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Do you play electric guitar without a pick? (not traditional fingerstyle)

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by RnBtele, Jun 29, 2017.

  1. 3fngrs

    3fngrs Friend of Leo's

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    Whatever feels right at a given time.

    I played pretty much everything with a pick for many years. Then, about 4 years ago, I got hooked on acoustic and started playing fingerstyle a lot.

    Now I'm alternating between electric and acoustic about 50/50 and I find myself playing my electrics with my fingers quite a bit. Often because I'm too lazy to look for one of the hundreds of picks that are everywhere in my house except where I am!

    My point being, do what feels right in the moment. Or don't. I'm a hack anyway! What do I know?
     
  2. 3fngrs

    3fngrs Friend of Leo's

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    x
     
  3. AJ Love

    AJ Love Friend of Leo's

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    I did for a few decades, but I like the tone better with a pick honestly
     
  4. McGlamRock

    McGlamRock Poster Extraordinaire

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    I love playing with my fingers at home or in quieter environments. I feel I am able to use a lighter touch using my fingers

    The only time I feel like I need a pick is when I do higher gain stuff and need to do pinch harmonics.
     
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  5. wulfenganck

    wulfenganck Tele-Afflicted

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    I used a plectrum but always combined it with fingerpicking. I took a sort of a break from playing in bands and gigging for a couple of years, when I started again back in 2012, I felt uncomfortable with a pick and went completely for fingers. Haven't used a pick ever since and do not miss it.
    Of course I never did shredding or exorbitant metal.
     
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  6. BuckNekkid

    BuckNekkid Tele-Meister

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    Wow, I'm so glad to find that I'm not alone playing without a pick. I have a bunch of picks lying around, but when I start playing with one, I quickly find that I can't play two-string runs and such, and then toss it. And if it's good enough for Jeff Beck, it's good enough for me.
     
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  7. nosuch

    nosuch Friend of Leo's

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    I started playing classical guitar with my fingers and nails, but when I bought my first electric like 36 years ago the guy in the shop told me: "Electric guitar has to be played with a pick". Bollocks, but my 14 year old self obeyed. He also told me that lead has to be played on the lead (bridge) pickup and rhythm on the rhythm (neck) pickup. A lot of misinformation back then. Today I use whatever sounds and feels right for the music, but I still tend to play the electric with a pick and the acoustic without.
     
  8. JL_LI

    JL_LI Friend of Leo's

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    I play finger style about 80% of the time. I usually use my thumb and two fingers but sometimes I thumb pick single notes and sometimes thumb strum. I also do thumb and index finger leads. I play finger style for the softer attack and it's different timbre. I use a pick where I want volume growl and drive. I try new songs with a variety of picking styles to find what works best for me playing it.
     
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  9. Hendrixlvr

    Hendrixlvr Tele-Holic

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    I do the same, depending on whether or not I have a pick handy. I thought the same as you before too, but I’ve found, going from finger to pick and back again only affects my playing if I think about it. If I turn my brain off with regards to what I’m playing with, I don’t really notice a difference. Just my 2c

    What I’m trying to work on now is hybrid picking. Using both pick and fingers at the same time. Again, I only get messed up when I think about what I’m doing lol
     
  10. RoscoeElegante

    RoscoeElegante Friend of Leo's

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    Damn, that's fine playing! But why the hell don't people SHUT up and listen, or let the people trying to listen do so? Go somewhere else, morons, if you're just gonna yammer over the music when the music is good!

    Anyone know a good resistor to put on the world to filter out evil crowd noise like this?
     
  11. mondonegro

    mondonegro TDPRI Member

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    Just seeing this thread. I primarily play with my thumb. I like the way chords sound when I use my thumb vs a pick. I find that I have better control when I use my thumb. Solo's, the same I prefer using my thumb. If I need to "rock" I'll "pick" with my index finger, using the finger tip and top of nail. I will admit, I primary play using downstrokes. I never really mastered the fast funky up-down rhythm thing. I'm really clumsy with a pick, I always drop it and really don't like the way picks feel against the string or the sound of chords with a pick unless I'm playing barre chords. I've, after all these years, been trying to use picks more. So, for chords, if I use a pick, I use a 0.38 mm pick, which pretty dang thin. The funny thing is that when started playing, I used to exclusively use picks, jazz III picks, which are way thick. Over the years, for me the thumb and index finger became my preference because of the tone I got. It is somewhat challenging when I am playing live in a band situation because my sound doesn't come off as aggressive as it probably should.
     
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  12. mondonegro

    mondonegro TDPRI Member

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    Dude, that's the exact same technique I use. Glad I'm not the only one!
     
  13. colchar

    colchar Friend of Leo's

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    What an idiot.
     
  14. colchar

    colchar Friend of Leo's

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    Huh?
     
  15. kafka

    kafka Tele-Afflicted

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    Even when I play with a pick, I still use my middle and index fingers.
     
  16. jsnwhite619

    jsnwhite619 Friend of Leo's

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    Toy Caldwell must have had the heaviest thumb in guitar history for the thick tone he had, but he sure knew how to use it!

    Skip ahead to 5 minute mark if you want to get straight to it.

     
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  17. colchar

    colchar Friend of Leo's

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    I've decided to put some real effort into playing with my fingers rather than using a pick.

    I had some stuff that I wanted to work on so a little while ago I started taking some lessons with an old friend from high school who is a great player, and a good teacher. I talked to him about it last night and his attitude was that, if I can play with my fingers and doing so significantly reduces pain in my wrist then who cares - just go for it.

    So for the foreseeable future the picks are gone and we'll see how I develop using only my fingers.
     
  18. soul-o

    soul-o Friend of Leo's

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    Every time I go see my buddy Richie play, I stop using a pick for a few days. Then I realize I'm not very good at it. He is, though.
     
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  19. colchar

    colchar Friend of Leo's

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    Yeah he is one of the people I looked to for inspiration when I was considering making the change.
     
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