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Finding my style, concerns about technique.


AeroG33k

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So first some background. I don't really know much at all about theory and technique about guitars, I've just been playing (or rather messing around) for a pretty long time for my age. Consequently, it's been really hard to jam with other people, while some people really like the style I've developped on my own (sort of dreamy and mellow. Simple, but sometimes technically elaborate). I guess that style carried over from growing up with classical guitar, the only lessons I had were on classical when I was very young and not all that motivated to play guitar (while I did enjoy it). But I got frustrated that I couldn't play even easy "pop/rock" stuff accurately so I began looking a bit deeper into scales and improved my pick attack (really lacking there up until recently), and I've been getting much better at 'conventional' playing. But I recently became bored of reading scales and tabs and I lost interested/patience very quickly when learning songs by myself (however, some of my friends will put up a jam band next semester to learn, which should help me a lot). For now though, I took a break from the "serious" practice and went back to my 'ignorant' mellow jamming, throwing out the distortion pedal AND the pick...and I really liked what I came up with and dug up some of my old ideas!

 

Here's the thing, when I just pick up the electric guitar, I pick with my index finger (sometimes 'real' finger picking as well) just as I would with a pick. I thought it was a bad habbit that I tried to choke, but now that I did it again, I feel that I get both a more subtle feel with better control (at least for the mellow "clean" stuff, obviously not for rock/heavy lead), but also a better tone from using my fingernail as pick! Those of you who read my topics about the Amp/guitar volume know that I've been meaning to make my sound more 'smooth'...and that's exactly what i'm getting when not using the pick! But it just seems to unprofessional. Is anyone else doing this? Basically I bring my thumb and index finger together as if I were holding a pick, but really I'm using my fingernail as one. I do this to play some arpegios (because sometimes traditional fingerpicking just doesn't work well for certain part.) and it allows me to switch from lead to fingerstyle quickly without putting the pick away. Chords also sound much nicer with more "feel" and depth when I use my hands. Should I be worried? Is this a bad habbit? Are there better ways to play without a pick I should look into? Part of me tells me I need to quit it and learn something 'right' while the other part tells me do what feels and sounds right.

 

(Sorry about the length, I tend to ramble when typing out my thoughts. ;) )

-Andy

 

 

"I know we all can't stay here forever so I want to write my words on the face of today...and they'll paint it"

 

-Shannon Hoon (Blind Melon)

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mark knopfler? never heard of him...should I have? (This is potentiallt embarassing...)

-Andy

 

 

"I know we all can't stay here forever so I want to write my words on the face of today...and they'll paint it"

 

-Shannon Hoon (Blind Melon)

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Lindsey Buckingham (Fleetwood Mac) is really underrated IMO and only plays with his fingers. Jeff Beck has only used fingers for quite a while now.

 

As long as you can get your ideas across and you sound good, I wouldn't worry too much about it.

I love intelligent chops, but so many guys sound the same when they play too fast.

A Jazz/Chord Melody Master-my former instructor www.robertconti.com

 

(FKA GuitarPlayerSoCal)

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Well using fingers is not my concern...just the way I'm using my index finger as pick sometimes is.

-Andy

 

 

"I know we all can't stay here forever so I want to write my words on the face of today...and they'll paint it"

 

-Shannon Hoon (Blind Melon)

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Technique is just a means to an end. If you are able to play the things you want and with a tone that you like, going with something unorthodox style isn't bad at all. I think alot of players would like to play more with their fingers but it is pretty hard to learn on electric. It takes alot of control to not play some notes too loud. I play mostly hybrid (on electric), I use a pick and two fingers for lots of rhythm stuff and some leads. Iv'e never gotten fluid enough on my single note lines to dump the pick altogether. It really just again depends on if you are able to get your musical ideas across. If you can get away with it I don't care if you use your thumbs and toes, just make it sound good.
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I think what I'm doing actually makes sense. You get the smooth attack of a soft pick since your fingernail smoothly slides over the string with down strokes, and for ephasis you can 'pluck' with your index finger on an up stroke. I'll continue to use and improve pick technique when necessary though.

-Andy

 

 

"I know we all can't stay here forever so I want to write my words on the face of today...and they'll paint it"

 

-Shannon Hoon (Blind Melon)

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I use thumb and two fingers to play most lead lines, but do that thing you mentioned with the thumb and index finger if it's something really fast.

I like practising my classical tremelo stuff too - this is a technique that is largely ignored by just about everyone other than classical and flamenco players, which is a shame.

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Fingers are awesome, Aero. Use them as much as you can. I'd say use a pick too. Experiment, and see what gets the sound you want. Try other fingers on your "picking hand" other than your index finger. Try the thumb, and if you know fingerstyle, use all of your fingers....you can assign each of your fingers to a different string, and consequently do some cool things. Others above have mentioned some of THE BEST guitarists who happen to use fingers in the place of pics. Steve Howe (guitarist for Yes, and in my opinion, as good a guitarist as I've ever seen) uses a pick and his fingers at the same time!!

 

I think it's cool you're using your fingers!! I have NO training, just ears. I use fingers and a pick, but in no discernable pattern!! I just do what sounds cool, or is fun to play for any particular rif.

 

Don

Don

 

"There once was a note, Pure and Easy. Playing so free, like a breath rippling by."

 

 

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandID=574296

 

http://www.myspace.com/imdrs

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Mdrs: Yes, growing up with classical guitar I'm pretty decent in fingerstyle, I was just concerned about using my index fingernail, sometimes, the same way as you'd use a pick.

 

Joe, the CSH-1 plays great, lots of people have asked about it already actually. it's an older one in tobacco sunburst. PM me if you want details.

-Andy

 

 

"I know we all can't stay here forever so I want to write my words on the face of today...and they'll paint it"

 

-Shannon Hoon (Blind Melon)

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Originally posted by AeroG33k:

...I bring my thumb and index finger together as if I were holding a pick, but really I'm using my fingernail as one.

That's nothing unusual.

 

I've done that lots of times to get a different tone, without the pick-pop...

...and if ever I drop a pick while playing...I instantly go to my index finger like you are describing.

 

Man...just play any way you like.

It's good to get some scales down and learn some picking...as it will help you play well with others and be able to play other stuff besides your own "dreamy" music...

...but don't get too focused on some imaginary "perfect technique"...'cuz most players find their own comfort zone and then just go with that.

 

Just about everyone has some "bad habit" that's become part of their signature playing style and tone style.

miroslav - miroslavmusic.com

 

"Just because it happened to you, it doesn't mean it's important."

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When I started playing guitar (having played bass guitar before that, and using that mostly two fingered finger picking), I had my own really bad way of finger picking. I ripped off Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker type stuff and did like a "claw". I'd thump bass notes with the thumb and claw out double stops and chords with my index and middle mostly. I strummed with the back of my nails. For single note stuff I actually used my thumb on every note on the E A and D strings, my index only on the G, middle on the B and ring finger on the high E. That was my misinterpretation of the classical method.

 

The claw stuff and the strumming could get pretty complicated and I was pretty far down a very individualistic (though ultimately limited) path by the time I got to college. I couldn't use a pick to save my life and didn't really want to. I was playing blues and swung everything.

 

When I started learning real classical I had to completely change my finger picking. I worked really hard though the Guiliani 120 exercises as well as Carulli's opus of 24 fingerpicking "preludes", in addition to the other stuff I had to play. So, I had to completely different things I did using to very seperate sets of skills: classical, and blues.

 

Before long I progressed in the classical finger picking a lot and I was using it all the time and the claw had become relugated to the riffs I was playing the blues with. I had a hard time getting the same attack and sound I got with the claw using a more proper technique, but I decided to just work at it. Eventually I found I could play all my old riffs using proper technique and felt like I had lost nothing. If anything I had gained a better ability to switch between single note and chords and double stop type riffs.

 

The strumming with the back of the nails was pretty informal and I still use it but I also worked on Flamenco strumming, not to the extent I worked on straight up classical fingerpicking but it has really enriched my strumming.

 

It took me a long time to really like using a pick. TO play or jam with rock dudes I felt the need to work on using a pick, but it was very forced. Eventually I found that I can hit the strings a lot harder with a pick than with my fingers, and get them to sound in ways I can't really with my fingers. That became my 'reason' to use a pick and I worked at it.

 

Still, I always found it to be a lot of work to gain or maintain a high level of proficency in fingerstyle and picking. I will feel like a guy at the race track hitting the trifecta if I can be happy with my classical finger style, my pick technique and my rasgueados. They are mopst often the odd man out in practice. Mainly because I can "fake" them good enough for any purpose I have for them and I've never been called out by a real flamenco player. You know, Estaban has never walked into a rehersal while I was playing and called me out as a fraud for my faux rasgueados, thankfully.

check out some comedy I've done:

http://louhasspoken.tumblr.com/

My Unitarian Jihad Name: Brother Broadsword of Enlightened Compassion.

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