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Finger Picks @#!???!!!!

15 Feb 01 - 10:47 PM (#399104)
Subject: Finger Picks @#!???!!!!
From: MRivamonte

Anyone using alaska piks? I am using dunlops for my index and middle but they pinch and I am looking for an alternative. I am watching Doc Watson playing with some cool clear ones like the alaska on his instruction video. I can't find 'em around here or on the web. Any suggestions?

P.S. any one play "Blue Smoke" by Merle travis?

15 Feb 01 - 11:01 PM (#399111)
Subject: RE: Help: Finger Picks @#!???!!!!
From: wdyat12


Any plastic or metal fingerpick is going to hurt if you have a hangnail or if you form them too tightly. Plasic ones need heat and pressure to form, metal ones just pressure. Get a dowel the size of your finger to form the pick around (Dowels don't give, fingers do) and then slip the pick on the appropriate finger. If it feels too loose, squash it a little more until it feels right. Buy extra picks if you screw up.


15 Feb 01 - 11:04 PM (#399113)
Subject: RE: Help: Finger Picks @#!???!!!!
From: catspaw49

Regarding the Alaska Picks, try THIS THREAD for additional info. They are available at Elderly Instruments among other places.


15 Feb 01 - 11:13 PM (#399122)
Subject: RE: Help: Finger Picks @#!???!!!!
From: Justa Picker

I've tried Alaska Piks (both plastic and metal). I don't like them and they DO slip. The thing that's ironic to me is that you have to have a certain amount of nail to anchor them to. If you have that amount of nail to begin with, you don't need the piks and you can just use your nails with a thumbpick. Try it and give yourself an hour or two to get used to it. Your index and middle fingers will automatically adjust their arc and angle of attack to compensate for seems like an overwhelming bass because of the thumbpick.

I also use metal Nationals or Dunlops for the index and middle. I adjust the "clasp" of how tightly they fit, pretty much everytime I put them on, because your fingers can swell a bit or contract, depending on diet, climate, etc. You want them real snug, but not so tight that they start cuting off the circulation or creating blisters. If your fingers get sore with them on, take them off and have a rest for 10 minutes and then go at it again. Experiment.

16 Feb 01 - 12:02 AM (#399148)
Subject: RE: Help: Finger Picks @#!???!!!!
From: GUEST,Fred

I've been having problems keeping the Dunlops from slipping off. I tried Earl's suggestion for the plastic thumb pick of scoring the inside and it works well. So I tried various ways to get the same effect in the metal ones. Right now I am experimenting with a small bit of adhesive tape inside them, and so far it's working a bit better. I'll have to try it longer to see if it is a longer term solution.

Any other suggestions?

16 Feb 01 - 12:46 AM (#399164)
Subject: RE: Help: Finger Picks @#!???!!!!
From: Amos

Try gluing a little nonskid matting inside -- the thin rubber waffle stuff.

Or just go with thumbpick only and get used to it. Makes your playing much more flexible, IMHO.


16 Feb 01 - 07:33 AM (#399283)
Subject: RE: Help: Finger Picks @#!???!!!!
From: GUEST,John Hardly


Finally!! Someone who agrees with me about alaska picks. If I have enough nail to keep 'em on, I have enough nail to sound the string by itself.

My INCREDIBLY ELEMENTARY tip for the day---

When using plastic finger picks, lick you fingerprint before putting them on. You'll find that they stay put without having to be so tight that way.

16 Feb 01 - 01:03 PM (#399507)
Subject: RE: Help: Finger Picks @#!???!!!!
From: Clinton Hammond

I'm with Justa and John above... I'd rather use my nails... the fingerpicks I have tried, I didn't like at all...


17 Feb 01 - 03:06 AM (#399997)
Subject: RE: Help: Finger Picks @#!???!!!!
From: blt

I use Nationals or Dunlops, the metal ones, and I keep them very tight on my fingers. I use a plastic thumbpick because I like the sound better, but I prefer the smaller ended ones vs the fat ones (if that makes sense). I have to replace the thumb picks regularly because they get sharpened down and then sound less crisp. Personally, I love metal fingerpicks, I even like the clicking they make on the strings.


17 Feb 01 - 04:21 PM (#400332)
Subject: RE: Help: Finger Picks @#!???!!!!
From: McGrath of Harlow

Here's the site for Alaska Picks:

I haven't yet got hold of the improved version with better quality plastic, or the metal, but I still like the idea, especially for the thumb. But the brittle pastic they used to use was awful, and nobody seesm to have imported the better ones yet.

Typically, anytime I have my nails the right length, one of them breaks, so it's shorter than the rest - so I end up cutting them all short to match, and they aren't quite the length I like for playing. So I find myself using a plectrum, even on songs or tunes where finger-picking would be better. But the fingernail stubs would be long enough to anchor a set of suitable Alaska Picks, if I had a set of suitable Alaska Picks.

They won't suit everyone. But they're worth trying, and they aren't compulsory.

17 Feb 01 - 06:03 PM (#400411)
Subject: RE: Help: Finger Picks @#!???!!!!
From: GUEST,texastoolman

i play 12-string so fingernails are not really an option for me. Besides i cannot grow fingernails anyway. I like the lightwer gauge picks which are easier to mold. I do haave a problem with them falling off if I get too carried away but then somestimes I bng too hard anyway.I've run onto a thumbpick which I beleive is called a speed pick, I'm having a pretty hard time finding anymore replacements.they really help elliminnate the need to watch how hard you play the bass stings. If anyone has a line onthese thumb picks please let me know at thanks

17 Aug 01 - 04:18 PM (#530374)
Subject: RE: Help: Finger Picks @#!???!!!!
From: McGrath of Harlow

Just wanted to let people know that, at last, someone has imported the better quality plastic Alaska picks in to England.

I'd been nagging Thrift Music, of Frinton in Essex to get them, and at Sidmouth there they were on their stall.

And they work beautifully, none of that trouble with being brittle and scratchy that made the old ones virtually unusable. Like having good strong finger nails that won't break-off at awkward times. The only finger picks I've ever felt comfortable with, pick or scratch either way, strum with one finger or several. What is best though is that the largest X size fits neatly on the thumb, so that I can play with the volume of a thumb-pick, but using the same thumb movement as fingerpicking, and I find that way it's a lot more accurate and less tiring. (L size on the other fingers. Anyone who uses the M or even more so the S size must really have tiny fingers.)

Anyway, Thrift had them as £2 each. And I haven't seen them anywhere else yet - none of the other music stalls at Sidmouth seemed to have them. I believe somewhere in Denmark Street in London someone is supposed to be selling them at about double the price.

In case you run across them somewhere else, the old useless ones were transparent plastic, the new ones are sort of pink. They call them flesh-coloured, though I'd be a bit worried if my flesh were that colour.

18 Aug 01 - 10:35 AM (#530754)
Subject: RE: Help: Finger Picks @#!???!!!!
From: SharonA

I'm with Clinton. I'd rather grow my own. Can't stand fingerpicks of any sort; they feel like children's toy rings to me.

18 Aug 01 - 10:42 AM (#530758)
Subject: RE: Help: Finger Picks @#!???!!!!
From: Brendy

I use metal Dunlops, whenever that clarity is called for, otherwise just me finger nails.

I've a few mates who mix superglue with baking soda and 'extend' their nails that way.


18 Aug 01 - 10:46 AM (#530760)
Subject: RE: Help: Finger Picks @#!???!!!!
From: McGrath of Harlow

I've alwasy felt tat with fingerpicks before, that's what I like about these, they are different. Mind you some people find tye very idsea of soething hooking under the fingernails makes them feel a little squeamish, so they're not for everyone.

Good for scratching cats as well.

18 Aug 01 - 10:53 AM (#530763)
Subject: RE: Help: Finger Picks @#!???!!!!
From: Brendy

But take them off before you lift a full pint glass...


18 Aug 01 - 01:56 PM (#530823)
Subject: RE: Help: Finger Picks @#!???!!!!
From: Mountain Dog

For me, Alaska picks are the best I've found for those rare occasions when I want to use fingerpicks instead of my own nails. They don't have the tendency to 'snag' the strings the way other plastic and all the metal fingerpicks I've ever used do. Still, all things being equal, I prefer my own four fingernails and the callus on the side of my thumb for fingerpicking.

18 Aug 01 - 09:05 PM (#530914)
Subject: RE: Help: Finger Picks @#!???!!!!
From: Cap't Bob

I use my fingers and finger nails (when I have them) mainly because I like the sound better. When playing the 5 string banjo melodic or blue grass style I use Ernie Ball picky or pickey finger picks. These picks do not look like they would work very well because they come to sort of a point where the string touches the string. The advantage is that they let you feel the sting if you have them adjusted properly. They are sort of a combination of part finger and part fingerpick.

Cap't Bob

18 Aug 01 - 11:39 PM (#530970)
Subject: RE: Help: Finger Picks @#!???!!!!
From: wysiwyg

I use VERY lightweight Dunlops for autoharping, and because the metal is so thin, it flexes right off the fingers sometimes if I play hard. So I use a dab of a little gray putty called Mortite that is sold in hardware stores for weather-proofing windows-- a dab under the place where the clasp doubles and one over top of it, mooshed around thru the airholes a little. And this keeps the pick on nice and snug and also keeps it from spreading open.

I also keep a little ball of the stuff in the case-- great for sticking a little cheat sheet on, anywhere, and it rubs off like rubber cement without harming wood, finishes, etc. The only thing it has stuck to more permanently has been textured plastic-- and I am sure a solvent will remove that. Mortite is always flexible too and never dries up-- cool stuff.