#1
Has anyone ever seen or heard a good rhythmn guitar player who doesn't use a pick. I know there are numerous lead players like Jeff Beck and Mark Knopfler, but they rarely, if ever, strum on a guitar. I am curious to see if anyone has been able to get a nice rhythmic tone without using a pick, just their fingers or nails. Thanks!
#2
Every classical guitarist ever. You probably don't know any because most famous guitarists are typically in genre's that aren't focused on using fingers ie acoustic and classical guitar. Personally i like the tone your fingers give, but it's completely subjective. You might not like it, but there are others (me) who do.

I should add something very important too - There's A LOT more to tone than just whether you use a pick or fingers.

I'm also just gonna leave this here..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jdYJf_ybyVo
Last edited by vayne92 at Feb 18, 2014,
#3
First off, I watched that video you posted, and while that dude is incredible, I am not sure you quite got what I was after. He is primarily playing fingerstyle guitar with a bit a brief strumming at the end. I understand that classical and fingerstyle guitar is commomly played without a pick, and that it sounds great. What I am curious to see if there are any true rhytmn guitarists who don't use a pick - someone who is playing the rhytmn parts of the song, combining strumming and picking, like a Keith Richards or Stone Gossard etc...I'd love to see a video of someone like if anyone has one. Thanks!
#4
Quote by drb1982
First off, I watched that video you posted, and while that dude is incredible, I am not sure you quite got what I was after. He is primarily playing fingerstyle guitar with a bit a brief strumming at the end. I understand that classical and fingerstyle guitar is commomly played without a pick, and that it sounds great. What I am curious to see if there are any true rhytmn guitarists who don't use a pick - someone who is playing the rhytmn parts of the song, combining strumming and picking, like a Keith Richards or Stone Gossard etc...I'd love to see a video of someone like if anyone has one. Thanks!


I entirely understood what you were asking, i just linked that video because everyone asking about fingerstyle should watch that video
Also you did infact say..

Quote by drb1982
I am curious to see if anyone has been able to get a nice rhythmic tone without using a pick, just their fingers or nails.


I answered that question. It's more than just whether or not you use your finger or or pick.
Famous classical and acoustic guitarists generally are solo artists and so they incorporate both lead and rhythm elements simultaneously into their playing, like any good fingerstyle guitarist would do.
I actually can't think of a "true rhythm guitarist" who fingerpicks that even exists. As I said earlier, they're generally solo artists and rhythm guitarists typically aren't associated with the fingerstyle genre's. I could go on about this all day really. Your question just seems rather pedantic. If you're to differentiate between a rhythm and lead guitarist you're typically associating with a metal / rock kind of genre where there are multiple guitarists and the guy playing the solo's etc is the lead whilst the other is the rhythm guitarist playing chords. A lot of bands only have (and need) one guitarist.
Last edited by vayne92 at Feb 18, 2014,
#5
Well I guess that really depends on what kind of rock music you are playing. In many bands there is no chance one guitarist could handle the entire sound. They utilize the clean sounding guitars with distorted guitars and even acoustic guitars all simultaneously. But I get what you mean. I should have been clearer. I am more curious to see if there's a rock/metal/blues/country rhytmn player who plays without a pick. I haven't come across one before and it interests me.
#6
never really heard of one and even Mark Knopfler used a pick when recording rhythm parts. The only person I'd say comes close is Lindsey Buckingham, at least where rock is concerned.
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#9
Fingerstyle electric players are rare. Jeff Beck is probably the most well known, however you tend to see clips of him playing lead most of the time ( even though he's a great rhythm, player).

Garrett Mason is a great( relatively unknown) fingerstyle blues guitarist ( he does rhythm and lead on electric, he's as good as they get for that style):


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1_ADJXnLm14


BB Kings rhythm guitar player plays fingerstyle.


The best fingerstyle singer /songwriter I know of is Bruce Cockburn ( listen to his recent acoustic solo material - Slice of Life live album in particular). That album contains nothing but him playing guitar and singing - he's incredible from a technique standpoint ( up there with Don Ross, Andy McKee, Tommy Emmanuel etc., it's more subdued, but his technique is flawless and his ability to solo while playing a drone bass note with his thumb is pretty spectacular).

The only style that doesn't lend itself very well to fingerstyle guitar is thrash type metal riffing ( speed alternate picking or very fast downstrokes). Anything Rock or blues ( or jazz etc.) can be played fingerstyle very effectively if the player is good enough.

I play almost exclusively fingerstyle on electric. I play Hendrix, SRV, Black Keys etc. fingerstyle without any issues. There is no accepted common technique , so you pretty need to just teach yourself. The tone you get is different, but it opens up way more options in terms of articulation and dynamics.
#10
I think the point that some may be missing is that it is much easier to get a good/thick tone using fingers to pick or strum on an acoustic guitar especially a classical / nylon string acoustic, at least in my experience. When you play a hardbody electric with the fingers, the tone is very flat/dead and amplifying it still often leaves the tone thin/poor.

Maybe if you crank the amp higher that can offset for it, but I have not done that experiment, I just know that I do NOT like the tone on my electrics when I trying playing them without a pick, as I do my acoustic guitars (steel or nylon). I'd like to hear ONE PERSON on here who actually has personal experience playing hardbody electric with fingers rather than pick (particularly strumming) who gets a good tone that way and prefers it for gigging, and whether they do anything special with amp to offset the softness of the sound the fingers generate compared to pick.

Now, I should clarify that I have NOT grown my picking hand nails out significantly. I have seen some guitarists with nails that extent maybe as much as 1/4 inch or more out from their finger, whereas mine are pretty flush with the tips of the flesh of my finger (and on fretting hand I cut back further, as far as I can safely go). And I've read of guitarists using nail polish or other stuff to harden the nails. So I guess if your nails were long enough, and hard enough, and well-shaped, they might work to give a tone similar to what you get from a pick. But, I could not name a guitarist who does that.

I suppose if I really wanted to gig as a rhythm guitarist in a band playing a lot of strums with fingers/nails and without pick, I might opt to use an acoustic/electric, so there would naturally be a fatter tone. Or maybe semi-acoustic (I have one of those and it is better than hardbody playing with fingers, but still I don't care for it for much besides sitting around bedroom and noodling when I want to stay pretty quiet and not disturb other people). Whenever I plug in my semi-acoustic, I grab a pick because I think of it as an "electric" but it MIGHT work good, or at least better, with fingernails, particularly if I had longer, harder nails and learned how to groom them to optimize them for guitar playing.

Ken
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#11
Quote by krm27


Maybe if you crank the amp higher that can offset for it, but I have not done that experiment, I just know that I do NOT like the tone on my electrics when I trying playing them without a pick, as I do my acoustic guitars (steel or nylon). I'd like to hear ONE PERSON on here who actually has personal experience playing hardbody electric with fingers rather than pick (particularly strumming) who gets a good tone that way and prefers it for gigging, and whether they do anything special with amp to offset the softness of the sound the fingers generate compared to pick.

Ken


I am that person. I almost exclusively play finger-style on electric ( with the odd exception, depending on the tune). It helps to have small nails if you a tone that cuts through more. The amp needs to be set with more treble or presence than you would normally set with a pick. The sound is going to be less piercing than with a pick, but you can still get it to cut through very well.

You can get a tone pretty close to a pick if you downstroke with the index finger and use the nail. Neil Young does this quite a bit.

The only styles I use the pick for are some funk tunes ( where it's very percussive palm muting type riffing) or surf.
#12
Thanks, Reverb, that helps me (though I'm not the TS). I think I'm going to focus on getting better and comfortable with a pick and then experiment with using fingers/nails on electric. Right now I'm weak with pick compared to fingers, and I don't want to be a one trick pony.

Ken
Bernie Sanders for President!
#13
Lester Flatt, who pretty much invented the bluegrass rhythm guitar playing style (which was based on Maybelle Carter's playing) used his fingers, though he did use a thumb pick.
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#14
i just linked that video because everyone asking about fingerstyle should watch that video


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#15
Check out this guy from my country! I'm posting a solo right now but he has a power metal band and does everything without a pick!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fnLrArxG9MQ
Last edited by Johnny Andrew at Mar 18, 2014,
#16
My friend picked this up. It was really impressive. I wish I had a video to show you.