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  • Is using a hand held pick essential?

    Posted by Val on March 8, 2022 at 2:07 pm

    Hi all. I first picked up a guitar 50 years ago. It was a classical. I grew bored with the simple repetitive instruction.

    After ignoring the instrument for decades I changed to an acoustic (also decades ago.)

    I tossed the pick and used finger and thumbs to strum, etc.

    I’d enjoyed but learned nothing on my own

    My question/issue is: I’ve never enjoyed playing with a pick. I prefer strumming or picking with my thumb of fingers. It seems more interesting and accurate though I lack volume, which I don’t miss.

    What are the advantages of playing with a hand held pick besides volume?

    ted_h replied 2 years, 1 month ago 5 Members · 4 Replies
  • 4 Replies
  • Loraine

    March 8, 2022 at 3:26 pm

    Hi Val, a pick has different purposes and benefits depending on the song. Much of what you learn on TAC is either fingerpicking or flatpicking, and there are many times the type of music is what determines fingers or picks. Not every song is strummed. It is often much faster to flatpicking using alternate pick direction than fingers, and there are songs that can’t physically be done correctly without a pick.

    This is your journey, so you choose how you want to approach the lessons and learning. I personally prefer the pick for strumming, as well as hybrid playing (mix of picking and strumming). I also enjoy learning all the different ways of playing.

  • Kim-Fitz

    March 8, 2022 at 7:49 pm

    Hi Val, I can relate! LOL. <font face=”inherit”>I hated using a pick and had always used my hand to </font>strum <font face=”inherit”>or just fingerpicked. I also have a classical guitar and for a long time that was the only </font>guitar<font face=”inherit”> I had. I learned some ragtime on it and </font>mostly<font face=”inherit”> fingerpicked. When I started the TAC daily challenge, I was forced to use a pick. I really did not like the idea and thought about not doing the FLP </font>exercises<font face=”inherit”> but </font>ultimately<font face=”inherit”> decided to go along with it and try. Well, it was a struggle and frustration for quite a while. It still drives me crazy at times (c</font>onstantly changing picks, dropping picks, picks sliding around in my hand when trying different strumming technics, and of course striking the wrong strings when flat picking) but <font face=”inherit”>I’m improving and I have begun to enjoy the challenge. I’ve even started to </font>learn some song that have flatpicking in them along with the strumming. Got a long way to go but I can honestly say I’m glad I stuck it out. Hope this is an encouragement but whatever you decide like Loraine said it’s your journey and you have to enjoy the road.

  • Cadgirl

    March 9, 2022 at 3:29 am

    @Val , I had the same issues with a flat pick. I just couldn’t hold onto the thing. Now, there are a number of songs that I use it with and comfortable with. I think it would be beneficial to learn how to use. I think just using your thumb would be hard on some of the daily challenges, when you have to use an up / down stroke on strings. But, of course, you don’t have to if you chose not to.

  • ted_h

    March 10, 2022 at 9:18 am

    @Val, that is a great question! I really like playing both with and without a pick, and sometimes I hybrid pick as well (pick held between thumb and index finger, and fingerpick at the same time with the middle and ring fingers). There’s a good intro to hybrid picking in the TAC Skill Courses if you want to give it a try.

    But it’s _your_ guitar journey, and if you find it more fun to play without a pick, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it! You can always spend a few minutes using a pick on the TAC exercises that call for them, and then go back to the fingers. You can simulate alternate picking, foregoing the pick, by alternating between your thumb and index on the same or adjacent strings.

    A thumb pick might be a nice option to try. I have trouble playing with them, but some folks love them! Anyone here use one?

    I play electric, as well, and I try to play with and without a pick. I’m in a group for learning classic guitar solos and there’s a guy who plays every solo without a pick and he sounds amazing!

    One of my favorite electric players is Chris Buck, who effortlessly switches between fingers and pick. He stashes the pick in the crook of his index finger when he’s not using it — completely mind-blowing! You can find plenty of examples of his technique on YouTube.

    Whatever you end up doing, I wish you plenty of fun!

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