Play electric with or without pick?

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by bluesholyman, Jan 3, 2020.

Do you play most of the time with or without a pick?

  1. With Pick

    69 vote(s)
    35.0%
  2. Without Pick

    34 vote(s)
    17.3%
  3. Both

    94 vote(s)
    47.7%
  1. AngelStrummer

    AngelStrummer Friend of Leo's

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    I mostly play with a pick, but for a certain tone, fingers work better.

    Clapner sounds pretty good with just his fingers too, when he does it that way:

     
  2. Cysquatch

    Cysquatch Tele-Holic

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    I hybrid pick basically all the time unless the specific style or moment demands otherwise tonally. I use the Brian Setzer method of curling my index finger up under the pick if I need to switch back and forth quickly. But, if I'm just going to be switching a time or two for different parts of the song, I tend to hold it between my first fingers which allows me to use both for full fingerpicking.
     
  3. Bluetelecaster

    Bluetelecaster Tele-Holic

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    I have tried using a thumb pick, but find it extremely awkward for myself on guitar, even after using thumb and finger picks for decades on banjo
     
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  4. gregulator450

    gregulator450 Tele-Meister

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    Lots of guys play upward of $20 for handmade picks. I would be interested to see your design. I'm okay with the bumblebee but i choke way up on my picks and the bumblebee leaves way too much pick sticking out past the side of my thumb.
     
  5. gregulator450

    gregulator450 Tele-Meister

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    Let's not forget Jared James Nichols. I could be wrong, but I believe he's been the highest profile pick ditcher since Kotzen.
     
  6. zeedoctour

    zeedoctour Tele-Meister

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    I actually think playing with a pick is harder.
     
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  7. colchar

    colchar Friend of Leo's

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    Yes! I had completely forgotten about him.

    What he says about alternate picking in the first thirty seconds here is how I do it too:




    And there is this guy who I am sure we're all familiar with:

     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2020
  8. colchar

    colchar Friend of Leo's

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    I feel more connected to the guitar when using my fingers than when using a pick.
     
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  9. zeedoctour

    zeedoctour Tele-Meister

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    Oh me too.
     
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  10. gregulator450

    gregulator450 Tele-Meister

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    This JJN video is beyond cool. I have been hoping he would do a lesson on his fingerstyle techniques. Andy is a monster player, and his techniques are incredibly useful.

    I have probably 700 picks at home but I am a 50/50 guy. on my acoustic, I often only grab the pick when I start to wear a blister on the edge of my thumb. For heavier stuff on an electric I usually use a pick but that's not an absolute.
     
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  11. RoyBGood

    RoyBGood Doctor of Teleocity

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    Both - about 50/50. It could be as much as 70/40.
     
  12. Bill Sheehan

    Bill Sheehan TDPRI Member

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    That is some incredible playing. The way he "lets his fingers do the walking" on those single-note runs reminds me of how Jose Feliciano approaches his playing (I've been a Jose fan since I was a junior in high school back in 1969). The thing that these very fine players seem to have in common is that they play so relaxed! Inspires me to get back to the woodshed; time's a wastin' !!
     
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  13. fendrguitplayr

    fendrguitplayr Poster Extraordinaire

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    Both
     
  14. Fiesta Red

    Fiesta Red Friend of Leo's

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    99% pick-less.

    The rare 1% use of a pick always requires a Dunlop Jazz III or a super-thick small Clayton (1.26mm or 1.52mm) teardrop-shaped pick.

    I only use a pick when it’s absolutely necessary for the song.
     
  15. Bill Sheehan

    Bill Sheehan TDPRI Member

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    Eric gets it done! (By the way, love the "Clapner" reference!! Harkening back to Joycelyn Elders???)
     
  16. '51 geezer

    '51 geezer TDPRI Member

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    I am also a lefty who learned to play righty, and I use a pick ALL the time on electric, 90% on acoustic (I fingerpick just a little bit). I guess it may be how you develop your muscle memory. When I don't have a pick, I can't find the strings as easily with my thumb or fingers, if that makes sense. As far as the hybrid thing, pick and fingers, I don't know if I could play with my fingers if I had a pick in my pocket, let alone clutched in my hand...I'm that clumsy.
     
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  17. Bill Sheehan

    Bill Sheehan TDPRI Member

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    I love playing without a pick. I long ago decided that I was probably never going to be a super-fast electric lead player, so I decided to focus on being a really good slow-to-medium electric lead player instead, using the slower speed to coax more expression and emotion out of each note (I think it was Ed Gerhard who said, "I'd rather make tears fall than make jaws drop."). In the process, I realized that I could get a really sweet lead tone by using the back of my index fingernail, with downstrokes, in lieu of a pick, and this works great if I'm not trying to play really fast. My only concern about the fingers-only approach, however, is when it comes to playing chords-- they just seem to sound so "muddy" when played with a finger or fingers (whereas a nice thin tortilla chip-shaped pick gives the chords a nice crisp tone). Like most other things, I think it's just going to be a matter of practicing the fingers-only technique until it sounds the way I like it; there's no secret other than practice, practice, and more practice. Maybe set down a rule that I won't have access to picks for the next 30 days, and see how things go...
     
  18. slauson slim

    slauson slim Friend of Leo's

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    On electrics, switched from flat picking to hybrid picking using a heavy pick - rounded triangular Fender 346 shape- a few years ago. About a year ago I started using a thumb pick and fingers full time. Works for strumming, single notes, plucking, pulling, chicken pickin’, double and triple stops etc. I don’t Chet or Travis pick.

    I am playing second/rhythm guitar in a band and try to pick on two or three strings to comp, avoiding strumming five or six strings. Thumb pick and fingers work well for this.we

    As a teenager starting out on acoustic I began with open tunings and National thumb and finger picks. Influenced by John Fahey and some of The 1960s Great Folk Scare Players. Steel or plastic finger picks did not work on electric guitar.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2020
  19. thebowl

    thebowl Tele-Meister

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    I mostly play with a flat pick in my right hand, although I can activate a finger or two or three as needed. I guess that's on-demand hybrid? Licks that involve a lot of different strings quickly and arpeggios. Some songs just require fingerstyle; e.g. Mystery Train a la Danny Gatton.
     
  20. teleforumnoob

    teleforumnoob Friend of Leo's

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    I started with a pick exclusively, Learning the Southern Rock/Classic Rock covers of my formative era(70s). Then beginning in the 80s I concentrated on bluegrass flatpicking for a long time.
    Then in the 90s I was drafted into the bass world and that kinda became my way into bands in several genres playing both upright and slab.
    Meanwhile and up to now I've worked at banjo, dobro and lap steel, which definitely limbered my fingers up. The thumb is still probably my weakest finger, so I tend to hybrid pick a lot on guitar. Live and under pressure, I still mostly stick with a pick or a hybrid approach, but if the song calls for it, I'll ditch the pick in a heartbreak for bare fingers.
    I play bass with fingers almost exclusively. 3 finger banjo and dobro definitely requires the full thumbpick/2 metal fingerpicks rig.This definitely helped my fingerpicking on guitar, esp with thumb accuracy. But still to this day a thumbpick on guitar is awkward to me.
    On lap steel I tend to use bare fingers because the licks are typically not as fast and there's more legatos/single line stuff that doesn't really require picks to execute.
    I think you should at least try em all and use what you can from each approach.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2020
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