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Old 03-19-2013, 05:10 PM   #1
SionR25
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Not using a plectrum

Hi guys,

I have been playing guitar now for about 5-6 years and have never found it comfortable to use a plectrum. For about my first 10 lessons I used my thumb and three fingers for picking (didn't do much strumming then). Then I got a new teacher through school and we did more strumming and he introduced me to using a plectrum, but I never liked it, although he did make me stick with it. I stopped having lessons about 2 years ago now and haven't used a plectrum since. Just wondering if anyone else is in a similar situation, i.e. doesn't use a plectrum at all?
Or does anyone think it can hold me back?

Most of the stuff I play is modern acoustic stuff, don't really do classical and occasionally do something a bit older (mainly from the sixties, love that era for music )
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Old 03-19-2013, 06:35 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SionR25
Hi guys,

I have been playing guitar now for about 5-6 years and have never found it comfortable to use a plectrum. For about my first 10 lessons I used my thumb and three fingers for picking (didn't do much strumming then). Then I got a new teacher through school and we did more strumming and he introduced me to using a plectrum, but I never liked it, although he did make me stick with it. I stopped having lessons about 2 years ago now and haven't used a plectrum since. Just wondering if anyone else is in a similar situation, i.e. doesn't use a plectrum at all?
Or does anyone think it can hold me back?

Most of the stuff I play is modern acoustic stuff, don't really do classical and occasionally do something a bit older (mainly from the sixties, love that era for music )


Do you feel it is holding you back?

I think you can get away with it more more on an acoustic. You are also doing finger picking if I understand you correctly. Nothing wrong with that.
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Old 03-20-2013, 03:35 AM   #3
SionR25
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I don't feel it is holding me back, as I can play everything I want to play, strumming or picking, its just I have been told I am quite a quiet player.
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Old 03-20-2013, 03:41 AM   #4
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it will be quieter
get your apoyando together
but no nails for steel string
them shits can do damage
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Old 03-20-2013, 05:41 AM   #5
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It really depends on what you want to achieve. Using a pick allows you to do things that you could not do (or are unlikely to be able to do) with fingers.

Some people don't like using a pick in their early days because it doesn't feel as intimate as with fingers. But, sticking with fingers by default because you haven't taken the time to get used to using a pick is probably not a good move. If you can use a pick competently but still choose to play with fingers then great. At least you have made an informed choice rather than never having embraced it.
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Old 03-20-2013, 06:00 AM   #6
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Honestly, if you just play for fun, it won't hurt much. If you ever need to pick up a pick... do it.
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Old 03-20-2013, 09:03 AM   #7
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Almost from day one, I did both. I started playing in the 70s, and all my already-playing buddies were old folkies.. Everyone played fingerstyle, usually with fingerpicks.
So I started working on that...."Travis picking" as we called it.
But at the same time, I wanted to play bluegrass, so I took up 'grass-style flatpicking.

I remain quite fluent at both.

I would argue against the statement above that you can't play steel string with your nails... I do it all the time and so do many other players. You just have to learn decent technique and maintain your nails properly... Same way a classical guitar player would.
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Old 03-20-2013, 11:19 AM   #8
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Mark Knopfler manages just fine!
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Old 03-20-2013, 02:19 PM   #9
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I really like the attack that is possible with fingers and you are basically eliminating the "middle man" when it comes to the actual touch and feel of your playing. I find my playing much more dynamic when using just fingers than with a pick. Dynamic playing can be done with a pick, but it is easier with your fingers.
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Old 03-20-2013, 02:32 PM   #10
Good Ol' Ramos
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I actually could not, for the life of me, figure out how to use a pick for the first 2 years or so. I could very basic stuff, like light strumming (up/down/up/down was out of the question). It took me kind of peaking in my abilities to finally force myself to learn the pick. I haven't turned back, and the pick is now an extremely intimate part of my playing. Like, really intimate. Almost too intimate.
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Old 03-20-2013, 06:14 PM   #11
SionR25
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Thanks for the replies and tips guys, just one more question. I can see why there can be benefits in using a pick for plucking/picking, but is there a benefit in using one for strumming?

Thanks again
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Old 03-20-2013, 06:46 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Good Ol' Ramos
I actually could not, for the life of me, figure out how to use a pick for the first 2 years or so. I could very basic stuff, like light strumming (up/down/up/down was out of the question). It took me kind of peaking in my abilities to finally force myself to learn the pick. I haven't turned back, and the pick is now an extremely intimate part of my playing. Like, really intimate. Almost too intimate.

Isn't that we all strive for?
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Old 03-21-2013, 11:07 AM   #13
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I'm not sure if you know this guy, but a serbian guitarist Radomir Mihajlovic Tocak or RM Tocak is one of the best guitarists in South-east europe. He's in a rock-band called SMAK. He plays electric guitar for decades now, and never ever used a pick during that time. And it's definitely not holding him back.

You should check out some of his work like "blues u parku" or "ulazak u harem". I think those show pretty well that you don't have to be bound to a pick. Still I love using picks more than playing with fingers.

For strumming though, I prefer using the back of my middle-finger and thumb.

Last edited by Vlade-b : 03-22-2013 at 05:58 AM.
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Old 03-22-2013, 11:39 PM   #14
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Ask Jeff Beck if it holds him back to use fingers or Mark Knophler (I know I spelled that wrong)
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Old 03-28-2013, 04:12 AM   #15
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It sure doesn't seem to hold Andy who does demos for Pro Guitar Shop back. Dude's a rock solid guitar player and never uses a pick.

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