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Finger Picking my Tele Question

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by minndogs, Nov 7, 2005.

  1. minndogs

    minndogs TDPRI Member

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    Hi Everyone,
    Only been playing about 3 years now and I am not that experienced a player
    I have been finger picking a lot more lately and am running into some questions as I learn. As far as my technique goes -
    I do not use a thumb pick or finger picks. I use the thumb, index, middle, and ring fingers as this feels very natural to me.
    I am finding that the volume of my higher strings is not as loud as the bass strings that I thumb pick.
    I have adusted the high string side of my bridge pup to compensate a bit. Is this a good choice or, should I learn to pluck the strings a lot harder with my fingers to get the volume level loud enough?
    Any advice would be appreciated.
    Thanks much...
     
  2. AJ Love

    AJ Love Friend of Leo's

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    Perhaps. Or, perhaps, pick softer with your thumb. I pick with my fingers 99% of the time, and if I don't focus on my pick attack it is very easy to pick the heavier bass strings harder and louder, there is more string there to "grab onto" and it is easier to pick them "too hard"

    Of course, how you set up your pickups could have something to do with it too
     
  3. sidneystreet

    sidneystreet Tele-Afflicted

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    My advice is similar, and I also play fingers-only a great deal of the time, and hybrid-style the rest. As long as your pickups are adjusted reasonably, perhaps with the bass side a little lower than the treble side, you will just gradually learn to produce even dynamics. Classical players spend countless hours working on solid even tone across the instrument. The Telecaster is no different.

    One thing to try is using a little more nail on your fingers. This will brighten the tone a little on the higher strings, and be perceived as louder and clearer than a flesh only approach. I use both techniques simultaneously to achieve more variety in tone, and volume.
     
  4. Darrell

    Darrell Friend of Leo's

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    IMO

    the beauty of finger picking is the wide array of choices you have for pick attack, particularly with lead playing.

    I have been finger picking now for about 8 years. It took me at least 3 before I worked on using a thumb pick. I probably never would have gone to a thumb pick, but I wanted to get a steady up and down movement from the low notes. I could never get that with just a thumb.

    What ever gets you there. Raising or lower the pup or changing the attack. Whichever gets you the result you desire. Don't be affraid of an unorthidox setting to get your what you want.

    Just remember, you are still learning, and the settings that you like today, may not be the settings you like 6 months from now...so you will be changing these settings again, as your style improves.
     
  5. Bill

    Bill Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    One thing I'd check--next time you're in a guitar store, try playing on an OM-style acoustic. They are pretty evenly balanced from string to string. If you play just like you do with the electric, and the bass string is still way too loud, the problem is probably with your thumb and you need to ease up on it and/or make sure you use the meat side of your thumb and not the nail to quiet things down a bit.

    I'm no expert, but with time you should be able to choose when to bring out the bass, middle, or top voices of the guitar by the way you control your picking fingers. Right now, you're approaching it like a bass player! (Time to give the rest of the band on your right hand a chance.) ;)
     
  6. Durtdog

    Durtdog Poster Extraordinaire

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    I've been fingerpicking for 25 years, and I see two ways to do it: PICK the strings, (fingernails or fingerpicks) or PLUCK them (grab and drop). I prefer plucking...it's not as fast, but I get much greater control, tone, and balance. Even when doing the hybrid (flatpick and fingers) I prefer plucking.

    Try it, you might like it.
     
  7. Boudreaux

    Boudreaux Tele-Meister

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    Yep...

    Get a little meat (finger meat, that is) under those strings.

    Later on, when you're running double stops you'll really be able to get some punch out of the treble strings that way.

    Spyder said so...RIP bud.
     
  8. kevinsagan

    kevinsagan TDPRI Member

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    I played classical guitar for several years before picking up electric guitar. I play almost exclusively with my fingers. The same finger techniques with which I get good tone on my classical guitar are different that those which I use on my Telecaster.

    With the Telecaster, in order to get even tone off the treble strings or emphasize the melody, I rotate my hand back into an almost palm mute position without actually muting the strings. I don’t move my picking hand up and down to play the strings midrange, I keep my hand somewhat anchored closer to the bass strings. From that position the longer reach forces each successively weaker finger to put more flesh on the string and in my case gives me a better attack. I use a slightly in toward the body stroke on the strings and let them roll around and off the finger.

    Since this is a flesh on string picking stroke it doesn’t destroy my fingernails and I can still play classical guitar.

    Hope this helps.
     
  9. Mur

    Mur Tele-Afflicted

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    Another idea is flatpick and two metal finger picks ala James Burton and Bob Warford. One of my all time fave tele leads is Burton on Rick Nelson's "Hello Marylou".
     
  10. racehorse

    racehorse Tele-Meister

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    You can`t go wrong , studying classical right hand technique.
    This is all about , control such as finger independance , how to birng out this voice , that voice etc.

    study different contemperary finger style players.

    Martin Taylor, dosn`t use picks, Jazz

    Scotty Anderson , uses a thumb pick, has a video "Red Hot guitar " He has right hand technique so smooth it is amazing to watch , with the sound off!

    Chet atkins, Jerry reed, Tommy emanuel, Brent Mason
     
  11. TG

    TG Doctor of Teleocity

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    I either flatpick or I palm the pick and completely fingerpick. I find the hybrid approach difficult. But the general rule is that there are no rules. You can get ideas and tips off of other players but you just have to work out what works best for you. That's how Jimi Hendrix and Jeff Beck happenned. They didn't/don't follow any rules.
    Jeff Beck doesn't use a pick anymore. His Live in Japan 1999 DVD is good for seeing how he does it.

    Arlen Roth's 'Masters Of The Telecaster' DVD is very good for showing the hybrid picking technique, and it has several good clips of different players so you can compare what they do.
    It's worth getting in any case. Again, you learn the bits from it that suit you.
     
  12. minndogs

    minndogs TDPRI Member

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    Thanks for the advice.

    Lots to think about and work on.
    I am grateful to all the players that have advised me. It really helps to hear from people who are already doing what I am trying to learn.
     
  13. rorschah

    rorschah TDPRI Member

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    I used to lower the bass side of the pups heavily, but found I lost flexibility.

    Try to get it to sound pretty even for regular guitar use. Then work on technique.

    One nice quickie - I palm mute the bass strings a lot. Lately I've been leaving the bass side of the pickup as high as I would on any guitar, palm muting, then pulling the palm mute on and off to change focus between treble and bass strings. A very different effect from changing the picking strength of the fingers. Works very well with fingerpicking on the TEle.

    -thi
     
  14. Wild Rice Chris

    Wild Rice Chris Friend of Leo's

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    Try playing through several different amps also. A tube amp that is compressing slightly can smooth things out in a good way.
     
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