Is it ok to play with my thumb instead of a pick?


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ManEatingTree
07-10-2006, 08:25 PM
I been playing for not even a month now, And Ive always been using my thumb instead of a pick. I just pluck every thing in a downward motion, or strum up and down with it. With the pick, im very inaccurate (im constantly hiting the wroung string)and slow.

Is it ok to use the thumb? A friend of mine told me it would be hard to play faster songs and such later on, and that it doesnt make the right sound when you pluck with your thumb. Should I start relearning to use the pick instead

nopoleon779467
07-10-2006, 08:29 PM
you should be pretty good with both not realy good with one and awfull with the other

Johnsonville
07-10-2006, 08:30 PM
tell him to shut it DIre Straits have proven u don't need one

Kaervek
07-10-2006, 08:31 PM
Take up fingerpicking. Use all your fingers; not just your thumb.

ashtopov
07-10-2006, 08:33 PM
when i first started out playing i played everything with my thumb, i just thought it was easier. You need to trust me tho its worth learning to play with a pick. It took me a while but it realy makes it that much easier to improve.

HardAttack
07-10-2006, 08:33 PM
You can't really alternate pick with your thumb, you can't shred, you make get pinch harmonics... the list goes on. If you're going to be doing simple chords and all strumming, or if you're gonna play Flamenco guitar, then you can use your thumb. Otherwise, stop being a dick, and get a pick. :D You can always try using a thumb pick too. But once again you will probably lose some abilities that normal guitarist have if you do that.

R0CKER1220
07-10-2006, 08:34 PM
It's OK to play with your thumb but that could limit you quite a lot later on. Like your friend said, it'd be much harder to try to play a fasy some with your thimb. Also if you use a pick it can increase your accuracy and you'll be able to play faster.

wolfmother256
07-10-2006, 08:35 PM
i started using my thumbs when i started cause i was not good with a pick, but if you keep playing with a pick you will get better. i have gotten better with accuracy and everything with using a pick. recently i tried my thumb while playing and i noticed the sound was not as good with the thumb as it is with a pick. so i recomend it, at least try if for a while.

Kurt_Morrelo
07-10-2006, 08:38 PM
That's how Johnny Cash did it until the day he died...
So I see nothing wrong with it.
But like somone above me said, it may prove worthwile to also take up fingerpicking.

black_box
07-10-2006, 10:35 PM
accuracy will come w/ practice. i used to work on picking while watching tv during the commercials, or even during a show with some heavy palm muting. electrics don't need to be plugged in for this of course.

schecter1971
07-10-2006, 11:55 PM
When i started i used my thumb and found it pretty easy. Eventually you'll want to go faster and u can't move your thumb as fast as u can using a pick. Trust me, start learning to use a pick. It will take a month or so to get used to it but after a while you'll get used to it. Picks also sound cleaner since fingers mute some of the sound

kirbyrocknroll
07-11-2006, 12:19 AM
I find thumb a no-no. Use all of your fingers if you can :)

Or...use a pick.

kev_dunn
07-11-2006, 12:26 AM
no. you cant. its against the rules. keep doing it and youll die in a tragic thumb accident.


do whatever you want man. if its more comfortable with your thumb...then use your thumb

LrIeYhAmNiA
07-11-2006, 09:17 AM
accuracy and speed come with economic picking...
but if you dont wanna use pick, then go on with thumb
dont force yourself to learn thing. someday you will know what best to learn.
thats what my principlal, but i learn everything to reach my goal.

SavedbyJaco
07-12-2006, 05:45 AM
You can't really alternate pick with your thumb, you can't shred, you make get pinch harmonics... the list goes on. If you're going to be doing simple chords and all strumming, or if you're gonna play Flamenco guitar, then you can use your thumb. Otherwise, stop being a dick, and get a pick. :D You can always try using a thumb pick too. But once again you will probably lose some abilities that normal guitarist have if you do that.
I alternate pick with my thumb, I "shred" with out a pick, I make pinch harmonics, And I rarely touch a pick ( but I play bass, I guess you can do more with a bass :p: )

your thumb can be just as functional, aibelt it may be harder...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vdJvHE8qxA
check this cat out, regi wooten

it's okay to use your thumb, but try to include other fingers

l1kel1ke
07-12-2006, 01:07 PM
its ok that you're doing that now, I did that for the first 2 months, then when I started learning power chords etc. i found it to be somewhat destructive and learned to pick. Using a pick seems uh..inaccessible? (can't seem to pull out a better word atm) at the point you're at but trust me you'll be able to pick sufficiently within days. Just do a few chromatic exercises, and remember to alternate between down and upstrokes equally. I learned alternate picking pretty fast by doing that which gave me a huge advantage since my 3rd month or so of playing

but hey, you don't have to switch now. Switch whenever you feel you're ready, and trust me soon enough you're gonna want to use a pick. Just go with the flow I guess :) And if you do end up using your thumb forever, if you don't neglect your practice then you're gonna be getting better regardless, and you'll probably be a thumbpicking god a few years from now hehe.

ClayJohnson
07-12-2006, 02:48 PM
:bash: The question is not if its "OK" to not use a pick, the question is "Are you fine with being a restricted player for the rest of your life?" :no:

MedicreDemon
07-12-2006, 04:12 PM
yeah i started with my thumb too but i just practiced with a pick u can play alot faster and youll have to get good at it eventually

Mudder
07-12-2006, 04:26 PM
Derek Trucks has great tone, plays mostly with his thumb and fingers, but adds some pick work in also. I'd get comfortable using a pick but if you like how it sounds to use your thumb, go for it.

13Flxxrocker
07-12-2006, 05:39 PM
i would suggest a pick(if your using an electric guitar) for the sole reason that you get lot better sound, and its hard to "double pick" without a pick.

If your rocking acoustic, learn the proper way to fingerpick(i.e. books, internet, instruction videos). It just makes you a lot better.