After a while I thought it didn't make any sense to use a pick. It's kind of like typing with one finger on each hand instead of using all your fingers. - Kevin Eubanks
There are many guitar techniques which can be fun to learn to play. There are some skills which are exclusively concerned with the electric guitar, while there are others totally to be used on the acoustic side of the musical instrument. However, just to experiment with the sound and guitar playing skills, many of the techniques are used interchangeably.
So, skills on the acoustic guitar are also being used on electric guitars to produce a completely different sound. One of the best intermediate or expert guitar lessons you can take is of the fingerpicking technique. When it comes to this technique, guitar finger picks play an essential role. Read on to know more about the technique and finger picks.
What is Fingerpicking Technique?
Fingerpicking, also referred to as thumb picking or pattern picking, is a specialized acoustic guitar playing technique that is largely used in classical, country, and blues music. In this skill, the thumb of the strumming hand is used to pick any of the last three strings of the guitar to produce bass notes.
Whereas, other remaining fingers are used to pick the first three strings to create melodies and plucking patterns. To make the playing task easier, special plectrums known as finger picks are used. These types of picks are explained in the following.
What are Guitar Finger Picks?
Finger picks are different types of plectrums which are to be worn on fingertips. They help the musicians pick multiple strings at a time or at very short intervals. These picks worn on the thumb are known as thumbpicks. They come in plastic or metal, with each having its own sound. They are even differentiated according to thickness.
Using finger picks on an acoustic guitar helps the player to play an alternating bass note and also the lead melodies in a particular rhythmic pattern. If you are thinking of finger picks for steel guitar, you can use metal ones. Some of the finger picks are manufactured by brands such as Kyser, Fred Kelly, Propik, and Alaska Pik.
Guitar Fingerpicking Lessons
How many picks should be used in the playing depends on the number of fingers to be used for picking. Make sure the picks are soft on your fingers and fit comfortably. Hold a chord, and pick the bass note with the thumbpick, after which you need to pick the remaining strings in a pattern.
A good practice is to learn to play guitar scales in accordance with the pattern using all fingers. Do not worry about which lead string you pick first as long as the chord is right. You can even add suspended, diminished, sevenths, and sixths to the melody notes.
Just make sure there is a coordination of the fretting hand and fingers of the picking hand. You can even play a twin lead to add to the melody in a composition. Remember that since you are using picks, you can play up to four strings at a time, depending on the fingers you are using.
Some musicians use these finger picks as an alternative to reduce pressure on nails while picking. Using these accessories will certainly help you extend the scope of your guitar playing. Some of the renowned guitarists who use the fingerpicking technique are Merle Travis, Sam McGee, Ike Everly, Chet Atkins, etc.