How to strum without a pick?


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Light&Sound
07-05-2010, 02:59 AM
I need to learn to strum without a pick. Any tips or videos I can watch to learn from?

I'm not sure if I should be using my thumb for downs and ups, or my fingers for downs, thumb for ups...etc. I seem to scrape the skin above my thumbnail a lot. Not fun. :rolleyes:

Koshman32
07-05-2010, 03:10 AM
Google (http://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&rlz=1G1ACAW_ENCA386&q=how+to+strum+without+a+pick&aq=f&aqi=g1&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=)
YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=how+to+strum+without+a+pick&aq=0)
Was that so hard?
Probably took less time to do a simple search on each than it did to create this thread.

qsceszxdwa
07-05-2010, 03:11 AM
Do what feels right or sounds right...
Say for softer passages one could use just the skin on the thumb and fingers to strum
and on stronger passages on could hold the thumb and first finger as if holding a pick and strum with the nails...

suckersdream
07-05-2010, 04:33 AM
Yeah I usually hold my fingers like I'm holding a pick, and use my nails.
But now my nails have marks on them :(

JK01
07-05-2010, 05:05 AM
you can try playing with the side of your thumb

N_J_B_B
07-05-2010, 07:11 AM
I use my thumb to pick the bass notes and use my nails to strum the rest of the strings personally.

chainsawguitar
07-05-2010, 08:06 AM
Try these:

http://www.google.co.uk/products?hl=en&rlz=1G1ACAWCENUK336&q=thumb+picks&um=1&ie=UTF-8&ei=kMoxTPCPJYyOjAeAvv2WBg&sa=X&oi=product_result_group&ct=title&resnum=1&ved=0CC8QrQQwAA

I don't understand why you really need to strum without a pick. Unless you're learning some kind of flamenco...

Junior#1
07-05-2010, 08:46 AM
I usually use my thumb but it depends what I'm playing and what sound I want.

kenz.94
07-05-2010, 12:50 PM
I need to learn to strum without a pick. Any tips or videos I can watch to learn from?

I'm not sure if I should be using my thumb for downs and ups, or my fingers for downs, thumb for ups...etc. I seem to scrape the skin above my thumbnail a lot. Not fun. :rolleyes:

wow...strum with bare hand is the first thing i do on guitar...
actually at my fist time played electric guitar, i had trouble playing with pick...
i can only downstrum..
becoz i used to strum witout pick on my classical guitar..
but now i can play with pick..downstrum upstrum fine..
so just practice

Mekchrious
07-05-2010, 01:09 PM
If you use your thumb, you will blister, but it gives a very soft, warm tone. Usually I either hold my thumb and forefinger like I'm using a pick and strum or act like your shaking your hands to get the water off. That works really well too.

matt_earls
07-08-2010, 01:53 AM
Even when i'm holding a flatpick, i tend to strum with my middle finger.

guitarocker100
07-08-2010, 02:07 AM
It depends on what I'm playing. If I'm just paying chords I'll just use my index finger but if I'm actually playing something....well I never do that without a pick so I wouldnt know what to do.

Bikewer
07-08-2010, 10:47 AM
A useful technique is the one used for playing old-time or "frailing" banjo. One finger (normally the middle) can strike a single note, the hand uncoils to use the other fingers to strum other strings, and the thumb picks out bass notes.
Done properly, it results in a bum-diddy-bum pattern that can be varied with runs and single-string lines.
Pete Seeger, in his old book, "Flyspecks and Hen-scratches" says that Latin musicians recognize thirty or so distinct strumming patterns using the fingers alone.

Light&Sound
07-14-2010, 07:48 PM
^Thank you so much for your replies. I find it annoying being without a pick and unable to play, seems a bit pathetic. >.< My strumming is coming along though. Fast songs are not sounding so good yet.

KoshMan32-If it were that easy, I wouldn't have posted here. I wanted different advice from real people. Thank you for the google searches I already did though.

Fourth Horsemen
07-14-2010, 10:46 PM
Put your thumb and index finger together and strum with your nails. Sounds soft and nice.

GilbertsPinky
07-15-2010, 05:50 AM
I literally hold my finger and thumb as if there's a pick there and then strum.

guitar nubsauce
07-15-2010, 09:35 AM
I use the back of all four finger on the down strokes, then my thumb on the upstrokes.

The down strokes are more of a flick.

Arunas
07-15-2010, 01:26 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qc_UEeRhy7o

Somewhere at 0:30-0:40 I think its what guitar nubsauce suggested :) Personaly i do it like that to

GuitarManNeil
07-15-2010, 03:00 PM
Do what feels right or sounds right...
Say for softer passages one could use just the skin on the thumb and fingers to strum
and on stronger passages on could hold the thumb and first finger as if holding a pick and strum with the nails...

I was going to say exactly this, but you beat me to it. You said it perfectly :-)

Bikewer
07-15-2010, 05:54 PM
Another technique... The French guitarist, Marcel Dadi, always used to use his thumb alone as a flatpick for single-note passages.
He let his nail grow out just enough to contact the strings, and "reinforced the thumb with the index finger much as you'd hold a pick.
This gives the freedom to use the other fingers as well.
I tried the technique years ago and didn't care for the tone much, but it worked for him....

Hehe--- I see he's using a thumbpick now:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yYYzUmLjntc&feature=PlayList&p=B423617AE0E2B080&playnext_from=PL&playnext=1&index=1

bigE3
07-17-2010, 01:01 AM
When picking i use the side of my thumb but when i strum i use my index finger