Results 1 to 10 of 10

Thread: Thumb Pick

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    FloridaColorado
    Posts
    40

    Default Thumb Pick

    I recently attended a small jazz show by a group of old guys, all experienced and excellent musicians. One of the musicians played an arch top guitar using just a thumb pick for upstrokes, downstrokes, chords, backup, solos, the whole works. If I had not closely observed his technique, I would have assumed that he was using a flat pick — that is to say that his playing was not apparently different from what you would expect from normal flat picking.

    During the break I asked him about his technique. He said that he had grown tired of dropping and losing his flat picks during performances. So he copied the technique of Chet Atkins, who he said used a thumb pick with three fingers. He said that it took him a while to gain proficiency in using the thumb pick, but after a while he was able to use the thumb pick to execute all of the strokes that we normally do with flat picks. And when necessary he could also use fingers.

    I didn’t think to ask him about tremolo, which may not be a big deal on amplified guitar. But I did find it most impressive to observe well-executed thumbpicking. And I don’t know if this has an application to mandolin, but it might be worth $0.75 to find out.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Thumb Pick

    Wayne Henderson plays a mando with a thumb pick. Wish I good play half that well.

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Essex UK
    Posts
    1,006

    Default Re: Thumb Pick

    I have tried it, it does work, although I feel a pick is more versatile I will use a thumb pick if I am trying to get two lines out of the mandolin. I know one decent player who only uses a thumb pick and he gets good results.
    - Jeremy

    Wot no catchphrase?

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    3,627

    Default Re: Thumb Pick

    Quote Originally Posted by HCooke View Post
    Wayne Henderson plays a mando with a thumb pick. Wish I good play half that well.
    Amen to that! I’ve never tried it on mando but have on guitar. The experiment was brief, because I had trouble keeping the darn thing on consistently with upstrokes. I use one for 3 finger banjo, but use one of my finger picks for any up strumming or picking. I suppose if I worked at it I could make it work, but don’t really feel compelled. Of course, YMMV, and I’m just a hobby picker, so there’s that...
    Chuck

  5. #5
    Phil Goodson Philphool's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Statesville, NC
    Posts
    3,098

    Default Re: Thumb Pick

    Quote Originally Posted by HCooke View Post
    Wayne Henderson plays a mando with a thumb pick. Wish I good play half that well.
    I believe that Wayne uses the thumbpick and ALSO a fingerpick at least on the index finger. So there's a fingerpick getting the upstrokes.
    Phil

    “Sharps/Flats” “Accidentals”

  6. #6

    Default Re: Thumb Pick

    I once thought about doing that-using thumbpicks. My skin chemistry is such that picks of all sorts get super slippery. Some say BlueChip picks get grippy when warm. Not for me. Still slippery.

    However, I used to ride bulls and had a bag of rosin lying around. Just the teeniest amount of rosin rubbed between my thumb and index finger gets them super tacky. Now I can completely relax my hand and fingers and my picks, BlueChip or Primetone, don't slide around. I can even open my fingers and flip them like I'm trying to toss something and the pick sticks to the finger. It gets that tacky. Also, it's such a minimal amount and only on the fingers where the pick is, so it doesn't goop up the guitar or mandolin as some may think.

    Another product that works similarly is called Gorilla Snot and there's also one called Pick Honey. I've tried the Gorilla Snot and it definitely works. But I prefer the rosin because it doesn't accumulate on the BlueChip pick like the Gorilla Snot seems to. Give it a try. No need to go the thumbpick route.

  7. The following members say thank you to archerscreek for this post:


  8. #7
    Registered User OldMandoMan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
    Location
    Corvallis, Oregon
    Posts
    20

    Default Re: Thumb Pick

    Quote Originally Posted by archerscreek View Post
    I once thought about doing that-using thumbpicks. My skin chemistry is such that picks of all sorts get super slippery. Some say BlueChip picks get grippy when warm. Not for me. Still slippery.

    However, I used to ride bulls and had a bag of rosin lying around. Just the teeniest amount of rosin rubbed between my thumb and index finger gets them super tacky. Now I can completely relax my hand and fingers and my picks, BlueChip or Primetone, don't slide around. I can even open my fingers and flip them like I'm trying to toss something and the pick sticks to the finger. It gets that tacky. Also, it's such a minimal amount and only on the fingers where the pick is, so it doesn't goop up the guitar or mandolin as some may think.

    Another product that works similarly is called Gorilla Snot and there's also one called Pick Honey. I've tried the Gorilla Snot and it definitely works. But I prefer the rosin because it doesn't accumulate on the BlueChip pick like the Gorilla Snot seems to. Give it a try. No need to go the thumbpick route.
    I designed these because my right thumb has become arthritically deformed (fortunately it's painless) but it's affected the way I can grip a flat-pick. This gizmo allows me to feel the pick normally between my thumb & index finger & also use it for fingerpicking guitar as well.Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Pick1.jpg 
Views:	5 
Size:	133.1 KB 
ID:	180041Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Pick2.jpg 
Views:	5 
Size:	107.1 KB 
ID:	180042Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Pick3.jpg 
Views:	7 
Size:	196.0 KB 
ID:	180043

  9. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to OldMandoMan For This Useful Post:


  10. #8
    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Ottawa, Canada
    Posts
    436

    Default Re: Thumb Pick

    I too use a thumb pick, due to arthritis. I like the Herco picks which have to be softened in hot water and moulded to the shape of my thumb.


    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Photo on 2019-09-21 at 23.30.jpg 
Views:	7 
Size:	95.5 KB 
ID:	180061

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Photo on 2019-09-21 at 23.31.jpg 
Views:	6 
Size:	100.8 KB 
ID:	180058

    However, my new favourite thumb pick is the Black Mountain from British Columbia, with a spring which helps it fit different sized thumbs, and provides a firm grip.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Photo on 2019-09-21 at 23.33 #2.jpg 
Views:	7 
Size:	101.2 KB 
ID:	180059

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Photo on 2019-09-21 at 23.34.jpg 
Views:	9 
Size:	93.8 KB 
ID:	180060

    (I'm not a leftie, it's a mirror image.)
    Last edited by Ranald; Sep-21-2019 at 10:52pm. Reason: photo disappeared
    Robert Johnson's mother, describing blues musicians:
    "I never did have no trouble with him until he got big enough to be round with bigger boys and off from home. Then he used to follow all these harp blowers, mandoleen (sic) and guitar players."
    Lomax, Alan, The Land where The Blues Began, NY: Pantheon, 1993, p.14.

  11. The following members say thank you to Ranald for this post:


  12. #9
    Registered User OldMandoMan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
    Location
    Corvallis, Oregon
    Posts
    20

    Default Re: Thumb Pick

    Quote Originally Posted by Ranald View Post
    I too use a thumb pick, due to arthritis. I like the Herco picks which have to be softened in hot water and moulded to the shape of my thumb.


    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Photo on 2019-09-21 at 23.30.jpg 
Views:	7 
Size:	95.5 KB 
ID:	180061

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Photo on 2019-09-21 at 23.31.jpg 
Views:	6 
Size:	100.8 KB 
ID:	180058

    However, my new favourite thumb pick is the Black Mountain from British Columbia, with a spring which helps it fit different sized thumbs, and provides a firm grip.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Photo on 2019-09-21 at 23.33 #2.jpg 
Views:	7 
Size:	101.2 KB 
ID:	180059

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Photo on 2019-09-21 at 23.34.jpg 
Views:	9 
Size:	93.8 KB 
ID:	180060

    (I'm not a leftie, it's a mirror image.)
    I have found the loop on the hercos to be too light weight to grip firmly enough as at times I can be pretty heavy handed. It would be a tricky injection mold that could make the pick part thin (I use .06mm Tortex picks) and make the loop part as thick as say a Dunlop thumb thumb pick. I've tried gluing the Herco loop closed but that leaves no adjustment. I've also used boiling water to twist the tip a few degrees clockwise to create a perfect string attack angle on the pick tip. There is a commercial company that sells them that way, Zookies, but the cost differential is way above boiling a cup of water!!

    The double-sided velcro I use allows one to make it pretty darn snug. I will look into the Black Mountain to determine if the spring is stout enough for my hammer hand. That's especially important when fingerpicking since you no longer have the support of your index finger behind the pick. What's the price & availability?

  13. The following members say thank you to OldMandoMan for this post:

    Ranald 

  14. #10
    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Ottawa, Canada
    Posts
    436

    Default Re: Thumb Pick

    Quote Originally Posted by OldMandoMan View Post
    The double-sided velcro I use allows one to make it pretty darn snug. I will look into the Black Mountain to determine if the spring is stout enough for my hammer hand. That's especially important when fingerpicking since you no longer have the support of your index finger behind the pick. What's the price & availability?
    They're about $6.95 CDN each, cheaper in quantity. The information you need is here: https://blackmountainpicks.com/ (If link doesn't work, google "Black Mountain Picks.") The lad in the demo video seems to me to be a heavy picker, and I'm a fairly heavy picker too, but working on being a lighter picker. Like you, I've found some slippage with Hercos, but not with Black Mountains. (I don't have any financial interest in these picks. I first encountered them when trying out a mandolin at Rufus Guitars in Vancouver.)
    Robert Johnson's mother, describing blues musicians:
    "I never did have no trouble with him until he got big enough to be round with bigger boys and off from home. Then he used to follow all these harp blowers, mandoleen (sic) and guitar players."
    Lomax, Alan, The Land where The Blues Began, NY: Pantheon, 1993, p.14.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •