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I have played classical and electric guitar for 20 years or so. I use nails for classical (and occasionally for electric, but usually a pick). I don't play a lot of steel-string acoustic, and when I do I find it really messes my nails up when I fingerpick (especially as my nails are hooked and quite soft). I've never used fingerpicks.

I want to get into more fingerpicking on acoustic, but need to keep my nails for classical playing. Can I use fingerpicks if I have long nails? Or will the nails get in the way? And if so, would any particular kind of fingerpicks be best?

EDIT: looking online, it seems like Alaska style fingerpicks might suit me. If anyone has any experience of these, can you let me know how it compares to using nails?

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

I have the exact same problem... However, I found out that the fingerpicks are really annoying to wear, so I got rid of them. In no way my finger nails ever got in the way, so that was good. Another trick people do is gluing pieces of ping pong balls to their nail because they seem to react the same as finger nails. However, I have never tried that before since I don't want to glue things on my finger nails :-). I used Dunlop finger picks, but I can't remember which size.

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I have used Alaska Piks. My teacher says he hates them. The reason I tried them was that my fingernails aren't real tough. Also, I don't want to have huge fingernails, because I work on a computer at work all day. One thing that I find hard about Alaska Piks is it's difficult to do something on the computer while I'm practicing (Yes, I use the computer while I'm practicing). The other thing that seems that it could be difficult with them is getting used to locating the string that you are trying to play, but with my little experience with them, it seemed like I got by ok, and with practice, I expect that it will get better.

Do some more googling about this though, cause there's some other opinions on it. Also, just try some different ideas and see what you like.

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