1 (edited by Roger Guppy 2008-08-27 07:47:23)

Topic: Thumbing

Hi All,

I am new to Chordie so Hi to all fella muso's/whant a be's (that's me).

I have only been playing for about 10 months but love it and carn't put it down!

I have just up graded my acoustic to a Cole Clark FL1A and love it!! Such a better sound ohhhh!!!

I just have a question regarding stumming, I use a very thin pick which I find easier and I have more control over holding the thing which is fine for alot of the songs I am playing, however I have two very young kids and I do play alot when they are sleeping ( or when the mrs is watching TV hehe), so I do tend to use my thumb to play and quite like playing this way but I do find i loose alot of volume so when I play infront of people it doesn't seem to project as well as I would like.

I like to play alot of Jack Johnson type of stuff and I notice these guys tend not to use a pick yet they never seem to lack punch, is this because they are plugged in or is there a particular style they use??

I am trying not use my thumb so much and trying to use my index finger more which I hope to get better at over time but I will see (pratice,practice,practice!!)

I guess what I am asking is Am I dong something wrong? Am I creating bad habits? Should I just stick with pick 100%, if there is a good technique that I can use what is and where can I find it?

Cheers to all, look forward maybe contributing to this great website!

Re: Thumbing

I'd say... grow your thumbnail..? ? ? ?   maybe..?

The time to be happy, is NOW !

Freshman acoustic, IbanezGAX70, MarshallMG15cd, Digitech:RP100

Re: Thumbing

Hi Kane,

Recording artists and stage performers will always be plugged in, only then can the sound technicians control the balance of the performance.

Unplugged we are always going to lose the volume that you get from a pick when using thumb and fingers to play. However the variation in tone you can get by having in effect 5 picks in your hand each with a hard and a soft area of use make, in my opinion, fingers the best picks to play an acoustic guitar with.


"Do, or do not; there is no try"

Re: Thumbing

I have developed a hybrid style of playing acoustic: use a pick on the bass strings (E, A, & D) but play the treble strings (G,B,E) with your fingers. That is the pick & Fingers style, and it gives a really nice sound to the bass and I usually end up using just my middle & ring fingers on the treble strings, but sometimes the little finger gets involved.

Re: Thumbing

you could try a thumb pick,  most music stores will have some.

http://www.shopping.com/xGS-Thumb_Picks … id-8006957

Re: Thumbing

Variety is the spice of life. You will end up playing your own way anyhow. Work on what you feel gives you the most satisfaction now, but add in some practice time that adds challenges.

Controling a flat pick is something that keeps developing throughout your life, and it does take time. If you spend a few minutes working with your pick every night / every time you pick up the guitar it will build.

One suggestion would be to dump the thin pick it's more of a crutch than anything else. Get a heavier / sturdier pick. Try to play with a loose hold on the pick - let it move as it hits the strings. It will feel like you're playing with a spade at first and the picks will make lovely arcs as they fly willy-nilly through the air, but it will come together in the end.

"What's so funny 'bout peace, love and understandin' ."    Elvis Costello

Re: Thumbing

I have forced myself to learn to use a thumb pick. it was really awkward at first but after about
one month it finally felt okay.  Sounds great with finger picking stuff and gives a good clear bass sound.  Now I dont like playing without the thumb pick as it helps me get a good clear sound and I can vary the volume to suit the tune.  The CC is a great axe, enjoy, Land of Oz...

Re: Thumbing

JimBusch - That's wild! I'm going to give it a try. 

- Zurf

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: Thumbing

I played with a pick for years, never quite feeling comfortable holding it.  Then, for some reason I just started using my thumb and fingers and I like it better.  It is not quite as loud as I prefer, but I have found over time my thumb and fingers have also gotten a little harder and the sound it a little louder now.  I think they harden with time.  Give it time.  I have tried a thumb pick but can't quite get used to it.

You can see all my video covers on [url]http://www.youtube.com/bensonp1000[/url]
I have finally found happiness in my life.  Guitars, singing, beer and camping.  And they all intertwine wonderfully.

Re: Thumbing

Greetings Kane,

  Like you I tend to use a thin pick, but very rarely... usually when playing my electric and need to wail.  Acoustic, it's all flesh and steel with those fingernails for the heavy work.  You get really good with an emery board!  Anyway check out Don Ross and Andy McKee on youtube and pay attention to their fingers.... claws actually. You will see what I mean, it is easy to go from soft to hard by curving or straightening your digits and bringing either meat or claws into contact with the strings before the pluck.

  I never could get used to those thumb and fingerpicks clamped around my tips... darned annoying!

Take Care;  Doug

"what is this quintessence of dust?"  - Shakespeare

Re: Thumbing

Zurf wrote:

JimBusch - That's wild! I'm going to give it a try. 

- Zurf

Zurf, just maybe JimBusch is really Richard Thompson incognito. Look at this:


This is a good example of this style of playing with some close ups too and a brill song to boot.


"Do, or do not; there is no try"

Re: Thumbing

I know some players who swear by this brand of thumb pick.
The little holder tabs adjust very well and they say this thing really stays put and works wonders:
Perfect Touch Thumb Pick

p.s. Richard Thompson is an incredible artist.  His "Beeswing" is one of my all-time favorite whole-novels-in-a-song songs.  Here is an interview he did on National Public Radio.  The sound file includes several full-length live cuts that are part of his '1000 Years of Popular Music' collection.
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/stor … Id=1506843

"That darn Pythagorean Comma thing keeps messing me up!"

Re: Thumbing

Hi all,

Thankyou to all who have taken the time to read my post and offer your suggestions.

I have read all and have taken bits from each. I am growing my nails but I am not sure I like it, they feel strange and they get dirty and so on but I will see if they help.

I will keep practicing with the pic and yeah I have gone for a stiffer one so I will keep onto it, it is improving.

I went on got a thumb pic (dunlop type) from my local music store, man they do feel very weird not sure I like them.

Yeah, I like the mellow tone of the "flesh on string" with the odd pluck with the nails.
I feel I am more intouch and have more control with the guitar when using my tumb and fingers ( I know i probably sounds silly), and I seem to be able to change the tone and strumming pattern quickly and easily.

I will keep doing both, I have noticed that I seem to be getting a little louder. Either way I love playing and I must say, coming from having not a musical note in my body and teaching myself, to now being able to play "most" not all, the songs I look for i urges me on even more.

Thanks again, thanks chordie for providing a place to help people like myself progress in this awesome instrument.

Cheers, Kane

Re: Thumbing

If you need to, a thumb pick can be adjusted to fit using a hot air blow drier,  just heat up the plastic untill it bends to shape, and then let it cool.  they may feel more comfortable that way.