Posted by
Message
kclsufan
USA Fan
Show Me
Member since Jun 2008
11916 posts

Need Some Help With My Guitar Strumming
I'm in my early 60's and started playing acoustic guitar 2 years ago and love it. I've been taking lessons and am doing pretty good for the most part.

Thing is, I've never used a pick and do all my strumming and picking with my fingers, which I prefer. The problem is sometimes my fingernails break, especially on my index finger. Even if it doesn't break, because I play a lot (1-2 hours per night), it will wear it down to where flesh is hitting string, which significantly mutes the sound and sounds like, well, crap.

Any advice on how to proceed would be appreciated. Should I make the switch to a pick? Or maybe get some kind of finger pick? Or is there a way to keep my fingernails from breaking so easily? TIA


hashtag
New Orleans Pelicans Fan
Member since Aug 2005
23067 posts

re: Need Some Help With My Guitar Strumming
I would just grab some picks and practice both. You get different tone/sounds from finger picking, finger strumming, plectrum picking, and plectrum strumming. I do all 4 at different times depending on what I'm playing.


Replies (0)
Replies (0)
20
auggie
Auburn Fan
Opelika, Alabama
Member since Aug 2013
16707 posts
 Online 

re: Need Some Help With My Guitar Strumming
What hashtag said, pretty much goes for me too. I will add, that you can use fake, glue on nails and put plenty of hardener on them. As long as you keep them short, nobody will even notice.


awestruck
Auburn Fan
Member since Jan 2015
6276 posts

re: Need Some Help With My Guitar Strumming
Maybe adding a thumb pick might save half the wear and tear? I've settled on the Herco Blue Flex 52 (Bugaboo) thumb pick after going through several, but encourage trying several. Also find using an emery board helps to keep nail tips smooth and lessen the friction (and a better sound)

Me: an acoustic hybrid picker (travis.pick.n.strum-n-finger.style) who likes the option to also grasp the thumb pick like a normal pick (while wearing) and switch while on the fly. ... IE back and forth

Another old guy that started later.


Replies (0)
Replies (0)
00
TheCurmudgeon
LSU Fan
Not where I want to be
Member since Aug 2014
1362 posts

re: Need Some Help With My Guitar Strumming
If I'm playing fingerstyle I'm not constantly strumming, its more melody with a chord or two. I just use the side of my thumb, not the tip, if strumming a chord.

I use my pads/tips to play the individual strings. maybe pay close attention to how you're plucking/playing the high strings? maybe need to attack with a little more power or from a sharper angle, if that makes sense


TheFretShack
Member since Oct 2015
559 posts

re: Need Some Help With My Guitar Strumming
A lot of tele hybrid picker guys superglue the Lee press-on nails to their real nails. Or you coat the nails with clear nail polish to thicken and strengthen them. I like the latter idea personally.


TD SponsorTD Fan
USA
Member since 2001
Thank you for supporting our sponsors
Advertisement
kclsufan
USA Fan
Show Me
Member since Jun 2008
11916 posts

re: Need Some Help With My Guitar Strumming
Thanks guys. Lots of good ideas here. I've already started working with a pick. I'll se what else works too.


Replies (0)
Replies (0)
00
LSU alum wannabe
LSU Fan
Katy, TX
Member since Jan 2004
23159 posts

re: Need Some Help With My Guitar Strumming
quote:

will add, that you can use fake, glue on nails and put plenty of hardener on them. As long as you keep them short, nobody will even notice.


There is a YouTube video out there of James Taylor’s routine for this. This music legend breaks out what looks like a 14 year old girls Caboodle make up kit and shows all the things he does for his picking hand. It goes WAY over the top in detail. He has a tuning video too. A 20-30 minute video of how he tunes a guitar in standard tuning.

Not crapping on him. He’s James BLEEPING Taylor. He can play. I just find it funny.


Tchefuncte Tiger
LSU Fan
Bat'n Rudge
Member since Oct 2004
43801 posts

re: Need Some Help With My Guitar Strumming
Who is your instructor? I'm interested in taking more lessons.


Replies (0)
Replies (0)
00
auggie
Auburn Fan
Opelika, Alabama
Member since Aug 2013
16707 posts
 Online 

re: Need Some Help With My Guitar Strumming
quote:

There is a YouTube video out there of James Taylor’s routine for this. This music legend breaks out what looks like a 14 year old girls Caboodle make up kit and shows all the things he does for his picking hand. It goes WAY over the top in detail. He has a tuning video too. A 20-30 minute video of how he tunes a guitar in standard tuning. Not crapping on him. He’s James BLEEPING Taylor. He can play. I just find it funny.

Yeah, I don't know much about him, except that he's a great picker and songwriter, and is kind of flawless at both. You can tear his songs apart, and there's no weakness, musically or lyrically. I think it's very possible that he is a very obsessive type about things pertaining to music.
I should be more like that, to be honest, but I'll just glue the nails on and clip'em. I did watch his tuning video and his method does make a difference, when using a capo.
These days, I am paying more attention to little things. Finally started using a capo a little bit (after over 40 years w/o one), working on making picks like I want them, to get the right sound. Spending more time playing my guitars, and less time playing the ones at the guitar shops. My playing is damn sure improving, but I don't see myself being too concerned with my nails like that. I just want to be able to claw them strings as hard as I can, without pulling my nails plumb off.



Ace Midnight
LSU Fan
Between sanity and madness
Member since Dec 2006
76576 posts
 Online 

re: Need Some Help With My Guitar Strumming
If you prefer finger picking or at least finger style for most of what you do, I would start using fingerpicks - that will also translate, to some degree to banjo. They even make "banjos" (heresy to true banjo players to call them that, but it is what they are) that are 6-string and are in guitar standard tuning so you don't have to learn new chords when transitioning.

I like fingerstyle myself, but I tend to play only with my fingertips - my nails were never long enough for classical guitar style or cocaine.


Replies (0)
Replies (0)
10
Ace Midnight
LSU Fan
Between sanity and madness
Member since Dec 2006
76576 posts
 Online 

re: Need Some Help With My Guitar Strumming
quote:

You can tear his songs apart, and there's no weakness, musically or lyrically. I think it's very possible that he is a very obsessive type about things pertaining to music.


This was in 1970 - he was 22 or the age of a college senior

This post was edited on 9/17 at 4:32 pm


Replies (0)
Replies (0)
10
first pageprev pagePage 1 of 1next pagelast page
refresh

Back to top

logoFollow TigerDroppings for LSU Football News
Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to get the latest updates on LSU Football and Recruiting.

FacebookTwitterInstagram