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Fingerpicking - I finally admit it.

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Ed P, May 21, 2010.

  1. Ed P

    Ed P Friend of Leo's

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    I just suck at it. For the last couple of years I've been trying daily - classic, country blues, Albert King style. My fingernails rip easily, so I built up a great set of callouses. Tried it mostly on acoustic and some electric. And STILL I can't get any coordination, no tone, it just sounds like poop.

    So, I've decided to fully embrace the pick and be completely happy with. I'll get as close to Robert Johnson interpretations as I can with a pick.

    Anyone else have a similar experience of getting fed up with fingerpicking and going to an exclusive use of the pick?
     
  2. bender-freak

    bender-freak Friend of Leo's

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    i'm just the opposite. 30+ years ago i showed up for a gig and had forgotten every single pick i owned, instant PANIC..!!! customer had a thumbpick he gave me. i stumbled and farted around with it, but made it thru the first set. by the second set was doing much better. by the end of the night i was having no MAJor problems to speak of. it's been thumbpick and fingers for me ever since. will add that my nails are like iron, tho. guess i'm lucky in that respect.

    now, what few times i try to play with a straight/flatpick, i can't hold on to the little beastie. they fly across the room....
     
  3. smsuryan

    smsuryan Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    i clip my nails off..just use my fleshy fingertips...i had to throw my picks away to resist the temptation when i first started fingerpicking some years ago....now i have pics but never pick em up unless im playing the mandolin...stick with it it will come to you...for what its worth i was classically trained and grew my nails out and learned segovia style...this really didnt help with what i do now though its totally antithetical to how andres taught his students...its my own thang i guess youd say..but its cool to pick up a guitar and have people ask "wheres your pick?" i get that ALL THE TIME lol
     
  4. Geoff738

    Geoff738 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Well, I haven't given up on it - just never really gave it a go.

    Until the past year. And even then, I'm just kinda half hearted about it. Even so, I'm about a kajillion times better than I was. But the bar was so low, I'm still, well, horrible!

    But then, I'm pretty bad at even the stuff I'm good at.

    But this, I will get at least marginally competent at. Some day. Maybe.

    Cheers,
    Geoff
     
  5. BGTele

    BGTele Tele-Afflicted

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    Just a suggestion, a good way to build up coordination between the fingers.....
    form a chord, say, a first position G chord, you know, a cowboy chord.
    Next, pick one bass string, one treble string, one bass string, one treble string. Keep
    that pattern up for a good while. Like a half hour. Stop, then repeat for another half
    hour. Though this may seem too tedious, you probably only have to do this boot
    camp once or twice.
    As you pick during this tortuous period, you'll start to notice a syncopation developing.
    It starts to roll after about 10 minutes. A nice syncopated roll. Your fingers start
    to get educated and sophisticated. If you are digging this, try to play some melody
    notes that fit in the syncopation. Switch to a D chord which has a lot of melody notes
    accessible in the first position. Keep the roll going, dance it. You may or may not try this but if you do, you might notice a big improvement in your timing with fingerpicking. Hope this helps, it is an old fashioned way to learn fingerpicking in the
    great Piedmont tradition.
     
  6. BoogerRooger

    BoogerRooger Poster Extraordinaire

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    I ripped my nails up and got some fingerpicks. I play hybrid and I can't really play without my fingerpicks now. It adds a whole other dimension to playing.

    It did take time to build the coordination, practicing and repeating simple patterns again and again and again, but when you 'break through' it's great.
     
  7. cband7

    cband7 Friend of Leo's

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    Check out www.homespuntapes.com for a bunch of really good training material on just about everything for the guitar (and a lot of other instruments). I've used them for years, highly recommended.


    .
     
  8. Mark Davis

    Mark Davis Telefied Ad Free Member

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    When I first started playing in the mid 60's I kept loosing my pick in the soundhole of my acoustic.

    So after about 2 weeks of frustration I quit using picks and never used one since.

    I do it all with my thumb like Wes Montgomery.
     
  9. J-man

    J-man Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I'm heading the other way.. I hardly play with a pick at all anymore. I find it so much easier to use my fingers, even for doing things that would normally be done with a pick - such as lead work.

    I got better at it by bringing in fingers gradually - I started off just using my thumb and first finger until I was satisfied with my proficency, and then brought my next finger in, and carried on until I ran out of fingers. :)
     
  10. vintageNut

    vintageNut Tele-Holic

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    I have always done both since i started since it was so hard for me to keep up with picks. Recently i have been working on my chicken pickin and grew my nails out only to tear them up pretty badly. Tried finger picks but it just felt strange. Finally i grew my nails out again and stole some of my fiancé's nail hardener. I just pile on about 8 coats and then scratch it up to take away the gloss so it does not look like i am wearing polish. I use a thumb pick with them and it works great! I still get some intentions in the tips of my nails if I play hard for a long time but I just file them back into shape and i am ready to go again. For the last 10 months i have lost most my picks again cause i dont use them. I never could get hybrid picking. It was like there was not enough room between my fingers for them to move properly.
     
  11. kelnet

    kelnet Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I feel your pain, Ed. Unlike all these guys who have to post about how good they are, I can't do it well at all. I'm with you on this, and have given up on fingerpicking. If a pick is good enough for Tenacious D, it's good enough for me.
     
  12. Dave Hopping

    Dave Hopping Friend of Leo's

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    Not to worry,Ed. All those hand techniques end up being learned in Zen moments when you're not thinking about technique.
     
  13. octatonic

    octatonic Poster Extraordinaire

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    Tried pick and fingers?

    I only play slide without a pick.
    Everything else is hybrid.
     
  14. bender-freak

    bender-freak Friend of Leo's

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    i didn't get the impression

    that anyone was saying how good they were at anything. some find it easier to use thumbpick and fingers, some find it easier to use a flatpick, some use NO picks. it's all the individual's own personal preference and what works the best for them.

    i found the transition to using a thumbpick fairly easy since i had for a long time used a flatpick and 2nd and 3rd fingers (hybrid?) before using a thumbpick at a gig when i forgot my flatpicks. to gain any degree of proficiency of course it took longer than the first night of doing it. any technique one chooses is going to take practice and dedication.

    i personally envy the ones that can switch back and forth. i can't do that. it's thumbpick and nails all the way for me, be it lead work or playing rhythym.
     
  15. kelnet

    kelnet Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Yeah, but Ed was asking who else had decided to stop trying to fingerpick and just use a pick.
    It's like asking who else likes pie, and having people post about liking cake.
     
  16. stantheman

    stantheman Doctor of Teleocity

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    With a Pick I won't even consider myself a Musician.
    Nick Colionne the Jazz Guitarist out of Chicago relates a great story about how he was talking with Julian Bream and Julian stated "a pick is something that comes between You and The Guitar."
     
  17. kelnet

    kelnet Telefied Ad Free Member

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    So, you're implying that Ed and I are not musicians. :(
     
  18. Mike S.

    Mike S. Tele-Meister

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    As octatonic mentioned, I have much greater results with the hybrid pick/fingers combination. Have you experimented with that?

    Also, have you tried using banjo finger pics?
     
  19. tubescent

    tubescent Tele-Meister

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    i say stick with it. one thing i did was eventually realise that my nails are rubbish and just use the pads of my fingers which gives a very warm personal tone anyway. my nails just broke too much to really get any consistant techinique with them down. maybe have a mess around on nylon string for bit as this is easier on the flesh.
     
  20. BoogerRooger

    BoogerRooger Poster Extraordinaire

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    Pretty much what I would expect of a public discussion!

    The OP said he'd been trying for a couple of years, which suggests that he would like to master the technique, so what's wrong with some help from some who have done it? On the other hand there's nowt wrong with any style that works for you.
     
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