Question relating to plastic fingerpicks

mykljpao

Member
Messages
538
Is there a prefered way to custom fit fingerpicks?

I never realized that I had short pudgy fingers (I knew they were short, just the pudgy part....) until I bought some plastic fingerpicks (size large) for my recently acquired national resorocket.

Is there a prefered way to soften and remould the plasic part that wraps around the tip of the finger so that circulation in my finger can continue unimpeded. The middle finger fit is excellent but the index finger fit is almost painful.

And, metal fingerpicks are not an option right now as I am trying to digest Bob Brozman's technique and he specifically recommends plastic because they stick out farther from the end of the finger.

Any and all help much appreciated.
BTW: Merry Christmas to all y'all.
 

jpfeiff

Member
Messages
723
Well, just because Brozman recommends it doesn't mean it's right for everyone.... I have tried over and over to get used to metal fingerpicks, but finally gave up and just rely on my fingertips and nails. I have heard of guys custom cutting "fingernails" out of ping-pong balls and supergluing them to their real fingernails. Never heard of anyone trying to modify a plastic fingerpick, though. I would either try baking them at low temp or carefully applying a heat gun, but that's just an experimental guess rather than any tried and true wisdom....
 

jackaroo

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,275
Soak them in very hot water for a few moments and mold them to taste. They will feel uncomfortable at first, but there's no other way to get the volume that they provide. You'll get used to it. You may also have the wrong size/thickness. It takes some experimenting to find your preference.

In the end, you might need metal on your fingers and plastic on the thumb to even out the volume between them. Bob is a great player and teacher, but ultimately it's you who's got to play the guitar.

I like the feeling of the strings on my fingers and personally, I like to pop and snap strings way too much to use plastic picks, and I'm a nail biter so I'm kinda stuck...but soon I'll be getting back into it again, as I plan on getting into banjo.
 
Messages
3,977
I used Alaska picks for a while when I had fingernail breakage and needed to play classical guitar... Those are the only ones I have experience with.
 

mykljpao

Member
Messages
538
Thanks for the replies.

Brozman's suggestion of plastic picks is based on the fact that they stick out farther from the fingertip whereas the metal picks wrap closely over the tip. Makes sense to me as I use metal occasionally for lap steel. I actually prefer playing with my fingers directly (on electric I use a pick and my index and ring fingers frequently) but can't tolerate any length on my fingernails.

Jackaroo, thanks for confirming the method that I was considering. I'm sure that I'll get acustomed to them in short order once I adjust the fit slightly. Bare fingertips just don't do justice to the sound of the National, IMHO. As soon as I tried it with fingerpicks, the notes just came alive and leap out of the guitar (all the bad ones too, unfortunately) The metal picks seem a little harsh with the steel body but the plastic, to my ears, sounds just about right.

Now, if I can just get used to heavy strings and (to my electric playing fingers) unconscionably high action to allow for slide, I might actually start to get somewhere with this new endeavor, lol.
 

mykljpao

Member
Messages
538
Have you tried acrylic fingernails?

Perhaps due to a lifetime in the construction industry and 2 decades in martial arts, I can't stand to have my fingernails at any appreciable length, lol. I cut them with perhaps 1/16" growth.

I can't even imagine pulling on heavy bronze strings with my fingernails. Nylons, possibly but not a strong attack on a resonator.

Actually, the plastic is working fine having adjusted the one pick slightly larger. Now, if only acquiring the proper technique were as quick and easy...but I'm gettin' there, one mistake at a time, time after time, lol.
 

therealting

Member
Messages
688
Ah ok, was just an idea - I love the sound of fingertip + nail and have gone acrylic for this reason. The tone is even better now, without the clumsiness (IMO) of fingerpicks. I understand of course that it is possible to get used to them.

Good luck. :)
 

mykljpao

Member
Messages
538
Actually, I agree wholeheartedly. Both with the improved sound and versatility of being able to use fingerpad and/or nail and most definitely with the clumsy factor. Your solution is just not an option I can live with for the 90% of my life in which I am not playing. Thanks for the suggestion though and I'm glad that you found a great working answer for your style/technique.

Happy New Year
 
Messages
3,977
The Alaska picks are cool because you put it on your finger and then use a nail file to shape the "nail" how you prefer, and the fingertip side is wedged between your finger and your nail, so you get very good control *almost* as if it were your real fingernail...
 

gppsofla

Member
Messages
1
But it has been a slippery slope since the last set disintegrated years ago. I have spent countless hours, buying nasty finger picks in shops, and reshaping them (searing my fingers in the process) as best as I could. Then one day, about 5 years ago (about 2007) I met a metal worker/artist in Pittsburgh PA. I showed her my remaining Kent pick and asked if she could reproduce it, and she said, "Yes!" I gave her my pick and a few weeks later she offered me a quite nice replica, in a brass metal. To the point, after some dialog, a few iterations later, Jan produced a set of silver finger pick (3) for $99, which I treasure. If you want to get a set, her email is jan@metalier.com and I don't even know if she has the time to make more or if the price would be more now (cost of silver). But they are so worth it if she would! Or find a metal worker/sculpturer in your area and have fun!
 

strat56

Member
Messages
1,169
Is it the tone of the plastic picks? Couldn't you bend a metal pick to stick out further past the end of your finger?
 

lamenlovinit

Member
Messages
3,843
I use white national fingerpicks. They expand over time on their own. So get a size that goes on, and doesn't cut off your circulation. Eventually they cycle from my index to middle finger as they expand, then I toss them when they are too big for my middle.

I'm not a woman who dresses up, I'm a guy. But I'm guessing it's like high heels. They are all uncomfortable the when you first start. You get used to it. And eventually you can tell good ones from bad ones.

And yes metal can never do what plastic does. metal ones are more like metal fingertips. Plastic ones are more like long, thick, unbreakable fingernails that arc away from the strings instead of towards them. And for what Bob Brozman does they are the right choice.

Stick with it. Find a set that doesn't hurt, and remember "heel-toe, heel-toe, heel-toe"
 




Trending Topics

Top Bottom