Light&Sound
Registered User
Join date: May 2010
166 IQ
#1
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.
Koshman32
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Join date: Jul 2008
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#2
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Was that so hard?
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qsceszxdwa
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Join date: Nov 2007
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#3
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
Registered User
Join date: May 2010
105 IQ
#4
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
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Join date: Sep 2009
387 IQ
#5
you can try playing with the side of your thumb
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#6
I use my thumb to pick the bass notes and use my nails to strum the rest of the strings personally.
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Junior#1
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Join date: Oct 2007
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#8
I usually use my thumb but it depends what I'm playing and what sound I want.
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Besides that, he's right this time. As usual.
kenz.94
Registered User
Join date: Jan 2010
48 IQ
#9
Quote by Light&Sound
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.


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
Registered User
Join date: Aug 2007
755 IQ
#10
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
yamaha rules
Join date: May 2005
21 IQ
#11
Even when i'm holding a flatpick, i tend to strum with my middle finger.
Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal !!!!
Bikewer
Registered User
Join date: Jan 2010
65 IQ
#13
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
Registered User
Join date: May 2010
166 IQ
#14
^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
Registered User
Join date: Jan 2009
10 IQ
#15
Put your thumb and index finger together and strum with your nails. Sounds soft and nice.
GilbertsPinky
Banned
Join date: Mar 2010
461 IQ
#16
I literally hold my finger and thumb as if there's a pick there and then strum.
guitar nubsauce
Registered Loser
Join date: Mar 2010
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#17
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.
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GuitarManNeil
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#19
Quote by qsceszxdwa
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
Registered User
Join date: Jan 2010
65 IQ
#20
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
Registered User
Join date: Jun 2010
32 IQ
#21
When picking i use the side of my thumb but when i strum i use my index finger