Flat Picking Technique

A discussion of techniques, and equipment for guitar. Fretted, bottleneck or slide, acoustic or electric, this is the place.

Flat Picking Technique

Postby Ozzie Blues » Mon Jan 07, 2008 3:56 am

Hi, been practising with thumb pick & 2 finger picks and finding it slow going.
I know practise, and more practise is the key, so am battling on.
Also been practising using 1 pick, as I flatpick quite alot on my Acoustic, and finding
I'm getting some nice clean sounds using that Technique. My Question is, do alot of
Bottleneck players flatpick primarily :?: , and is it a common technique :?:
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Re: Flat Picking Technique

Postby leftyguitarman » Mon Jan 07, 2008 3:58 am

I can't play slide with a thumbpick and fingerpicks. I use just bare fingers, or flat picks. It's all personal preference I think, and what works out easiest for you.
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Re: Flat Picking Technique

Postby texas blues » Mon Jan 07, 2008 4:17 am

For me its bare fingers or flatpick and fingers. I have tried the thumbs and fingerpicks and have them on my music table and once and a while put them on but....the feeling of isolation from the guitar just rubs me. For help with your problem...Dan Lange...could give you some great advice. School the cat up Lummo...
Cheers, TB.
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Re: Flat Picking Technique

Postby allanlummox » Mon Jan 07, 2008 5:18 am

OK, one thing that most Slide guitarists find, as they go along, is that damping unwanted sound from the guitar stings is as important as playing the right note.

I think that most people who play a lot of Slide will wind up playing some kind of finger style - partially because it just makes it easier to mute with the palm of your hand.

I mostly play with a thumb and two finger picks.

But this still leaves flat picking as an option - with the picks I use, the thumb pick will do anything I could do with a flat pick. Just - pinch the back of the thumb pick.

Similarly, many Country pickers "Hybrid" pick - holding a flat pick, they still use the 3 free fingers for picking, and palm mute as much as they need to.

Try everything. Practice means spending a LOT of time with a guitar in your lap. Try every combination you can think of - give them all time to sink in. You'll figure out what works for you as you go along.

Every million notes or so, you'll get a really bright idea. If your hand is relaxed.

Pay attention to that, and you'll be fine.

A side note - I particularly like large, stable picks - I use extra heavy Golden Gate thumb picks, and almost impossible to find Acri brass finger picks.

I have no idea if that's helpful - I was surprised to be recommended as a reference, but I do spend a lot of time with a guitar in my lap.
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Re: Flat Picking Technique

Postby Ozzie Blues » Mon Jan 07, 2008 6:59 am

Thanks Dan for all that info & picking options. I'm able to make more time for practice, now that things have quietened down around here, and will try all options you
discussed.
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Re: Flat Picking Technique

Postby boogiechillun85 » Mon Jan 07, 2008 4:10 pm

Just wanted to echo was Allan just said.

I really think you'd be doing yourself a disservice if you stuck to just a flatpick. Besides the muting, any sort of alternating bass goes out the window.

Unless of course you're Richard Thompson, and then you really don't need to be taking advice from any of us.
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Re: Flat Picking Technique

Postby 5_iron » Mon Jan 07, 2008 6:24 pm

My instructor convinced me to put forth the effort to learn to finger pick - thumb pick + 2 fingers. I am so glad I did. Being able to isolate strings for different chords, melodies, rolls, intervals, and alt bass picking has really opened up my slide playing. I went to extreme measures to learn - basically didn't touch a flat pick for 2 years, and did all kinds of finger pick exercises from my instructor.

This was necessary for my preferred style though - basically solo/self accompanied dobro playing.

In any event I think it's a skill worth learning.

Regards,
5-iron
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Re: Flat Picking Technique

Postby stratman_27 » Mon Jan 14, 2008 12:04 am

I started out hating playing with thumbpicks and fingerpicks but after playing with a bluegrass jam group. I found out pretty quickly that I needed em for volume. They give you many options that playing with a standard flatpick does not. I play a flatpick on electric guitar and sometimes on my flattop but for slide playing whether blues or bluegrass theres no substitute for thumb and finger picks.
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Re: Flat Picking Technique

Postby Ozzie Blues » Mon Jan 14, 2008 8:05 am

Thanks for all the Opinions Guys, much appreciated ! Yeah, I think I will
be focusing on using Thumb & finger picks.
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Re: Flat Picking Technique

Postby R_i_c » Sun May 04, 2008 10:09 pm

Hi,

just got into hybrid picking, and started learning this technique specifically for slide - but i have encountered a lot of rough corners ~ but this has not dampened my enthusiasm!

but here's the rough stuff

the knuckles of the two fingers i pick with, have started to ache - the fingers have never worn metal picks before! the picks fall off less and less. that's the two pickers, the third is a plectrum, held between thumb and index: ok; the pinky doesn't realy do anything :|

get a nice sound picking up on the cone, but the metal picks tend to drum on it - so i find it easier to lay my hand nearer the neck - but it's mellower, of course - but still sounds ok

my bass picking is very rudimentary - in fact it is chaotic: the plecky gets used much more for bass riffing; it is difficult for me to co-ordinate a steady bass pattern whilst extemporising with the slide, on the higher strings, picked with the index and ring fingers

other stuff

wear a slide on the pinky, because i find it much easier to hold triad-style chords with index-middle-ring, as opposed to using the ring finger for slide

my guitar is a Hohner 'dobro', i found on the bay 8)

http://i124.photobucket.com/albums/p32/r_i_c_2007/hohner.jpg

apart from this, there is very little to identify it by: it is made in Korea and is a 'round neck'; there are no numbers or letters on it - least ways, not on the exterior?

oh, it's well heavy - weighs about twice that of a straight acoustic, six string i have! :-o

any help in identifying the dobro would be appreciated :)

bests

Ric
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Re: Flat Picking Technique

Postby R_i_c » Sun May 04, 2008 10:13 pm

ps. am into Delta Blues 8)

R
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Re: Flat Picking Technique

Postby too2tall » Mon May 05, 2008 1:29 am

I don't like fingerpicks, thumbpicks, or flatpicks. I keep my nails just long enough to act as picks and get a little more volume than just the fingers but I can either get the finger without the nails sound if I want, or dig in my nails to get the more pronounced pick sound. I always get some buzz when I try a flatpick and once you master finger picking you will never go back believe me. I think one thing to remember about slide is speed is not nearly as big a deal as with regular guitar soloing and the main advantage to a flatpick is staccato speed runs but with slide you have to mute after each swipe of the pick and if you don't this will cause all kinds of ringing noise that you don't want. Especially if your playing electric lead slide.
I could see using fingerpicks or thumbpicks if I really needed to but I play mostly acoustic-electric or just electric guitars so amplification is not a problem for me.
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Re: Flat Picking Technique

Postby R_i_c » Mon May 05, 2008 3:14 am

too2tall wrote:I don't like fingerpicks, thumbpicks, or flatpicks. I keep my nails just long enough to act as picks and get a little more volume than just the fingers but I can either get the finger without the nails sound if I want, or dig in my nails to get the more pronounced pick sound. I always get some buzz when I try a flatpick and once you master finger picking you will never go back believe me. I think one thing to remember about slide is speed is not nearly as big a deal as with regular guitar soloing and the main advantage to a flatpick is staccato speed runs but with slide you have to mute after each swipe of the pick and if you don't this will cause all kinds of ringing noise that you don't want. Especially if your playing electric lead slide.
I could see using fingerpicks or thumbpicks if I really needed to but I play mostly acoustic-electric or just electric guitars so amplification is not a problem for me.


yup,

got on fine with 'nail pickin' till all my fingernails shattered on the dobro-gauge strings :-o but no worries ~ i now get on fine with the finger picks and, yes, you need that big sound on acoustic slide (watch Son House whop! his steel guitar ~ :lol: )

agree, yes, electric would be a different ball game - but cross that bridge when i come to it - if i ever do - favourite to play would be Louisiana Blues by Muddy Waters 8)

thanks

Ric
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Re: Flat Picking Technique

Postby texas blues » Mon May 05, 2008 3:31 am

Ahh..Louisiana Blues..one of my fav Muddy tunes. "take me with you when you go..." I play that with flat pick and fingers. I have pretty much taken to that technique exclusively from way back during the age of the white buffalo and the dinasaur and hearing how Jimmy Page did the hybrid thang. Course, then I heard the Rev. BFG did the same ..and 'nuff said that I needed to know. Now I don't think about it. While I might not do a for true alternating bass.. I fake it pretty well.
Cheers, TB.
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Re: Flat Picking Technique

Postby R_i_c » Mon May 05, 2008 4:10 am

that sounds pretty cool, can lose the finger picks on electric, i guess - but i also mess with double-stoppin, so plec'n'fingers come pretty naturally to me, i guess?

behind the sun

:wink:
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