#1
Hi there, thought id ask this quick question, because as i was going over old songs, I came across a bunch that I had learned solo's for and whatnot.

about 6months/1yr into guitar, i pretty much stopped using a pick entirely, and im 2.5-3ish years in now, and i realize im still awful with the thing, i just prefer to strum with my thumb, and i usually prefer fingerstyle to the pick..

I play acoustic only really so that might account for the direction i went in...

In any event i have picks ranging from .5mm to 1.5mm, and even a cellulose pick..

Im not sure if im going to bother continuing in a serious fashion, as i really only use it to run through scales and warmup but I have NEVER felt comfortable with, and I hate the clangy sound it makes when i strum.

I realize this is a question that will generate varied answers, so if you could avoid the ones that have to do with buying ridiculous merchandise and hand positioning.

years ago i was told that it was a good idea to play with a thicker pick, as it was better for my wrists and playing, and id like to dedicate at least a few mintues a day to using it from now on. Was hoping one of you could shed light on my prediciment if you found yourself in the same situation at some point..
#2
I would try Star Picks. Keep in mind people do criticize me for using them. They sometimes call them training wheels. I don't mind; I still use them. They have a whole in the center at the right point where your index and thumb should meet. So, they guide you in holding a pick. I buy them at Guitar Center and I find the Orange ones are the most comfortable. Here is their home site:

http://www.everlystrings.com/star_picks.asp
#4
My real concern is just getting comfortable with them at all. I like my hands, and ive become pretty attached to strumming with my thumb. Playing with a pick is sort of like walking on stilts for me, it always feels funny and sort of forced. I figured I wouldnt find the response that I was hoping for. Just feels like ive already decided I dont like to play with picks, and that will mess me with me in the future. Maybe ill just buy an electric one day and hope they sound better on that Oo.
#5
Really good beginner's picking exercise: Touch the pick to the string and push the string using the pick a couple mm, wait for next metronome click or two, then play the note. Repeat using all strings, up and down strokes. That will help build control.
#6
For me, I pretty much hate playing rhythm on an electric - doesn't matter if it's with a thick pick or a thin one. I just don't like the sound of rhythm on an electric guitar. So, I mostly play acoustic guitar and I use heavy Fender picks, which I really like. If I try using a thinner pick on acoustic, I get more pick noise playing rhythm, which I'm not so fond of. I don't care for the tone of my wife's acoustic guitars at all. They're just too dark. It could be your guitar that you're not liking. Which acoustic do you have?
#7
Quote by KG6_Steven
For me, I pretty much hate playing rhythm on an electric - doesn't matter if it's with a thick pick or a thin one. I just don't like the sound of rhythm on an electric guitar. So, I mostly play acoustic guitar and I use heavy Fender picks, which I really like. If I try using a thinner pick on acoustic, I get more pick noise playing rhythm, which I'm not so fond of. I don't care for the tone of my wife's acoustic guitars at all. They're just too dark. It could be your guitar that you're not liking. Which acoustic do you have?
In some sense you don't play the electric guitar, you play the amp. Then too, with an acoustic the sound of the room makes a massive contribution to overall tonality.

Which is why I say,"never, ever, buy an acoustic guitar that isn't A/E".

Plug the suckers in, and tap the best from both acoustic and electric worlds. Put the amp in the next room, bounce it off the wall, jamb some chorus, reverb, and delay into the mix.

Acoustic buskers oftentimes stake out a reverberant place in a subway underground, and get a pretty big, vibrant sound, out of pretty much any old plywood piece of crap with a fresh set of brass strings on it.

Back to topic,I'm getting progressively more clumsy about hanging onto the pick, the older I get. So, when I want to strum real, real fast, I grab a thin. For anything else, I use a medium. For example, when I try to play, "Pinball Wizard", on a 12 string, I can't coordinate getting the fret buzzing to stop, while holding onto a medium pick for dear life at the same time.

And Blunderwonder, I you don't like the sound of a pick, don't use one. Buy a bunch of old Fleetwoot Mac records, and listen to Lindsey Buckingham rock out without one, Mark Knopfler maybe?

I confess to liking to play simple shit like early Who, so I'm a hardened flat picker. That said, Pete Townshend is the best I can think of, at writing acoustic rhythm riffs, and putting them across magnificently on an SG, or a Les Paul, or a whatever. (He used to break so many).

One thing that's nearly impossible to do with finger style guitar however, is the dynamics you can accomplish with a pick.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Dec 14, 2013,
#8
I've always said.... Ask 100 pickers, get 100 answers. Guitar Player magazine, years ago, did a layout on the picks of 50 or so top players, pretty wildly different.
Since I started out nearly from day one learning both fingerstyle and bluegrass-type flatpicking (back in the mid-70s) I've tried a lot of picks.

Depends an awful lot on what you're doing. If you are a strummer, then generally a lighter-gauge pick will be favored. If you are going to play single notes at all, you need a bit heavier pick.
If you are going to play driving bluegrass-type bass notes and high-speed single-note lines, then you need a stiff enough pick to both transfer energy to the strings but also to "bounce off" for rapid play.
The thick, stiff "jazz" type picks can provide a lot of speed, but in most cases they produce a rather dull tone. This is perfect for jazz-type playing, not so much for bluegrass where you want a sharper and more "ringing" tone.
My go-to after all these years is the standard Dunlop Nylon in .88 MM. This is a stiff pick, and I get most of my movement by means of finger manipulation rather than relying on the flexibility of the pick.
You can "choke up" on the pick while playing so as to use only the tip for single-note lines, and also let more of the pick protrude for rhythm playing.
both Al DiMeola and Robert Fripp talk about these techniques.
Quite a lot of guys on the Acoustic Guitar Forum like those way-expensive Blue Chip picks... But the idea of springing 30 bucks for a pick when a 90-cent item fills my needs.... Not for me.
#9
Whoah whoah, hold up. You should be able to strum and pick with the same pick guys. You're not going to change picks mid song because you started strumming, are you?

The trick to good strumming technique is gripping the pick just tight enough to hold on to it (scoring the pick or buying MaxGrip Jazz III's help) and keeping your wrist loose while generating most of the movement from your elbow. Keeping your wrist loose becomes especially important once you start to strum faster. A good way to learn how to strum faster is practice a chord progression with straight sixteenth notes in groups of 3, or use eighth note triplets. The gallop will teach you a lot about what your wrist should do. If your wrist is loose, you get an almost whip-like snap when you strum those groups of 3.