#1
I like the sound strumming without a pick, however on my upstrokes I feel I have trouble striking all the strings without. Is there a good video to recommend for strumming without a pick. Or is there a good pick to recommend that could have a very subtle touch? Thanks
#2
Hi

To my understanding, whether strumming with or without a pick upstrokes need not brush all strings, normally its string 1, 2, 3 at best 4 (depending on the chords being played).

Upstrokes without a pick, you use the nail of your thumb while down strokes are with the nail your finger or fingers, you will need to rotate your wrist a little. There are tons of Youtube videos.

If you asked me I would say learn both with and without a pick. There is no harm learning both, but at least you give yourself a choice to your preference.

for strumming choose a flexible soft pick.
Last edited by stkhoo at Jun 24, 2015,
#3
Quote by panman36
I like the sound strumming without a pick, however on my upstrokes I feel I have trouble striking all the strings without. Is there a good video to recommend for strumming without a pick. Or is there a good pick to recommend that could have a very subtle touch? Thanks


All this depends on your musical goals. Most people who play steel-string acoustic guitar use a pick. There's probably a reason for that!

There are many people who do play steel-string acoustic "fingerstyle" and there are also people who use hybrid picking (a combination of using a pick and the fingers at the same time) and those who do that with a thumb pick. There are also people who employ two or more of the aforementioned techniques - depending on what they want to express musically.

Classical style guitar on a nylon string is about the only style that is for all intents and purposes exclusively fingerpicked (though there are people who use a pick on a nylon string though they're not typically playing "classical" guitar per se).

You said you like the sound. That's OK, but perhaps it would be worth it to try to get a good sound with a pick as that's the "typical" way of playing. There's nothing wrong with being different of course, but many people find it difficult and frustrating to learn when they want to play music that sounds like musicians they admire, but they can't do it because they've refused to accept a common practice.

Picks are very personal things and there is no "right" pick except for what works for you. In many cases (most actually) a different pick may be necessary for different guitars, or different styles, etc. Personally, I use a pick I both like the sound of and that works for *almost* everything that I want to do musically. I use one pick on my electrics, a different one on my acoustic, and when I had a 12 string and a mandolin, I used different picks on each of them. The 12 string is tricky becuase each "string" is really 2 strings many of which are a big one and a little one together and you have to use a pick that's flexible enough to catch both strings on an upstroke and downstroke (assuming you want that sound).

If you're going to continue to strum with your finger, you'll just have to figure out what works for you with regards to catching as many or as few strings as you want in either direction. I'd caution you though that this is not something I'd really recommend. Picks are pretty cheap. Get a few of them and try them out and see what you like.

You could look into Flamenco playing which has many different types of strumming techniques using the fingers and if that's the sound you're going for, go for it. But if you want to play some Rock or Pop music, you should learn with a pick.

HTH,
Steve
#4
I can't use a pick properly with my acoustic, so just use my mid fingers (2or3) for strumming down, and the thumb when strumming up on the A,D,G, strings. It's more flexible for me then using a pick.
#5
The problem with not using a pick (I don't) is that it wears your nails out very quickly on a steel string. You could use your finger pads, which should be OK once you have developed calluses on them, but it isn't a common technique among steel string players.

I strum up and down with my index and middle together, but not very often.

I think you just need to practice.
#6
There are lots of ways of going about it. You might want a thumb pick.

I use a few different techniques at different times. One, when I want more of a pick kind of sound, is to use the back of my thumb nail on the up stroke.

I keep medium long nails on my fingers and use the back of my nails on the down stroke.

I also strum, idk exactly how sometimes, but just strum some way. It depends on what the rhythm is, and the tone I want is.

Other than that, when I don't strum, I fingerpick with a hybrid fingertips/nails if my nails get too long I don't like it, but I like for them to be long enough to give me some extra grip, and strum ability.

You should find what you want to do and find what is the most suitable solution for your style.
Last edited by fingrpikingood at Sep 2, 2015,
#7
Quote by panman36
I like the sound strumming without a pick, however on my upstrokes I feel I have trouble striking all the strings without. Is there a good video to recommend for strumming without a pick. Or is there a good pick to recommend that could have a very subtle touch? Thanks

I would learn both reason is you have the choice to do more music. it will open doors for you.
#8
My guitar instructor has told me to use multiple backsides of my fingers (the nails) on the down strums and then multiple finger pads on the up strokes and to only catch a few of the high strings on the up strokes. Does anyone else play this way?
#9
Quote by bigrewards
My guitar instructor has told me to use multiple backsides of my fingers (the nails) on the down strums and then multiple finger pads on the up strokes and to only catch a few of the high strings on the up strokes. Does anyone else play this way?


I probably do sometimes, but you don't get the same tone on the upstroke that you'd get from the the back of your thumb nail. It's more of a dead tone. I probably only really do that, for more rhythmic stuff, than for getting tones to ring out.
#10
I either pick with the 3 index,ring,middle fingers while plucking the bass line (so it's not a full chord if there are more than 4 strings), or brush them with the back of the thumb/index nails. But I rarely strum when in fingerpick mode.
#11
When not using a pick I hold my index and thumb together as if I'm holding an invisible pick. Then my index nail strums downwards and my thumb nail for the upstrokes. You do have to rotate the hand slightly between up and down to stop the wrong nail catching, but it's not too hard.

If you need to strum fast though, a pick is king.
#12
Consider a popular ukulele way of strumming. Use the side of your index fingernail to brush the strings both up and down.
#13
I play both, with and without a pick, electric and acoustic. I use different techniques. Mostly when I finger pick, I use my thumb for down and flip my index and middle fingers toward me for up, like I'm grabbing for the strings. In some cases I'll use the side of the thumb for both directions. Sometimes I'll also use thumb and two fingers to pick 3 strings at once.

With a pick I use a very heavy pick for electric and a lighter one for acoustic. The yellow, green and blue Tortex for electric, and hold the pick loosely or tighter depending on what kind of attack I want. The orange Tortex is the one I normally use most for acoustic. I can't remember the sizes and the printing is worn off all my picks right now. I use Tortex mainly because it will last that long. Fender picks don't last 15 minutes...

Learn to use both, I use both onstage all the time, both electric and acoustic, but finger picking is mostly with acoustic. It's really handy to be able to keep playing if I drop a pick onstage too, I don't have to grab another one, just keep going. Years ago I'd have to go back to the amp for another pick, I have a rubber pick holder on my mic stand now. They didn't exist back then so I kept picks on top of my amp. I learned finger picking for that reason and because I was learning a couple of originally finger picked songs that just didn't work well with a pick.

A few that are originally done finger picking -

Penny For Your Thoughts - Peter Frampton (Open G)
Stairway to Heaven - Zeppelin
Dust in the Wind - Kansas
Garden Gate - Joe Walsh - Drop D.
Sultans of Swing - Dire Straits (Mark's brother David did the rhythm part with a pick) Mark Knopfler also finger picks everything.
Tears From Heaven - Clapton. If you can find his Unplugged video on youtube you can see his technique in a few places.
Hundred Ten in the Shade - John Fogerty
Jeff Beck finger picks everything these days. Look for his Crossroads performances.
Lots of Doobie Brothers stuff, Patrick Simmons uses finger picks for everything, at least acoustic. Black Water, South City Midnight Lady, Clear as the Driven Snow...
Hmmm...I wonder what this button does...