Shredded Fingernail blues ...

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Postby Mississippi John » Tue Jun 27, 2006 6:15 pm

Yes, with fingernails!! I use a lot of down-ward strumming (for accent and effect, generally) with the top of the nails. I think I picked it up from watching classical and flamenco. Or, it could just be poor technique, since I am self taught (like most, I suspect) and have many more bad habits than good'uns!
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Postby crowduck » Sat Jul 08, 2006 10:25 pm

That 'downward' motion with the fingertips is sometimes called 'back picking' by some, as you are picking/strumming backwards from the normal 'upward' motion. Very difficult to do that with fingerpicks on, as they tend to 'catch' in the strings. Jorma Kaukenan does it by using the side of his fingertip, avoiding the tip of the fingertip.........takes lots of practice.

Best thing I've found for 'backpicking' is "Alaska Piks", the metal ones. They are stiff enough so they don't bend when picking 'backwards' like the plastic Alaska's, and don't have the 'hook' of regular fingerpicks that gets 'hung up' in the strings. I've read that some banjo players use Alaska Piks for 'frailing', which is picking/strumming with the backs of the fingers, or maybe it's 'clawhammer'. Only thing about Alaska Piks is that you need to have at least about 1/8" of healthy fingernail to attach them to.

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