so i'm starting to get into songs that require finger picking and i've heard through the grapevine that the best way to do this is to grow out your finger nails on your strumming hand, but then i also figured that perhaps i could save myself the time and just buy finger picks for each of the major plucking fingers instead. is this a bad idea? good idea? feedback much appreciated. thank you
I've heard fingerpicks often described as "wearing a raincoat in the shower" or something like that. You can try fingerpicks if you want. I have fingernails and I've noticed that it's more like picking with the flesh of your fingertips, except a lot easier. And having nails isn't as easy as not cutting them back; you have to watch out for them, make sure not to bump them on stuff like walls, light switches, lockers, etc. And You've got to file them back every now and then (not all the way) because they can get too long. I've heard that between 1-2mm past is good, but you can find out what's comfortable for you on your own.
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i personally have my fingernails grown out but i also have tried alaska picks for my index middle and ring and used a thumbpick for my thumb and it worked nicely although the alaska picks take some modifications for them not to suck it also takes some time getting used to
i find fingerpicks are extremely awkward. i never could get the hang of them, so i just grew out my nails. man it's so much easier to play with fingernails (and cheaper). also, if you want a little skin tone in your tune, it's a lot easier to avoid using your nail on the string than it is to avoid using a fingerpick.

the only thing is they hurt like crazy if you get 'em caught on something and they get all bent backwards. it takes some getting used to, and not all girls understand why you have longer nails than they do... but it's worth it in my opinion.
i tryed finger picks not a fan but then again to each one his own i just let my nail grow so very slightly not even noticable and found it just as good
Last edited by supersac at Dec 27, 2009,
on guitar, i tend to use the flesh of my fingers. i do too much work to be able to keep long fingernails. when i play banjo, i use finger picks, though and they take some getting used to as you're not making any actual contact with the string. I've also heard stories of guys using fake nails, but i've never tried it.
I wouldn't really recommend finger picks, it feels like an awkward piece of plastic that barely hangs on to your finger (maybe I'm using them wrong?) Thumbpicks are good though, I recommend those. As for your nails, IMO the best way to get fingerpicking nails is to get your nails done, with fake nails glued on. I know, it's not very manly, but you can get the person to file the nails however you want, it takes maybe an hour, and you don't need designs to make them noticable.
Last edited by zincabopataurio at Dec 28, 2009,
I personally use longer fingernails (though many people have gone "Dude, WTF, cut your nails!" and I have to patiently - some cases, impatiently - explain the situation) but I'd recomend starting with normally cut fingernails on the picking hand, see how you go, and as they grow see if you like it better, and what length is best for you.