Playing without a pick

Oftentimes, playing with a pick is never questioned. It can feel as much a part of the guitar as the strings that are strummed. But when you think of all the sounds and moods that can be created without a pick, it makes sense to at least give it some consideration.

Without the pick, the most basic level of technique is finger picking. Those who started on classical or acoustic guitars will surely be well acquainted. Finger picking creates a nice, woven sound that’s about as nice as a big, warm, knitted jumper in the middle of winter.

Something a little more advanced is the flick and pick technique. It involves slapping the thumb on the bass note while using the index finger to simultaneously flick down on the rest of the notes, as demonstrated in this clip. It takes a bit of time and patience to learn, but remember, so too did learning to play with a pick.

Once you’ve got the hang of it, try using the technique on songs you already know (on acoustic and/or electric guitar) and notice how sonic possibilites open up and moods completely change.


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