For Those Who Pick With Their Fingers . . .

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by colchar, Apr 29, 2019.

  1. joe_cpwe

    joe_cpwe Tele-Holic

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    apparently some people prefer picking with toes

    chronicwriter-nose-picker.jpg
     
  2. sardinista

    sardinista Tele-Meister

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    It's rare that I'm playing with my fingers and need to hit a power chord, but when I do, I use my index fingernail (downstrokes) and my thumbnail (upstrokes).
     
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  3. GGardner

    GGardner Tele-Afflicted

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    Me too. I do it w/o thinking--but when I do think about it, I feel kind of silly. So it's refreshing to hear that others do it too
     
  4. scrimmer

    scrimmer Tele-Afflicted

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    Not that I've got chops anywhere as good as he, but Andy's style is the only person I've seen whose right hand technique pretty much matches what I do.
    Because it was the way my uncle that got me into guitar played, I've never used a pick at all except for mando playing, of course, which is a whole 'nother ball of wax, even when I was first starting to learn.
    I just pinch an invisible pick between my thumb and forefinger when I need to strum chords, and am mostly striking the strings with the fleshy tips of these. Never could grow and keep any nails intact, so I've just always used the flesh of my fingers, and I feel it gives me the ability to make little inflections on the strings that I couldn't otherwise do if I had nails or used a pick.
    Sometimes I do however, use the back of my index nail as some have stated when I want more pick-like attack.
     
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  5. scrimmer

    scrimmer Tele-Afflicted

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    Aaaaaaaah! Why'd you DO THAT! That creeps me out, man! :eek:
     
  6. dkmw

    dkmw Friend of Leo's

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    I'm glad to hear that people who can actually play do the back-of-the-fingernail thing with the pointer finger. I thought it was a bad habit I'd picked up. I like the kinda thunky-thunky sound. My right index fingernail never gets nearly long enough to get cut and is thinned out near the end.

    I then use a combo of that technique, pulling back up with the pointer fingertip, and some thumb to complete my random noisemaking.
     
  7. Random1643

    Random1643 Tele-Afflicted

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    +1 AlathIN's recommendation to "..pinch the strings using multiple fingers at the same time." In my case as a bare fingers picker I more pluck percussively than pinch, getting in behind the strings a bit. But this is one way to play a "power chord."

    I added quotes at the end there cause different players are referring to different things when they use the term "power chord." Some believe this refers to any "big" chord, while others insist it's only about the 1 (root) and 5 notes in a given chord. Sticking with the second definition for the moment, here's me plucking the root and the 5 in open D with capo on 2nd fret - so Key of E @ to open Woody Guthrie's Vigilante Man. (It's a cover, my version so don't look for note-for-note replication of the original so popular on some other TDPRI threads lately.) Anywho, I'm using my thumb, forefinger and middle finger to pluck the low E, B and next E. So, back to the OP's question, I'm plucking here, not strumming. Usual disclaimers re this is live-into-the-mic demo on my Android phone, involves some pedals, brass slide and a 14-watt tube amp - but I think it'll give you a flavor.

     
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  8. joe_cpwe

    joe_cpwe Tele-Holic

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    yeah, I'm sorry. Middle school humor gets the best of me sometimes :)
     
  9. Norris Vulcan

    Norris Vulcan Tele-Holic

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    Jeff Beck's the finger man !



    Lot of thumb going on.
     
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  10. Leon Grizzard

    Leon Grizzard Friend of Leo's

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    Do you use fingerpicks on steel guitar?
     
  11. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    I don't know that analysing a technique is the way to go with using fingers. I think it might be best to just do whatever comes natural to get through the songs you play and exercise routines you have using fingers only. As the time rolls by they will get easier to play and sound better and there you are, comfortable with playing most things with fingers only.
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2019
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  12. MrYeats

    MrYeats Tele-Meister

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    I just flail the strings with my index finger tip for chords. Thumb, first and second finger for "plucking".
     
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  13. corbo

    corbo TDPRI Member Silver Supporter

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    I've been playing mostly pickless for years. I tend to strum power chords with the middle and ring fingers, using them both as a kind of "claw" -- backs of my nails on the downstrokes and the "meat" of my fingertip on the upstrokes. This gives me great control over rhythm (at least for me) while at the same there's some subtle variety in attack. Downstrokes with the nail side have more attack so I tend to accent them, and the upstrokes are more "ghosty". It's funky, and kind of my thing :)
     
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  14. Guitardvark

    Guitardvark Tele-Holic

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    if you aren't used to using the back of your fingernail(s)to play like this its going to hurt...my classical friends use silk cloth on the nail and then acrylic coating over that...just sayin you might want to go have your nails done too :)..


    and a pedicure for the nose pickers :)
     
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  15. colchar

    colchar Friend of Leo's

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    I remember seeing him being interviewed once and they asked about his technique. He said he didn't have one, that he just uses whichever free finger happens to be closest or easiest at the time.
     
  16. colchar

    colchar Friend of Leo's

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    Thanks everyone.

    Playing with my fingers involves a lot of relearning, but I feel so much more connected to the guitar and think that it will, ultimately, make me a far better player. I also notice that both of my hands seem to work better together than they do when I use a pick, so I am not only more connected to the guitar, I am also more connected with myself and what I am doing.
     
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  17. MrYeats

    MrYeats Tele-Meister

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    When I was about 5, I got the tip of my right index finger cut off by a rotary blade push mower, the non powered type.
    I went to the doctor my ma had my tip in a rag. The doc sewed it back on so now my fingertip has a scar tissue on it and the nail kind of grows over it, giving it strength.
     
  18. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Glad to see others using the Andy method. That is what I do, but my index fingernail can get very sore during practice and I'll eventually change over to thumb, making more of a meaty softer sound. I'll go the claw method once in awhile for a specific chord sound. I think it is probably a good thing to develope more than one technique.
     
  19. galaxiex

    galaxiex Tele-Afflicted

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    Here's Andy with a closer look at his no pick style...

     
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  20. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

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    Yes as odd as it may sound , Steel, thumb and two finger picks, Guitar , no picks ! a lot has to do with right hand positioning, Steel , it's a totally downward motion while guitar is a right hand sideways thing. Many can do it, I don't. Well, I suppose I cold but I love the tones of raw finger tips to the guitar strings. The Steel is a totally different style of execution and tones. I can and have played Steel with no picks but to me it sounds awful ! Its not natural like the 6 string and I'm certain it has to do with right hand positioning. You can't strum a Steel , you can strum a 6 string. Well, maybe someone can strum a Steel, just not me ! :)
     
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