There are 2 ways to strum/play a guitar. One is with a pick, sometimes referred to as flat picking, and the other is but using your fingers to pluck the string. There are many styles that use either or, but what about using both?
I, for one, use both techniques. I find it very useful to execute it this way because it allows me the diversity to bring other forms of music into playing a song. This way it makes the listener take notice. ie: What the hell is he doing now?
The one obvious difference between the two concepts is the sound that both bring to performing.
Using a pick, you tend to get a crisper, brighter effect. Steve Howe performing “The Clap” is a great example of this. Most Rock bands use this this as well.
Playing with only the fleshy part of your fingers, you can develop a much warmer tone to your presentation. A perfect example of this sound is John Mayer playing Neon acoustically, Holy shit he plays that style like no else can!
I love playing guitar using both a pick and my finger nails all at the same time, when the nails are not broken that is! I’m NOT one of those people blessed with very hard finger nails, you know who you are! I love the brilliance of the high frequencies that you can get with them.
My first attempt at using both picking modes together, was when I was trying to figure out how to play Lady Madonna. It seemed to take 6 months to perfect it! I was essentially playing what the piano did in the song as well as other parts thrown in for good luck! This is a great test to push one’s comfort zone.
So what mode of picking do you use?
Keep on jammin’