PDA

View Full Version : All Thumbs



Down Up Dick
06-02-2016, 03:36 PM
Do those of you who (Yoo-hoo?) pick with your thumb (A) use a thumb pick or (B) an elongated thumb nail or (C) just the bare ol' thumb? I've been tryin' the C method with less than successful results--no volume. It sounds weak and flumpy. Or do you have a nuther method?

My picking thumb is poised and ready to pick. :old:

Snargle
06-02-2016, 03:49 PM
I use B...a slightly-elongated thumbnail. It's not at all extreme, just a millimeter or two past the end of the thumb. I usually hit the string first with the nail and then finish the stroke with a little bit of the meat. I don't care for the harsh, brassy sound of a pick or of an extremely long nail.
-----------
Forget what I just said. I got it bass-ackwards. The flesh catches the string first and then the nail finishes it off. Don't know what I was thinking! :rolleyes:

Down Up Dick
06-02-2016, 04:16 PM
Yeah, thanks, Snargle, I understand. My fingernail was some longer, but I clipped it off. It was in the way of my clawhammering. I suppose I could grow it back a bit though.

I've been considering a thumb pick, but I dunno . . . :old:

Alytw
06-02-2016, 04:18 PM
Plain ol' thumb for me. I will sometimes grow the other nails a bit, but not the thumb. Also, I've just crossed over to the dark side with a low g and I feel like I can control the balance and volume better without nails.

igorthebarbarian
06-02-2016, 05:19 PM
Plain old C for me too.

Down Up Dick
06-02-2016, 05:24 PM
Alytw and igorthebarbarian, the plain ol' thumb doesn't sound weak and flumpy to you? :old:

pritch
06-02-2016, 05:48 PM
Another vote for plan C. I keep the thumb nail trimmed now 'cause the sound jars if the nail inadvertently touches the string. Another guy played my tenor and thought it sounded bright - and it did with him playing it. He had long nails though and did use his thumb nail. It sounds mellow with less nails.

Of course it sounds mellower still tuned to B.

Mivo
06-02-2016, 06:03 PM
I use my thumb nail. It's not overly long, but sounds good to me. I don't try for loud volume, though, at least not until I play better. ;) I've been curious about thumb picks, though, and may try one soon just for comparison.

actadh
06-02-2016, 06:12 PM
I use "C". I can control the sound much better without the nail.

Booli
06-02-2016, 06:23 PM
Do those of you who (Yoo-hoo?) pick with your thumb (A) use a thumb pick or (B) an elongated thumb nail or (C) just the bare ol' thumb? I've been tryin' the C method with less than successful results--no volume. It sounds weak and flumpy. Or do you have a nuther method?

My picking thumb is poised and ready to pick. :old:

When I was wee lad we used to drink Yoohoo.

I pick with the side of the thumb sorta, right where the flesh meets the nail, such that both will contact the string at the same time, but the edge of the nail is what creates the initial attack and sound, and if strumming, I use the thumbnail exclusively as opposed to any flesh, and mostly on the upstroke, and any number of other fingers on the downstroke for a triplet, fan or flamenco strum.

For me, thumb on downstroke is FINGERPICKING and NOT strumming.

I have the nails on my right hand grown out to about 2mm past the finger tip and use them to good effect both when fingerpicking and strumming.

As far as flumpy sounding, I think it's more a matter of technique and just HOW you attack the string with the thumb. This was a problem for me at first and I spend a few days experimenting with how to address the string with my thumb, and then tried to use that method thereafter, and IIRC it took about a week of 1hr per day practice before it became second nature...

If I want a mellower tone from the thumb, I angle it so that no nail touches the string, and strum from the bottom/side fleshy part.

Like I said, it's a matter of technique, and as such we will all have a different one. :)

ALSO, I tried all kinds of thumb picks and also the Alaska Picks and using any such prosthetic devices INTERFERES too much with me being able to FEEL the strings, which is of paramount importance in my playing experience, and using such devices are like trying to taste food through a thick layer of plastic wrap. So I dont do it. YMMV. :)

Croaky Keith
06-02-2016, 10:16 PM
Just the top edge of my thumb, i.e. 'C'.
If you look at my earlier Seasons videos you'll see what I mean.

It was fine for practicing, however, I found it to be too quiet for recording so used to plug in to get more volume.
Now, with my new baritone that is acoustic only, I am finding I need to pick using thumb & fingers, with a fair bit of attack, to get enough volume to record.

sopher
06-03-2016, 12:06 AM
I use C, just the thumb, for fingerpicking. I tried a thumbpick but found it hard to control the sound, especially when you strum a chord, which happens occasionally even when fingerpicking. I just couldn't get the balance between the fingers (nails pretty short) and the thumbpick.

Pirate Jim
06-03-2016, 01:28 AM
Another vote for C here - I grew my thumbnail a bit but it would have had to be really long to use with my angle of attack on the strings. I understand what you're saying about volume, or lack thereof, but I've just got into the habit of using a stronger attack with my thumb. Mostly playing low G these days , so a softer approach on the G serves me well anyway.

Alytw
06-03-2016, 02:06 AM
Alytw and igorthebarbarian, the plain ol' thumb doesn't sound weak and flumpy to you? :old:

No, it doesn't to me. I have a bit of a callous built up on the side of the thumb that may help. As Booli said, I think that technique makes a difference too. Speed, pressure, angle, part of the thumb all help with controlling the tone and volume in a specific context.

bonesigh
06-03-2016, 04:53 AM
I was wondering just HOW one would DO that, LOL!


I use B...a slightly-elongated thumbnail. It's not at all extreme, just a millimeter or two past the end of the thumb. I usually hit the string first with the nail and then finish the stroke with a little bit of the meat. I don't care for the harsh, brassy sound of a pick or of an extremely long nail.
-----------
Forget what I just said. I got it bass-ackwards. The flesh catches the string first and then the nail finishes it off. Don't know what I was thinking! :rolleyes:

bonesigh
06-03-2016, 04:58 AM
Oh, and I use a nail just slightly past the end of my thumb. I just can't get used to a pick. Clumsy to me. I have occasionally used a fake nail put onto my thumb with a band-aid. Works great and doesn't fall off like a pick. (:

Snargle
06-03-2016, 05:11 AM
I was wondering just HOW one would DO that, LOL!Maybe I'll have to try and perfect a backward thumb strum. ;)

stevejfc
06-03-2016, 05:41 AM
Bare thumb downstroke, Thumb nail upstroke. Index and middle fingers for more complex fingerpicking.

Down Up Dick
06-03-2016, 05:44 AM
Bare thumb downstroke, Thumb nail upstroke. Index and middle fingers for more complex fingerpicking.

Unusual strum . . . :old:

Ukejenny
06-03-2016, 08:16 AM
C for me. My finger picking is weak for me anyway, so lack of volume is a good thing right now. LOL

Tootler
06-03-2016, 09:18 AM
I use (C), bare thumb. My nails tend to split if they get too long.

I downpick with the thumb and up pick with the finger - again fleshy part of the finger.

I find I can get perfectly adequate volume. For finger picking song accompaniment I don't want a hard sound so fleshy part of the thumb/finger is fine. For picking out melodies, I prefer to use a soft plectrum. I find a leather one suits me best. firmer than felt but without the harder tone of plastic.

Ukulele Eddie
06-03-2016, 09:31 AM
B. It doesn't have to be that long.

Down Up Dick
06-03-2016, 03:09 PM
B. It doesn't have to be that long.

Yeah, I sorta liked B too, but as I said before the thumbnail interfered with my Clawhammer. Maybe it was too long? :old

Down Up Dick
06-04-2016, 03:49 AM
Well, choice C seems to the most widely used pick, so I guess I'll try it for a while. I agree that the thumb pick's a bit loud, and I don't really care for the thumbnail much. It gets in my way, and my nails are prone to chipping and cracking and splitting, etc.

I thumbed last night for a bit, and it went a little better (not so flumpy). It seems faster too. Thanks, all. :old:

janeray1940
06-04-2016, 05:44 AM
I'm in the slightly-long-nail camp myself, but I have really brittle nails that tend to break right off if I'm not super diligent about filing them so they are only a *little* longer past the end of my fingertip. When they do break, I use a thumbpick, but I modify it - I cut and file the pick part down so it's barely even there, just long enough to catch the string. It keeps the sound from being too brash and unbalanced.

These (https://www.ernieball.com/guitar-accessories/guitar-picks/finger-thumb-guitar-picks#P09215) are the ones I use, they're thin and somewhat more flexible than others I've tried. I like the sound of these (http://www.amazon.com/Dunlop-9022R-Plastic-Thumbpicks-Medium/dp/B000EENHJ8) as well, but they don't make them small enough to stay on my thumb without making an effort to keep it there - that first link is the only brand that I've found that fits the smaller-handed among us :)

Down Up Dick
06-04-2016, 07:02 PM
Well, I thumb picked my baritone for a while this evening and had a very nice time. My picking tone and volume was much better than before, and my picking was almost fumble free. All in all it was a big improvement from the last few times I tried it. I really like it a lot better than picking with thumb-index-middle.

Thanks for the input. I guess I learned somethin' from this thread. :old: