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I'd like to hear from finger style players whether or not you use finger picks.  If so, what kind and if not, why not?  I do use them and prefer ProPik Fingertones.  I've tried several kinds of thumb picks and can never decided what I like there.  I like the tone I get from Herco thumb picks, but they are not as comfortable as Dunlops and Nationals.  I'm always surprised and frustrated how poorly most guitar shops stock finger picks.  Most only carry only Dunlop, if at all.  I'll stop rambling now and wait to see responses.

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pro pick makes a thumb pick with a metal band and short pick that I like to use.... I don't play guitar with my picks yet but I do play banljo and I really like the metal band .....

I am a beginner, so not really qualified to answer, but here is my .02 cents.  I am taking lessons via from Jim Deeming and he is a big thumb pick proponent.  I struggled to find one I could use until I got an assortment of Fred Kelly picks.  The "slick pick" seems to work the best for me.  Fit is comfortable and I am able to modulate volume much better.  I still am more comfortable with just my thumb but this pick is starting to see a lot of practice time.

I play primarily fingerstyle, and I use the flesh of my fingertips - no picks whatsoever.  I don't really have a reason - that's how I evolved as a player...

I like my flesh to be in direct contact with the strings - helps me to "feel" the song and the instrument, I guess...

That's why I use the Fingertone picks.  I can feel the strings but get the sharper attack of a finger pick.

ps  I have seen some play using only a thumb pick and no fingerpicks also.  It depends ulimitlyon how you get the sound YOU want ...  different strokes so try them all one or wore will work for you .... enjoy

I use the flesh of my fingers. I just cannot grow nails worth a darn and I have tried all kinds of tricks, fake nails, finger picks (including ProPik Fingertones) and vitamin D to help with nail growth. Frustrated, I did research on guitarists that used the flesh of their fingers and found many famous ones. One being Fernando Sor and also Tommy Emmanuel. I also could never find easy access to finger picks and the wasted gas and time was a pain. I decided to go pickless for finger style guitar and I have been happy ever since.

I did trade volume for tone but it was worth it.

Do you develop callouses on your picking fingers?

I've never tried finger picks, only thumb pick. And I've found it unconfortable for me, whereas it is indeed very practical if you want to mix fingerstyle and flatpicking-like strumming or playing. For me, a thumb pick forced me to change my natural thumb postion when playing, so that's why I've abandonned it, and never tried finger pick.

I personnally prefer the use of nails : it's more natural to me, and the sound matches my expectations then. Some play stell-string fingerstyle with finger tip flesh, but the sound isn't the one I'm looking for, and I also feel like my tips are 'slipping' on the strings, which makes me do more picking mistake than often. When I used to play alot on my stell string guitar, the length of my nails weren't very long, just long enough in way for steel strings that are thin and powerful. Now I play more classical guitar, my nails are a bit longer (but no need to grow long nails too, it just depends on the sound wanted). And I've also worked on various way of picking with nails because of classical guitar, in order to produces various sounds, or play fast parts for instance. It has been very useful for my fingerstyle play on a steel sting guitar, so I keep using nails.

It's just a question of personnal taste about comfort of play or sound. I've noticed banjo or lapsteel players use finger and thumb picks, so I guess it can be useful. By the way, in classical guitar or flamenco, some players even use fake nails kits!

When I'm playing in a solo or duo situation, I prefer bare fingers.  My nails are very weak, so I go to the nail salon and have gel acrylic nails applied to the index, bird and ring fingers of my right hand.  Although I've been going for over 6 years, the woman who does my nails still says,"What colour would you like today Jim?"  It's getting old, but she's a sweety, so I don't complain.

Playing in a larger (louder) group, I use a blue thumb-pick which I can only find at Steel Guitars Of Canada.  It is smaller and more flexible than any other I've found.  I use National finger picks and dip the part that goes around my finger in the liquid rubbery stuff that I buy at the hardware store for insulating screwdriver handles.  This makes them more comfortable and prevents them from flying off while playing.  I don't use a pick on my ring finger.

I use French Nail Tips, (glue on nails) as my nails don't grow strongly anymore! Then they're always with you, have very little cost and can be shaped to your preference.

Now, you may think, well,  that's ok for girls, but guys -  Pierre Bensusan does it too!.

I think its absolutely necessary to use something other than fleshy fingers to hear the crisp tones of an acoustic guitar

I agree Nikki.  That's why I use Fingertones, so I don't have to fuss with nails but I get nice crisp tones. 

That's interesting, I've never tried them but I do have metal fingerpicks for my resonator but they seem to move as I pick the string so I've never got on with them. I'm probably using them wrong tho! Can you get nylon versions of them?


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