Topic: Thumb Picks

How many of you use a thumb pick and also pick with you fingers?  If you use a thumb pick what guitar or guitars do you use it  and what thumb pick do you used?

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

Re: Thumb Picks

Hey, Classical Guitar

As you already know, I am primarily a drummer, but I have seen a thumb pick being used in conjunction with a finger pick. This was mostly used with bluegrass music, however.

Would someone of your caliber ever use one or the other? I don't believe they would --- The Maestro, Andres Segovia would spin in his grave were that to happen ----- but maybe the picks could be softened somehow? I used felt bass guitar picks on my 6 string to try to get a more "velvet" sound several years ago and that worked for me.

Excuse me for rambling. smile

Bill

Epiphone Les Paul Studio
Fender GDO300 Orchestral - a gift from Amy & Jim
Rogue Beatle Bass
Pearl Drums

Re: Thumb Picks

Own some, used some, and frankly have never been able to get used to the "feel" (or lack thereof) of having that thing wrapped around my thumb.  Kinda like having a bandage on one.... always getting hung up on something (usually the wrong string) or slipping out of position requiring constant fiddling, or my favorite falling into the darn soundhole.  Something I've yet to experience with any of my own fingers.

If I HAD to, I suppose I could learn, and I kinda like the feel of the Hypalon ones, but nah...

"what is this quintessence of dust?"  - Shakespeare

4 (edited by Classical Guitar 2016-11-14 09:51:19)

Re: Thumb Picks

I was asking for two reasons, and they both made me wonder how many were using them. I noticed Don McLean using one and when the company who made the one he liked was going out of business years ago he bought two cases of them and all these years later he is still using the same pick. Chet Atkins always used a thumb pick because that is how he trained. 

I thought a student years ago and he was very talented. He called me a few months ago and was very upset because in helping a friend with a construction job, he cut off the tip of his right thumb and once it healed he said he could no longer play. Long story short when he came by my house to talk and I saw his thumb we went to a local music store and bought several slick picks. They are shorter and came in the right size for what he had left on his thumb. It was the only solution I could think of to keep him playing. It worked long term for him after.

I too thought it would make an interesting topic for discussion on Chordie.

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

5 (edited by Tenement Funster 2016-11-14 12:17:29)

Re: Thumb Picks

That's a great story, CG, about how you were able to rescue your student's guitar playing with something simple. Good on you, mate!

Like Doug, I've tried them periodically but never got the knack of it. Some guitarists use them very well (like Chet, MacLean, Don Ross, etc.) but I guess it all comes down to preference, musical style, etc. The whole point is to make those strings vibrate to create music; how they're struck / picked / tapped / plucked / etc. just adds to the creative options available.

Re: Thumb Picks

I don't like them.  I've ground down a thumb pick so that it is much, much shorter and tried to work with it.  It was better.  Got a more crisp tone than my bare thumb, but really didn't like it anyway.  it would take a lot of getting used to.

Granted B chord amnesty by King of the Mutants (Long live the king).
If it comes from the heart and you add a few beers... it'll be awesome! - Mekidsmom
When in doubt ... hats. - B.G. Dude

Re: Thumb Picks

GROW THAT THUMB NAIL and clear coat the heck out of it for strength. I bet my ceramic coat would be amazing.  My son, whom I have mentioned, has taken to growing his right hand nails for guitar.  I dont mind, but told him he needs to let mom file and shape  them.

“It’s like a Jab, you got the squeeze and you got the attack, you got the guitar and the emotion behind the song. 
You can plug into a Marshall, but if you are not attacking it's just going to sound so-so.  If the song doesn't grove, you are just bashing through chords” .
-- Mike Ness,  Social Distortion

Re: Thumb Picks

Thumb nail sticks out the wrong direction unless you can put your hand way out in front of the guitar, which I find to be an awkward angle.

Granted B chord amnesty by King of the Mutants (Long live the king).
If it comes from the heart and you add a few beers... it'll be awesome! - Mekidsmom
When in doubt ... hats. - B.G. Dude

Re: Thumb Picks

On a lighter note, I once used a rubber band stretched between my thumb and forefinger for a bow on a solid body electric. Don't know if that qualifies, though, since I wasn't picking, strumming, or plucking. I did try a thumb pick once. I had the same feeling of "not feeling" my playing with the thumb. I've heard so many people complain of proper fit that searching another medium and venue, though what, might produce some interesting, and maybe some good adaptation to guitar playing.

10 (edited by Classical Guitar 2016-11-20 17:31:40)

Re: Thumb Picks

For the most part I think it usually depends on how you trained or if self taught. Interesting that some older players used thumb picks more often than newer players. Other than those already discussed I have known one other classical guitar player who does very small parties and weddings that used a thumb pick on the bass strings and he played so hard he must have to change strings once a week.

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

Re: Thumb Picks

Years ago, I lost the end of my right thumb in an accident with a bandsaw. The doctor wanted to destroy the nailbed because he thought the nail would grow back deformed, but I told him that because I play guitar I would take the chance. Even though the nail grew back fine, I'm still using a thumb pick to this day because I got so used to it that it now feels alien without. It's just what you get used to!

Re: Thumb Picks

Awesome Brian! I'm glad you were able to keep playing. A friend of mine did the very same thing you did, only he lost one of the fingers (don't remember which one) of his chording hand and he gave it up and did karaoke using his guitar as a prop. It was pitiful to see, really. sad

Welcome to the Chordie Family and as I tell everyone: "Teach us somethin!'"..... smile

Bill

Epiphone Les Paul Studio
Fender GDO300 Orchestral - a gift from Amy & Jim
Rogue Beatle Bass
Pearl Drums

13 (edited by Strummerboy Bill 2016-11-27 20:23:51)

Re: Thumb Picks

And about the thumb nails, look closely at one of the "Masters",  and notice his  thumb and finger picks. I love this video and I hope y'all will too. smile

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wTVLIZaxMk

Bill

Epiphone Les Paul Studio
Fender GDO300 Orchestral - a gift from Amy & Jim
Rogue Beatle Bass
Pearl Drums

Re: Thumb Picks

Look really closely at the  video and even use stop motion on it. Chet Atkins always used a thumb pick because that is how he trained. Those are his finger nails with several coats of hardener and most likely some with tint too. Mark Knopfler did not use picks at all  and did not grow out his nails.  They were close friends and often traveled together.

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

Re: Thumb Picks

I mostly flat pick but occasionally write/play songs that sound better finger picked.  As I've always been a nail biter and the work I did was always busting my nails, I found that a combination of a Fred Kelly thumb "speed pick" and metal banjo finger picks work for me on my wider-necked steel-stringed acoustics.

I sometimes play with an old guy from Kentucky who uses picks on his thumb and all four fingers and plays a lot of old blues and country songs from the 1940's -50's.  It looks awkward but his fingers fly on the strings.

DE

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

Re: Thumb Picks

Dirty Ed wrote:

I mostly flat pick but occasionally write/play songs that sound better finger picked.  As I've always been a nail biter and the work I did was always busting my nails, I found that a combination of a Fred Kelly thumb "speed pick" and metal banjo finger picks work for me on my wider-necked steel-stringed acoustics.

I sometimes play with an old guy from Kentucky who uses picks on his thumb and all four fingers and plays a lot of old blues and country songs from the 1940's -50's.  It looks awkward but his fingers fly on the strings.

DE

Interesting post. Personally I play with calluses on my thumb and all fingers. I can grow my finger nails longer I just feel what I am playing without playing with nails. If I played a steel string (rather than classical) I would most likely use a thumb pick too. It is what works best and most comfortably for each player is what is important.

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

Re: Thumb Picks

I am practicing from 4 months, still i dint used thumb picks, According to our tutor starting practicing without thumbs picks helpful to feel and learn quickly.

Re: Thumb Picks

I bought a fingerpick set. Put them on. Tried to play. Took them off. Been in my pick tin ever since ......     

Re: Thumb Picks

Thumb picks are great, but they are really hard to get used to. I avoided them for years because they just didn't feel right. Then I actually sat down and gave them a chance. I forced myself to play with them for several months. Now I play with them regularly. I use a Dunlop 9003P large pick. It's the only thing that will fit my fat thumbs. smile     

My gear: Fender Jazzmaster, LP Studio, Country Gentlemen, Taylor Grand Auditorium