I have offered to help many guitarist to learn to use plastic finger picks when playing finger style guitar. I’ve been told by many of them that when they are finger picking guitar they prefer not to use picks but to use only bare fingers and nails. I think I’ve heard just about every possible reason why they don’t like plastic picks. However, I believe that the reason for many contemporary guitarists using only fingers and nails is because they have never overcome those first awkward feelings of using plastic finger picks. I believe they may have tried them in the past but quickly gave up on using them. I believe this because I’ve seen it happen so mucn. Certainly it could not be the clear, crisp sound that finger picks produce! That COULD NOT be the objection to using them! Nor could it be the volume that finger picks produce be the reason not to use them! So it must be ___ don’t you think?
Think about this – you know it’s possible to strum the guitar using just bare fingers and nails. Yes of course! Many do this too. Some only use bare finger and nail to strum. However, for most guitarist there is a distinct advantage to using a flat pick when strumming. Because of those advantages most prefer a flat pick rather then using only bare fingers. Why is it that those same guitarists who object to using finger picks don’t object to using a plastic flat pick when strumming their guitar. Instead of a flat pick why not always use just bare fingers and nails to strum their guitar? You know it is possible to get some great sounds strumming with just bare fingers and nails. Flamingo guitarists can blow you away with their bare fingered strumming. Some of those sounds they get are awesome and you could never even get close to that with a flat pick. Still MOST guitarists who strum prefer to use a flat pick. So why do those people who object to using finger picks not also object to using a flat pick? Why is that? Here is what I think. I think the real reason they don’t object to using a flat pick is that a flat pick is relatively easy to use. Little adjustment is needed. Little needed to get used to it. So they have “no complaints about using a flat pick.” And so… I believe the real reason they don’t like finger picks is because finger picks are TOO DIFFICULT FOR THEM to use. Finger picks are too difficult for them only for one reason. They have never done what it takes to use them. Please don’t let that be true of you! Don’t let that hurdle cause you to be missing out on all the good that can come from using plastic finger picks!
Yes, it is true that there are disadvantages to plastic finger picks, but there are also disadvantages to nails as well. There are also advantages to finger picks over nails and there are advantages unique only to nails. So then WHY LIMINT YOURSELF to just only one way of finger picking? Why not learn to play both ways? “Variety is the spice of life and it also adds life to music.” (Hay, I like that! I just made that up! Cool! It’s SO TRUE too! You can quote me on that if you like!) Variation is the key point I’ve been stressing here. Variety is a beautiful thing in music. It is good to learn to do both. So please…. make it your goal to learn to play the guitar using a variety of styles. When learning finger style guitar, learn to use plastic fingerpicks right from the start. Also learn to use bare fingers and nails. I’m speaking solely from experience now. I don’t believe that using plastic finger picks is just a good idea for some people. Rather, I believe it’s the BEST way to learn for everyone interested in finger picking guitar. I believe it should be a must for any serious guitarist. Especially professionals!