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Help needed with playing without a pick!!


(@dicey1)
Active Member
Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 13
Topic starter  

I have a real problem that I hope you guys can help me with so here is a bit of background so you know where I am coming from...
I am a 50 year old intermediate guitar player (HOBBY ONLY) and my back ground was in classical guitar for a long time. I always loved all types of guitar but I am learning the blues a while now and really enjoying it
The problem is that i have never used a pick and don't want to but am a bit lost as to how to proceed with my lead guitar work because I play in the following way,
1 I always using index and middle for scales and never the thumb (classical style I suppose)
2 I find my self using the thumb for bass only (like say Travis picking)
3 I know that when I go to do slide guitar (my next course I hope!) they recommend the thumb as a mute only and use the fingers for lead licks
My question are,
Should i use the thumb and index in scales to try build up thumb speed and not index and middle?
Would you recommend ( i think i am heading this way) the thumb as an anchor only and let the fingers play all lead lines?
I don't want to start using the thumb and index for lead as I am afraid I will have to unlearn that when i go to playing slide!
I would REALLY appreciate your opinion on this as its driving me mad! I need to adopt a method that will work for scales, lead and slide and not be using all sorts of different fingerings!
ps I know i won't ever be able do REALLY fast lead licks without a pick but thats ok as I am more of a BB King type fan anyway!


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(@s1120)
Prominent Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 849
 

OK, so im not that experienced so maybe im out in left field, but it sounds like your over thinking it a bit. Most blues fits pretty well into the mold of normal Travis picking. For lead lines and fills I normally use the I,M,and R fingers because most fall on the G,B, and E string anyways. If I'm doing longer leads, I tend to just use whatever finger seems to be in the right place at that time, but tend to like the percussive sound of using the thumb most of the time, so I use that a lot. For me the thumb seems to be a lower "thump" and the fingers a brighter sound. I've never had much luck with a pick myself also, and am just now going back, and giving it a shot now that I've improved as a player.

Paul B


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(@dicey1)
Active Member
Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 13
Topic starter  

I think you could be right there and I think for me to stick to what I know which is the thumb for the 3 bass strings and the fingers for the bottom 3 is probably best.
Should you not then practice scales the same way which would be the notes on bass strings get played with the thumb and then the fingers alternate on the 3 higher strings??
i can't say i have ever seen anyone doing that but it SOUNDS logical to me!
Your thoughts??


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(@alangreen)
Member Moderator
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 5366
 

Should you not then practice scales the same way which would be the notes on bass strings get played with the thumb and then the fingers alternate on the 3 higher strings??
i can't say i have ever seen anyone doing that but it SOUNDS logical to me!
Your thoughts??

If you take your Classical Guitar Grades through the ABRSM in the UK then playing two-octave scales with the thumb only on the lower octave and i-m-i-m on the upper octave is a technical requirement and they test it in the exam room. Go for it.

"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: http://www.rollmopmusic.co.uk


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(@dicey1)
Active Member
Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 13
Topic starter  

Thanks a lot for that info! it sounded logical to me (practice the way you intend to play etc) but to have it confirmed is really great. I will start to practice my scales now with thumb for 6,5 and 4 and i and m for the other 3. Thanks a lot! At my age I didn't want to start of a practice routine that wouldn't work out later on. I know i won't get great speed at this stage but I can live with that!
My next search is for someone who shows how to combine rhythm and lead so that i no longer am dependent on backing tracks etc. that is the ultimate goal for me so any direction there would be appreciated!


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(@davidhodge)
Member Moderator
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 4485
 

My next search is for someone who shows how to combine rhythm and lead so that i no longer am dependent on backing tracks etc. that is the ultimate goal for me so any direction there would be appreciated!

You might want to check out our Guitar Noise Podcasts - you can find the link to them at the top of any page. Podcasts 7, 8, and 9, as well as Podcasts 14 and 15 are meant to help get a guitarist started on being able to mix rhythm strumming with playing single note fills and leads.

Hope this helps.

Peace


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