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Ditch the pick?

unix-guy

Legend!
Anyone here ditch the pick and play only with fingers?

I've been playing with a hybrid approach for many years as I've always found it useful for things like pianistic chords such as those often used by Eric Johnson. That eventually grew into other use cases like arpeggios and single note licks, especially when crossing strings.

For about the last year I've been trying to use the pick less and less.

Watching Jeff Beck play live is inspiring and I know years back Richie Kotzen also stopped using a pick, too.

Of course, I just watched an Andy Wood video where he's blazing chromatic lines with alternate picking :)
 

Tonedeaf

Power User
When I first lost my forefinger I could no longer hang onto a pick so I went pickless. I also was a big fan of Knopfler so I started playing a lot of his stuff. Then I discovered those big fat V-Picks and now I'm back to playing mostly with them.
 

Justincase

Power User
I have played with and without a pick for years. Mostly out of laziness when I'd drop them. Last October however when playing without a pick I tore off half the callus on my index finger...took a few months to be able to play again. I don't play without one now.
IMG_20211013_164732665.jpg
 
I’m about 50/50, but that can change depending what I’m working on. A couple days ago I managed to break two nails, so for the next week, it’s gonna be 100% pick.
 

Freds55

Axe-Master
I have played with and without a pick for years. Mostly out of laziness when I'd drop them. Last October however when playing without a pick I tore off half the callus on my index finger...took a few months to be able to play again. I don't play without one now.
View attachment 95752
Ouch! That looks sore….
I was teaching a neighbor to play Stormy Monday and the next day he texted me a picture of the blisters on his fingers. So now I teach him little bits he doesn’t play enough. :)
 

Justincase

Power User
Ouch! That looks sore….
I was teaching a neighbor to play Stormy Monday and the next day he texted me a picture of the blisters on his fingers. So now I teach him little bits he doesn’t play enough. :)
That was solid callus...must have caught it just right and tore it right off. I gave an old childhood friend a great deal on a guitar to get him playing again and he was constantly sending me pics of his blisters. I'd have to quit playing for years to get blisters. I've got permanent calluses from 30 years of playing
 

Freds55

Axe-Master
That was solid callus...must have caught it just right and tore it right off. I gave an old childhood friend a great deal on a guitar to get him playing again and he was constantly sending me pics of his blisters. I'd have to quit playing for years to get blisters. I've got permanent calluses from 30 years of playing
I know what you mean there I think my calluses are also permanent on my fingers even though I haven’t been playing as much as I used to because we are still waiting on our house to be finished and living in a fifth wheel…
I was lugging my electric stuff for a while inside the trailer and playing now I’ve gotten lazy and just pick up an acoustic we’re getting closer though.
You must’ve really been getting into the Jam ;)
 

Greg Ferguson

Axe-Master
Anyone here ditch the pick and play only with fingers?

I've been playing with a hybrid approach for many years as I've always found it useful for things like pianistic chords such as those often used by Eric Johnson. That eventually grew into other use cases like arpeggios and single note licks, especially when crossing strings.

For about the last year I've been trying to use the pick less and less.

Watching Jeff Beck play live is inspiring and I know years back Richie Kotzen also stopped using a pick, too.

Of course, I just watched an Andy Wood video where he's blazing chromatic lines with alternate picking :)
Leo Kottke stopped using his thumb and finger picks years ago and goes "au naturel" now. :)

There's a delicacy and subtlety we have when using our finger tips. I use both my pick and my fingers, depending on what rhythm I'm playing and sound I want. I think I was inspired to use more fingertips by Jeff Beck also, because he is so expressive.

Andy Wood… blazing chromatic lines…? Well, duh! The guy's scary good. Junktown!
 

Justincase

Power User
I know what you mean there I think my calluses are also permanent on my fingers even though I haven’t been playing as much as I used to because we are still waiting on our house to be finished and living in a fifth wheel…
I was lugging my electric stuff for a while inside the trailer and playing now I’ve gotten lazy and just pick up an acoustic we’re getting closer though.
You must’ve really been getting into the Jam ;)
That same friend is an over the road truck driver. He ended up buying a pair of those Boss Waza headphones cuz he can't lug an amp with him. He says they are perfect for his situation.... probably be great for yours as well.
 

jakel

Power User
I default to a pick, though there are some tones and some patterns that you can only get with fingers. I love the air you can get with light fingering (just let it go...).
 

ScottyB

Experienced
I used heavy picks for years, but started gravitating towards mainly finger picking about a decade ago. The biggest problem I've run into is that my fingernails aren't as durable as the old heavy picks.
 

unix-guy

Legend!
I would never ditch it completely, but I definitely like the feel and connection I have when trying to solo using only my thumb/fingers.. This guy reinvigorated me to get at it again - Matteo Mancuso


Yeah... His technique is crazy! I've seen some of his videos before and they are great.
 

unix-guy

Legend!
Leo Kottke stopped using his thumb and finger picks years ago and goes "au naturel" now. :)

There's a delicacy and subtlety we have when using our finger tips. I use both my pick and my fingers, depending on what rhythm I'm playing and sound I want. I think I was inspired to use more fingertips by Jeff Beck also, because he is so expressive.

Andy Wood… blazing chromatic lines…? Well, duh! The guy's scary good. Junktown!
Yeah... I pretty much use the fingertips. Occasionally I've been using the thumbnail on the low E or A very close to the bridge for a specific kind of tone, but I don't use my nails.

Junktown is a great album. Andy's videos are great and the one I was watching was (as they typically are) very cool.
 

jefferski

Fractal Fanatic
Mostly use a pick, but I'll go hybrid when it suits what I'm playing. I didn't know Mike C played American Girl that way, but that's how I've always played it too. I'll even slap the low E string w/ my thumb, bass style for certain riffs - the main lick in Runnin' Down a Dream comes to mind (since we're in a Tom Petty mood ;-).
 

Moondog Wily

Inspired
I just started a few days ago using a different pick holding method (thumb with curled index finger, rest of my life been using thumb and extended index+middle fingers) because my middle finger was getting sore. One of the things I have been working on in my playing is holding the pick (and my fretting grip) much lighter which should help in the long run, but for now I needed to change in order to keep playing a few hours a day without doing any permanent damage. I like using the fingers and would love to not have to hang onto the pick, but developing the callouses on my right hand has slowed my roll in that direction! I really should start mixing it up, doing maybe every 3rd song or so with fingers! Thanks for the inspiration to take on this task! Favorite picks lately are the oversized Dunlop Flex Tortex Triangle picks. I put a large circular rubber grip on index finger side, and a small star shaped grip on the thumb side to help me hang on to them. In ~1000 hours of play time in 2021, I think I dropped a pick maybe 3-4 times and threw away maybe 2 or 3 of them due to wear and tear.
 

lqdsnddist

Axe-Master
I like being able to strum up and down with thumb and finger nails and it can give different sound and rhythm than a pick, but man, tears up my fingers after playing too much

Just super glue and electrical tape some fake nails like Ani Difranco used to do lol
 
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