im trying to learn finger picking, but i feel a bit of a gimp when doing it, im just really slow at it right now, im guesing that will come over time, but iam i allowed to use my nails to pick? also i think once i get this i would like to use this when writing a metal song one day, but can you use finger picking for metal or would it not sound metal at all?
Fingerpicking + Metal? Nothing else matters is fingerpicked

And i think most ( including myself) use their fingers to pick but some guitarist with really long fingernails use these fingernails to pick the strings. Personal preference i guess

Hope you understand me

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Nothing else matters? hows that for finger picking. And i prefer not to use my nails when picking but im sure its okay to do it
1. Yes you will be slow at first
2. You are allowed to use your nails (in fact it is advised as it gives better tone)
3. SOOOO many metal songs use finger picking (e.g. Nothing else Matters, Metallica; Clenching the Fists of Dissent, Machine Head)

It is quite a useful technique to learn and also teaches you how to hold down chords accurately as you will be able to pick out the notes you are not holding down properly more easily.
Yes, it should come over time. A lot of fingerstyle guitarist grow their nails to get a more pick-y sound
The reason it's not used a lot in metal is because fingers don't have a lot of attack in them. However, if you had a crazy bridge then went into a quiet, clean, fingerpicked section before a huge final chorus, I can see it working. It doesn't really work with loads of distortion though.
I have crazy long nails for hybrid and finger picking. It's most certainly allowed.

I really got into it when I learned a few classical pieces for school. You'd do well to observe the posture that the big classical dudes use.

I doubt you'd really use it in metal, though. Except in quiet interludes and intros/outros. Doing broken chord patterns while letting everything ring with mass amounts of gain will sound pretty mince.
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so when finger picking, i should have my thumb on the fifth string an the index on the 4th and the middle on the 3 and the ring finger on the 2nd and the pinky on the first, right?
Don't use your pinkie. Use the thumb (p) for 6-4, then index (i), middle (m), and anular (a).
That is just the default position, however; for some songs it makes more sense to move everything up a string. If you want strong classical right hand technique, it might be worth the money to get some instruction.
Generally, the thumb plucks the 6, 5 and 4 strings and your index, middle and ring fingers pluck the 3, 2 nd 1st strings respectively. This is a loose rule though, sometimes you'll need your middle finger to pluck the A string or your thumb to pluck the G string etc...

Learn the easy stuff like "Wonderful tonight" or "Older Chests", and bring it up from there. Learn "Nothing else matters" or have a go at "Classical Gas". It's not really my area of expertise, but theres loads of stuff out there to get you into it.

If you're a metal player, have a go at hybrid picking, Using your pick and your Middle, Ring and Pinky Fingers. As has been said, it probably won't sound great during really distorted passages, But roll back the volume pot to get a light crunch or go for it in clean passages and it can really work in a metal scenario.

The nails thing is personal preference really, I never liked the idea of having long nails, so I never did, but fingerpicking works fine for me without 'em.

Good Luck, and Keep at it!
oh so your not supose to use your pinky? see this is why i dont watch guitar videos on youtube -_- and ty im going to try finger picking then, hybrid picking later, i want to get all techniqes down and make somthing of my own, which is reason why i dont like playing songs, unless it helps my techinque cause i never get the soul of the song, cause its thier song not mine if i do like the song i might make it my own style like how randy did with paranoid lol

edit: im getting an instructor this fall, im lookin so foward to it i thinnk classical is so beautfil which is why i like the way randy added classical to metal it sounded so great.

( i know other people before him did that too, but im using him as an example)
Last edited by harvestkingx at Jul 25, 2011,
There's no rule that says you can't use your pinky, it's all down to the musical situation you're in. Like lets say you're playing a finger sweep like this.


You could economy pick the a and d strings in one motion with your thumb, but
I'd rather play it thumb, index, middle, ring, pinky. Neither one of them is correct, but
neither one is wrong.

That's kind of a special occasion though. most of the time you would be sticking
with the thumb, index, mid, ring rule, because that's all you need.

It's ultimately all down to you and how you want to play it though. Mess around with it.
See what you can do!
i think i preer without the pink cause, my pinky hurts when doing, espically when using my nails, and there reason why i tolerated it cause i thought every guitar player went throught and got use to it after a while.
There's only one classical guitar teacher I know who advocates using the pinkie for picking. For most people, the pinkie is just not strong enough or long enough to get the job done.

As far as nail length goes, I keep my right hand nails long enough to pick with; this is standard for classical. They don't need to be super long. Scott Tennant's advice is to hold your finger parallel to the floor, and then hold up a nail file perpendicular to the floor. If you put the nail file against the tip of your finger and the nail, it should remain plumb - the file should not be leaning in to meet the nail, nor be pushed out by the nail so that it leans away from the tip of your finger. "Pumping Nylon" has some good advice about how to shape nails, etc. You can also check out the delcamp forum.
Quote by harvestkingx
oh so your not supose to use your pinky?

There is no reason not to use your pinky at all. A lot of pure fingerstyle guys don't but that's their choice and I think not using it is a limitation that need not be there.
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thanks guys for the help its really helped me lol , also i think im starting to get better at the thing i just love how strong the tone of one note is with a finger nail, it just awesome
I started out doing both with an emphasis on fingers. I practice with a pick still so I don't lag behind.

What I like to do is use my index finger as a pick. I tend to keep that finger nail a little bit longer so if I look at my fingers palm side up, I can see the nail just extending past the fingertip. People would think I am holding a pick from the way I hold my hand, but I am not.