#1
As a fingerstyle guitarist, I've seen Sungha Jung use these in lots of his videos. My question is, are they any better to use than picking normally with your fingertips?
#2
I think it just depends on what feels and sounds best to you. Personally I use my fingernails because it feels great to me and I like the sound I get with using them. Although it can be a pain having to file them down every couple of a days.

I recommend trying all the different ways to play until you find the one you are the most comfortable with and enjoy using.
And everything that once was
infinitely far
and unsayable is now
unsayable
and right here in the room.


- Franz Wright
#3
AFAIK, steel guitar players use them quite a bit.

Roger McGuinn of, "The Byrds", fame uses them to pluck his Rickenbacker 12 string.

I've never found them to be anything but awkward and uncomfortable. But, I'm more of a flat picker anyway. (Although sometimes I use a hybrid picking scheme).
#5
I've found they're not as versatile as fingernails, and I don't care for the tinny tone. But, many fingerstyle players such as Ewan Dobson use them, so I guess you just gotta try them out. I personally prefer regular nails with acrylic applied on top, making them thick and strong, produces great tone and are easy to maintain.
#6
i suspect they take a lot of adjustment - and i have hard attack, so many of the ones i tried pop off. i prefer acrylic overlays, too, and for the same reason as JimJambanx. but some people love finger picks. i did sorta like fred kelly freedom picks... sorta. i also tried some extra heavy picks that stayed on without pain, although i had to push them back down every 5 minutes or so.
Quote by Skeet UK
I just looked in my Oxford English Dictionary and under "Acoustic Guitar", there was your Avatar and an email address!
#7
When I started playing, in the 70s, everyone I knew played fingerstyle with picks. I didn't realize why till later, it was for the volume. Standard acoustic quitars (no acoustic-electrics back then, and aftermarket pickups were just arriving on the scene and were not very good)
Also, one-mic clubs. You sang into the mic played as loud as you could, and held the guitar up to the mic for solos...

Steel players, Scruggs-style banjo pickers... All use picks all the time. I have played with them enough to offer some tips... The picks must be carefully bent and shaped and angled to give the optimal attack on the strings.
If it's done right, the pick will "break" cleanly across the string, striking it squarely.

If not, you get that "scrape-y"" sound that's quite annoying. There are lots on the market... The plastic ones are not quite so "sharp" in tone... But harder to shape. You have to heat 'em up in hot water and bend them and then run cold water on em so they set.
There are other types as well... For the most part they are cheap enough to experiment with.

Me...After 40+ years I use classical guitar technique exclusively now.... Flesh and nail, constant nail care. I play an electric with flatwound strings and if I want to play my steel string I usually flatpick.
#8
Quote by Captaincranky
. . . . . I've never found them to be anything but awkward and uncomfortable. . . . . .


Same here - I use my nails exclusively.

Of the fingerpicks I've tried, Alaska picks were the best IMHO.

However, I don't really care for them: I can't use them on my fingers but on the rare occasion I break a thumbnail I can manage with an large Alaska pick. If I break a fingernail I just trim all the others down and use my fingertips (grudgingly) until they grow back.
#9
I think a thumbpick is nice for a song that switches back and forth from fingerpicking to strumming parts. Probably better off with nails or fingertips for the other fingers. Nails will obviously be louder but as a guy that works with his hands for a living, I can't stand long fingernails. I only occasionally dabble in fingerpicking, although I'd like to learn the style better. Growing my nails is out of the question though.
#10
Thumbpicks are bearable, every type of fingerpick I've used has been horrible. None gave me the control or versatility my fingertips do, Alaska piks are the worst by far.
#11
Fingerpicks are the best.

Quote by Captaincranky
AFAIK, steel guitar players use them quite a bit.

I've never found them to be anything but awkward and uncomfortable. But, I'm more of a flat picker anyway. (Although sometimes I use a hybrid picking scheme).


Quite a bit? I can't imagine how you could play steel properly without them.

Fingerpicks are very comfortable to wear if you could be bothered to put in the effort to properly adjust them to fit your fingers.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#12
Quote by theogonia777
Fingerpicks are the best.
Sez you.

Quote by theogonia777
Quite a bit? I can't imagine how you could play steel properly without them.
I can't imagine how I could play a steel guitar, without owning a left handed steel guitar. So here, you're making a moot point, against a non issue.

Quote by theogonia777
Fingerpicks are very comfortable to wear if you could be bothered to put in the effort to properly adjust them to fit your fingers.
Comfortable? Probably not. Do you get used to them? Probably so.

I' classify them for steel players, as more or less, "an occupational hazard".
Last edited by Captaincranky at Mar 23, 2015,
#13
I have some and hate them. They are fairly cheap plastic ones though. But my nails sound almost as loud... until one breaks! But that's pretty rare. I have strong nails!!
#14
Quote by Captaincranky
Sez you.

I can't imagine how I could play a steel guitar, without owning a left handed steel guitar. So here, you're making a moot point, against a non issue.

Comfortable? Probably not. Do you get used to them? Probably so.

I' classify them for steel players, as more or less, "an occupational hazard".


If you adjust them to the actual shape of your fingers they are super comfortable. You just don't know how to make it happen.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#15
The "Pro-pick" brand is about as nice as I've found; those are the ones with the cutouts for the fingertips. I didn't find that to be all that useful, but they have four adjustment tabs instead of just two for the dunlop type.

This means you can adjust them to your fingers better, as Cranky says. And be aware that all of your fingers are different. You are going to have to designate one for the index, one for the middle... Etc.

I found I could play my steel-string effectively with "classical guitar" nails....But not too long. If you were gigging... You'd have to do something. Artificial nails, picks, whatever.
That's why I went to an electric with flatwounds....Or nylon string.
#16
Quote by theogonia777
If you adjust them to the actual shape of your fingers they are super comfortable. You just don't know how to make it happen.
Are you suggesting I'm stupid, lazy, or both?

Giving my screen name, if I were pursuing this topic with the alacrity you are, there is a chance the mods eyebrows would already be raised.

You think finger picks are the be all, and end all solution, to playing the guitar? Wear them in good health. In turn, I promise that if I ever feel disposed to spend a few grand on a left handed pedal steel, I'll make the attempt to, "be bothered", to "learn" how to form finger picks. (BTW, is that a skill you put on your resume)?

In the meantime, I plan on using my current, obviously backward, ill bred, loutish technique of using a flat pick, and hybrid picking with bare fingers, should the mood strike me.

I should add as a side note, I should be allowed to do those things, without too much more crap from you.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Mar 24, 2015,
#18
Quote by Captaincranky
Giving my screen name


It's pretty accurate, old man.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#19
Quote by theogonia777
It's pretty accurate, old man.


Can you please stop your tripe? You're pushing your opinion as fact and belittling those who disagree. Your opinion is just that; your opinion. Grow up.
#20
Quote by Jimjambanx
Can you please stop your tripe? You're pushing your opinion as fact and belittling those who disagree. Your opinion is just that; your opinion. Grow up.


You mean my opinion that Cranky doesn't know how to adjust fingerpicks properly? That is what I have been going on about. I mentioned my opinion that fingerpicks are the best one time and have not referenced that or acknowledged anything that referenced that. The rest of it was just busting the old man's chops, which from what I remember is his favorite pastime.

Maybe you should learn to follow conversations, mate. Also I don't understand how you could assume that anything with the emoticon is supposed to be serious.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#21
Quote by theogonia777
You mean my opinion that Cranky doesn't know how to adjust fingerpicks properly? That is what I have been going on about. I mentioned my opinion that fingerpicks are the best one time and have not referenced that or acknowledged anything that referenced that. The rest of it was just busting the old man's chops, which from what I remember is his favorite pastime.

Maybe you should learn to follow conversations, mate. Also I don't understand how you could assume that anything with the emoticon is supposed to be serious.


How could you possibly know if he's doing it wrong? You straight up said "fingerpicks are the best", implying that is not your opinion, but fact, and when he said that that's your opinion, you immediately assumed that he poorly adjusted them and that he's clearly doing something wrong. I've used fingerpicks, adjusted them to my fingers, and I still find them uncomfortable, so go ahead and say I don't know how to adjust them.
#22
Quote by Jimjambanx
How could you possibly know if he's doing it wrong? You straight up said "fingerpicks are the best", implying that is not your opinion, but fact, and when he said that that's your opinion, you immediately assumed that he poorly adjusted them and that he's clearly doing something wrong. I've used fingerpicks, adjusted them to my fingers, and I still find them uncomfortable, so go ahead and say I don't know how to adjust them.
Mr. Banx, just let it go. You're doing exactly what was planned for you to do.

The reality, Mr. Theo-who can't seriously believe that bending a finger pick to shape is a sale able or unique skill. In the meantime, he's going to claim it's my fault. This isn't my fault, and it takes a troll to know one.

"I can bend finger picks to shape"! sounds like just thing thing to make a job resume pop. Maybe he could give classes on it. I won't be in it though, the cat ate my finger picks, and almost beat the dog to my homework.
#23
I don't like having long fingernails because of my athletic interests, so I spent some time working with metal fingerpicks. I didn't bond with them, and prefer the feel of flesh + nail on the strings -- I feel so much better engaged with the guitar that way. Whenever I wore them, I also worried that I would inadvertently claw and scratch my nice guitar ...

After that learning process, I discovered that I didn't actually need to have unduly long nails to get the tone I wanted, and didn't bother with fingerpicks again.

If you like them great, but I found they weren't worth the trouble -- for me. If you are curious, they aren't expensive -- just try some for yourself.
#24
Being primarily a 12-strimg player for 30+ years, I've always used both thumb and finger picks. For years it was a Dobro thumb and National finger picks.

I've gone back to 6-string recently and downsized the thumb pick to an Ernie Ball Fast-pick or Slick-pick, and either pick with bare fingers of light gauge (.013) Dunlop fingerpicks.

I also like the sound of brass fingerpicks and occasionally use brass Pro-Piks. They make an angled model that lets you get the attack for each finger just right. Of course this makes getting the right pick on the right finger even more critical.