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Finger picking

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(@jimh2)
Estimable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 80
Topic starter  

Why is it that when I use a pick the sound from the strings is much cleaner than using my fingers? Is this expected or am I doing something wrong?

Music is the universal language, love is the key.


   
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(@gary58)
Trusted Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 41
 

The effect you mention is normal, the sound you get is determined by the hardness of the thing striking the string, Brian May of Queen fame uses a coin as a pick and achieves a very hard metalic sound, most players use a pick or plectrum, which is basically plastic of various types and comes in all shapes, sizes and hardnesses, these give a fairly clear hard sound, certain styles of music, flamenco, classical etc are more favoured by using the thumb and/or fingers. The control you get over hitting the strings accurately seems to me personally better with a medium to soft pick. You also need to consider where you hit the string of course, you will get a thinner clearer sound as you go closer to the bridge pickup and a softer more resonant sound as you approach the finger board.

Hope this helps.

Gary UK


   
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(@jimh2)
Estimable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 80
Topic starter  

Probably should have mentioned that this question is really for my acoustic. I find it difficult to pick multiple strings at the same time with a pick, at least when they aren't next to each other, but I don't like the sound when I use my fingers.

Music is the universal language, love is the key.


   
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(@biker_jim_uk)
Honorable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 536
 

then grow your nails or buy finger picks - like nail extensions that you wear on each finger ;)

eg
http://www.eaglemusicshop.com/guitars/accessories/details/index.asp?eagleID=4163&ProcessType=1


   
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(@jasonrunguitar)
Reputable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 273
 

It does it pretty hard to play two non-adjacent strings at the same time using a pick. If they're just one string apart, one way to do it while still using a pick, is to use the finger fretting the lower string mute the string inbetween the two you want to play by letting it lay accross the middle string. One example of this would be playing octaves as follows:

e:-----
B:-----
G:-----
D:--7--
A:--x--
E:--5--

So in this case you let your index finger, which is fretting the 5th fret, lay gently across the A string to get it muted, then you strum all 3 strings (E, A and D).

But when you want other picking patterns where this doesn't work, you'll probably have to revert to some other methods. The only other methods I can think of are

1) Hybrid picking - you hold the pick between you thumb and first finger and then you can pick the low strings with the pick while still using your 3 other fingers to finger-pick the higher strings

2) Fingerpicks - With a pick on each finger you can get the sound of a plectrum while still picking totally finger-style

3) Experiment with Regular Fingerpicking - Try using a little bit of you nails or plucking the strings a little from underneath when fingerpicking. It's surprising how many different sounds you can get just using your fingers in different ways

-Jason
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
To those about to rock, we salute you!
http://www.soundclick.com/jasonwittenbach


   
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(@jasonrunguitar)
Reputable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 273
 

Lol, biker_jim, you posted at the same time as me, but seemed to get the point across in not so many words...I seem to have a tendency of being a bit wordy at times

-Jason
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
To those about to rock, we salute you!
http://www.soundclick.com/jasonwittenbach


   
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(@biker_jim_uk)
Honorable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 536
 

Your post added a lot more


   
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(@jonetoe)
Reputable Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 365
 

Certain things sound better finger picked and others using a pick. You will see that after a while. For instance a solo in the middle of a song usually sounds better with a pick, but if your going from strums to picking ( on acoustic) finger picking sounds nice. Intro's could go either way.

Overall finger picking takes time to decide what works best for ya as far as comfort and nail growth its a personal thing


   
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