The Acoustic Guitar Forum

Go Back   The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > PLAY

Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 12-24-2011, 10:27 AM
goldenboy goldenboy is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Richmond, VA
Posts: 250
Default No-nail fingerpicking: use fingers or fingerpicks?

My goal for 2012 is to try to become fairly proficient at fingerpicking. I don't have any finger nails and am trying to decide whether or not to just use straight fingers or fingerpicks. Obviously fingerpicks sound much better and more lively.

For those of you that use fingerpicks, is it best just to start with using the picks or get decent at using just your fingers and then introduce the fingerpicks gradually?

tx and Merry Xmas!!!!
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 12-24-2011, 11:52 AM
ljguitar's Avatar
ljguitar ljguitar is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: wyoming
Posts: 36,704
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by goldenboy View Post
My goal for 2012 is to try to become fairly proficient at fingerpicking. I don't have any finger nails and am trying to decide whether or not to just use straight fingers or fingerpicks. Obviously fingerpicks sound much better and more lively.

For those of you that use fingerpicks, is it best just to start with using the picks or get decent at using just your fingers and then introduce the fingerpicks gradually?

tx and Merry Xmas!!!!
Hi gb...
I'm an all flesh player with just a hint of nail for accent now and then. Try and convince Laurence Juber that fingerpicks sound better.

I have no need for fingerpicks for controlling tone, attack or volume.


__________________
Larry J

Baby #01
Baby #02
Baby #03
Baby #04
Full-size Full-Scale Baby #4

Larry's songs...

…Just because you've argued till a discussion turns silent doesn't mean you have convinced anyone…
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 12-24-2011, 12:08 PM
carl365 carl365 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Questionable California
Posts: 98
Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by ljguitar View Post
Hi gb...
I'm an all flesh player with just a hint of nail for accent now and then. Try and convince Laurence Juber that fingerpicks sound better.

I have no need for fingerpicks for controlling tone, attack or volume.
That's good news Larry, I can't be growing even short nails.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 12-24-2011, 12:15 PM
Howard Emerson Howard Emerson is online now
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Huntington Station, New York
Posts: 5,482
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by goldenboy View Post
My goal for 2012 is to try to become fairly proficient at fingerpicking. I don't have any finger nails and am trying to decide whether or not to just use straight fingers or fingerpicks. Obviously fingerpicks sound much better and more lively.

For those of you that use fingerpicks, is it best just to start with using the picks or get decent at using just your fingers and then introduce the fingerpicks gradually?

tx and Merry Xmas!!!!
I have used glued-on plastic tips with, and now without, acrylic, for a really long time. I did play with National fingerpicks and a thumbpick for many years, especially when I played a lot of Dobro.

There are also times when I use nothing because I'm too busy doing wood working. I'll end up breaking/cracking a nail, so why bother. I forced myself to deal with the lack of volume and tone, but I'm better for it.

I no longer use a thumb pick except on the rare 12 string arrangement. I prefer my bass notes to be different sounding than my melody notes.

I would highly suggest getting the Pro Piks with the open finger pad area right from the start. It will feel way less than natural, undoubtedly, but the more you do it, the better you'll get at it.

They are easily adjustable with small needle-nose pliers. It would be best if you could find a store where you could try them on to get the best size for your fingers.

Just get over the fear of the unknown, and of spending about $20 in a worse-case scenario if you make some 'wrong' choices. Long term you'll be very happy going with the picks.

Best of luck with it!

Regards,
Howard Emerson
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 12-25-2011, 06:08 AM
Monnster Monnster is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: The mistake on the lake
Posts: 62
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by goldenboy View Post
Obviously fingerpicks sound much better and more lively.



tx and Merry Xmas!!!!
Merry Xmas to you, I play flesh only. I've never had anyone tell me my playing would sound better if I used fingerpicks. I like not worrying about fake nails,nail care, and fingerpicks, always seemed like too much micro-managing to me. Over the years my fingertips have hardened up on my picking fingers.

I recently saw a guy playing at an open mic. One of his fingerpicks must have twisted or came loose while he was playing. I felt sorry for the guy, it was an instant train wreck.
__________________
Just one opinion out of 7 billion, I am highly biased, and I admit that I am "clueless" about most things in life.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 12-25-2011, 12:06 PM
71jasper 71jasper is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 786
Default

This guy has written a fairly complete examination of the subject:

http://daystarvisions.com/Music/Right_hand_tone.html
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 12-26-2011, 11:59 AM
Davis Webb Davis Webb is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Toronto
Posts: 3,664
Default depends

Depends on how comfortable you are with fingerpicking. I would say learn first with no nails, just learn how to finger pick. Then grow some medium length nails, they only have to just be a tad longer than your fingertip...as discussed in that great link above.

If you still need volume, try fingerpicks. I use hard fingerpicks, plastic. You drop them in warm water then put them on to fit them. They never really feel natural.

I mostly use a hard flat pick but keep medium length nails on thumb and first 3 fingers to move into fingerpicking. Nails are a hassle, completely. But you can do things with fingerpicks that are nice. Fingerpicking without nails or picks sounds pretty dull. You wont like it much for long.

Right now I am trying to emulate fingerpicking style with a flat pick. The flat pick has so much it can do that fingerpicks cannot.
__________________
Larrivee, Gibson, Ovation, Strat, Tele
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 12-26-2011, 12:29 PM
larryb larryb is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Burlington, NC
Posts: 898
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ljguitar View Post
Hi gb...
Try and convince Laurence Juber that fingerpicks sound better.


Or Kevin Eubanks. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yT7QKd6Wlr0
__________________
Larry
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 12-26-2011, 01:41 PM
Howard Emerson Howard Emerson is online now
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Huntington Station, New York
Posts: 5,482
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Davis Webb View Post
Depends on how comfortable you are with fingerpicking. I would say learn first with no nails, just learn how to finger pick. Then grow some medium length nails, they only have to just be a tad longer than your fingertip...as discussed in that great link above.

If you still need volume, try fingerpicks. I use hard fingerpicks, plastic. You drop them in warm water then put them on to fit them. They never really feel natural.

I mostly use a hard flat pick but keep medium length nails on thumb and first 3 fingers to move into fingerpicking. Nails are a hassle, completely. But you can do things with fingerpicks that are nice. Fingerpicking without nails or picks sounds pretty dull. You wont like it much for long.

Right now I am trying to emulate fingerpicking style with a flat pick. The flat pick has so much it can do that fingerpicks cannot.
A good friend of mine learned how to use those plastic ones, also by heating and bending. They are indeed clunky, but I think that they squeeze the most tone out of a string.

They're basically heavy plastic flat-picks, so there is a ton of fundamental and hardly any squeak or chatter to speak of.

I like to frail into some of my phrases, and that just ain't gonna happen with a pick that wraps up from under the fingertip, so I have to stick with my glued-on tips.

If only someone made them from Delrin.

HE
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 12-26-2011, 09:08 PM
Toby Walker's Avatar
Toby Walker Toby Walker is offline
AGF Sponsor
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Stationary home in NJ. Mobile home on any given highway.
Posts: 7,779
Default

Hi GB,

If you're just getting starting out with this style the easiest thing to do is to start out without the fingerpicks and first get used to technique of fingerpicking.

Once you're comfortable with the fingerpicking basics then give fingerpicks and the thumbpick a try... allowing for at least a few weeks to get past the new challenge that using them presents.

At that point you can make up your mind as to whether or not to stay with them... or to use a combination of bare flesh for some songs and FP's for others.

There's no wrong or right way to play in this style... both camps have their positive and negative points. It'll be up to you to decide what suits your individual style.

For the record I've been using steel fingerpicks and plastic thumbpicks since Moses wore short pants but I started out learning the style using just my fingers. The picks suit exactly what I do so I'll stay with them.
__________________
Toby Walker:
Toby Walker's Lessons
http://www.tobywalkerslessons.com/
Homespun Music Instruction
https://www.homespun.com/instructors/toby-walker/
Fur Peace Ranch
https://www.furpeaceranch.com/instru...by_walker.html
Toby Walker's Website
http://www.littletobywalker.com/index.html
Toby Walker's YouTube Channel
https://www.youtube.com/user/tobywalker123
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 12-27-2011, 07:33 AM
jwing jwing is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 605
Default

I think of fingerstyle guitar playing as having three possibilities: no picks, thumb pick and bare fingers, thumb pick and fingerpicks. The type of music you are playing will determine which is best.

The recommendations I make come from someone who simply can't grow nails sufficiently long/strong enough to use for guitar play.

The great bare finger players we discuss all play amplified, and that makes a huge difference. They probably have fake nails, too. Unamplified, bare flesh can sound dull and quiet. Also, I've found that some guitars are more responsive than others to fingerpicking, some need amplification to sound good, and some just need picks to sing.

My suggestion is that you start with bare fingers and bare thumb.

Then, try adding a thumbpick. I like the Fred Kelly Bumble-bee: http://fredkellypicks.com/bumble-bee.html
and the Fred Kelly Speed: http://fredkellypicks.com/speed.html
Learn how to control the thumbpick tone with palm muting.

Next, add the Fingertone picks as Howard recommended:
http://www.guptillmusic.com/propik/fingertone.html

When you are ready for heavenly fingerpicking tone, try plastic picks, like this:
http://www.jimdunlop.com/product/cle...ic-fingerpicks
Unlike the metal picks that you bend to conform to your fingers, let the plastic tips extend past your fingers. It takes a different mind set to play this way. Think of the picks as leverage tools. Kind of like when you use a wrench to loosen a bolt, you don't need to have your fingers touching the bolt.

All that said, I find fingerpicks to be fussy and uncomfortable, so I've tried to emulate fingerstyle with a flatpick, as Davis Webb said above. But there are things I can do with fingerstyle that I haven't been able to duplicate with a flatpick, so round and round I go.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 01-18-2012, 07:38 PM
Steel String Steel String is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Danvers MA
Posts: 671
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Howard Emerson View Post
A good friend of mine learned how to use those plastic ones, also by heating and bending. They are indeed clunky, but I think that they squeeze the most tone out of a string.

They're basically heavy plastic flat-picks, so there is a ton of fundamental and hardly any squeak or chatter to speak of.

I like to frail into some of my phrases, and that just ain't gonna happen with a pick that wraps up from under the fingertip, so I have to stick with my glued-on tips.

If only someone made them from Delrin.

HE
Fred Kelly makes a delrin fingerpick called the freedom fingerpick.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 01-18-2012, 08:28 PM
sachi sachi is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: North Seattle
Posts: 3,198
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by jwing View Post
. . .
My suggestion is that you start with bare fingers and bare thumb.

Then, try adding a thumbpick. I like the Fred Kelly Bumble-bee: http://fredkellypicks.com/bumble-bee.html
and the Fred Kelly Speed: http://fredkellypicks.com/speed.html
Learn how to control the thumbpick tone with palm muting.

Next, add the Fingertone picks as Howard recommended:
http://www.guptillmusic.com/propik/fingertone.html

When you are ready for heavenly fingerpicking tone, try plastic picks, like this:
http://www.jimdunlop.com/product/cle...ic-fingerpicks
Thanks for the suggestions, everyone. I'm currently trying to learn fingerpicking myself. I think I'm doing pretty well with bare fingertips but I'll give some picks a try too, and see what works best for me.
__________________
Sachi

Kolaya Carmen, Trek parlor (by Harv L), Martin 000-28EC, Taylor GC-5 and 355.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 01-19-2012, 06:10 AM
Howard Emerson Howard Emerson is online now
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Huntington Station, New York
Posts: 5,482
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steel String View Post
Fred Kelly makes a delrin fingerpick called the freedom fingerpick.
Hi MJ,
I was referring to actual glue-on fingernail tips as made for the 'fake nail' industry, of course.

I have known about the Freedom Fingerpick for quite a while, and I think I've even seen them at a couple of stores. My initial reaction was to dismiss them because of how 'clunky' they look.

But I just went to Fred Kelly's website and watched a little video of an instructor, Lisa McCormick, using them.

They certainly can give the tone that I prefer, which is that of a 'medium gauge' plastic pick striking the string. Lisa's technique is one that I would advise any of my students against using, as she has her fingers ahead of her thumb.

However, the irony is that I've always realized that the further from the saddle you pick the treble strings, the fatter the tone, and the closer to the saddle you pick the bass notes, the more clarity and punch you can get, so despite the way it looks, it's tonally a great idea.

I always try to attack the strings as close to a 90 degrees as possible, and this technique precludes that.

In any case I think I am going to buy a bunch of them, bite down hard, and see what happens. Worst comes to worst I'll have wasted $20 or so, but at least I'll have the possibility of finally being able to pick, frail, and dig in the garden without a care in the world!

Regards,
Howard
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 01-19-2012, 07:16 AM
bbrown bbrown is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Forest, VA
Posts: 1,725
Default

Been using only bare fingers for solo fingerstyle steel string guitar.

I play into a Zoom H4 set at a low recording level, and increase the gain for the final YouTube, and get pretty decent sound with bare fingers...........

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BRuB7...ure=plpp_video

I make furniture, which really destroys my fingernails. I'm ready to try acrylics from a salon - hope to do so next week or so. We'll see how acrylics hold up to that abuse.

--Bill
__________________
Collings D2HG - German Spruce/rosewood
Cervantes Crossover I - Spruce/rosewood
Voyage Air VA-OM6
Martin D16 GT - Spruce/mahoganyFor Sale/Trade



Micah 6:8
YouTube: http://www.YouTube.com/wfbrown1234
SoundCloud:
https://soundcloud.com/william-franc...gwindy-version
Furniture making: http://www.lineandberry.com/
Reply With Quote
Reply

  The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > PLAY

Thread Tools



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 12:31 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, The Acoustic Guitar Forum
vB Ad Management by =RedTyger=