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Fingerpicks: do you play electric with them?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by EsquireBoy, Apr 13, 2021.

  1. EsquireBoy

    EsquireBoy Friend of Leo's

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    Some may have read my thread about wanting to learn pedal steel guitar.
    https://www.tdpri.com/threads/i-hear-a-call-for-pedal-steel-guitar.1067128/

    In the meantime, I’m making a huge transition to using fingerpicks for my electric playing.
    For 30 years I used to flatpick almost exclusively and never really played picking since my first two years learning classical as a kid.
    Then last year during first lockdown I switched to hybrid picking, because I wanted to be able to grab more sophisticated chord voicings and play chord melody involving string jumps.
    Then last month I decided to trade my pick for a thumbpick.

    Considering pedal steel players seem to almost universally use a plastic thumbpick in conjunction with two metal fingerpicks, I decided to try it on the guitar:
    upload_2021-4-13_11-32-55.jpeg

    For the first couple of hours it felt so awkward that I thought I would never use them again. Then the next day I decided to give it another try, and I don’t know if it’s because I had slept on it but it clicked.
    After three days I’m hooked: I gained in speed because the picks glide on the strings. For faster solo licks I crawl the middle finger and use thumb and index in alternance.
    And I like the tone I get with this combo.

    My understanding is that it’s what banjo players use too, right?
    But I can’t think of guitar players that use them for electric: do you have any experience with it?
     
  2. That Cal Webway

    That Cal Webway Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Junior Brown does
     
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  3. Fendereedo

    Fendereedo Poster Extraordinaire

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    I now use a pick on my thumb. For years I never used picks at all, but just lately started using the pick. I haven't considered using other picks on my fingers, but you never know I might give it a go.
     
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  4. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

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    Interesting. No, I don't do that. I pick regular, hybrid, and sometimes fingerstyle on acoustic. Like most guitarists I have a set of finger picks that I bought, tried, and put in a drawer many years ago. Good for you for trying something new!
     
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  5. EsquireBoy

    EsquireBoy Friend of Leo's

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    Thought I had never heard of him at first, then going to YT I realized I had discovered him a few months back but did not remember his name.
    I like his style and his tone. Apparently he plays hybrid picking with the fingerpicks on fingers 3 and 4. Doing it this way did not cross my mind, but it really does make sense.
     
  6. bottlenecker

    bottlenecker Friend of Leo's

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    I use a thumbpick and bare fingers on electric. I do use fingerpicks on acoustic some times, and always on acoustic hawaiian. But I think I lose more sounds than I gain using them on electric. I have tried them on electric lap steel, and may transistion to them, but I miss stopping individual strings with my fingertips.
     
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  7. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Poster Extraordinaire

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    I occasionally use one but I most often use just my fingers. The two I use most are some plastic Dunlop type ones that I shaped using hot water, toenail clippers and a file and a steel Geipel banjo thumbpick.

    When I play resonator, I use a the plastic thumbpick and two steel fingerpicks.
     
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  8. EsquireBoy

    EsquireBoy Friend of Leo's

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    I hear a lot of Jim Campilongo in his playing. Would be curious to know if they’ve listened to each other because I think they’re roughly the same age.
     
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  9. Dave Hicks

    Dave Hicks Friend of Leo's

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    I do sometimes use a thumbpick and fingers on electric, but I hate crawling under furniture so I've never got past that fingerpick break-in period. Only 2 hours, huh?

    Add Robbie Robertson and Freddie King to the list of fingerpickers.

    D.H.
     
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  10. Dan Estock

    Dan Estock TDPRI Member

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    Pretty sure lonesome George thorogood is a fingerpicker
     
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  11. Tony Forman

    Tony Forman Tele-Meister

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    I use a Fred Kelly Slick Pick thumbpick for playing regular guitar. I add plastic Jim Dunlop fingerpicks on my index and middle fingers only when I have to play slide guitar. I use the fingerpicks because the heavy gauge strings I use on my slide guitar really eat up my nails. They are also integral to a backwards rasgueado technique I use in my slide playing. I prefer the plastic type mainly because I detest the sound metal picks make on the wound strings.
     
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  12. Wallaby

    Wallaby Friend of Leo's

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    Sometimes I play electric with picks, but mostly I just use my nails.

    I like the extra leverage and power I get when I use picks, and use them mostly when I play my resonator guitar.
     
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  13. EsquireBoy

    EsquireBoy Friend of Leo's

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    I was surprised at how fast I was able to break many years of playing habits. I was feeling a bit frustrated with my playing lately, that’s what gave me the motivation to make the switch I think.
     
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  14. burtonfan

    burtonfan Tele-Afflicted

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    Absolutely! I use a flat pick (thumb and index finger), a banjo pick on my middle finger, and fingernail with my ring finger. Admittedly, I got the idea from watching my hero James Burton. I've been doing it so long I can't play any other way.
     
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  15. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I find typical fingerpicks too harsh for my "style" and prefer Alaska picks. What I like about them is the ability to customize them easily, but more importantly, you still have the ability to damp the strings with your fingertips. They are kinda halfway between picks and no picks. I really like them for lap steel.

    What I think would work well would be something that used stiff felt or leather - something that had some flex and didn't have the "ping" that a hard material produces.
     
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  16. stormsedge

    stormsedge Friend of Leo's

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    Sure, why not? Whatever suits your style:).
     
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  17. EsquireBoy

    EsquireBoy Friend of Leo's

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    They look interesting but the idea of my soft fingernails being lift up by the pick acting like a lever makes me cringe!
     
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  18. EsquireBoy

    EsquireBoy Friend of Leo's

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    Interesting! Do you get an unbalanced tone between your banjo pick and your ring finger’s nail?
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2021
  19. drmordo

    drmordo Tele-Afflicted

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    For many years, I've flirted with using a Herco style thumb pick and then bare fingers, and I can get around well enough with it. After picking up lap steel last year, my finger picking has definitely gotten better, but when I transition my fingerpicking to electric the thing I lose is the ability to play pinch harmonics with my thumb.
     
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  20. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I started using Alaska picks for that very reason - my fingernails are like paper. They come in a couple different sizes so I didn't have much trouble getting some to fit. Yes, they fit under your fingernail, but they don't put pressure there unless you really shove them up under there. Personally, I DO push them up as far as they will go to keep them stable and to get the best tone, but it isn't uncomfortable. They may not be for you, but you may want to give them a try.





     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2021
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