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How Do You Play Electric Guitar

  • With a pick

    Votes: 5 20.0%
  • With my fingers

    Votes: 7 28.0%
  • I hybrid pick

    Votes: 2 8.0%
  • I do whatever the song calls for (ie. switch back and forth as needed)

    Votes: 11 44.0%
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After reading a thread on another forum, I decided to post something similar here.

That thread talked about playing electric guitar with fingers instead of a pick, but not playing in a traditional style (ie. patterns, arpeggiating chords, alternating bass, etc.). Basically, the person was asking about just plucking notes with fingers instead of a pick.

Does anyone here do this?

I've never been fully comfortable with a pick. I also have some issues with my right wrist, which can make playing with a pick uncomfortable/painful. This is especially true after playing with a pick as the discomfort/pain can last a day or two. I keep trying to become comfortable with a pick but any level of comfort with them never lasts very long. I really need to just make the decision to ditch the picks and to stick to playing with my fingers instead of going back and forth as I know that the constant switching is holding back progress.

I also like playing with just my fingers as I feel I am more musical when I do and I like the tactile connection you have with the guitar. I guess I feel more connected to it than I do when using a pick.

I basically use my thumb and first finger - thumb for downstrokes and index finger for upstrokes. And I do that for both strumming and single note playing. I try to alternate pick with my fingers but sometimes slip into economy picking, just because it makes some things easier just as it does when economy picking with a pick.

When using my fingers I pretty much play like the guy in the video below, minus the whammy bar wanking and his putting his fingers together as if he were holding a pick. Check out what he does at about the 0:19 second mark, that is what I do. But as I said, I really need to make the decision to switch completely and stop going back and forth. That will require an adjustment period, but I think it would be beneficial in the long run.

Sadly, the guy in the video drowned last summer so is no longer with us.





So does anyone else here play electric guitar (or acoustic) with just your fingers, but without using a traditional style as described above?
 

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Can't use a pick...never have felt connected to the strings that way. Would explain however why my thumb looks like I've installed a Lee press on nail.
 
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80-90 percent flatpick but I have some songs that I do on acoustic in Travis style and sometimes use the back of my nails to get a fan downstroke like fleminco players do. I was finger picking on electric sometimes when I had 11s on it but I’ve recently switched to 10s on the electrics and they are too floppy to finger pick on when I’m used to doing that with 13s on my acoustic guitars.
 

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Hybrid 100%.

So I guess, by definition, I use a pick for 50% and use my middle, ring and pinky for the other 50%. Although I doubt it's exactly 50/50.
 

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Mostly play with a pick, but some finger picking & hybrid picking--and sometimes use my finger nail like a guitar pick--
 
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I found playing with my fingers very awkward at first until I started playing Stairway to Heaven. I really started to enjoy playing with my fingers. Most of the time I do use a pick but there are times where I say, screw it and just play with what Mother Nature gave me.
 

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Whatever is required, but I too understand the better "connection" with no pick.

Can't stand fingerpicks. Variety of flatpicks as needed.

Also, my nails are not what they used to be. Every black-nail work accident is now a nail that splits when grown out. I just finished gluing one fingernail on my right hand with nail hardener and tea bag (like fibreglassing).
 

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I play almost exclusively finger style acoustic, so playing without a pick on electric works best for me.
 

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I was taught a three finger picking technique that I use for single lines. Not thumb and two fingers, but rolling ring, middle, index, I guess bass players do this more commonly. Like the classical tremolo without the thumb.

[I can’t find a video like this on guitar]

I was also taught a little fingerstyle, which I don’t do very well, and a little of something like what Tuck Andress does.

I use a thumb strumming bass with something like triplet strumming most of the time.

Not too dissimilar to this, no pick, more funky.

Triplet strumming, I use thumb and index finger.

I did some Yamaha lessons when I was young and can do a bit of PIMA classical picking.

I don’t use a pick very often.

I’ve been fooling with a parlour trick off of that three finger technique, it sounds like a hockey card in the spokes, but I think it isn’t physically sustainable.

The toughest thing about three finger picking is keeping it even in volume, tone and rhythm, it can get sloppy and sound like a gallop.

I guess Flamenco players have a lot of control and can pick either with the fingernail only or with the pad of the finger and then the nail, but I hit that pad first every time.
 

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I find fingerstyle more versatile and easier but I play with a pick 90% of the time as I just love the sound a Strat makes when it's plucked hard.
 

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I was going to mention about nails.

It's easy to stop biting them, it's hard to keep them in shape. Some people can't grow them, some guitarists use fake nails. Tuck Andress decided to cut his nails and play with just the finger, it works well for him.

It seems like it's easier to grow your nails as you get older.
 
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