For Players who Started with a Flatpick and are now Thumbpickers...

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by Butch Snyder, May 26, 2015.

  1. Butch Snyder

    Butch Snyder Tele-Afflicted

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    Yes, Steuart Smith is a wonderful player.
     
  2. tonytrout

    tonytrout Friend of Leo's

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    He might be a wonderful player but he ain't Don Felder. I badly miss Felder in that band! There's even times when Smith doesn't seem to be using the correct effects for a song - for example - The Eagles song, "I Can't Tell You Why" - the song just doesn't sound right with that thinnish-sounding overdrive/distortion. Plus, Felder played that solo on an LP (Les Paul) and Smith uses a different guitar.

    (Sorry.... I guess I'm just crabby today for some reason and feeling the need of getting it off my chest - that plus I just ain't a fan of Steuart's playing. I thought I would be - but I'm not).
     
  3. Butch Snyder

    Butch Snyder Tele-Afflicted

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    Agreed 100%
     
  4. Bongocaster

    Bongocaster Friend of Leo's

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    Wow to be turned into (or at least expected to be) a tribute/cover band of yourself. Is that what Rock is supposed to be about?:(
     
  5. Butch Snyder

    Butch Snyder Tele-Afflicted

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    SS seems to favor EBMM and Joe Walsh uses them too. I have seen SS play "I Can't Tell You Why" with an ES-335. Not to turn this into a Steuart Smith love/hate thread, but he plays with a lot of people. I have always looked at him as a hired gun and not an individual artist. He's a dynamite player; but during most of his gigs, Eagles, Rodney Crowell, etc, he seems to parrot solos instead of doing his own thing. Good or bad, that's just what he does. Might be what the artist who's paying him wants him to do (Don Henley? Seems likely).
     
  6. Wrong-Note Rod

    Wrong-Note Rod Poster Extraordinaire

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    I have hybrid picked for years and years. Tried thumbpicks at various times but could not do typical rock and roll rhythm styles, the chuckberry style was the worst. Tried various thumbpicks, all kinds, just could not make it work and always gave up.

    Last couple of years I started to play lap steel, using a thumbpick. this has been an interesting adventure. The steel is set up with 12s or 13s, which ate my picking hand fingernails alive... so I went to a nail salon and got fake acrylic nails on just two fingers. Works like a champ for lap steel... but they're a bit heavy and almost dull sounding on acoustic guitar.

    Took some getting used to. While all this was going on, as i got more accustomed to using the thumbpick on the steel, I'd try it at various time for things on guitar.

    I'm getting better and while I havent used a thumbpick on guitar at a gig, I'm sure that its coming. I'll get comfortable enough with it where it will be more second nature.

    As long as I dont have to play any chuckberry.
     
  7. Steve_U1S

    Steve_U1S Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

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    I try thumbpicks now and again, as it seems like they'd be just right for me for the 'Tele' type playing I've been focusing a lot in over the past couple of years.
    But they just give me to much 'whack' - can't seem to develop the feel with them.
    Since working my playing to embrace that 'Tele' style, I actually found that I was 'palming' (actually tucked into/between knuckles of my middle finger) my pick more and more - for most of the time I've been playing, I've had fingerstyle in the toolbox just by way of my manner of learning. At those times, though, the pick went onto a nearby flat surface, or into my mouth, etc...
    Now, when playing Teles / that style, my pick is palmed at /least/ 95% of the time; I even have an interesting callous on that finger, forming a 'socket' for the one side of the pick, being as I continue to use the finger while it's holding on.
    That callous has actually dictated my pick choices in a way; I use different ones on the Teles than on the 'shredders' and they're slightly different in size - now as I try to palm when playing the shredders, the picks won't tuck into their quite right, as they are very slightly larger and differently contoured on the sides.

    Sometimes hybrid is the way, but I don't feel that I'm all that great at it; I've been trying to work that more.

    I find it ironic that I became proficient at palming my pick as a result of observing Eddie Van Halen, my original rock influence... which helped me arrive at what I'm doing today.
    ... and then in recent years realizing that the original country artist I was exposed to - and reason for the beginning of my love of the Telecaster - Waylon Jennings, constantly palmed the pick; he was an effective thumb strummer, while holding the pick somewhere in the curl of his fingers...

    Convergence of elements of the universe; always interesting.
     
  8. Jack S

    Jack S Friend of Leo's

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    I started out from the beginning to use every variation, including flat-pick, thumb and finger picks, and fingertips. I gave up finger and thumb picks several years ago for two reasons: 1.) to get a thumb-pick to not rotate on my thumb as I played I had to get a pick that would cut off circulation so I could only use it for a short time, then have to take it off for a bit, and 2.) I hated the clickety-clack sounds the finger-picks tended to make. I simply preferred using my fingertips.

    I later gave up using flat-picks because I decided to devote my attention to using my fingers to my best ability. There are a few techniques that a flat-pick is most useful for, but I generally manage fine without using one. One technique that greatly enhances speed and things you can do with fingertips is to practice playing rapid notes with both thumb and finger on the same string. It does not have to be different notes, the same note is fine, but learning to do it smoothly with speed makes fast single string work a breeze.
     
  9. Chris S.

    Chris S. Asst. Admin

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    Yeah, I guess my point was that he plays with a thumbpick. :oops: CS
     
  10. Skub

    Skub Friend of Leo's

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    I used a plectrum solely for decades,but when I started fingerpicking there was a gradual change over. I can't get on with a thumbpick,prefer to use my thumbnail. When required,I now use my pointing fingernail as a pick. Acrylic nails made the final transformation for me. I love being able to play with both hands feeling connected to the guitar.
     
  11. mkster

    mkster Tele-Afflicted

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    I started as a classic player then flat picked for most of my life until i hit 40 , then started using a thumb pick , i just wanted to produce what was in my head it took over a year to really see improvements it was not to do Chet but more old style blues if it worked for Robert Johnson i sure could try ...

    One early video of getting my beat on , i mixed many influences ..

    the second one is the last one i made i am still progressing each day .

    best regards

    Mark



     
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  12. Bongocaster

    Bongocaster Friend of Leo's

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    Hey! Watch your language.:eek::D
     
  13. MASONish

    MASONish Tele-Holic

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    I can relate to Butch. I started using a thumb pick 23 years ago. I went a log time without using a flat pick. When I did grab a flat pick it felt new and awkward to me. Since that happened I started switching back and forth more regularly. If I'm doing the modern country stuff I will use my thumb pick. If it's more of the blues/rock style I'll use a flatpick. It's finding a balance. I used to feel handicapped in a way because of this but they both feel natural now.
     
  14. Butch Snyder

    Butch Snyder Tele-Afflicted

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    Yeah, good stuff.
     
  15. aj_slr

    aj_slr NEW MEMBER!

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    I have used both flat pick and thumb pick for a long time but I cut down and reshape the Dunlop thumb pick. It ends up shorter and a little more rounded at he end. I think they sound a little fatter that way. And just a vote for Steuart Smith as a fantastic player. When he was younger he was fast and smooth. Maybe arthritis is taking hold a bit, check out hIs hands. cheers
     
  16. RCC Passderkins

    RCC Passderkins Tele-Meister

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    I started playing with a thumb pick when I got into fingerstyle and chord melody. I used a flat pick for about 10 years. I mainly bought a thumb pick for the Chet style. I predominantly play with my fingers and no thumb pick because I can't pick harp harmonics cleanly while wearing a thumb pick. I practice the technique but it's easier for me to do them with just my fingers.
     
  17. transmaniacon

    transmaniacon Tele-Holic

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    Flat picked for years but also first heard Albert Lee in about '86 which was about 6 years after i started playing, i didnt know about hybrid picking and i was trying to learn his stuff flat picked,-of course i couldn't get it to sound like him, i bought his instructional video around 1990 and then started to see what he was doing but i still thought it was more only for certain licks, so on I went not getting too far then in about 2001 i got Brent Masons video and CD and started fooling around more with Hybrid picking and then spent the last 15 years or so generally picking hybrid/chickin pickin style.

    A couple of years ago i started getting interested in Jerry Reed and bought a nylon string guitar about a year ago and i made a pact with myself that whenever i play the nylon i use a thumb pick, since then I've learnt quite a few songs, jerry, Buster, chet fairly well with the thumb pick but i re
     
  18. Journeyman22

    Journeyman22 Tele-Meister

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    This is very interesting for me. I also been a flat picker many years. Took up chicken pickin' over a year ago. Been trying to use the thumb pick. reading what you guys are saying here gives me the fortitude to keep going with the thumb pick. Thank you all!
     
  19. Tonetele

    Tonetele Poster Extraordinaire

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    Yeah I miss Don Felder playing that piece. He use a Tele in the 1990s and still got the right sound. See "Hell Freezes Over DVD" he looks like he's playing a 52 re-issue- anyway he sounds great. IMHO losing him was a HUGE loss to the Eagles.
    I play with my nails, that are weird, they require cutting at least twice a week. As I'm joying a new band I need to get back my plectrum skills.
    Cheers ;)
     
  20. Chicago Matt

    Chicago Matt Friend of Leo's

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    I have never been able to get the thumb pick thing going. I love what Johnny Winter and Freddie King did with it especially. I usually play with a flat pick, sometimes going into hybrid picking, and sometimes bare fingers and thumb but mostly that on acoustic only. But Mark, your second video there has really inspired me to give it another try. Great job! Really solid!
     
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