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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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No, only metal.  You can feel the strings through them and I really like the tone.

If you noticed in my post above, I am a guy and don't worry about visiting the nail salon.  A couple of my students have started visiting the salon as well.  They always make a point of letting the other customers know that they are guitar or banjo players and that's why they need their nails done.  I've been going for years and don't care if people know why I'm there.  (A metrosexual wearing jeans and a T-shirt?)

I missed this discussion, but I do want to affirm that I, a 67 year old, retired Marine, use 'glueon-French Cut' slightly modified nails. My granddaughter thinks it's OK as long as I do not paint my thumb Green or Red. They have a habit of getting away from me if I strike them end-on. Any hints would be appreciated. PEace! Adriaan

Well said Jim.

Just a thought for all you guys who may want to try acrylic nail  tips but don't want to visit a nail salon : they are available on ebay at 500 nails for a few dollars as is the glue.

I even do my own they are just for guitar, right hand only, and not for fashion (I'm a bit too old to carry that off!).

Just make sure you get 'half well french nail tips ', put the glue on the well and stick to the end of your nail.

There are youtube videos on attaching these nails if you're unsure.

These are nail tips only, so only cover half the nail. Of course if you want to have the gel applied too and a nice paint design it will brighten up your stage image.............!

throw the picks away, they limit your dynamics, accuracy, your ability for tone variations and once you start playing with your fingers you will arrive at your own good reasons why fingers are the best,


When I first started out playing finger style I used picks but after studing classical guitar I saw the short fall on that.

Today I mostly play flat top.  Now the problem with steel strings for me is this: the older I get my real nails do not hold up as well so I get my nails done at a nail salon, plastic tips...thumb, index, middle, and ring fingers a thin acrylic coat, then a jell top coat again thin and then shape them the way I like.  Depending how much you play they could last a month or more.  I play 6 to 8 hrs. a day and go through a set every 2 weeks.


C.Y., Do you plug in or use a mic?  In what situation do you play?  As I said above, I would rather play with fingers (and nails), but there are situations where I have trouble projecting.  In a jug band with washboard, tuba, banjo and fiddle, I find the guitar gets lost in the mix without picks.  I prefer playing through a mic rather than using the pick-up as well.

with that mix you would have to mic fer sure  ....   shure sm57 instrument mic is old reliable for me ... 

Good choice Sonia.  A few years back I asked for an SM57 for my birthday.  My wife was feeling generous so she opted for the Beta 57.  I think it was worth the extra $, but I often end up with an SM57 when the venue supplies the mics and am quite happy with them. 

I use both, it depends on the room.  Nothing beats real nails and the only draw back to the fake nails is that they hit harder than have to get used to them.  I use my flesh at times with the nail it depends on the tone I want,

I have  the same set of (plastic) thumb pick and (metal) finger picks I have kept in my guitar case for more years than I can  remember. Used them on my 12-string until I couldn't play it...which is going to change next week 'cuz we are both fixed. Took me longer to get her fixed than...anyway. I ahve found that I prefer my actual fingers and thumb. I have been able to grow my own and sometimes have used and use 'glue ons' granddaughter thinks thats 'cool' for a 67 year old man to do that himself. I have used 'reverse picks' from Deering for playing banjo and they are more expensive than they did well...although haveing a finger pick over the fingers is an expensive novelty. Don't even know if they are still available.

My comment, after my mindless rambling is this: your fingers will tell you pretty quickly what they prefer. Money will not and someone at the music store who does not 'finger pick' cannot. The sdet I have I picked out three different time, no the finger picks are not a matched set as my fingers aren't either. If I lose them I am screwed. Modern stores seem to deal in technology more than in least in rural America. Terry, I guess by now you know I am a rambler...even drove one. BTW I believe that finger picks are a lot like shoes. Have to put them on and wear them for a while to break them in. Guitar type and sounds are unique as well as finger, wrist, and forearm position. I am a bit sloppy and a teacher would be 'correcting' my position more than listening to my music. Play for comfort, do not pay for some "Name." I've known pickers who bought stock and used a pen knife to make them ' fit.' If you have time, take it. Nothing is worse than 'anything' that is too tight or too loose. But I think tht I wold still go for "fingers' until I started playing my 12-string again. Peace

I bought a thumbpick the other day, never used one before (a Dunlop). The guy told me to put it in warm water first.

they say to soak them and put them on your fingers for a better fit the warm water softens the pick    I cannot wear plastic pick they always fall off or roll


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