Thumb Pick - up-strumming question

polstein

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I'm experimenting with Thumb Picks this week. I can't seem to get very loud notes when I'm fingerpicking a song - especially with my thumb.

I'm currently trying out Fred Kelly's Speed & Slick picks. Both are excellent for me in bringing out a MUCH louder sound. They've even made it clear to me that I need to improve my bar chords to make them cleaner.

I can pick single notes fine, and I'm getting better with a smoother down-strum by working on my angles of holding the pick - but for the life of me I can't get anything that isn't choppy for an up-strum.

Not having any luck on YT or google. Anyone have any advice or pointers or anything? Do I just use my index (possibly with a finger pick) for up strums?
 
I don't play with picks, but I've spent lots of time with great players who do. If they're any indication, thumbpicks are for going down. That's it.

If you're attempting regular strumming, you probably want to just use your index finger for down and up.

The main attraction of a thumbpick, as far as I can tell, is that it allows your hand to rest in a more natural position and give you more volume when you pick downwards. Trying to use it for anything else seems like a lost cause. (I've tried it too.)

You could get a Herco pick that's more like a flexible guitar pick with a thumb strap. Not very good for picking tone, but you could strum with it.
 
I don't play with picks, but I've spent lots of time with great players who do. If they're any indication, thumbpicks are for going down. That's it.

You could get a Herco pick that's more like a flexible guitar pick with a thumb strap. Not very good for picking tone, but you could strum with it.

Thanks. Is nothing else confirms it isn't me on this. Many sheets I'm using are pick & down, but some are fingerpicking with a little up-strum. I'm going to have to work out something different for those, and keep working on my thumb technique so maybe I won't need one at all.

Little unrelated, I found one called the Saddle pick, which doesn't seem to exist anymore. The part I liked was that the pick part was close to your nail, instead of where a pick would be. Know if anything like that exists anymore?
 
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OH - I just realized who replied to me! I follow your YT channel. I was just reading your story on how you got your Moore Bettah last week :)
 
Alaska pick is for non-thumb fingers. The Saddle was an alternative thumb-pick design.
 
Little unrelated, I found one called the Saddle pick, which doesn't seem to exist anymore. The part I liked was that the pick part was close to your nail, instead of where a pick would be. Know if anything like that exists anymore?

You might want to check out Fred Kelly’s Bumble Bee picks. They are a combination of a flat pick and a thumb pick. I like them because the flat pick part can be pivoted, allowing you to position the tip of the pick close to where your nail is. Here’s a link with more info and photos.

https://fredkellypicks.com/product-category/bumble-bee/
 
Taimane uses a thumbpick selectively for playing tremolo, which is very fast down and up strumming. I think she uses it more like a thumbpick with a strap. When not in use, she clips it up on the headstock.
 
Be careful with thumbpicks. (And picks in general.) They can gouge and tear up the wood. Especially a soft spruce, cedar or redwood top. Consider getting a pick guard installed, or using a cellphone screen guard to protect the wood.
 
TRIM fingerpicks for strumming

Do I just use my index (possibly with a finger pick) for up strums?

Yes, it is proven way with many fingerpick users - namely 5-string banjo players. I came also from banjo world so I retained the standard banjo fingerpicks on my thumb, index, and middle fingers. To increase my strumming options I have added the reversed fingerpick to my ring fingernail. So I have now two fingers for downpicking/downstrumming (thumb and ring finger) and two fingers for uppicking/upstrumming (index and middle finger).

This settings allows me much more than standard down-up strumming with my thumb and index fingerpicks. The examples can be seen here:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLbkUss5Lj_34XZtign8AktC7cZc5ilnLB

Mirek
 
This settings allows me much more than standard down-up strumming with my thumb and index fingerpicks. The examples can be seen here:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLbkUss5Lj_34XZtign8AktC7cZc5ilnLB

Mirek

I just watched the first video. First thought was I've seen these metal ones before, but I don't quiite see how they work. Then it was, is that reversed one a specialty item or wearing one backwards or something.

This rapidly turned into.. ok, I sort of see... wait... "what the heck is happening here" :)

Thinking about things a little now. Picks aside, I've tried strumming down with the pad of my thumb, and up with the pad on my index, which feels so un-natural. But strumming down with my thing and up with my ring finger (trying it on my stomach) oddly seems more natural to me. Worth looking into more.
 
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