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Watch any Warren Haynes video on YouTube and you'll notice that he often likes to mix it up and play solos with a pick but mid-way switch to using his fingers.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EMxG90vP-aU

Joe Bonamassa is another guy I see doing this a fair bit. A nice technique if you can get it to work!

Where do people think he is most likely holding the pick in the right hand when he has switched to finger picking?

I've tried putting the pick between the 4th and 3rd fingers, or using the pinky to hold it against my palm. I just can't find anything that feels comfortable, but still allows the other fingers to move freely in order to fingerpick, AND can easily transition the pick back to the fingers for playing.

Does anyone have any insights or tips on this technique?

Also, when he has switched to finger picking, it looks like the way he would use the right hand when playing slide guitar. I.e. mainly thumb and index finger.

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6 Answers 6

Since the 4th finger isn't usually used for picking, seems logical, that use can hold the pick between 3rd and 4th fingers, but this will require some tough training, because you will have to have some extra tension in your right hand witch is not good - the right hand must be relaxed as possible.

for me, I use two "techniques", if you can call the that:

1

Out a pick in my teeth. Not very hygienic, but very easy and it works (also some girls find it quite attractive :)

2

Use a pick holder glued to the body of a guitar - makes really easy to get rid of a pick fast.

alt text

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3  
RE point 1, it is very easy to inhale a guitar pick. Less easy to get it back out! –  Anonymous Jan 18 '11 at 17:23
1  
Or use the technique Cheap Trick's guitarist Rick Nielsen uses. Play for about a minute with a pick then throw it into the audience, run over and grab another from the mike stand, and play on. But he's making fun of rock and rollers who do similar things from what he said in an old Guitar Player interview. –  Anonymous Jan 19 '11 at 19:27
    
Some people use their ring + little fingers, put them together, but slide the pick between them. It takes very little pressure to hold it there, and leaves the thumb + index + middle finger for picking. –  Anonymous Jan 19 '11 at 19:30
2  
Instead of putting it between the teeth, I prefer to just press it on my forehead. It holds there pretty well all by itself! :-) –  Chris Lercher Feb 14 '11 at 9:53
    
@the Tin Man - I've used the toss-the-pick many times, generally for one particular song that had a fingerstyle ending. It works well with a brightly-colored pick. –  neilfein Mar 15 '11 at 12:09

I know that Brian Setzer of the Stray Cats does this a lot too. He explains his approach ina video here; he forfeits the index finger, and uses it to hold the pick, curling it against his palm:

alt text

He then uses his thumb and remaining fingers for fingerstyle. The article says:

You may find it feels awkward playing fingerstlye without your first finger, but it shouldn't take much practice before this feel completely natural. If you really can't get used to it, then try tucking the pick under whichever finger you find easiest.

I can also recommend this DVD, where you can see him do it in some detail.

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Thanks, very helpful. As I mentioned in my own answer, this is also how Joe Bonamassa does it –  asgeo1 Jun 8 '11 at 9:11
    
+1. when playing bass, I do this but use my middle finger. this frees up the index for plucking when slapping. it's the simplest way I've found other than just dropping it –  jammypeach Sep 22 at 19:51

Hand palming pick

I picked this up before I could do anything really well. I hold the pick between the joints of my picking hand ring finger. This leaves the thumb, index and middle finger free to fingerpick.

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I tend to

  1. tuck it into the strings beyond the nut
  2. pop it between my teeth
  3. tuck it between my 2nd and 3rd fingers (I use p and a more than i and m)

Need to get some Metaltech branded picks so I can lob them into the audience though - I should have thought of that before!

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I assume you use a locking system like Floyd Rose, or else tucking into the string would affect the tuning. –  luser droog Jul 18 '13 at 16:29
    
I do this with all my guitars. Some have locking nuts. Most don't. I have very few problems with guitars going out of tune. –  Dr Mayhem Jul 18 '13 at 19:10
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Well, I'm actually going to answer my own question.

I can do that, because I recently saw both Warren Haynes and Joe Bonamassa play. I was close enough that I could actually see for myself how they do it.

So even though I like this question to be quite general (in order to be helpful to others), to be honest, I actually just wanted to know how Warren Haynes does this ;)

And I can say that Warren actually puts the pick between his index and middle fingers, high up, so he can still move all of his fingers to some degree.

In that way, he is able to finger-pick with all of his fingers, and not sacrificing any particular finger. The trick seems to be though that you can't go crazy with the finger picking, or the pick is going to come loose.

As well, you have to really practice that transition of moving the pick from your normal grip, to holding it between your fingers, and vice versa. Warren does it smoothly, and without effort. He's obviously been doing this for decades. I think it's going to take me some time to get even close, but I'll keep trying.

The other benefit to Warren's technique, is that as a very good slide guitarist, Warren naturally has very well developed finger-picking technique with the thumb, index and middle fingers. (Warren's style of slide involves plucking and muting the strings with those fingers). So of course, it then makes sense to keep those fingers free when finger-picking with the plectrum tucked away, to make the most of that well-developed picking technique. I was thinking that when I originally wrote my question, and I can see that it is true.

The technique Bill Cheatham describes for Brian Setzer is actually the same technique Joe Bonamassa uses.

I'm going to concentrate on Warren's technique however, because it is closer to what I'm hoping to achieve with my playing.

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I simply have an oval silver ring in my ring finger. I tuck it there and it sticks well, I sacrifice no fingers, and can go crazy with fingerpicking.

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