Fingerpick design

Posted by Deech on Mon, 06/18/01 - 21:31:38.

A lot of fingerstyle players are going with the acrylic nails. For very specific medical reasons, that is not an option for me. I hope that the issues that I am bringing up will open floor to other fingerstylists/would-be-fingerstylists who are stuck using fingerpicks.

My main problem with the traditional fingerpicks available on the market today is that they make a lot of noise and very unwieldly. Using them to play is the equivalent of using an chainsaw to wittle a toothpick.
I have tried the Alaska Piks(the ones that fit under the nail) and have found them to be too loose fitting. In addition, repeated use and aggresive picking gradually separates the nail from the flesh underneath.
I now use the ProPik, a little known brand of fingerpick that has a band of metal that circles around the pad of the finger leaving the skin open for muting. Very innovative, but not as noise free as bare flesh and natural nail.
What I basically want is a fingerpick that won't fly off when I pick aggresively, and that is as comfortable as the natural nail.
Is there such a brand of fingerpick available in the world?
If not, is there an online forum for people who design fingerpicks? This is an unusual request, but if there is a bulletin board dedicated to a small group of people who create mini-animations using old clips from the A-Team(I'm serious, folks!), my request isn't completely off the wall.
And..on a side note, while I am developing/hunting the ultimate fingerpick, I would like to know how some of the master-pickers cope. Bob Brozman, Jacques Stotzem and John Hammond are but a few of the guitarists who use fingerpicks but manage to make complex pieces sound as crisp and clean as a September morning.



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Re: Fingerpick design

I don't care to use them when my nails are good, but I make good use of dunlop metal fingerpicks when I need to...they won't sound harsh if you know how to attack the strings. The only thing I have trouble doing with them is playing artificial harmonics.

Merle Travis used a fingerpick (just one, on his index finger) later in his career.

You can try putting nail thickener on you nails too, that will make them last longer.

: A lot of fingerstyle players are going with the acrylic nails. For very specific medical reasons, that is not an option for me. I hope that the issues that I am bringing up will open floor to other fingerstylists/would-be-fingerstylists who are stuck using fingerpicks.

: My main problem with the traditional fingerpicks available on the market today is that they make a lot of noise and very unwieldly. Using them to play is the equivalent of using an chainsaw to wittle a toothpick.
: I have tried the Alaska Piks(the ones that fit under the nail) and have found them to be too loose fitting. In addition, repeated use and aggresive picking gradually separates the nail from the flesh underneath.
: I now use the ProPik, a little known brand of fingerpick that has a band of metal that circles around the pad of the finger leaving the skin open for muting. Very innovative, but not as noise free as bare flesh and natural nail.
: What I basically want is a fingerpick that won't fly off when I pick aggresively, and that is as comfortable as the natural nail.
: Is there such a brand of fingerpick available in the world?
: If not, is there an online forum for people who design fingerpicks? This is an unusual request, but if there is a bulletin board dedicated to a small group of people who create mini-animations using old clips from the A-Team(I'm serious, folks!), my request isn't completely off the wall.
: And..on a side note, while I am developing/hunting the ultimate fingerpick, I would like to know how some of the master-pickers cope. Bob Brozman, Jacques Stotzem and John Hammond are but a few of the guitarists who use fingerpicks but manage to make complex pieces sound as crisp and clean as a September morning.

Re: Fingerpick design

That's exactly the point. Nails feel more natural. BUt I believe it is possible for a fingerpick to duplicate the sound of a nail. It cannot duplicate the feeling of having your own nail pulling on the string, but it can produce some grea tones if engineered right. The flatpickers have had some ingenious inventions showered on them within the past century (the stone pick, the wood pick, the DAVA pick etc), but we fingerpickers are limited to using bare flesh, acrylic nails which require a high degree of maintenance and asssumption of risk (what if one breaks in the middle of a gig ?!), and fingerpicks that were last re-engineered sometime shortly AFTER World War I !!
Let's "open up" our right hand, folks. Let's make all styles of music ours, not just the ragtime and the general fair.
Having said that I would like to cite a couple of examples of innovative thinking:

1)Jacques Stotzem boils his standard plastic fingerpicks and then when the plastic is malleable, he curves the upper lip of the pick slightly off kilter so it is flush with the string when it hit. He describes the operation at his web-page:
www.stotzem.com

2)A very progressive design for a fingerpick is found here:
http://www.maxwellplace.demon.co.uk/pandemonium/clawpicks.html
Unfortunately is seems that this design is discontinued.

Thanks all....
Deech

Re: Fingerpick design

I use metal fingerpicks myself because I've found that they're the easiest to bend to your will and needs...I bend the tip down and roll it up my finger, so that it sticks out of my finger as basically an extension of the nail...it puts the picking portion almost exactly where a natural nail would be.

Chet Atkins switched to picking almost exclusively on nylon string guitar because of the damage steel strings do to his nails.

I've been toying with the idea of using a metal fingerpick, but turning it upside down so that there's still a pad of flesh underneath...it'll probably pull the pick off if you play too aggressively though. I know Chet uses acrylic nails too.

: That's exactly the point. Nails feel more natural. BUt I believe it is possible for a fingerpick to duplicate the sound of a nail. It cannot duplicate the feeling of having your own nail pulling on the string, but it can produce some grea tones if engineered right. The flatpickers have had some ingenious inventions showered on them within the past century (the stone pick, the wood pick, the DAVA pick etc), but we fingerpickers are limited to using bare flesh, acrylic nails which require a high degree of maintenance and asssumption of risk (what if one breaks in the middle of a gig ?!), and fingerpicks that were last re-engineered sometime shortly AFTER World War I !!
: Let's "open up" our right hand, folks. Let's make all styles of music ours, not just the ragtime and the general fair.
: Having said that I would like to cite a couple of examples of innovative thinking:

: 1)Jacques Stotzem boils his standard plastic fingerpicks and then when the plastic is malleable, he curves the upper lip of the pick slightly off kilter so it is flush with the string when it hit. He describes the operation at his web-page:
: www.stotzem.com

: 2)A very progressive design for a fingerpick is found here:
: http://www.maxwellplace.demon.co.uk/pandemonium/clawpicks.html
: Unfortunately is seems that this design is discontinued.

: Thanks all....
: Deech

Re: Fingerpick design

I can't imagine using fingerpicks myself. I have been playing fingerstyle for over ten years with just a bit of nail. I read that Leo Keotke damaged his picking hand by over-using fingerpicks. It has been disputed that he over-used his right hand, period, but some medical pros suggest that the fingers on our hands are designed to exert stress to a certain point, and adding something like a fingerpick forces them to work beyond that which they were designed to work. I use a nail file every couple of days to keep my nails in the shape I want and it works for me,
Jim in Canada www.mp3.com/jimgraham

: A lot of fingerstyle players are going with the acrylic nails. For very specific medical reasons, that is not an option for me. I hope that the issues that I am bringing up will open floor to other fingerstylists/would-be-fingerstylists who are stuck using fingerpicks.

: My main problem with the traditional fingerpicks available on the market today is that they make a lot of noise and very unwieldly. Using them to play is the equivalent of using an chainsaw to wittle a toothpick.
: I have tried the Alaska Piks(the ones that fit under the nail) and have found them to be too loose fitting. In addition, repeated use and aggresive picking gradually separates the nail from the flesh underneath.
: I now use the ProPik, a little known brand of fingerpick that has a band of metal that circles around the pad of the finger leaving the skin open for muting. Very innovative, but not as noise free as bare flesh and natural nail.
: What I basically want is a fingerpick that won't fly off when I pick aggresively, and that is as comfortable as the natural nail.
: Is there such a brand of fingerpick available in the world?
: If not, is there an online forum for people who design fingerpicks? This is an unusual request, but if there is a bulletin board dedicated to a small group of people who create mini-animations using old clips from the A-Team(I'm serious, folks!), my request isn't completely off the wall.
: And..on a side note, while I am developing/hunting the ultimate fingerpick, I would like to know how some of the master-pickers cope. Bob Brozman, Jacques Stotzem and John Hammond are but a few of the guitarists who use fingerpicks but manage to make complex pieces sound as crisp and clean as a September morning.

Re: Fingerpick design

I don't like using them as much as I like using my nails (20 years BTW), but I have trouble keeping a good nail on my first finger, and I can't get a good tone without the nail, or a fingerpick.

I suppose if I played four hours a day or something I might overuse my fingers, but I don't play that much, and I don't use any heavier a touch with a fingerpick than I do with the natural nail...it just doesn't hurt when I use the fingerpick.

: I can't imagine using fingerpicks myself. I have been playing fingerstyle for over ten years with just a bit of nail. I read that Leo Keotke damaged his picking hand by over-using fingerpicks. It has been disputed that he over-used his right hand, period, but some medical pros suggest that the fingers on our hands are designed to exert stress to a certain point, and adding something like a fingerpick forces them to work beyond that which they were designed to work. I use a nail file every couple of days to keep my nails in the shape I want and it works for me,
: Jim in Canada www.mp3.com/jimgraham

: : A lot of fingerstyle players are going with the acrylic nails. For very specific medical reasons, that is not an option for me. I hope that the issues that I am bringing up will open floor to other fingerstylists/would-be-fingerstylists who are stuck using fingerpicks.

: : My main problem with the traditional fingerpicks available on the market today is that they make a lot of noise and very unwieldly. Using them to play is the equivalent of using an chainsaw to wittle a toothpick.
: : I have tried the Alaska Piks(the ones that fit under the nail) and have found them to be too loose fitting. In addition, repeated use and aggresive picking gradually separates the nail from the flesh underneath.
: : I now use the ProPik, a little known brand of fingerpick that has a band of metal that circles around the pad of the finger leaving the skin open for muting. Very innovative, but not as noise free as bare flesh and natural nail.
: : What I basically want is a fingerpick that won't fly off when I pick aggresively, and that is as comfortable as the natural nail.
: : Is there such a brand of fingerpick available in the world?
: : If not, is there an online forum for people who design fingerpicks? This is an unusual request, but if there is a bulletin board dedicated to a small group of people who create mini-animations using old clips from the A-Team(I'm serious, folks!), my request isn't completely off the wall.
: : And..on a side note, while I am developing/hunting the ultimate fingerpick, I would like to know how some of the master-pickers cope. Bob Brozman, Jacques Stotzem and John Hammond are but a few of the guitarists who use fingerpicks but manage to make complex pieces sound as crisp and clean as a September morning.

Re: Fingerpick design

If anyone reads this and is interested please respond to me.

I've used acrylics over the years and don't like they way they treat my nails. I am a hobbyiest and that's just too much work and cost.

Alaska is a good idea unless you break a nail. Also, the volume isn't there as is with plastic picks such as Gibson or Planet waves. These picks can be boiled and formed to finger, however, not as natural as I like with acrylics.

All metal fingerpicks have too much noise for my liking. I suggest a Propick with circles the pad of the finger covered with a hard plastic as opposed to metal. I contacted them with the idea but they are not interested.

I think that this idea would be the best of all worlds.

Larry Elfenbein

Re: Fingerpick design

Larry:

Where can I get propicks?

thanks: If anyone reads this and is interested please respond to me.

: I've used acrylics over the years and don't like they way they treat my nails. I am a hobbyiest and that's just too much work and cost.

: Alaska is a good idea unless you break a nail. Also, the volume isn't there as is with plastic picks such as Gibson or Planet waves. These picks can be boiled and formed to finger, however, not as natural as I like with acrylics.

: All metal fingerpicks have too much noise for my liking. I suggest a Propick with circles the pad of the finger covered with a hard plastic as opposed to metal. I contacted them with the idea but they are not interested.

: I think that this idea would be the best of all worlds.

: Larry Elfenbein

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