Hi Jaco, While you are trying different picks you should add Alaska picks to your list, I don't use them myself but I have heard lots of praise for them. I am sure that there must be forum members who use them; myself I am a dunlop whites and torties man. Nick
Nick, Yes I have heard of the Alaska picks. I should research them. I know there's a young South Korean guitar prodigy Sungha Jung who's 16, he uses them. If you get a chance check out Youtube for Sungha Jung, this kid is incredible.
Post by junglemap3000 on May 23, 2012 18:22:55 GMT
I was just thinking about this dilemma as I turned on my computer just now.
I started learning with bare fingers, then grew my nails a bit, but preferred the flesh tone on the strings. When I got Michael's DVD, I started with fingerpicks and got used to them over the course of a few days.
Then, for whatever reason, I took them off a week or two ago and started playing with my bare fingers and thumb again. I could barely play without them, but being too lazy to cross the room to get the picks, I carried on and within days lost the ability to use the fingerpicks again. I've just tried to use them again as my RH thumb has a blister on it (no jokes please), and it's like I'm learning all over again.
I literally can't make up my mind whether or not I like thumb and fingerpicks. Has anyone been successful in switching fluidly betwixt the two? I like them on for some songs, but feel the tone is too sharp and "brash" for others. I suppose if I had a resonator, I might feel different.
I feel the same about the tone of flesh and nail on some songs, but I've been using the picks and getting used to them a bit. Need to modify that thumb pick though. Michael being the consummate professional mentioned in one post in this thread that at home he sometimes uses flesh and nail, but for gigs he's always using the picks. So switching back and forth can be accomplished with practice. Just my humble opinion.
To my ears (and a few people might agree to that as well), the Dunlop white plastic fingerpicks (large size) sound fantastic. I get a very warm, mellow tone out of them, when playing on my single cones. No harsh tones here. I've tried metal fingerpicks and a few other plastic ones, but nothing sounds as good as these, to my ears at least. Big, fat tone. The trick is, of course, getting used to them!
Post by Michael Messer on May 24, 2012 9:07:31 GMT
The Dunlop white heavy picks are the best of the plastic picks available. There used to be others, but they have gone!
I have always played both with and without picks, but I am so used to wearing them on gigs that I find it hard not to.
A great thing to practice with picks, is playing very quietly. Everyone always assumes that picks are for power and volume, but one can play really delicately, quiet and sweet with finger picks. This is IMO a very important thing to practice.......'can I play my resophonic guitar late at night wearing thumb and fingerpicks, and not wake the cat!' .....it is a really good exercise.
Post by junglemap3000 on May 24, 2012 15:15:56 GMT
Thanks Michael. Part of me dropping the picks was the volume issues when playing late at night. I will get back into them and practice playing softly softly.
Jaco, I use a Planet Waves thumbpick, unshortened, because it was what was available; and two nickel Jim Dunlop fingerpicks, which are relics from my failed attempts with a banjo.
I did have a Jim Dunlop thumbpick as well, and shortened it, but kept going as I was after the feel of playing with flesh, but with a pick (if you see what I mean). I ruined that, so I figured I would just have to get use to the extra length on my new thumbpick, as I have to get used to the exta length of my fingerpicks too.
Michael - I've not heard you mention the playing quietly with fingerpicks thing before ( or more likely I wasn't listenening ). I keep trying fingerpicks but have never felt as comfortable with them as without .....but I've just spent a happy hour playing quietly and I think I can see that it's going to help. I've found that I can hit the string I want more accurately and feel I've got more control.
Thanks for that , it's really helped me.
So I can cancel my booking for blues week and pocklington now*.
Post by Michael Messer on May 26, 2012 8:28:38 GMT
I don't remember if I mention this in my classes or not, but it is something well worth doing. National guitars, fingerpicks, Hawaiian shirts and adrenaline, can be a very noisy combination, but they don't have be. It is very good practice (IMHO) to rock out with your energy settings at number 10 and volume settings at 1. It is amazing how quiet you can play once you get into it.
I think its all been said but here is my 6d worth... I started an acoustic blues session in my local village pub in 1998 - no PA, no electric instruments - just acoustic. I knew I'd need to make some noise to be heard above the general background noise so tried fingerpicks and thumbpicks. I kept on trying (6 string acoustic and dobro / bottleneck)\ for a number of weeks and at some point it just fell into place - the picks just felt OK and a month or so further it felt a bit wierd not to have them on. This has been really handy as my subsequent forays into both 5 string banjo and lap style dobro. In the early days I tried .15 and .18 Dunlop finger picks but ended up being happiest with .25's - I'd had a tortoiseshell thumbpick for 10'ish (?)years tyhat I loved, I thought i'd better experiment in case Ilost it and got the Fred Kelly and others to try out and a day or two after they arrived (from Ebay) my tortoiseshell thumbpick snapped in two!! OOO-err! However, Im now using large heavy Dunlop white thumbpick and my .25 finger picks (which I found best to wear just to ther rhs of my fings (not in the middle) to avoid the raspy string noise that was mentioned earlier. Also,I got a tube of 25 fingerpicks on Ebay from the USA for £10 which was way better value than getting them singly in the UK (sorry UK!). I tried brass ones / ones that your went around the outside of your fingers (that enabled some "flesh contact" ) but the .25 dunlops are the ones for me! The other benefirts to volume are more consistent tone, not having to worry about breaking nails and you can play quietly with them too. Good luck with them - just persevere! Cheers, Mike.