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So I've been playing acoustic guitar for years and have developed a certain fingerpicking style as well as a really good strumming technique. However, I have never used a pick and always thought it was unnecessary.

But I have found the need to use it in my band because for one, less mud in the mix. And two, it brings a lot more confidence and drive to the whole band. I'm also the singer so it impacts my singing as well.

Downside to it is, I play really sloppy with a pick.. I just don't have the technique and control that I do without one. Mostly because I'm still not quite comfortable with its position in my hand, as well as where to put it when I'm not using it.

It's like I have two real options here if I want to combine a pick with my original fingerpicking style. Use the pick instead of my thumb on bass strings. Or curl my index finger with the pick in it, so the pick is out of the way. That way I can pretty easily pull it out when it's needed.

Both of these options have a huge downside. I can't use my index finger for my fingerpicking and have to rely on my pinky to do the job my ring finger usually does. So my whole coordination with my fingers are skewed one finger. I spent years developing my original style and coordination without a pick, and it now seems I need to do the same with a pick..

So I'm looking at ways to maybe stick the pick to my finger somehow. Maybe with some magnet to a ring on my index finger or something. But I'd think it would already we an available product if that was even a good idea in the first place.

What's the cold hard truth to this issue? Just practice more?

  • Have you tried a thumb pick yet? – Todd Wilcox Aug 20 '16 at 13:36
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    Hmm I did a few years ago. But never got the hang of it. But that might be a way out of this issue :) I do however find the thumb picks to be too long. But I could always just file it smaller – Kenny Bones Aug 20 '16 at 13:37
  • I made myself learn hybrid picking where you use a lick to play the thumb and forefinger notes and then play middle and ring like normal, but it doesn't sound like that will solve your problem as much. I would also try filing down a thumb pick because they are strangely long. – Todd Wilcox Aug 20 '16 at 14:39
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    You might find some tips on strumming technique in some of the answers to this question (music.stackexchange.com/q/15850/16897) – Rockin Cowboy Aug 21 '16 at 10:08
  • If you want to alternate between a pick and fingers between song sections, I would recommend this as a solution. I've been doing it for years – Some_Guy Sep 1 '16 at 10:31
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I've had the same problem as you (trying to find where to put the pick when fingerpicking) and I have found two solutions which I currently use:

-Hybrid Picking: Holding the pick between the index finger and the thumb and picking with the pick and the other 3 fingers. It is uncomfortable at first, but you'll get used to it fairly quickly. You also, like with everything else, gotta play until your fingers are coordinated, and there is no shortcut around that.

-Hiding the pick between the DIP joint and the MCP joint of the index finger: This allows me to fingerpick with all 5 fingers like normal, with the only drawback that I can't extend my index or else the pick would fall. I use this when I want a softer sound (thumb) or when tapping (thumb on top of the fingerboard for stability).

There are other solutions like taking thumbpicks and shaving them to the right size, using a fingernail as a pick, putting the pick between the index finger and the middle finger (which I've found to be slow and unreliable) and many more, but those are the most practical solutions in my opinion.

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There is such a product. Check out the Sharktooth:

http://www.strum-n-comfort.com

It actually does work, and I have found it to be easier to control than a traditional thumb pick.

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I usually use a pick, but have recently started fingerpicking, and have encountered a similar issue. If your guitar has a glossy finish, or a pickguard, a really neat trick is to lick your pick and stick onto the body. It actually works pretty well! :)

If you can't do that, you could try placing your pick on top of the body, which I've seen done on stage. Though this really only works if you're sitting down.

Both these ways free your hand up more so you can fully express your style without fumbling over a pick in your hand that you're not used to.

Hope this helps!

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I do this a lot, as I really like the melodic options I have from my classical and flamenco training as well as using a pick, so I hold my pick in the standard way, between thumb and forefinger, and use the other three fingers to pluck or strum strings as needed.

If I need to switch to something requiring all my fingers, such as rasgueado, I tuck the pick in between my teeth, or throw it to the crowd, or sometimes under the pick guard if I'm playing a guitar with one.

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I've had the same problem and the answer I've come across is that you have to just build the coordination and strength in the last three fingers. I have tried to use thumb picks but they seem to be dropped out of my hand just as much as a normal pick. My overall opinion is just to build the coordination in the last three fingers because the rewards of a different tone will be worth it.

  • Yeah, it's good to practice this way anyway. Much more flexibility in the long run. I'm still searching for a solution for me though. I have tried finger picks such as ProPik and they seem to be working good so far – Kenny Bones Sep 1 '16 at 22:53
  • I just use any pick I can find though I have heard there are good picks that have grips on them whic would be harder to drop. Smaller picks are also useful if you want to add picked harmonics. – Unknown Sep 5 '16 at 1:35

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