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Recstar24
07-16-2015, 07:23 AM
Hi,

I have finger nails and grow them just fine, plus they are strong. However, the maintenance of them is becoming a bit much, and am constantly filing them, and they get in the way of normal living lol.

If anyone out there uses plastic finger picks, and has any thoughts or recommendations to share, I'll gladly take them.

SteveZ
07-16-2015, 08:47 AM
Coming originally from guitar, mandolin and banjo, had been using a flatpick for quite a while. Never did like strumming with fingernails, so just continued on ukulele with a light flatpick. It just feels comfortable to me.

LDS714
07-16-2015, 11:00 AM
I don't use picks for ukulele, but found the Alaskpik (http://www.alaskapik.com/) to be the closest thing to fingernails as far as feel when playing banjo. You still get the tactile sensation of touching the string with the pad of the finger when picking, something you don't get with more traditional metal fingerpicks. It also seems easier to control tone and volume with them.

Sonny Landreth introduced me to Herco thumbpicks (http://www.jimdunlop.com/product/herco-flatthumbpicks) many years ago. They look like the love child of a regular flatpick and a standard thumb pick. For me, they seem to be more stable on the thumb than normal thumbpicks and tend to twist less. I use them on guitar and banjo.

MickeyD
07-16-2015, 12:32 PM
I know your pain. I'll keep my fingernails for a couple of months then get really sick of the care and hassle and cut them off. When I was in school for classical guitar a lot of my classmates used the "ping pong" method. Basically they cut ping pong balls into fingernail sized chunks (?) and glued them either on top of or underneath their nails. I used the method a couple of times when I would break a fingernail (I personally found it easier to use my own natural fingernails). It works pretty well, the feel is similar and the tone is actually pretty good! A quick google will show some tutorials about how to do it. http://jimdoyle.weebly.com/nails.html here's one (that I honestly didn't read...so hopefully they know what they're doing! It's also a lot of work, so I get not wanting to do it, but at least it's another option.

bonesigh
07-16-2015, 12:40 PM
I don't use picks either but it's nice to have some on hand in case of a bad break. Best in my opinion is the above mentioned Alaskpik.

river_driver
07-16-2015, 12:56 PM
I tried out the Alaska Piks at my local shop and found them EXTREMELY uncomfortable - just this side of having bamboo splints jammed under your nails. Plenty of people like them, but I sure didn't.

I found Fred Kelley Freedom Picks (http://fredkellypicks.com/product-category/freedom-pick/) more to my liking. But my preference is still plain old fingers, or the occasional flatpick.

bunnyf
07-16-2015, 02:02 PM
Ditto on Kelly freedom Pick. It is fairly thick and rigid, so you have to like that kind of pick. Not too uncomfortable and fairly secure. Runs small.

LDS714
07-16-2015, 02:35 PM
I tried out the Alaska Piks at my local shop and found them EXTREMELY uncomfortable - just this side of having bamboo splints jammed under your nails. Plenty of people like them, but I sure didn't.

I found Fred Kelley Freedom Picks (http://fredkellypicks.com/product-category/freedom-pick/) more to my liking. But my preference is still plain old fingers, or the occasional flatpick.

Those look cool, have to get some and give 'em a try.

The trick with the Alaskapiks is not putting them under the fingernail.

itsme
07-16-2015, 02:55 PM
I tried out the Alaska Piks at my local shop and found them EXTREMELY uncomfortable - just this side of having bamboo splints jammed under your nails. Plenty of people like them, but I sure didn't.
I have tried them. I used to use one on my thumb for classical guitar because it gave me more "oomph" to produce a bigger sound on the wound basses.

Even then, it took some work to make it comfortable. I let it stretch out by putting it on a lipstick case for a few weeks, and had to file the rough edges off the sides that otherwise cut into underside pad of my thumb.

Honestly, your fingernails don't need to be very long at all. If you keep them relatively short (just long enough to do the job), they don't require much maintenance at all.

Recstar24
07-16-2015, 04:13 PM
Do people combine the normal fingerpicks like the Kelly freedom ones, with a thumbpick such as the Herco? Strings by mail sells the Fred Kelly Freedom ones in packs of 3, which I am assuming are for your index, middle, and ring, and you supplement with a thumbpick...does that sound about right?

Ukejungle
07-17-2015, 04:34 AM
I tried out the Alaska Piks at my local shop and found them EXTREMELY uncomfortable - just this side of having bamboo splints jammed under your nails. Plenty of people like them, but I sure didn't.

I found Fred Kelley Freedom Picks (http://fredkellypicks.com/product-category/freedom-pick/) more to my liking. But my preference is still plain old fingers, or the occasional flatpick.

Maybe I'll try these - I too found the Alaska Pics painful like you- I even boiled them (a taste of their own medicine) but I think they need to make XXXXXL sizes.

river_driver
07-17-2015, 05:14 AM
Those look cool, have to get some and give 'em a try.

The trick with the Alaskapiks is not putting them under the fingernail.

According to the manufacturer, they're supposed to go under the nail.
http://www.alaskapik.com/

Recstar24
07-17-2015, 06:55 AM
Thanks guys. Ordered a herco thumb pick and a set of Fred kelly poly freedom picks through strings by mail.

sopher
07-17-2015, 06:56 AM
Fred Kelly actually makes a thumbpick called the "Speed Pick" which I originally used on guitar because the picking part is sort of flexible and it kept the bass on guitar from overpowering everything else. Now I use it on uke because it's a gentler way of picking my less robust uke strings. I find a thumbpick just puts my thumb into a more comfortable position, so I usually use a thumbpick even when I 'm not using fingerpicks.

sopher



Do people combine the normal fingerpicks like the Kelly freedom ones, with a thumbpick such as the Herco? Strings by mail sells the Fred Kelly Freedom ones in packs of 3, which I am assuming are for your index, middle, and ring, and you supplement with a thumbpick...does that sound about right?

Recstar24
07-20-2015, 09:32 AM
Update:

My Herco thumbpick and fred kelly freedom picks came in today.

The Herco thumbpick is AWESOME. Excellent feel, very natural, easy to play, and requires no modification of my normal thumb technique when fingerpicking.

Unfortunately, the Kelly freedom picks did not work out so well. First, the medium size is just too tight for my finger, these feel very small, and I do not have large fingers by any stretch of the imagination. Second, the thickness of the materials is a bit much, and produces a very dull muted thud-like sound on the strings.

Sending back the Freedom picks, strings by mail is totally cool with it, and if anyone out there has a recommendation for finger picks where the material is thin and produces a nice bright clear tone, I would appreciate it. The Herco thumbpick is made of celluloid and is very thin, stiff, and produces an amazing tone to my ear, so will be looking for fingerpicks of that variety.

Ryan

MDL
07-20-2015, 03:31 PM
I've seen Herb Ohta, Jr., David Kamakahi. Led Ka'apana and the late Bob Brozman use old style plastic fingerpicks similar to the DUNLOP WHITE PLASTIC FINGERPICK that you can get through Elderly Instruments. They look goofy to me but they're amazing players. Good luck!

gregmchugh
07-21-2015, 01:49 AM
I tried both the Freedom Picks and the Alaska Picks, found the Freedom Picks too heavy and hard to get fitted very well to my fingers. I am using the Alaska Picks and find they work for me. They are flexible enough that you can get a sound similar to fingernails and they can be modified easily to get a comfortable fit. Once I had the right size selected I started slowly working away with clippers and an xacto knife to fit them comfortably on my fingers and snug under the nail. There are a few videos on YouTube showing the modification process. I am still trying different thumb picks and have several that seem to work fine including the ones mentioned and the more standard National thumb pick. Aaron Keim has a video on picks that I found useful.

Good luck in your search...

uku0729
07-22-2015, 01:22 PM
I will sometimes use a thumb pick (Slick pick or Golden Gate) because it gives a great, unique sound. But I'm most comfortable with just my fingers. I keep my nails short (about 1-2 mm) because I also play piano. Interestingly, I have always had a problem with sore nails on the second and third fingers of my left hand, whether playing guitar or ukulele. A couple of months ago, I stopped using nail clippers altogether on both hands and the sore nails on the left hand are no longer a problem.