The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #76616   Message #1359889
Posted By: Don Firth
17-Dec-04 - 02:24 PM
Thread Name: Guitar right hand technique
Subject: RE: Guitar right hand technique
I've been playing guitar since 1952, and I think that, in all that time, I've used a flat pick for a total of about three minutes—and that was just trying to figure out how the damned thing worked. My girl friend back in the early Fifties, who first got me interested in the guitar, played with her fingernails. Then I ran into Walt Robertson, and he played with his fingernails. I took about six months' lessons from Walt, then he suggested that I take some classic guitar lessons, which I did—off and on for about ten years from four different teachers. But for someone who's taken that many classic guitar lessons, I should be able to play classic a helluva lot better than I do, but I was concentrating mostly on folk.

I play with "natural meat and bone." In response to tunesmith, I've never had any volume problems, but of course I play nylon-string classics. No volume problem there. A good classic guitar can bounce the sound off the back wall of a sizable auditorium. On the other hand, Walt used steel-string guitars and you could always hear his guitar loud and clear. Maybe it's in the technique somehow.

Some people, such as Doc Watson and a bunch of others (including some country, rock, and jazz guitarists) wreak miracles with a flat pick, so obviously it has a lot going for it. But whenever I mess with a flat pick, I recall when I was going to the University of Washington School of Music and had to take some basic piano as a requirement. I always felt there was too damned much junk between me and the strings. Same with thumb and finger picks. Again, folks can do some amazing things with them, but I've tried 'em a few times and I've always felt it was like trying to tap dance while wearing skis.

Does using a flat pick limit one? My gut feeling says "obviously!" But I dunno. The best of both worlds is to be like Doc Watson and be able to do both like a virtuoso.

Don Firth