Topic: Alaska picks

I recently bought a 12 string.  Fingerpicking on it is not... well... it's not good.  I like finger picking.  Plus, there are any number of recording artists fingerpicking on 12 strings, so I know it can be done. 

I diddled around with some thumb picks and modified one to have a small enough pick that it works just like a bump on the side of my thumb.  This maintains the kind of feel that I want but still gets between the strings and "grabs" to get a good ringing tone. 

For fingers, I bought some things called "Alaska picks."  This wrap around your finger opposite of a regular finger pick.  It has an open area where the meat of your finger can still touch the string.  Then there's a metal 'nail' that fits behind your own nail.  I've only tried them for a bit, and there's an issue with them rubbing and catching against each other when I use three of them.  But...I'll mess around with the fit and size.  What I think makes them worth the bother is that I can still feel the string with my finger AND I still get resistance with natural nail so I can hold a note for just a moment and pluck it when I want.  I can't do that with regular finger picks because there's no feel left. 

I'll work it for a while and write back how it goes.

"If it comes from the heart and you add a few beers... it'll be awesome!" - Mekidsmom

Official recipient of B chord amnesty.

Re: Alaska picks

I have owned a couple of 12 strings and I love them but I never found a good way too pick with them as I play alot of blues tunes. I hope you can find a way that will wok for you.

my papy said son your going too drive me too drinking if you dont stop driving that   Hot  Rod  Lincoln!! Cmdr cody and his lost planet airman

Re: Alaska picks

Hi Zurf ...

Are these the Alaska Picks you were mentioning?

http://www.stollguitars.de/de/files/AlaskaAnleitung.jpg

I'm intrigued, because I also like to play classical guitar, but have never been able to get my right hand fingernails long enough without them cracking, chipping, hangnails, etc. My wife suggested that I go to nail salon and have artificials put on ... that isn't going to happen! (LOL) Please let us know how you make out with these, because they look like a perfect solution for a lot of us, I'm sure.

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Re: Alaska picks

Yes, but mine are metal. I'm not sure what all the filing is about.

"If it comes from the heart and you add a few beers... it'll be awesome!" - Mekidsmom

Official recipient of B chord amnesty.

5 (edited by bluejeep 2015-03-20 12:24:31)

Re: Alaska picks

Thanks for the tip Zurf. I've tried finger picks and just could'nt get a feel for/with them.

TF, I think we had a thread going a while back about glueing artificial nails on. Amy would be able to give advice on how to.

Live in the "now" - a contentment of the moment - the past is gone - the future doesn't exist - all we ever really have is now and it's always "now".

Re: Alaska picks

I think Amy advised gel treatment for nails.  For the life of me, it sounded like a fiberglass & resin buildup for canoe repairs.  Which would probably work.  I tried some super glue and paper fiber layering and filing and it works in the short run.  Proper mesh instead of paper fiber, and proper resin instead of super glue would be a whole lot better.  Still probably wouldn't be the thing for finger picking a 12 string, though, because the nails get awfully thick that way. 

I'm going to have to do some shaping.  The metal Alaska picks are flat, and have to be curved around the fingers.  I did it by hand yesterday, but the result was poor curves that caught on one another.  So I'll redo it this weekend with some proper tools (which fortunately means a trip to the adult toy store of Harbor Freight Tools!).

"If it comes from the heart and you add a few beers... it'll be awesome!" - Mekidsmom

Official recipient of B chord amnesty.

7 (edited by Strummerboy Bill 2015-03-20 14:15:43)

Re: Alaska picks

Zurf,

The "adult toy store".

You mean where you buy porno videos, edible panties, lubricants, scented condoms, whips, leather, hand cuffs, dildos, strap-ons, vibrators, penis enhancements, pantless crotchies and stuff? wink

Bill

My Dementia Blog: [url]http://www.wheretobud.blogspot.com]www.wheretobud.blogspot.com[/url]  also Alzheimer's Interview  [url]http://www.engadget.com/2011/07/14/15-minutes-of-fame-holding-fast-to-azeroth-through-the-journey/[/url]
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Re: Alaska picks

Strummerboy Bill wrote:

Zurf,

The "adult toy store".

You mean where you buy porno videos, edible panties, lubricants, scented condoms, whips, leather, hand cuffs, dildos, strap-ons, vibrators, penis enhancements, pantless crotchies and stuff? wink

Bill

Nope.  I mean a tool store.  I've got a lot more use for a good set of pliers than any of that other stuff.

"If it comes from the heart and you add a few beers... it'll be awesome!" - Mekidsmom

Official recipient of B chord amnesty.

9 (edited by NELA 2015-03-20 15:24:52)

Re: Alaska picks

Zurf wrote:
Strummerboy Bill wrote:

Zurf,

The "adult toy store".

You mean where you buy porno videos, edible panties, lubricants, scented condoms, whips, leather, hand cuffs, dildos, strap-ons, vibrators, penis enhancements, pantless crotchies and stuff? wink

Bill

Nope.  I mean a tool store.  I've got a lot more use for a good set of pliers than any of that other stuff.

Bill, when Zurf said he "diddled" with fingerpicks I don't think he was really diddling.



Zurf, a little tip I read somewhere about finger picking a 12 string requires reworking the nut and the bridge of your guitar. If you will hold up your guitar and sight across the strings you will see that the octave strings of the E, A, D & G strings are even along the bottom of the strings. This won't allow to have a good "attack" angle on the strings with your nails or finger picks. Getting the nut and bridge reworked so all strings are even across the top  makes it easier to get to the octave strings. Can't remember just where I read this but I think I was just searching sites for finger picking a 12 string guitar. Talk to a guitar tech and get his comments on this. The article I read said to be sure and keep ypur old bridge and nut just in case you didn't like this set-up so you could change back. All this takes is a little time and money.

Nela

Re: Alaska picks

Cool idea.  I have a replacement bone saddle already, because I want to file it down to try for lower action.  I'll have to pick up some super fine files while I'm at the adult toy store.  I haven't the foggiest how to go about replacing the nut, so I'll have to hire that done.  I'll get a bone 12 string nut on order. 

- Zurf

"If it comes from the heart and you add a few beers... it'll be awesome!" - Mekidsmom

Official recipient of B chord amnesty.

Re: Alaska picks

removing the nut is not to hard all you have to do is take off the strings and use a piece of wood and a weight to tap it out then use some 220 or higher grit sand paper and evenly sand it down then tap it back in

"Growing old is not for sissies"

Re: Alaska picks

Yeppers, I did create a whole video on how to do nail wraps with details on what and where to buy supplies.  You can see that here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6XoDnpkPfFQ

Gel Nail Wraps and acrylic are a different beast though than fiber.  Both Gel and Acrylic are things that I wouldn't suggest doing yourself, but they are stronger than fiber.  You'd surely want to go into a nail salon for those (and I'd suggest Gel over Acrylic but since most of you won't go, we won't get into why here).  If you ever heard your Grandma talking about cutting a piece of tea bag and super gluing it to her nail to save a broken nail, that's the same idea as the fiber nail wrap.  If you haven't heard of this, ask some woman over 50 about it.  Or not... but yeah, it's an idea that's been around a long time.  wink  Zurf's explanation was good, " For the life of me, it sounded like a fiberglass & resin buildup for canoe repairs. "  The fiberglass and resin isn't as thick as you'd think it would be.  If you really want to grow your nails though, just go start taking prenatal vitamins!  Ha ha ha!  OH - and don't bother trying to just glue a fake nail on.  It won't stay.  Those are meant to be glued on and then covered with acrylic.  wink

OK... back on topic... Zurf, I like those picks!  They are pretty neat, and look like they'd work really well.  I think my nails are about that length (as shown in TF's pic), maybe a little shorter.  I personally find that sometimes I like to pick the strings with my finger pad, other times the nail.  I've seen some basic finger picks and thought, "Holy Hell those are long!  How could someone play with those?  I can't button my pants with nails that long, how could someone pick a guitar?" -- so, I think you're onto something good with these!!  Keep us updated on how it's working for you.  At one point I liked thumb picks a LOT.  Sounds like you found a seriously low profile pick.  I've considered filing mine down and trying it again.  If I were unable to grow my nails for some reason, I would absolutely run out and buy some of those picks 12 string or not!

Art and beauty are in the eyes of the beholder.
What constitutes excellent music is in the ears of the listener.

Re: Alaska picks

On the thumb pick - I cut it to a low profile pick.

"If it comes from the heart and you add a few beers... it'll be awesome!" - Mekidsmom

Official recipient of B chord amnesty.

Re: Alaska picks

Zurf wrote:
Strummerboy Bill wrote:

Zurf,

The "adult toy store".

You mean where you buy porno videos, edible panties, lubricants, scented condoms, whips, leather, hand cuffs, dildos, strap-ons, vibrators, penis enhancements, PANTLESS CROTCHIES and stuff? wink

Bill

Nope.  I mean a tool store.  I've got a lot more use for a good set of pliers than any of that other stuff.

Heh-heh-heh-heh. He said tool! smile

That's actually not where I was going when I wrote out that long list. I was trying to bring the "joke" back on myself making it sound like I had visited such an emporium once or twice in my life. smile

But I suspect you knew that, my friend and I sure hope you didn't take offense at me having a bit of fun.

Seriously, I'd like to see what you come up with when you get done, so please post picks. Pics. smile

Bill

My Dementia Blog: [url]http://www.wheretobud.blogspot.com]www.wheretobud.blogspot.com[/url]  also Alzheimer's Interview  [url]http://www.engadget.com/2011/07/14/15-minutes-of-fame-holding-fast-to-azeroth-through-the-journey/[/url]
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Re: Alaska picks

Zurf wrote:

On the thumb pick - I cut it to a low profile pick.

OUCH! wink

I gotta get my mind outta the gutter, friends.

I keep seeing the word "prick".

Not you, [b]Zurf[/b}. Sometimes I just wake up this way. smile

Bill

My Dementia Blog: [url]http://www.wheretobud.blogspot.com]www.wheretobud.blogspot.com[/url]  also Alzheimer's Interview  [url]http://www.engadget.com/2011/07/14/15-minutes-of-fame-holding-fast-to-azeroth-through-the-journey/[/url]
Epiphone Les Paul Studio
Pearl Drums With Paiste Cymbals

Re: Alaska picks

I think I have a set of Alaska picks around here somewhere..... they were plastic and yes did need a little shaping to get them to work well (at least for me).  Can't hardly imagine metal ones!  The good thing about them is that you get the "feel" of using your natural nails, and they protect your own until they get long enough to use alone.

My nails grow pretty fast and get filed almost daily, which stimulates growth.  But I should add that there should be no stigma about having gels done professionally if it's within your budget.  Doing it yourself with your non-dominant hand is trickier than it looks!  We've got enough musicians around town that salons don't even blink when you walk in the door and request only one hand done.  Could be a niche for a nail technician to set up a stall inside a larger music store and schedule a couple of days a week......could stay real busy!

"what is this quintessence of dust?"  - Shakespeare

Re: Alaska picks

Tenement Funster wrote:

Hi Zurf ...

Are these the Alaska Picks you were mentioning?

http://www.stollguitars.de/de/files/AlaskaAnleitung.jpg

I'm intrigued, because I also like to play classical guitar, but have never been able to get my right hand fingernails long enough without them cracking, chipping, hangnails, etc. My wife suggested that I go to nail salon and have artificials put on ... that isn't going to happen! (LOL) Please let us know how you make out with these, because they look like a perfect solution for a lot of us, I'm sure.

That picture of Alaska picks looks like a finger wearing a High Heal.

my papy said son your going too drive me too drinking if you dont stop driving that   Hot  Rod  Lincoln!! Cmdr cody and his lost planet airman

Re: Alaska picks

I tried the plastic Alaska picks for a while but didn't like the feel.  Plus you need fairly long fingernails to keep them in place.  I finally gave up and went back to regular metal picks in .013 and .015 gauges so I could bend/mold them into the shapes I wanted.

DE

I want to read my own water, choose my own path, write my own songs

Re: Alaska picks

Here's a video about nails and guitars from John Butler. Interesting.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UtxmGQBZ82Y

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Re: Alaska picks

Absolutely brilliant!!!

Thanks for posting, Chevo ... enjoyed this thoroughly.

Amy ... you now have me asking myself, "Why wouldn't I go in to an aesthetics parlour, and get some gel nails put on?" It's not like I'm going try and be some Tibetan monk looking for a place in the Guiness Book, but if I can have enough fingernails on to play my classical guitar properly, why not? Why on earth not?

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm ...

ACOUSTICS:  Cordoba D10-CE / LaPatrie "Concert" / Takamine GD30CE-12 / Norman ST30
ELECTRICS:  EP Les Paul Custom Pro / Gretsch Streamliner G2420T
AMPS:  Traynor YCS50 / Peavey VK212 / Traynor AM150T
EFFECTS: Boss ME-80 Multi-effects / Ibanez WD7 wah

Re: Alaska picks

What have I been missing out on all these years. I am just getting into paying 12 sring (thanks for your comments about capo's). And already I have to visit a nail bar and a porn store. Seems like 12ers have much more fun than 6ers, although when I tell the missus I may omit the word nail and tell her I have to visit the bar.

Thick as two short planks

Re: Alaska picks

You know those rubber thingies folks put on their finger to make it easier to turn pages? Maybe y'all can get some of those to cover your nails when you need to, uh, you know...... use them elsewhere? Need a devil smiley here. heh-heh.

Bill

My Dementia Blog: [url]http://www.wheretobud.blogspot.com]www.wheretobud.blogspot.com[/url]  also Alzheimer's Interview  [url]http://www.engadget.com/2011/07/14/15-minutes-of-fame-holding-fast-to-azeroth-through-the-journey/[/url]
Epiphone Les Paul Studio
Pearl Drums With Paiste Cymbals

Re: Alaska picks

In regards to the Alaska Piks, I think you either love them or hate them.  I play mostly fingerstyle on a 6-string acoustic/electric and occasionally on an acoustic 12-string and the Alaska Piks work well for me.

I've been using the plastic Alaska Piks for a few years, although I prefer to use a standard thumb pick.  Using the Alaska Pik on the thumb is too awkward.  It took awhile to get use to the Alaska Piks, but I like them much better than some of the other types of plastic and metal finger picks that I've tried.  I haven't tried fake nails, since I figured that they would be high maintenance if you want them done right.

Re: Alaska picks

I mentioned in another post that I play with clauses and not nails. I grew my right hand nails out at one time years ago and did not like the sound of any of my classical guitars, or the feel of playing with nails. I teach classical guitar and also do concerts. I just returned from doing a five day concert trip to 4 different cities, so when I say I play with clauses they are very hard and have developed them over a very long time. As far as fake nails at least for me personally I do not understand how you can feel the music you are playing. I also admit I have never tried them. What ever works best for each one of you and how you play is the most important factor.

Also just to mention it I do not know a single other classical guitar player that does not stare at his left hand when they perform.  While I use my left leg to play, I never look at my hand, I look at those who paid to hear me play. Either you know how your guitar feels and where the frets are, or you don't.

Music is what feelings sound like.
Music is life, that why our hearts have beats.