To Pick or Not to Pick

It’s really up to you, just that many less tricks in your library if you don’t.
In practice I play acoustic finger style and work on volume and dynamics, then I move to electric guitar and the Black Mountain small jazz type thumb pick because they are comfortable and I run my bass lines with the thumb pick and strum and finger pick, then I pick up a 1.4mm pick and Play Boogie with alternating picking pattern electric and then I move to acoustic guitar and a .63 thin pick for strumming.
I litterally hated picks and dropped them all the time. Now the above is my warm up before I settle into whatever I’m practicing. It’s all coming more naturally but it’s the darn repetition you have to go with. Many times I wanted to set the pick down or be lazy and not go out of my way to find one but Levi Clay said I have to take what I hate and work with it regular as clockwork to make progress. You can limit your skill set, but that’s what you are doing, limiting it.

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I do not think it will hinder your progress.
I have been playing the guitar for more than 50 years now, and I know how to use the pick, but I prefer to play the guitar with my bare hands.
Have fun!

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Yep, definitely think it’s beyond my extremely basic levels but interesting for other more advanced though.

Cheers Rob

Being only 7 weeks in, half of what you wrote may as well been in pigeon :slightly_smiling_face::thinking:. Completely over my head however the rest made sense. Definitely something I need to just use it all the time, making it a habit. Then further down the track when I become more proficient, I can then choose to use it or not.

Thank you James

50 yrs. Slightly envious here! Thanks Rene. Thank you everyone. Wonderful community offering so much support and advice. Very grateful

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I’m starting to practice with a pick now after five years of sloppy finger strumming :rofl:
It’s just another thing to learn :smiley:
I’m with you on the noise level thing. It’s not so much that others would be annoyed and more a self-conscious thing, not wanting to subject them to incessant repetitive. Tbh I think that’s why I prefer playing my electric unplugged with no sound or through headphones when others are in the house :smiley:
Do whatever you feel most comfortable with/gives you the most enjoyment.

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50 years, and still have not reached my destination.
Long way to go…
Keep on playing, @CateB !!!
With respect,

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Haha. I do have sloppy hand syndrome with it. It spins around my fingers that when I look at why it’s sounding so meh, it’s upside down, using the bottom of it or the side. I’m also like you in that when I get anxious, my hand gets handed with it, the volume goes up and I’m annoying myself, never mind the neighbours. :shushing_face::shushing_face::shushing_face::shushing_face:.

Thanks Brian

Don’t tell me that. A further 50 years and I’ll be wearing a pine overcoat. Mind you, won’t have to worry about neighbours then :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

Cheers Rene

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I’ve heard that the issue is people playing celestial harps at unreasonable volumes.

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Heaven has neighbours from Hell! :rofl:


Hahaha. Well I do hope they play better then myself or I’ll be climbing my way out

Stop it! I’m going to remain immortal now. I love the Harp but not if they’re off key, left handed using their right, using picks whilst blindfolded. :face_with_peeking_eye::shushing_face::grimacing:

You got it.

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Cate, one thing that occurs to me and not mentioned; whichever style you play pick or finger, should you play for a couple of weeks with pick, when you go back to finger, you will have to practice even more to get back into it and vice versa. Perhaps better to alternate once you have decided on your picks, and that choice will probably change as well.

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That makes so much sense Mal. Practice with it only and then decide if I want to continue using one.
Far too logical :slightly_smiling_face:

Thank you Mal

@cateB, I also worried about the noise problem of using a pick, especially in that early learning phase.

A real conundrum - if you’re experienced with using a pick, then you can strum softly with a light touch. But how to get that good with out making so much racket?

I solved by getting a cheap electric unplugged mostly for learning. I’m now almost at the point of not being too self-conscious about the picking volume on my acoustic and actually starting to enjoy the gliding feeling of the pick.

Also taking Justin’s Strumming SOS modules helped.

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Plenty other people have answered your original question, but I’ve not seen much discussion about the type of pick.

I would suggest you purchase a selection of picks.
I’d probably suggest something like Dunlop Max Grip/Nylon Midi (I personally hated the textured surfaces!), Dunlop Tortex, Dunlop Gator (this was my go to for years), Fender Celluloid (my current favourite).
And get a selection of thicknesses (I’d aim for the thin/light to medium thicknesses to begin with).

Different people like different picks, and as you progress, you’ll probably find your own preferences changing.

In the UK there is, which sell lots of different brands/types, but I’m sure there will be a similar supplier down under, or you might have a local guitar shop where you can buy singles.

Thinner picks are more forgiving of bad technique, and let you hone your technique, but I always hated the flappy strumming sound.
However the thinner pick lets you concentrate on the other aspects of playing, so use them for most of your practise. But also have a short pick strumming practise with the heaviest pick you have, as it’ll help hone your strumming technique, and during it, work on seeing how fast you can strum, and also how light/hard you can strum without missing the strings, or catapulting the pick across the room.

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yeah I have metal, wood, bone picks etc they all have a different feel and sound , some are better for strumming, some are better for lead etc

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Thank you so much Gary. That’s basically what I’ve decided to do. I’m going to use one and incorporate it into my regular practicing and at least, if when down the track where I’m more competent (I hope), I can then choose not to use it if I want but I’ll at least have the ability to go back and forth with one.

I really hope that made sense. I’m typing with a shocker headache :face_with_head_bandage: at the mo.

Thank you Gary