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View Full Version : Anyone Use FingerPicks?



OrangUke
10-15-2008, 02:41 PM
I've got lousy fingernails - most of the time they are either splintered or badly chipped - even with regular and attentive filing. Been thinking of trying some of those plastic fingerpicks that simulate real nails. Has anybody given them a try? I find that without some nail hitting the string, my tone is muffled and lacking volume and the higher overtones.

cheers!

jqrcaliman
10-15-2008, 02:49 PM
i am also curious about this...i like the control and sound i get from growing my finger nails out long but then they look kinda gross to be honest so if there's a way around it that'd be super cool. if the finger picks work out great then maybe i'll explore that.

BluesDrive
10-15-2008, 03:38 PM
I use a thumbpick from time to time and I love it. I'd buy fingerpicks the second I see them. Which hasn't come yet.

muzikengineer
10-15-2008, 04:00 PM
I tried finger picks on classical guitar, But it just didn't cut it for me. I prefer the soft tones of my flesh VS the plastic pics. that does hurt my Tremelo. If i want brighter tones i'll just use a pick...

I have looked into and considered the fake fingernail thing. But, I am having a hard time going to the store and buying fake fingernails :rofl:

thejumpingflea
10-15-2008, 04:26 PM
http://www.alaskapik.com/

I have been wanting to buy a set of these.

jqrcaliman
10-15-2008, 04:31 PM
thanks jumping flea i think ima head to guitar center and check if they got n e of those they look like they would work well

Kanaka916
10-15-2008, 05:30 PM
There are a number of threads about picking, picks, etc. just do a search. But I think the majority of the responses favor and prefer to use their fingers.

Kekani
10-15-2008, 08:41 PM
Peter Moon and Ledward Kaapana uses thumbpicks (Led also uses a finger pick). I've seen Bryan Tolentino use a thumbpick as well.

Now, my nephew, every now and then, will use a thumbpick. My sons are experiementing with them, and float back and forth, but I think they're more comfortable with nails. Of course, at their age, not widely accepted.

-Aaron

SnakeOiler
10-15-2008, 10:27 PM
http://www.alaskapik.com/

I have been wanting to buy a set of these.

I've got some of these that I've only kind of experimented with at this point. They seem to work pretty well, I just can't wear them for more than a few seconds.

ichadwick
10-16-2008, 02:44 AM
...I think the majority of the responses favor and prefer to use their fingers.
So I'm at the far end of the Bell curve because I use my tongue...?

Okay, seriously... I've played guitar for decades and I fingerpick with my flesh. Not nails. I've tried fingerpicks and don't like the feel, or the resulting sound (except the mizrab on the sitar). I think your own fingertip gives far more feedback and control than a fingerpick.

TerryinCO
10-16-2008, 09:09 AM
I use Dunlop plastic fingerpicks and I love them. I started using fingerpicks on guitar and now use them on my uke. I like the clear tone I get using them. They can be irritating, and take some getting used to. But it really comes down to personal taste when it comes to the sound.

OrangUke
10-16-2008, 02:08 PM
When taking classical guitar lessons a number of years ago, I constantly battled broken and split nails. I finally abandoned those studies (sadly) because I just couldn't maintain them properly. After struggling to get them in good shape, one by one, they would all chip and break.

The difference in tone as well as right hand technique definitely suffered with no nail contacting the strings. Nails really allow one to control tone and dynamics to a much greater degree (than flesh alone). I tried the acrylic nail reinforcement route, but found that after a short time it caused additional nail damage. The glues dissolved out all the natural oils that kept them flexible, adding to the splintering.

I've tried the metal finger picks on my guitar and couldn't stand them cutting into my cuticles. I also didn't like the fact that I lost the tactile sensations between my finger tips and the strings. As a result dynamics and tonal coloration went out the window. Maybe I just never gave them enough of a chance to develop correct technique.

I'm going to give the plastic nail simulator picks a try, but I'm not very optomistic that I will be happy using them.

ukeninam
10-16-2008, 04:04 PM
I think you ALL should visit a nail salon ONCE in your life. Haha I hardly go I'll probably go get my nails "did" twice a year and it can pretty much change your nails life. My nail guru told me I have the healthiest nails he's seen!! So I'll share some of my secrets to non breaking and splinting nails-
I eat a lot of onions, cucumbers, and grapes. I don't know why i just do haha...anyways
I read somewhere that those foods I mentioned and a couple of others are awesome for nail strength and growth!!

I used fingerpicks for guitar once and the feel just doesn't compare. I don't use guitar picks either, I guess I'm all for the nails!!

So maybe try strengthening your nails. I would totally go to your nearest nail salon and ask if they have over the counter remedies hahaha!!!

Kekani
10-16-2008, 05:28 PM
So maybe try strengthening your nails. I would totally go to your nearest nail salon and ask if they have over the counter remedies hahaha!!!

Manicures are cool.

To piggy back on what Sam said, there's another use for nail polish. For those that want to grow nails and have problems with them breaking, put a coat (or two) of clear. Yes, guy's, you'll look, well, like a MUSICIAN! How's that?

I grow my index on both hands. I tried the thumb, but training prevents that from being successful. I don't do nail polish, but I do buff, which seems to add elasticity over time, even at my age.

Oh, moisturizer works well too.

-Aaron

Lanark
10-18-2008, 02:14 AM
My job is kind of hard on my nails sometimes. Lots of potential for breakage and snagging. I was using a nail hardener for a while with kind of mixed results. The hardener was usually chipped off by the end of any day, but the nails tended to last a little longer before cracking off at the quick.

My Lovely Wife did a bit of research and tracked down some stuff called Nailtiques (http://www.nailtiques.com/) which is some kind of protein strengthener. She read some good reviews of it and a recommendation from a classical guitarist. So far they've fared better and I've only broken the middle finger where I cracked it in a situation where no amount of polish or protein was going to matter. I've also been a lot more conscientious about protecting them and try and wear my work gloves when feasible.

The other thing to bear in mind is that you don't really need to grow out super long nails in order to use them to play. You really only need enough nail to reach at least the top of the pad of your finger. Just enough to catch the string. Things seem to get a bit dicier for my nails if I go let them get too long. They'll get in the way and the stress of the extended length is placed just at the quick. So I try to be on top of filing them to a good maintenance level every few days. (try is the operative word)
I also keep a little manicure set we got at the Dollar Store in the car. Then if I rough up an edge I can file it smooth before it snags or quickly snip out a crack before it takes out the whole nail. It's the taking care of things before they become an issue that I think is really making the biggest difference.

As it is, for the past week without my middle nail playing has been rather like trying to walk with one of your feet asleep.

cpatch
01-28-2009, 08:08 PM
http://www.alaskapik.com/

I have been wanting to buy a set of these.
I swear by these for fingerstyle guitar...they sound natural and work like an extension of your fingernail. I'm new to the uke so I haven't spent much time with them uke-wise, but they still seem to work well.

Most of the people I know who try them and don't like them have a comfort issue. The trick is to try several sizes and see which size works best on each finger then put together a set based on that. They can also be bent to some degree if you warm them up in hot water first and trimmed using regular fingernail clippers. Once you get them the way you like them you can wear them for hours.

Craig

beeejums
01-29-2009, 02:45 AM
I've got some of these that I've only kind of experimented with at this point. They seem to work pretty well, I just can't wear them for more than a few seconds.

I second that... I have one that I bought on impulse out of curiosity, and it's extremely uncomfortable to wear. It fits and all, it just hurts. But then, someone without irregularly shaped sausage fingers might beg to differ.

cpatch
01-29-2009, 03:44 AM
I second that... I have one that I bought on impulse out of curiosity, and it's extremely uncomfortable to wear. It fits and all, it just hurts. But then, someone without irregularly shaped sausage fingers might beg to differ.
Is it the tabs that wrap around the side of your finger that hurt? You can clip those so they're shorter or drop the pick in really hot water for a minute then bend it open more. I had a similar problem with mine when I first got them and had to play around with them to get them right.

beeejums
01-29-2009, 08:04 AM
Is it the tabs that wrap around the side of your finger that hurt? You can clip those so they're shorter or drop the pick in really hot water for a minute then bend it open more. I had a similar problem with mine when I first got them and had to play around with them to get them right.

I couldn't get them to conform to the curvature of my nail... they kept trying to flatten the nail out, and no amount of bending could get it right, so I decided they just weren't for me. Now that I've picked up the uke and actually play it daily, I have no problem growing my nails out... I just wanted to throw in my $.02.

cpatch
01-29-2009, 08:17 AM
I couldn't get them to conform to the curvature of my nail... they kept trying to flatten the nail out, and no amount of bending could get it right, so I decided they just weren't for me. Now that I've picked up the uke and actually play it daily, I have no problem growing my nails out... I just wanted to throw in my $.02.
Oh well...just curious.

ichadwick
01-29-2009, 08:30 AM
Just the tips of my fingers. Fingerpicks feel awkward and artificial. Never saw Leo Kottke wear them. Don't like long fingernails either: keep them short-to-the-quick.

Ukeananda
02-10-2010, 02:56 PM
New userID

Ukuleleblues
02-12-2010, 11:38 AM
The nice thing about finger pics is they don't change length like finger nails. So your practice is consistent.

beautifulsoup
06-17-2012, 05:28 PM
Just the tips of my fingers. Fingerpicks feel awkward and artificial. Never saw Leo Kottke wear them. Don't like long fingernails either: keep them short-to-the-quick.


That's gotta be my solution, too. Considering that, after voice, my primary instrument is piano (I play about five hours a day when teaching voice lessons), I can't be having long fingernails.

webby
06-18-2012, 01:26 AM
I've used em on guitar, never thought about using em on a uke.

nix
06-18-2012, 05:39 AM
I highly recommend the Fred Kelly Freedom Picks:

http://fredkellypicks.com/freedom-pick.html

I have the Alaska Picks and could never get used to them. They hurt my fingers or fall off. I don't use the Fred Kelly ones all the time because I prefer my own finger but when I play a lot and my index finger seriously hurts, the Freedom Picks are a real blessing. They sound crisp and loud, don't hurt, don't fall off and I hardly notice one after I've had it on for a while.

I'm a woman with relatively small hands and I use the medium size on my fingers and the large size on my thumb.

Nix

Lori
06-18-2012, 05:59 AM
My job is kind of hard on my nails sometimes. Lots of potential for breakage and snagging. I was using a nail hardener for a while with kind of mixed results. The hardener was usually chipped off by the end of any day, but the nails tended to last a little longer before cracking off at the quick.

My Lovely Wife did a bit of research and tracked down some stuff called Nailtiques (http://www.nailtiques.com/) which is some kind of protein strengthener. She read some good reviews of it and a recommendation from a classical guitarist. So far they've fared better and I've only broken the middle finger where I cracked it in a situation where no amount of polish or protein was going to matter. I've also been a lot more conscientious about protecting them and try and wear my work gloves when feasible.

The other thing to bear in mind is that you don't really need to grow out super long nails in order to use them to play. You really only need enough nail to reach at least the top of the pad of your finger. Just enough to catch the string. Things seem to get a bit dicier for my nails if I go let them get too long. They'll get in the way and the stress of the extended length is placed just at the quick. So I try to be on top of filing them to a good maintenance level every few days. (try is the operative word)
I also keep a little manicure set we got at the Dollar Store in the car. Then if I rough up an edge I can file it smooth before it snags or quickly snip out a crack before it takes out the whole nail. It's the taking care of things before they become an issue that I think is really making the biggest difference.

As it is, for the past week without my middle nail playing has been rather like trying to walk with one of your feet asleep.

I tried Alaska Picks, and can see they will require a lot of adjustment to get them to be comfortable enough to wear more than 5 minutes. It also would take a while to adjust the "touch" on the way the fingers feel on the strings. I felt completely lost when I put them on, and they require a little bit of nail to really be stable. If I need the picks, it's because the nail is way too short. I will give the Nailtiques a try, because that is really what I am looking for... something to toughen up the nail with something like protein. The Sally Hansen "nail strengtheners" did not do the job for me.
–Lori

beautifulsoup
06-21-2012, 07:43 PM
I highly recommend the Fred Kelly Freedom Picks:

http://fredkellypicks.com/freedom-pick.html



These look interesting. I don't keep long enough fingernails on my right hand to try other types...I may experiment with these.

Ha ha, keeping in mind that I've only just started to learn some fingerpicking ...

barrybush
11-17-2012, 02:03 PM
I love the Fred Kelly picks. Picking up or raking down. I have to use picks because of damage to fingernails.

anthonyg
11-17-2012, 02:45 PM
I have my picking fingernails reenforced at a salon. Its not a fake nail. They paint on a thick layer of acrylic over your real nail and it makes it quite strong. It doesn't feel fake and I forget about them. Then you just maintain your nails as you normally would. Periodically they grow out and you need to have them redone.

Anthony

armchair_spaceman
06-29-2013, 05:30 PM
I love the Fred Kelly picks. Picking up or raking down. I have to use picks because of damage to fingernails.

I've just bought a set (Delrin) intending to use them while I try to cultivate my nails a bit. I bought them in the biggest size for my spatulate, oafish fingers. I didn't like them straight out of the packet, quite long and the fit was very snug. They're also quite shiny and felt kind of slippery on my strings. No big deal, I shortened and reshaped them fairly radically to suit my fingers and roughed up the surface a bit with emery paper. They're very easy to shape. Now they are very comfortable and sound and feel very close to my nails for both strumming and picking. I think I prefer the sound and feel of nails by a small margin but I like these picks a lot and they will do nicely while my nails grow in (and serve as backups when I damage a nail).

Two thumbs up for the Fred Kelly Freedom Picks :)

phil_doleman
01-11-2014, 04:06 AM
Old thread, I know, but recently I've been using two fingerpicks (traditional 'backwards style' ones) and a thumbpick on uke. As a life-long nail biter I've usually played with bare flesh (and Alaska picks are no use because you need something of a nail to fit them over!), but I'm really enjoying using these. Effortless volume, a much more relaxed right hand. Just have to remember not to strum down with my fingers!

DaleR
01-11-2014, 05:04 AM
I have a nice set that, like someone already mentioned, act just like extensions of the nail. I used them quite a bit when I first started clawhammer banjo, but never use them now, as I have really hard fingernails. I would think it would hamper the beautiful, natural sound of the uke, but each to his own.