a few weeks back, and pretty much everyone chimed in and said their index nail takes a beating.
 

timryan257

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
335
I've had the same problem for a long time, to the point of sometimes bleeding on my guitar during gigs, and much discomfort after gigs [the adrenalin sorta keeps the pain at bay during the gig] -- happy to say that I don't any longer, and not because I changed my technique. A friend gave me a bottle of Nail Rebuilding Protein [yeah, like clear nail polish] and I haven't had any nail damage on my index finger since I started applying it regularly. I'm so loving the absence of pain ! Not to say that a change in technique wouldn't help address the root of the problem, but I highly recommend checking out this more superficial solution.
 

mtmartin71

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
5,015
I've had the same problem for a long time, to the point of sometimes bleeding on my guitar during gigs, and much discomfort after gigs [the adrenalin sorta keeps the pain at bay during the gig] -- happy to say that I don't any longer, and not because I changed my technique. A friend gave me a bottle of Nail Rebuilding Protein [yeah, like clear nail polish] and I haven't had any nail damage on my index finger since I started applying it regularly. I'm so loving the absence of pain ! Not to say that a change in technique wouldn't help address the root of the problem, but I highly recommend checking out this more superficial solution.
Thanks guys. I think it's because I really dig in hard on the strings with my strumming. I backed off and notice a little difference.

I'm going to try this nail rebuilding protein stuff though and see if that works first. I'm able to do what I want guitar-wise with a certain feel and the less I have to change that technique up, the better. At least I have some ideas now.

Where does one find this nail rebuilding protein?
 

mtmartin71

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
5,015
There was a thread about nail damage a few weeks back, and pretty much everyone chimed in and said their index nail takes a beating.
I found it. Should have looked before. Very informative. It seems like many just let it take a beating. I use Dunlop Ultex picks, the heaviest guage. Maybe I should try a larger pick in size.
 

The Captain

Member
Messages
12,718
I found it. Should have looked before. Very informative. It seems like many just let it take a beating. I use Dunlop Ultex picks, the heaviest guage. Maybe I should try a larger pick in size.

I bet it maes littel difference. You will likely just choke down and strum how you want to. BUt guve iut a go, ya never know.
Yellow Tortex, about 0.73 I think, are nice strumming picks. The purple Gator Grips, 0.96 are good too, a bit stiff obviously.
 

timryan257

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
335
I think you can find the nail rebuilding stuff at the drugstore, wherever they sell nail polish, not sure as mine was a gift and i haven't had to refill yet. I guess women who wear their nails long but have thin nails use it to keep their nails from splitting and breaking. I highly recommend you try it for a week or two, it has made a huge difference for me.
 

Sadhaka

Member
Messages
1,306
How are you holding your pick? If you tuck your index finger in so as it points back down your thumb it might prevent the nail from contacting the strings so much...
 




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