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Pick, fingers, fingernails


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Guys, what do you use most of the time when you play? Picks, fingerpicks, fingers, fingernails, all the above? I tried to grow my fingernails out, and did, but Im not a full time musician, I have a day job, and my nails kept splitting off, so I gave up on that. I use fingers, picks and occasionally fingerpicks now. Cant hang with the nails anymore.

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Guys, what do you use most of the time when you play? Picks, fingerpicks, fingers, fingernails, all the above? I tried to grow my fingernails out, and did, but Im not a full time musician, I have a day job, and my nails kept splitting off, so I gave up on that. I use fingers, picks and occasionally fingerpicks now. Cant hang with the nails anymore.

 

You'll find some good answers here brannon

http://forum.gibson.com/index.php?/topic/68203-whats-your-primary-playing-style/page__p__927225__hl__nails__fromsearch__1#entry927225

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I mostly use a thumbpick and my fingernails. Once in a while I'll strum or play melodies with a pick, but more often I use the side of my index finger to strum or hit notes......It does take a while to get your fingernails strong enough to stand-up to everyday life. Several years ago I found a nail hardener called "Hard as Hoofs" (also sold as Horsetail) at Wal Mart. It works very well. I've rarely had a problem with a chipped or broken fingernail and I don't take any extra precautions with them. I fingerpick steel strings everyday.

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I pretty much play with my fingers but do use my nails at times. For me the thumb really comes into play alot - you can get a whole different sound depending on what part you use - the corner near the nail, the side down by the joint, or nail.

 

I agree dealing with the nail length is a pain in the butt. I guess I am lucky in that even though I am over 60 my nails seem to be made of iron. But for keeping them in shape a diamond nail file can be your best friend.

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I use my thumb and three fingers to pick. Have to use the meat of my fingers because of "soft nails". This results in a soft sound that is nice but low. I have trouble in the winter because my skin splits aroung the thumbnail. So a pick works and sometimes hybrid picking seems in order as long as I don't hit the bass strings too hard with the pick.

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I learned fingerpicking with bare thumb and as many fingers as I could get going. After learning Stefan Grossman workshop stuff, I reduced this to thumb and two fingers. After watching Rev Davis, I have reduced this again to thumb and index finger - usually thumb for downstrokes and strumming, and index finger for upstrokes and brushing. Great for getting the shuffle feel going. I am nowhere near the Rev, so I sneak in a surprise middle finger and on a really, really big number, out comes the ring finger for a strike like a cobra...

 

I can play with thumbpick and fingerpick, but prefer 'bareback'. My left hand nails are cut to the quick, while my right hand nails are verging on the scary in company look! It has been very interesting adjusting to daily worklife and nail breakage - I prefer when my index nail is about level with the curve of my finger and I love scraping this across the strings like fingernails on a blackboard!

 

 

 

BluesKing777.

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I started out taking classical guitar lessons a long time ago, so it's thumb and index, middle and ring fingers for me. I keep my nails a lot shorter now than I used to when I played long-scale, more heavily braced guitars - the '05 J-45HC is MUCH more responsive to a lighter touch, and the sweet spot, tonewise, works best with relatively short nails. The last three years or so I've pretty much stopped using flatpicks in an effort to maintain peace in a household where guitar playing happens late at night after the kids have gone to bed - but I find I can get enough volume with my bare hands to keep things rolling along.

 

I experimented with metal fingerpicks and a plastic thumbpick c.1989 under the influence of local Macon guitarist David Clark, which made my little '60 LG-2 surprisingly loud, but concluded I was better off barehanded.

 

Now, a question - I recall reading that Kottke quit using fingerpicks because of forearm tendon issues. Does anyone know why John Fahey and Peter Lang quit using them later in their careers?

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