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strumming without plectrum

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New Member
Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 2
Topic starter  

Hi everyone,

I just started playing the guitar some two months ago. I just started to try and learn some songs, but I don't really like the sound a plectrum makes. So I wondered if it is also possible to just use your fingers? (since I do like that sound a lot).

Thanks in advance =)

Joined: 22 years ago
Posts: 5342

It is possible, and it's very effective.

Experiment with long nails, short nails, using the backs of the fingernails for downstrokes and the thumbnail for upstrokes. Keep your wrist relaxed and move your arm from the elbow.

"Be good at what you can do" - Fingerbanger"
I have always felt that it is better to do what is beautiful than what is 'right'" - Eliot Fisk
Wedding music and guitar lessons in Essex. Listen at:

New Member
Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 2
Topic starter  

Oké =D
Thanks so much for the answer =)

Famed Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 3995

Usually I never use picks, I do it when soloing but I tend to use my fingers, too.

You can also try different picks, thicker or thinner, different material, different brands...

Noble Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 1089

After almost 7 years since I picked up a guitar seriously I still can't hold a pick. Thumb with the nail a little longer gives a decent sound. It's also possible to play individual notes with it. Travis picking ala Dust in the Wind is just fingers.

It is difficult to answer when one does not understand the question.

Noble Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 1497

There is a Jeff Beck Video "Live At Ronnie Scotts" that displays what you can do with an electric guitar and no pick.

I've been playing music all my life, and as predominantly a sax player who was in bands that almost made the big time I've had the opportunity to play with some of the best guitar players in the industry. In other words, my jaw doesn't drop easily. When I saw the Beck video, I was stunned.

And the camera operator must have been a guitarist, because the camera zoomed in to the correct hand at the correct time when Jeff was doing something super-human.

Even if you don't like Jeff's kind of jazz/rock music, you should see the video.

I double on the guitar, and this video inspired me to want to play without a pick. I do so every now and then and learned that there are a lot of things you can do with your fingers that you cannot do with a pick (there are also things that work better with a pick for me).

Insights and incites by Notes

Bob "Notes" Norton

Owner, Norton Music Add-on Styles for Band-in-a-Box and Microsoft SongSmith

The Sophisticats >^. .^< >^. .^<