- by Kevin Deal
As somebody who has tried learning the guitar, we have to admit that hand coordination is a bit of a challenge at first. It is always the first few chords that are tough. However, what’s an even bigger challenge is maintaining the rhythm as you pluck or strum.
Moreover, guitars with thick strings tend to hurt your fingers more. This is what makes strumming, plucking or holding a chord down hard. This is also where the guitar pick comes in.
Truth be told, the guitar pick is a very creative and convenient addition to guitar accessories. Guitarists usually find it easier to pluck or strum with a pick rather than with their or fingers or thumb.
However, there are also instances when a pick gets broken, or it accidentally slips from your hands and falls inside your guitar. Then you’d have to shake your guitar upside down to retrieve the pick from inside. This is what the thumb pick is for.
Today, we will be teaching you techniques on how to use a thumb pick in different finger styles. We will also be telling you basic info about thumb picks.
What is a thumb pick?
A thumb pick isn’t very different from your usual guitar pick. However, you can wear thumb picks on your thumb like a ring. Thumb picks are perfect for those who are used to strumming or plucking with just their thumb. Acoustic guitarists are the ones who usually do this kind of plucking or strumming.
However, there has been several discussions on whether a thumb pick is suitable for all guitar finger styles or not. This is because electric guitarists and bassists who play as leads tend to use all of their fingers in their finger style.
How To Use A Thumb Pick
Using a thumb pick is not as hard as it would seem. It’s just a matter of preference; whether you’re comfortable with it or not. However, there are certain things you must do and take into consideration to make use of a thumb pick correctly.
Things You Will Be Needing:
- Thumb pick – Aside from buying in music stores, you can also DIY your thumb pick.
- Scissor or any object with a sharp edge (optional) – This is if you want to “customize” your thumb pick’s size or shape.
Make sure that you get a thumb pick size most suitable for you. Most of the thumb picks you’d be seeing would seem to come in three sizes: small, medium and large. Remember that if you are not entirely comfortable with the size, you won’t be able to practice your fingerstyle and picking techniques correctly.
Check out this great way to adjust the fit of a thumb pick if you need.
Try if the shape or the edge of the thumb pick works fine for you. Some like it pointed while some like it oval or round. If you don’t like the shape as it is when you bought it, do not be afraid to modify. This will help you a lot in the long run.
Secure the thumb pick on your thumb. Make sure it perfectly fits. Not too loose or not too tight. If it’s too loose it might just end up falling inside your guitar. If it’s too tight, it might constrict the blood flow in your thumb.
Choose which particular technique, picking or fingerstyle you want to focus on and start there. Don’t try learning three different things all at once. This may only create confusion and shallow retention.
Maintain whatever pace or pattern you have gotten accustomed to in your learning process. Do not try changing techniques or style suddenly in the middle of a song or practice.
At the end of the day
Think it through whether you want to use a thumb pick or not. It’s important that you know whether fingerpicking or thumb picking is the right technique for you. This is because, at the end of the day, you will be learning at your pace and comfort.
Thumb picks are supposed to make playing the guitar easier and more convenient for some people. But if you see that it isn’t working for you like that, do not feel bad. That is entirely natural. What matters is how you will excel in a particular style or technique.
But if you do feel that a thumb pick works for you, then work it to your best advantage. Modify it if you should as this is what will help you hone your personal guitar techniques.