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-   -   Was Learning To Use a Thumb Pick Difficult For You? (https://www.acousticguitarforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=598666)

Mike McLenison 11-19-2020 09:10 PM

Was Learning To Use a Thumb Pick Difficult For You?
 
It's getting better. Love the louder bass response, but still a bit uncomfortable. What say you?

29er 11-19-2020 09:16 PM

Not so much the pick but the whole finger style technique. It comes together with enough practice. My struggle was the lack of coordination in my non dominant right hand since I'm a lefty who plays right handed guitars.

Gcunplugged 11-19-2020 09:16 PM

Yes, some folks say they acclimated to it in a matter of days or weeks. It took me 3 months before I felt like I consistently played better with it than without it.

But I’m happy that I did, and by the way, don’t hesitate to customize your thumb pick. Seems like the consensus here is that most do, primarily to shorten the blade.

Hope that helps,
Gary

The Bard Rocks 11-19-2020 09:18 PM

It must be hard for me as I only use one on the autoharp, unless I ruin a nail. There's been plenty of times I wished I used them more often so they felt better to me (including fingerpicks as well).

Listening to folks use a thumb pick without fingerpicks, it always intrigues me that their playing does not sound overly bass-loud. Using picks is a quick and easy way to get greater volume.

Ken Carr 11-19-2020 09:24 PM

I am so accustomed to using a thumbpick that I am bound to it. I cannot hardly play fingerstyle without it. If I try to fingerpick without a thumbpick, my thumb accuracy is way diminished. You will get used to it.

J-Doug 11-19-2020 09:26 PM

After 35 years of playing guitar and 20 years of fingerpicking I decided to learn how to use fingerpicks while learning slide on my newly acquired National. Shockingly It only took about a week to get used to the fingerpicks.

bsman 11-19-2020 09:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 29er (Post 6554641)
Not so much the pick but the whole finger style technique. It comes together with enough practice. My struggle was the lack of coordination in my non dominant right hand since I'm a lefty who plays right handed guitars.

That is me, too. My fingerpicking consists solely of thumb and forefinger

whvick 11-19-2020 09:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 29er (Post 6554641)
Not so much the pick but the whole finger style technique. It comes together with enough practice. My struggle was the lack of coordination in my non dominant right hand since I'm a lefty who plays right handed guitars.



We decided to have my lefty grandson try to learn righty so he could play 95% of the guitars out there. I hesitated to do that and almost bought him a lefty, but he has learned a lot in two years and has about 20 students he is teaching basic guitar.
He is still struggling some with finger picking.
I am amazed at lefty’s who can play righty. When I flip my guitar over it is such an alien feel.
My hat Is off to you guys.

whvick 11-19-2020 09:59 PM

I sort of started classical, and just cannot get the thumb and fingerpicks to work. So I grow my thumbnail and call it a thumb pick. Works for me[emoji6]

Mike McLenison 11-20-2020 12:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by whvick (Post 6554667)
I sort of started classical, and just cannot get the thumb and fingerpicks to work. So I grow my thumbnail and call it a thumb pick. Works for me[emoji6]

Can relate.

Acousticado 11-20-2020 01:03 AM

Was Learning To Use a Thumb Pick Difficult For You?
 
Yes, it has been, so I’ve never taken to it. In my 44 years of playing as an intermediate player, I’ve been a barefinger picker (up to using all fingers)/strummer. I’ve tried to use a thumb pick a few times and have never gotten the hang of it which in part may have something to do with not having tried to shape it in a way that I have no idea what shape would work for me. There’s an upstroke/downstroke approach that seems to elude me as well. I will try again and have chatted with some players here who do it well.

That said, if I ever do become comfortable with one, I still like the “meaty”, softer tone of a bare thumb and don’t want to be tethered to picks in general because I like the intimacy of using most/all of my picking thumb/fingers and don’t ever want to be caught in a situation where I have the opportunity to play someone else’s guitar when I didn’t expect it and the quality of my playing is dependent on a pick when I don’t happen to have one on me. I very much like the feeling of a “naked”, all finger approach and the ability to do it on any guitar, at any time.

I WILL try a thumb pick again at some point, hopefully to stick with it to have it as an option.

JayBee1404 11-20-2020 01:21 AM

Took about a week to ‘get comfortable’, and about the same for finger-picks. One of the good things about using a thumb-pick is that it puts the hand in a good position with the thumb parallel to the strings in two planes.

Like others here, I’m so well accustomed to playing with picks after almost thirty years that I find playing with bare thumb and fingers extremely clumsy and inaccurate in comparison.

NotveryGood 11-20-2020 02:31 AM

I never could get on with a thumb pick, so I learned the "hybrid" style of picking with a regular pick and three fingers. It does make it easier to revert to strumming mid song too.

Michael Watts 11-20-2020 02:43 AM

I tried it for a week or so in my teens. Absolutely hated it. Helpful for speed but that was never really my thing.

That said, many of the players I admire wear one.

EZYPIKINS 11-20-2020 03:15 AM

I used one when in Highschool. Can't remember how long it took to get used to it. It was the 70's. Don't remember allot about that time in my life. I tried to go back to it last year. As my current situation has me playing acoustic solo gigs. I tried it for about two weeks and couldn't get used to it. Been playing my fingers too long I guess.

JayBee1404 11-20-2020 03:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NotveryGood (Post 6554735)
I never could get on with a thumb pick, so I learned the "hybrid" style of picking with a regular pick and three fingers. It does make it easier to revert to strumming mid song too.

I’d love to be able to do that - the other two guitar players in my band use the ‘hybrid’ technique too, and to great effect, but I just can’t get the hang of it!

Hmmmmm...my next ‘project’? :up:

davidbeinct 11-20-2020 04:27 AM

I’m still very much a noob and play almost entirely with bare fingers but when I have tried a thumbpick it’s been relatively easy to adjust. Fingerpicks, otoh...

JayBee1404 11-20-2020 04:37 AM

2 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by davidbeinct (Post 6554755)
I’m still very much a noob and play almost entirely with bare fingers but when I have tried a thumbpick it’s been relatively easy to adjust. Fingerpicks, otoh...

Have you tried Propik Fingertones? They have a hole in the blade which permits the finger-flesh to contact the string, so you do get some ‘feel’. They sound ‘warmer’, less strident, than standard finger-picks too. I personally prefer the ‘split-wrap’ type, but the other kind is good also.

Attachment 47150

Attachment 47151

Silly Moustache 11-20-2020 04:54 AM

I've got a great collection of hybrid, long, short, plated thumb picks. I found the best one for me was the simple transparent plastic Dunlop with a sharp point. I only really use them on Dobro, and I don't play that much nowadays.

I have similar picks for Weissenborn and National but prefer to use my fingernails. Same on guitar.

GinL 11-20-2020 05:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Michael Watts (Post 6554739)
I tried it for a week or so in my teens. Absolutely hated it. Helpful for speed but that was never really my thing.

That said, many of the players I admire wear one.

Similar experience here. I started as a classical player who transitioned to steel-string fingerstyle. I bought a thumbpick because I liked what Tommy Emmanuel was doing with one, but I just could not come to terms with it. I admire Tommy's ability to switch between bare thumb, thumbpick and flatpick, but I think this mere mortal will stick to being mediocre at just one style, rather than butchering 3.

raysachs 11-20-2020 05:38 AM

The whole finger style thing was hard, but when I decided to get into it, I started with picks on my thumb and fingers. I figured it all felt like learning Chinese either way, it didn/t seem any more difficult with picks than with bare fingers. And I'd heard so many people say they'd learned with bare fingers and could never get used to finger picks or thumb picks, but I'd never heard the reverse. So I learned with picks and it worked - now I'm equally bad with picks and with bare fingers. I do play more often with bare fingers now, but some days it just seems to sound better with picks, so I still play with them some.

-Ray

UncleJesse 11-20-2020 06:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Acousticado (Post 6554725)

That said, if I ever do become comfortable with one, I still like the “meaty”, softer tone of a bare thumb and don’t want to be tethered to picks in general because I like the intimacy of using most/all of my picking thumb/fingers and don’t ever want to be caught in a situation where I have the opportunity to play someone else’s guitar when I didn’t expect it and the quality of my playing is dependent on a pick when I don’t happen to have one on me. I very much like the feeling of a “naked”, all finger approach and the ability to do it on any guitar, at any time.

I WILL try a thumb pick again at some point, hopefully to stick with it to have it as an option.


You could just be like my dad who carries around thumb and finger picks in his pocket everywhere he goes! :D

Wooly 11-20-2020 08:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ken Carr (Post 6554651)
I am so accustomed to using a thumbpick that I am bound to it. I cannot hardly play fingerstyle without it. If I try to fingerpick without a thumbpick, my thumb accuracy is way diminished. You will get used to it.

That about sums it up for me. It's not that I had to make myself get used to it but I just fell into naturally. I couldn't imagine doing Travis or Atkins boom chick picking without one.

Golden Gates are the most comfortable, best sounding that I have found.

PeterM 11-20-2020 09:00 AM

Well, YES.

I cannot find a thumbpick that will stay on my thumb without killing the circulation.

Propicks are OK but too large.

I do like the tone...the search continues somewhat sporadically for one I can use.

Bob Womack 11-20-2020 09:40 AM

I studied just enough classical to be dangerous and thus grew my nails. I have liquid acrylic applied. Whenever I have given a thumbpick a chance it really hasn't seemed to offer any benefit over my thumbnail.

Bob

Earl49 11-20-2020 10:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by UncleJesse (Post 6554805)
You could just be like my dad who carries around thumb and finger picks in his pocket everywhere he goes! :D

I know banjo players like that. They sit astonished when I fingerpick their instrument without the offered fingerpicks and thumb pick. They act as if it isn't even possible to play without the picks. [Yes, I just publicly confessed to sometimes playing a banjo! :eek: ]

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bob Womack (Post 6554958)
.....Whenever I have given a thumbpick a chance it really hasn't seemed to offer any benefit over my thumbnail.

Having fingerpicked since the early 80's I have never been able to adapt to a thumb pick or finger picks. Lord knows, I've tried. There is a box around here with several varieties of each but I could never really adapt. Fortunately I am blessed with strong nails that can grow fast enough to allow 60-90 minutes of daily play without wearing away too much.

emtsteve 11-20-2020 11:03 AM

I can't get the hang. Use my bare thumb or hybrid with a regular pick.

leew3 11-20-2020 11:09 AM

I've tried numerous thumb picks but have not found them to be an improvement for me. I'll keep at it but will likely continue to go with just my thumb or hybrid picking with a flat pick.

reeve21 11-20-2020 11:20 AM

I've tried. Feels like I have a shovel taped on the end of my thumb. I gave up after a week or 2, maybe I'm just lazy. Was worried it would inhibit palm muting, but I've learned how to do that without one.

macmanmatty 11-21-2020 08:00 PM

It took me about 6 months of practice using only thumb / finger picks when playing; to fully get used to a thumb pick. Since I don't grow my nails out like Chet Atkins I have to use finger picks with one too. I used one on and off for years but could never get used to it. Till the sound lady who ran the open mic told me you need to make your guitar louder if you want people to hear you, and using finger picks and a thumb pick was the only way I could do that. Now it feels weirder not to use them when playing. My fingers just feel naked without them on . My take is learn to use them they improve accuracy, loudness and tone ten fold. Also Travis style with a palm muted bass will next to impossible with out a thumb pick. I use a national large white plastic thumb-pick and dunlop metal finger-picks.


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