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Post new topic Picks vs Fingers?
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Author Topic:  Picks vs Fingers?
Sonny Jenkins


From:
New Braunfels, Tx. 78130
Post  Posted 20 Nov 2020 7:37 am    
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Well, after using finger picks for 30+ years, and never considering otherwise, I'm now trying bare fingers,,,and pretty well pleased. Actually, not much choice. After my finger surgery I'm very limited in flexibility and also swelling prevents picks on index finger. Dr says it may take 6 months for swelling to go down. Being determined to get back to playing, I'm trying the bare finger approach and liking it,,especially for C6 stuff,,,and pick (finger) blocking seems easier. How many others prefer bare fingers over picks,,??
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Jack Hanson


From:
San Luis Valley, USA
Post  Posted 20 Nov 2020 9:01 am    
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With the exception of resos, which I always play with picks (usually plastic ones), I'm a switch hitter. Whatever works for ya'. Why limit yourself?
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Dave Hopping


From:
Colorado, USA
Post  Posted 20 Nov 2020 9:26 am    
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For me, fingers and a thumbpick work better for getting complicated stuff and big chords accurately, but in a live situation, playing without picks tears up my fingertips and sounds muffled. So I use fingerpicks just about all the time. I did, however, treat myself to a couple sets of Ron Landis' sterling silver picks. Glad I did....
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Ian Worley


From:
Sacramento, CA
Post  Posted 20 Nov 2020 1:20 pm    
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Over the past 8-9 months I've been playing around the house a lot with just a thumbpick, I haven't really been playing out with anyone else in that time. It's mostly just laziness, my guitar is set up next to my desk so I will swivel around every so often and pick a few throughout the day, just slip on the thumbpick and go. I agree Sonny that for me at least, my pick blocking is (ironically) cleaner/quieter without picks. I also find myself grabbing four and five finger chords when I have no finger picks. Tone is definitely a little less bright but that's not necessarily a bad thing overall, some different opportunities for sure.
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Andrew Goulet


From:
••••••••
Post  Posted 20 Nov 2020 4:16 pm    
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b0b just hipped me to this, recorded with no fingerpicks:

https://b0blee.bandcamp.com/album/diatonic-adventures
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Kevin Fix

 

From:
Michigan, USA
Post  Posted 20 Nov 2020 4:26 pm    
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Newman finger picks and a Blue Herco thumb pick. I could not imagine string attack or a style without them. I learned with picks 40 some years ago. If I started without picks, things may have been diferant.
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Garry Vanderlinde


From:
CA
Post  Posted 20 Nov 2020 7:43 pm    
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Playing with bare fingers is more sensual. But harder to get good volume. It can be frustrating. Didn't seem to matter to Jerry Garcia who preferred going bare-back...
(innuendo out the other).
Smile
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Ian Worley


From:
Sacramento, CA
Post  Posted 20 Nov 2020 8:06 pm    
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Garry Vanderlinde wrote:
...harder to get good volume...
That's what your amp and volume pedal are for Wink

I'm a bass player, I tend to pick pretty firmly with my fingers. I don't notice any meaningful difference in volume between picks and not, just a slightly rounder tone with bare fingers. My preferred thumb pick is a Fred Kelly delrin speed pick, it's not as bright as my National finger picks either, so in some ways the tone between fingers and thumb might even be more consistent without metal finger picks. I'm not giving them up, but my thoughts about playing without picks has definitely evolved.
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All lies and jest, still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest - Paul Simon
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Jon Voth

 

From:
Virginia, USA
Post  Posted 20 Nov 2020 8:27 pm    
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When I started PSG, I had been an amateur guitar player for decades (mostly classical nylon strings). Fingernails felt so natural and picks were so foreign.

They still are, but the sound is most important. Picks are the sound of the steel guitar just like the banjo. It sucks, but it has to be. It's like typing with gloves on but it has to be.
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Henry Matthews


From:
Texarkana, Ark USA
Post  Posted 20 Nov 2020 10:25 pm    
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Playing steel with out picks loses tone, attach amd sustain..can’t
Imagine why any one would want to do that but to each his on. Like playing monopoly with out money, it works but looses something in the process.
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Henry Matthews

D-10 1968 Emmons cut tail, black, 8&5
D-10 1974 Emmons cut tail, fat back,satin rosewood, 8&5
Nashville 112 amp, Fishman Loudbox Performer amp, Hilton pedal, BJS bar, Kyser picks, Live steel Strings. No effects, doodads or stomp boxes.


Last edited by Henry Matthews on 21 Nov 2020 10:05 pm; edited 1 time in total
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b0b


From:
Cloverdale, CA, USA
Post  Posted 20 Nov 2020 11:18 pm    
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I've never performed without picks, but I often sit down to practice without them. Sometimes I don't turn on my amp, too. I think picks are necessary for the country sound, less so in other kinds of music.
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Ian Rae


From:
Redditch, England
Post  Posted 21 Nov 2020 4:23 am    
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This topic comes and goes. While I've heard some beautiful playing using bare fingers, if you need to deliver a commercial sound it seems that picks are the only way to do that. As others have said, however weird they feel, get used to them. I had never worn finger picks before I started PSG but they appeared to be essential so I persevered.
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Sonny Jenkins


From:
New Braunfels, Tx. 78130
Post  Posted 21 Nov 2020 6:27 am    
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Well there may be a misunderstanding,,it's not that I have trouble with picks,,,I've used picks for 30+ years all kinds,,but my regular picks have always been BJ or JF,,never considered playing without pick,,,however,,,I have had a PIP finger joint replacement,,very traumatic,,may take 3-4 more months for the swelling to subside,,plus just the slightest pressure of "pushing" a pick on is very painful. If I had this to do over I would NEVER have considered it,,the arthritis was painful,,,but at least it was tolerable. I only mentioned the subject of playing without picks because I "needed" to play,,,and I am at least able to do a little picking with bare finger,,,and it doesn't sound all that bad. I do hope someday to be able to wear picks again,,but,,in the meantime,,,,
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Ian Rae


From:
Redditch, England
Post  Posted 21 Nov 2020 7:48 am    
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Apologies, Sonny - this will teach me to check the original post before piling in!

Glad you're still able to play - I guess it could have been worse. Hope you can get back to normal before too long.
_________________
Make sleeping dogs tell the truth!
Homebuilt keyless U12 7x5, Excel keyless U12 8x8, Williams keyless U12 7x8, Telonics rack and 15" cabs
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