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#1
I have decided after a years playing that i do not like the humble plectrum.

Why should my guuitar playing be dependent on this scrawny piece of plastic that i am to hold between my fingers?

My left fretting hand can do it alone. So why shouldnt my right hand be able to go it alone for picking?

Why should i need to rely on something plastic, when my body alone is more than able to do the job?

And surely its better to be able to just use your own body parts to do the job than rely on silly bits of plastic?

This is for electrics, acoustics, picking, strumming, i just prefer the hands only approach.


And I've tried the textbook picking approach of thumb for the 3 bass strings & next three fingers for the treble strings. But to be honest, it does not feel very comfortable or natural, & I am not too fluent at it.
I appreciate that it will take a lot more practise than i have so far given it.

But, I feel most fluent at playing when i am picking with my thumb only, with the occasional use of my index finger.

I feel best when strumming either with my thumb/index finger touching & forming a point, or using the first 3 fingers for down strokers, & my thumb mainly for up strums.

Why should we feel the need to do things as the text books show us, rather than getting the job done in a way that personally feels the best & most natural to us??

Dont get me wrong, i'd love to be able to pick like Joan Baez. But i cant see that level of fluency coming any time soon. And in the meantime, trying to get there is somewhat frustrating. So for me, using the digit on my hand that feels most comfortable & correct to play that note, in the moment is the way to go.

And people often tell me i have hands like shovels. I am 6ft 9", And theirs not a lot of space in between strings on a guitar, so consider myself at a slight disadvantage for delicate multi digit finger picking.
Last edited by madeinchina1 at Jun 5, 2010,
#2
If you're strumming with your thumb and your finger forming a point, would it not just be easier to use a plec?
#3
While i see your point, I believe that adopting BOTH is vital. There are some things you can only do with a plectrum properly, and some with just fingers, some with both at the same time. I believe that mastering both finger and plectrum techniques is very important, as I'd like to see you try and play some Tech Death Metal with your fingers :P
#4
you'll need both for different styles...as mishax92 said, you cant play tech death with your fingers.
#5
I don't know if this relevant, but you can change the way you feel natural. When you first picked up your guitar, you probably didn't think the way that the books teach you felt the most natural. When you practise for years, that way of playing becomes surprisingly natural.
#6
plectrums
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#7
Well honestly I use a mixture. I have the classical way of doing things with the p m i (thumb index etc etc) Then I use just a hybrid of general fingerstyle to accentuate my playing with both acoustic and electric. I recommend to check out Andy from ProGuitarShopDemos on youtube, pretty much the most accurate representation.

And of course with a pick for your shred and sweeps and just chugging and all that good stuffs
#8
I use my index finger and thumb. It feels better, and I can tremolo pick faster. I play better than I do with a pick, including playing metal songs.
#9
yeah i tried fingerpicking metal. hurts the hell out of those fingers. other genres should be fine
#10
jesus i want some ice cream
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#11
I do both, I play with a pick for sweeps and alternate/tremolo picking, and hold the pick in my mouth for string skips and clean/fingerpicking parts in songs...
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#13
Yea, the books teach you the way that's the most efficient and will yield the most progress the fastest. If you find a way that's easier for you more power to ya haha. However, someone who uses that technique will probably be more technical than you. Personally, Though I use a pick more, I find it invaluable to be able to do both, that fat sound of flesh on the strings is simply not possible to emulate.
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#14
Lindsay Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac uses nothing but his fingers to play guitar.

I can't help but think that you're reducing your speed and efficiency by using only your thumb and finger - sort of along the lines of the guys who don't use their pinky on the left hand to fret. You've only been playing a year, so it's not like you've been playing for years and decided to change your style. If you were my student, I'd show you the correct way to do it, however the bottom line is you. Play however you feel the most comfortable.
#15
Quote by Timehbgood
If you're strumming with your thumb and your finger forming a point, would it not just be easier to use a plec?


Good point!

But stick a plectrum between them, & the amount of contact made on the strings becomes an issue.
My plectrum moves position in my fingers quite easily, swivels round. This is maybe due to inconsistent force of contact on the strings. This is my current issue with the plectrum - having to keep readjusting its position within my grip.
But this may be a sign of progess, as when i first started, on my acoustic the plectrum found its way through the soundhole - So many times!!

I am better with a plectrum these days. Because earlier on the gauge of plectrum had a big effect on how well i could strum, so i bought some really skinny 0.38 & 0.44. But now i can strum pretty much as well with a 1.14 plectrum. So practise does lead to that sensitivity of touch.

Practise is the big thing though. And i am a novice. No pain no progess!
#16
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Me too. I'm going to Tesco's later . I fancy some cornish & some chocolate. I think they have a special promotion on. 2 * 1 litre for £2.

#17
Having the pick slip in your fingers is a common beginner problem. As time goes on, you'll get better with your pick control.
#18
well thats like asking why do we drive with power steering. i could just buy a 50 year old car and steer with my own muscles.

well because its easier. and like guitar playing isnt hard enough....

and try sweep picking or even just really fast hammer ons/pull offs/legato without a pick. much harder. however if your playing like jeff beck or john mayer, it does give you a certain sound.
#19
It's called personal preference.


It's not some government conspiracy or religious dogma that forces guitarists to use plectrums.


Fingerstyle can be completely bad ass though, but for metal and shredding styles it's a touch impractical.
#20
Quote by KG6_Steven
Having the pick slip in your fingers is a common beginner problem. As time goes on, you'll get better with your pick control.


My other plectrum problem is when doing lead guitar stuff, is picking the wrong string. This problem is worse when i am playing stood up. I guess its down to practise. But i dont have this issue with my thumb.

And my hand feels more awkward above the strings with a plectrum for single not play. I dont know whether to rest 1 or 2 fingertips on the body below the strings. Or, just to try & float above the strings with no fingers touching the wood - but when i try this i seem less accurate & pick the wrong string more often
Last edited by madeinchina1 at Jun 5, 2010,
#21
Quote by madeinchina1
And my hand feels more awkward above the strings with a plectrum for single not play. I dont know whether to rest 1 or 2 fingertips on the body below the strings.



that's called Anchoring. It's not good technique, but if you do anchor it's not the end of the world.


EDIT: fixed. Quoted wrong section of his post before.
Last edited by Tedward at Jun 5, 2010,
#23
Quote by madeinchina1

But, I feel most fluent at playing when i am picking with my thumb only, with the occasional use of my index finger.



This is just because those are your strongest fingers right now. You need to build up strength in those other fingers.

This is just like that guy who was forsaking "generic" chords because he felt like he didn't need them, and felt he was better at power chords.

You just need to practice on using those other fingers and they will eventually feel as good as your index and thumb.

Now, saying all that, John Mayer uses mainly his index and thumb when playing his stuff.


Quote by Tedward
that's called Anchoring. It's not good technique, but if you do anchor it's not the end of the world.


What he's doing is the opposite of anchoring.
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Last edited by biga29 at Jun 5, 2010,
#24
Quote by nathhead
Jeff Beck doesn't use a plectrum these days.


This is true. Jeff Beck uses kind of a bastardized finger picking method that he developed. He uses his thumb for most things and then adds his index finger to play faster. For fast runs, he does a kind of classical-like picking where he uses several fingers in quick succession or alternates between his index and his thumb. He uses his fingers mainly because he's a tone freak and it allows him to use his whammy bar easily.

I would like to point out though that although he can probably play most music, Jeff Beck has been playing guitar since he was like 13, in the sixties and was a very accomplished player before he switched to a finger style picking. It has taken him years to be as good at doing leads as he is.

I prefer to use my fingers most of the time, but it's true that there is a place for the pick. I would keep working on both if I were you. You're going to get better with a pick, and if you want to make a stylistic choice to play electric fingerstyle, you can do that to.
#25
Quote by biga29
This is just because those are your strongest fingers right now. You need to build up strength in those other fingers.

This is just like that guy who was forsaking "generic" chords because he felt like he didn't need them, and felt he was better at power chords.

Yes. I pretty much have chords down. I know about 35 to memory. And can change pretty quickly between them all. Compare this to 14 months ago, when i diddnt have the strength/flexibility hold a bar chord down on an electric! I still struggle with B minor sometimes!

You just need to practice on using those other fingers and they will eventually feel as good as your index and thumb.

I guess so. Thhe trick is not to expect instant gratification & not get frustrated.

Now, saying all that, John Mayer uses mainly his index and thumb when playing his stuff.


I hadnt noticed this about JM, but have not seen much of him anyhow


What he's doing is the opposite of anchoring.

Yes that seems to make more sense!

..
#26
Quote by Warrior47
This is true. Jeff Beck uses kind of a bastardized finger picking method that he developed. He uses his thumb for most things and then adds his index finger to play faster. For fast runs, he does a kind of classical-like picking where he uses several fingers in quick succession or alternates between his index and his thumb. He uses his fingers mainly because he's a tone freak and it allows him to use his whammy bar easily.

I would like to point out though that although he can probably play most music, Jeff Beck has been playing guitar since he was like 13, in the sixties and was a very accomplished player before he switched to a finger style picking. It has taken him years to be as good at doing leads as he is.

I prefer to use my fingers most of the time, but it's true that there is a place for the pick. I would keep working on both if I were you. You're going to get better with a pick, and if you want to make a stylistic choice to play electric fingerstyle, you can do that to.


What about Jimmy Vaughan. He's a finger man. Which fingers does he use?
#27
Why limit yourself to just one? Get some pinch harmonics or some surf guitar tremolo picking on finger-playing for me. Same time though, get me the warmth and simultaneousness of a fingerpicked chord with a piece of plastic. Both have uses and pitfalls, why just use one?
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#28
I've also bought a nice encore sunburst precision standard bass style guitar off ebay for £30.

I am finding this is less of an issue with the bass, as you can probably get further just using your thumb.

Theres a lot more space between strings which is good for my big hands & long fingers.

I'd like to be able to do the 4 finger bass picking that most bass players seem to use. At the moment it is tricky, but i think id guess this down, b4 i get a multi-finger style method down to a fine art on the 6 string guitar.
#29
Quote by necrosis1193
Why limit yourself to just one? Get some pinch harmonics or some surf guitar tremolo picking on finger-playing for me. Same time though, get me the warmth and simultaneousness of a fingerpicked chord with a piece of plastic. Both have uses and pitfalls, why just use one?


True. Diversity is the friend of true competance!

I guess when im playing my axes in my bedroom all by myself. If i feel like picking up a plectrum i will. If i dont, i'll try to improve my fingering techniques (on the guitar that is)
#30
Quote by madeinchina1
What about Jimmy Vaughan. He's a finger man. Which fingers does he use?


I don't know that much about his picking (I love Jeck Beck's playing, so I watched tons of videos of him and read a lot of interviews a while ago), but I saw him live a couple months ago. He started out the concert playing with a pick, which he's damn good with I just want to point out. He switched to finger picking after and hour or so. If I remember correctly, he was mostly using his index finger to kind of strike the string. It wasn't so much as the typical pulling the string up and releasing, but more of a pushing towards the guitar with the edge of his finger so it would slip off. He also used his thumb a good amount to pick the string.

That's the best description I can give of what I saw. It's a little tricky with Jimmy though cause he's a very minimalist player and he does things pretty stylistically when playing live. I'm sure what he was doing at that show was for the tone it produced and for the appearance, but he didn't really cut loose and play some ridiculous solo that would force him to play as well as he could with his fingers, if that makes any sense. I guess I'm just saying, I'm not completely sure if he always plays that way or if it's just a choice he made for style.
#31
Apologies for putting this thread in the wrong section. didnt think.

ive identified parts of my problems with plectrum picking

1) its always a mixup of the 3rd & 4th strings where i tend to pick the wrong one. I suspect its something to do with going from a thick bass to a thin treble string. Probably having a thick 3rd string on acoustics is mixed in with my confusion & doesnt help.

2) I strum holding the pick with three fingers for stability. But i was picking howlding the plec with the first 3 fingers also. I have just had a go picking with the plec inbetween the thumb & forefinger & this results in the rest of the hand being more comfortable & at a better angle to anchor my first two fingers below the strings on the wood - thus hopefully better, more accurate & comfortable playing.
Last edited by madeinchina1 at Jun 5, 2010,
#32
i don't use a plectrum, i hate them. I use my fingernail like a plectrum when i play riffs and lead guitar. I wonder if there is any reason not to do it this way?
#33
Quote by Lythox
i don't use a plectrum, i hate them. I use my fingernail like a plectrum when i play riffs and lead guitar. I wonder if there is any reason not to do it this way?


Do you look like johnny depp by any chance? (edward scissorhands )

What if you picked too hard & it ripped the fingernail from the flesh
#34
Quote by necrosis1193
Why limit yourself to just one? Get some pinch harmonics or some surf guitar tremolo picking on finger-playing for me. Same time though, get me the warmth and simultaneousness of a fingerpicked chord with a piece of plastic. Both have uses and pitfalls, why just use one?


You can do pinch harmonics with your fingers as well.

TS, you're right, you don't have to follow the rules. If you want your own tone it could be a good idea to play fingerstyle. However it will be a real challenge to learn.
#35
I use a mixture of plectrum, finger-picking and hybrid picking. However I play much more fluently and learn faster when finger-picking. Sadly it's not very br00tal so it doesn't look to cool in public. Girls seem to prefer finger-picking though, and I'm not bad with a pick, it just comes less naturally. I still need to build up speed whilst using a pick, like I can't hit 8th notes at 200bpm on two strings with a pick, but with my fingers I can.
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#37
If it works for you, do it.....Maybe you will be the next Jeff Beck!
#38
nobody's going to toss a pick at you. But take my word when i say that you are limiting yourself severely if you choose not to use a guitar pick at all.
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