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Guitar pick vs hand technique
Old 1 week ago
  #1
nobody cares bro!
 
Don Solaris's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Guitar pick vs hand technique

Help a newbie! (sorta)

Not sure why but i decided to start learning guitar the proper way, with right hand. As a 13 old kid and being left handed, i did a mistake and started learning guitar with left hand. Been frustrated all of my life, but since i never went quite deep in technique i've decided to start over, this time right hand.

Since this time i want to do EVERYTHING properly, i would like to ask you ppl: what should i start learning first. Pick or hand strumming? For some reason i'm really poor with pick but find so easy to do classic hand techniques (some of my distant ancestors are Spanish, LOL!). To add an insult to injury i've actually bought a Spanish guitar (for flamenco) since i want to learn that style / technique properly. I totally like it!

Should i skip the pick completely? I totally suck at using it, finding correct string during play really annoys me. But! I do have an electric guitar and i plan to play that as well, now i'm in a dilemma.

What should i start practicing first: The pick techniques or free hand strum techniques?

Your turn!
Old 1 week ago
  #2
Lives for gear
 
grumphh's Avatar
 

Look at a video of Paco de Lucia and ask yourself: Do i really need a pick?
Old 1 week ago
  #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Solaris View Post
Help a newbie! (sorta)

Not sure why but i decided to start learning guitar the proper way, with right hand. As a 13 old kid and being left handed, i did a mistake and started learning guitar with left hand. Been frustrated all of my life, but since i never went quite deep in technique i've decided to start over, this time right hand.

Since this time i want to do EVERYTHING properly, i would like to ask you ppl: what should i start learning first. Pick or hand strumming? For some reason i'm really poor with pick but find so easy to do classic hand techniques (some of my distant ancestors are Spanish, LOL!). To add an insult to injury i've actually bought a Spanish guitar (for flamenco) since i want to learn that style / technique properly. I totally like it!

Should i skip the pick completely? I totally suck at using it, finding correct string during play really annoys me. But! I do have an electric guitar and i plan to play that as well, now i'm in a dilemma.

What should i start practicing first: The pick techniques or free hand strum techniques?

Your turn!
My advice would be - BOTH! Separately and at the same time (like many of the great country pickers.)

Why limit yourself?
Old 1 week ago
  #4
Gear Guru
For me, Mark Knopfler is one of the kings of tone (over a wide vairety of sounds) and he pretty much is all fingers. When ever I hear great tone from a player I often find they are playing with fingers.

But - there are many styles of playing where it is totally about the pick. I grew up as a young punk - fast downstrokes with a hard pick is the ony legit technique. And another player who'se tone I adore is Brian May (Queen) where he plays with an old British penny for a sharp metallic attack, but he is used extreme saturation for a synth-like tone.

As John says - there is a place for both, and ideally learn both. Because I play so many different instruments I haven't had the time to put into developing the callouses on my right hand necessary for good fingers style - I use a little. I use a technique of pick and finger style when needed - seems that the internet word for this now is "hybrid picking". I even use this on bass for disco octaves etc.

Here is my take on what can sound best:

If you are playing clean sounds, everything you do with the string is exposes. This is where finger style can add so much colour. You have such a range of sounds, for the soft muted tones from the flesh of your finger tips, to the sharper tone of your finger nails, to the ultra percussive snap of pulling and releasing the strings ... there is so much character you can put into a string attack with fingers.

Using a pick with clean sounds it's easy to get a boring "ting ting" sort of sound that I don't like. I often use the Edge (U2) technique of using the rough textured area of a Dunlop nylon pick - it gives a scraping sort of attack which I find more interesting than "ting ting" ...

I also recommend matching the pick to the tension of your strings and the amount of aggresion with which you play, and the amount of agression you want in your tone.

I see some bad players attacking guitars with heavy picks and lots of agresssion, and they sound like shyte and wonder why they break strings. For me, i've ended up using soft 0.6mm picks on acoustic guitars and hard 2mm on basses - totally different things.

With electrics - there is such a range of tones and style, it depends. If using a lot of distortion, I want a stronger attack because the distortion brickwalls all the dynamics out. You reallly can't have too much attack if you are using distortion, so I fully understand why Brian May uses a penny coin. I use harder picks for distortion than I do for cleans.

I would recommend you buy a collection of picks - they aren't that expensive, so buy one of each type and experiement with them. There is a lot of variation - and this is why I don't feel so bad that i'm not a great finger-style guitar player.

Many of the guitar players I really rate used picks, even on bass. In some cases maybe they didn't have the greatest tone ever - but the tone they got was perfect for the song. There are some finger-style sounds that are great, but not ideal for certain genres and songs.

Learn both if you can, but check out hybrid picking.
Old 1 week ago
  #5
I started off using just hand for a while . but then one day I went to a friends house and he started to play rhythm and I started trying to solo over it and realized I was completely lacking a good picking technique

so I say if ucare at all about being able to do precise expressive solos with tremolo and hard attacks etc then u need good pick skills

hand picking is more about feel and creating arpeggios
Old 1 week ago
  #6
Gear Guru
This guy is a good example of what i mean by hybrid picking.




It's also worth considering that - especially for lead solo stuff - a lot of the notes I play are hammer ons or pull offs or pull the sring up with a pick and then snapping it down. So for all those notes, the sound is exactly the same whether you are using fingers or a pick.

For me the advantages of finger style are mainly about playing diads or chords with all the notes together (not strummed) or for skipping strings for intervals that can't be strummed. That's where hybrid comes in handy.

A long time ago I learned banjo - Bill Keith style which is a smooth melodic flowing style - and sometimes I will use finger picks on several fingers. It's worth consider too as a valid sound if you want to play folk patterns but don't have the callouses on your fingers. On banjo I used metal picks, but on guitar I use plastic. You can even play hybrid style with plectrum and finger picks. I haven't pursued this much - but if a need arose it would be easier to learn a part with those than to build up callouses.

I suppose another reason I haven't pursued the folkie arpeggio thing is that, with the music I make and my interests in synths, arpeggiated guitar parts can be programmed extremely well with sequencers and samplers ... one of the very few styles that can be done very well that way. And I admit, if I wanted a Bill Keith-style banjo part, a sequenced sampler can do this extremely well too.
Old 1 week ago
  #7
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bash's Avatar
 

I was a life-long picker but envied the sounds someone like Mark Knopfler made so I switched late to fingers. Not terribly good at it but I never have to fear losing a pick anymore. There are benefits to each method, and there are techniques and tones that are mutually exclusive so it's best to learn both from the start. Focus initially with whatever you feel "keeps you practicing" but set aside time to explore the other until you become proficient at both.
Old 1 week ago
  #8
Lives for gear
Use whatever style you naturally favour.














ns
Old 1 week ago
  #9
Both. You'll know when.
A pick works well when muting the bridge end of the strings with the palm and edge of the right (pick) hand; it allows for a greater range of tone and dynamic control.
Old 1 week ago
  #10
Gear doesn't kill people.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Solaris View Post
Help a newbie! (sorta)

Not sure why but i decided to start learning guitar the proper way, with right hand. As a 13 old kid and being left handed, i did a mistake and started learning guitar with left hand. Been frustrated all of my life, but since i never went quite deep in technique i've decided to start over, this time right hand.

Since this time i want to do EVERYTHING properly, i would like to ask you ppl: what should i start learning first. Pick or hand strumming? For some reason i'm really poor with pick but find so easy to do classic hand techniques (some of my distant ancestors are Spanish, LOL!). To add an insult to injury i've actually bought a Spanish guitar (for flamenco) since i want to learn that style / technique properly. I totally like it!

Should i skip the pick completely? I totally suck at using it, finding correct string during play really annoys me. But! I do have an electric guitar and i plan to play that as well, now i'm in a dilemma.

What should i start practicing first: The pick techniques or free hand strum techniques?

Your turn!
So just to be clear you intend to pick/strum with right hand even though you are left-handed? Is that correct?

Either way, for most styles, my advice would always be start out with a pick. It's relatively easy to migrate to playing with fingers from playing with a pick. But it's much harder to introduce the pick (a foreign object) into your playing later on if you've gotten really comfortable playing with fingers.
Old 1 week ago
  #11
Gear Addict
 
Sgalb's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Solaris View Post

Should i skip the pick completely? I totally suck at using it
I'm on a third or forth lesson with someone and the first thing I taught him was how to hold the pick correctly. Im always telling him not to hold the pick so tightly, that I'd rather him drop it. Once I told him how to hold it correctly (and he understood it) we got into learning some open chords.

If your fretting hand is perfect and your picking hand/pick technique is not your chord or lead will not sound very good. (or vis versa)

I play picking and fingerstyle and I have to disagree with people telling you to learn both at the same time..bad idea.

Sorry I wasn't much help. Good luck.
Old 1 week ago
  #12
Gear Addict
 
Sgalb's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sgalb View Post
I'm on a third or forth lesson with someone and the first thing I taught him was how to hold the pick correctly. Im always telling him not to hold the pick so tightly, that I'd rather him drop it. Once I told him how to hold it correctly (and he understood it) we got into learning some open chords.

If your fretting hand is perfect and your picking hand/pick technique is not your chord or lead will not sound very good. (or vis versa)

I play picking and fingerstyle and I have to disagree with people telling you to learn both at the same time..bad idea.

Sorry I wasn't much help. Good luck.
and if I understood correctly, I'm left handed and play guitar "righty". Never even attempted a left handed guitar.
Old 1 week ago
  #13
If you're learning Flamenco why not stick to fingers first and get a teacher to teach you proper technique. I used to do Bossa Nova solo guitar. Fingers all the way. I never mastered hybrid technique.
It wasn't until I wanted to try playing metal that I felt the need to learn to use a pick. You can't do metal sweep arpeggios or riffing with fingers.
Old 1 week ago
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Solaris View Post

Since this time i want to do EVERYTHING properly, i would like to ask you ppl: what should i start learning first. Pick or hand strumming? For some reason i'm really poor with pick but find so easy to do classic hand techniques (some of my distant ancestors are Spanish, LOL!). To add an insult to injury i've actually bought a Spanish guitar (for flamenco) since i want to learn that style / technique properly. I totally like it!

Should i skip the pick completely? I totally suck at using it, finding correct string during play really annoys me. But! I do have an electric guitar and i plan to play that as well, now i'm in a dilemma.

What should i start practicing first: The pick techniques or free hand strum techniques?

Your turn!
I'd start with what comes natural and then work in the other as you progress. Something to be said for both. Once your technique and dexterity is developed using one way the other will probably come easier. Jeff Beck knocks me out how he gets the guitar to speak all mostly finger style, but he used to use a pick. gl
Old 1 week ago
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sgalb View Post
...I play picking and fingerstyle and I have to disagree with people telling you to learn both at the same time..bad idea...
Another perspective is that only one technique is learnt and that technique sometimes includes a pick. I think the pick is often used exclusively by learners as it allows the attention and muscle memory to focus on the left/chording arm with the right arm needing less complex motor-functioning/movement.
Old 1 week ago
  #16
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Hot Vibrato's Avatar
 

It's obviously too early to tell, otherwise you wouldn't be asking the question. Being a thumb pick wielding fingerstylist myself, I'm tempted to nudge you in that direction. But I think you should take some lessons and learn a little about fingerpicking, and also learn how to use a flatpick. Learn some different songs using both styles. You will eventually gravitate towards the style that you most prefer. And some players have managed to become virtuosos at both fingerstyle and flatpicking. Doc Watson and Stephen Bennett are good examples of players who have mastered both.
Old 1 week ago
  #17
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enorbet2's Avatar
I'm primarily a flatpicker who later on discovered how much more tactile and connected I feel with no picks. However because I spent years flatpicking I fell in love with and naturally tend to use my thumb and forefinger as if I was holding a pick. The possibilities for using fingernail or flesh or some combination are massive and wonderful but it can get bloody painful (even painful and bloody) after an hour or three. I don't know of any perfect solution but I now wish I'd started out with no picks and learned that later..
Old 1 week ago
  #18
Gear Guru
 
Unclenny's Avatar
I started with a flat pick and then switched to finger picks. It wasn't until I went to just fingers twenty years or so ago that I was able to truly become one with the instrument.....in my own simple style. Before that it was a constant struggle.
Old 1 week ago
  #19
Gear Addict
 
Mikhael's Avatar
 

I do both - the hybrid picking thing. It's something that developed over time, as I integrated both styles into a ME style. I'm also a lefty who plays guitar "normal". Frankly, I don't see how righties play that way. My most dexterious hand is flying around the fretboard, as it should be...
Old 6 days ago
  #20
nobody cares bro!
 
Don Solaris's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by creegstor View Post
So just to be clear you intend to pick/strum with right hand even though you are left-handed? Is that correct?
Correct.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arthur Stone View Post
I think the pick is often used exclusively by learners as it allows the attention and muscle memory to focus on the left/chording arm with the right arm needing less complex motor-functioning/movement.
I think this is it.

I actually bought a book Guitar Aerobics to start from scratch and couldn't figure out why the author insist on using a pick. But now it kinda all makes sense.

So pick first it will be.
Old 6 days ago
  #21
Losing your pick (it will happen) is a great fingerstyle learning opportunity; same type of thing but now you've got a finger and thumb spare.

I started on pick, then transitioned to fingerstyle via The Ozark Mountain Daredevils 'Standing on the Rock'



A guitar can be a faithful friend through times of adversity. Good luck
Old 6 days ago
  #22
Lives for gear
Cricky this is art, why introduce limitations.

I love a pick, fingers, sometimes just my thumb, E-Bow occasionally ....

Same for bass pick , fingers, sometimes just a thumb.

Each technique yields a different sound/ emotion and feel, which is part of the fun of creativity for me.
Old 6 days ago
  #23
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grumphh's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Solaris View Post
So pick first it will be.
Noooooo!

Learn it correctly from the beginning - especially since you mentioned flamenco/classical that relies heavily on right hand technique.
You will have a much harder time relearning the right hand movements once you try to lose the pick.

And you will have to relearn, because essentially you'll have to start all over again: Who cares how nimble your fretting hand is when your right hand produces abysmal plonks?

I have been playing with a pick for decades, and whenever i try to do something finger style i just get frustrated, because it really is back to square one for me...

At this point it would take me several years of woodshedding to get my right hand to fingerpick as well as i play with a pick - and i am not even particularly proficient.
Old 6 days ago
  #24
Gear doesn't kill people.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Solaris View Post

So pick first it will be.
Correct choice even if your reasoning is wrong!

Re: using your right hand to pick/strum even though you're a lefty. I'm not saying I've never seen it, but frankly, you should use whichever hand you jerk-off with to pick/strum. Deviating from that is counterintuitive and self-defeating.
Old 5 days ago
  #25
Quote:
Originally Posted by creegstor View Post
Correct choice even if your reasoning is wrong!

Re: using your right hand to pick/strum even though you're a lefty. I'm not saying I've never seen it, but frankly, you should use whichever hand you jerk-off with to pick/strum. Deviating from that is counterintuitive and self-defeating.
I'm ambidextrous. I use both hands..
Old 5 days ago
  #26
nobody cares bro!
 
Don Solaris's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by creegstor View Post
but frankly, you should use whichever hand you jerk-off with to pick/strum.
Hahaha! This is the funniest thing i've read here in a long time. A nice flashback into my teenage years. Yeah it was right hand, so i guess i'm all set for the guitar.

And speaking of lefties, Gary Moore was a lefty. Yet he went to play the guitar using right hand. And i really got no complaints on his playing skills.
Old 5 days ago
  #27
Gear doesn't kill people.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Solaris View Post
Hahaha! This is the funniest thing i've read here in a long time. A nice flashback into my teenage years. Yeah it was right hand, so i guess i'm all set for the guitar.
It's funny coz it's true! Looks like you're good to go!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Solaris View Post
And speaking of lefties, Gary Moore was a lefty. Yet he went to play the guitar using right hand. And i really got no complaints on his playing skills.
You want a real mind****? My uncle was his manager! No joke!
Old 5 days ago
  #28
Gear doesn't kill people.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pichi View Post
I'm ambidextrous. I use both hands..
Yeah but which hand is the cheating hand?
Old 4 days ago
  #29
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enorbet2's Avatar
I don't want to "throw a monkey wrench into the cogworks" but whenever I hear/read the words "proper technique" I feel compelled to ask "proper for what?" Aside from the fact that many picking styles are developed by many individuals (or there wouldn't be so many sizes and shapes) I'm pretty certain the way I hold my pick is very non-standard. I use a Hard Fender Jazz tiny teardrop pick and reverse it so the point points to my palm and the arced edge barely protrudes from the flesh of my thumb and forefinger. I like the way chords sound as well as there is nothing or not much of anything to "catch" on a string accidentally. It is very close to the feel of fingers-only but has the advantage of the sharper attack of a pick. Being so little protrudes it is trivial to "scrunch up" and get finger style attack or damped harmonic popping attack as well.

So I think "proper" as in Classic Style is good to know but only as a base point. Experiment and find variations you like or are more comfortable using.
Old 2 days ago
  #30
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donsolo's Avatar
Start with a pick while you let the talons grow.

You can be just as fast with your fingers as others with a pick (Paco De Lucia as previously mentioned is a good example.)

I do a lot of hybrid picking. I still remember when it was introduced to me by Chris Buono and I just didn't get it in the room. I've since gone on to make a whole thing out of it.

I do all 3, hybrid, full finger, and pick only.

This is an example of finger only. I use a bare thumb to get a better bass sound:


This is a good example of my hybrid technique. I originally wrote this as a hybrid picking exercise and it just kinda stuck:
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