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secret joys of the thumbpick... do we need a Club?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Bass V, Oct 21, 2017.

  1. Bass V

    Bass V

    Dec 11, 2008
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    thru steel guitar I discovered cool options, the freedom, and flat out rockaliciousness of a thick thumbpick long ago and am still able to incorporate a bit of finger with bass, but the direct solid feel, superb tonalities, comfort, effortless perfect positioning far surpass my #1 flat plectrum and Travis picking translates naturally.
    very little discussion on the tpick's many positives to be found in bass circles, it seems nearly ignored and only a few of my friends even bother picking, but discovering the forced conversion of John Wetton into a tp'er was quite interesting, he certainly responded well. I'd guess there are more thumpickers than may be suspected...
  2. Travis picking. Way over my skill level. Glen Thurman lives in my home town and we have a fingerstyle guitar association concert here each year, love to attend, but, like I said way over my skill level.
    jebmd and Bass V like this.
  3. Bass V

    Bass V

    Dec 11, 2008
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    tpicks may have the obvious guitarworld stigma to overcome, but picks have always been viable for bass and these are a natural extension, maybe even the better alternative. there's certainly never a dull moment with a thumbpick!
  4. Tinderwet


    Apr 21, 2011
    I use a combination of Jim Dunlop red "tortoise" fingerpicks and a National thumb pick, like the bottom one in the picture below:


  5. vindibona1


    Apr 18, 2015
    I typically don't use picks on bass, but I would recommend Golden Gate super heavy thumb picks for the job. Most secure thumbpicks I own.
  6. IamGroot


    Jan 18, 2018
    Chet Atkins used a thumbpick. On an album with Les Paul, he told Les to use a thumbpick so he could play with himself.
    MattZilla likes this.
  7. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    I love the idea. And I've tried it several times. I just can't find a pick that doesn't squeeze the crap out of my thumb. I should heat up a couple of the ones I have and see if I can get one to let go a little.

    If I could find one that is comfortable on my thumb, I could just leave it there and switch from pick to fingers in a flash.
  8. MattZilla


    Jun 26, 2013
    Having never seen one shaped like the, uh, National one colored white, I haven't liked the hooked shape and resultant hooked feel. The wider angle makes the white one worth me trying soon.
  9. 12BitSlab

    12BitSlab Supporting Member

    Nov 28, 2016
    When I use a pick, I use a thumbpick. Works great for me.

    There are some songs I used play (e.g., Zanzibar by Billy Joel) where I used my thumbpick during the "rock" parts of the song and fingers during the jazz parts of the song.
  10. red_rhino

    red_rhino Gold Supporting Member

    I've been giving some thought to seeing if I can incorporate this into my playing. I used to be able to play with a pick when it was called for, but when I tried the other day (after a very long time away from it), it was just kinda pathetic. Seems like a tpick might be a good solution.
  11. Huey Lewis's bassist in The News used a thumbpick. Leo originally thought people would play with their thumbs; thus the vintage location of the tug bar beneath the strings.

    Nah. Like anything else, you gotta start out slow, simple and intentionally.

    I did Guitar Nick's free lessons and became a reasonable Travis (alternating bass) picker. It's not really my thing, but I spent a few months on it.

    Learn Fingerstyle Guitar In 8 lessons | GuitarNick.com

    FINGERSTYLE GUITAR LESSONS for beginners: GuitarNick.com

    30 Fingerpicking Guitar Songs with Tabs: GuitarNick.com
  12. My oddly proportioned hands have always caused problems with pick playing. After reading a suggestion on TB, I decided to order some Dunlop thumbpicks. I was amazed at how naturally the technique came to me once I could get my hand in the correct position.

    Unfortunately, the large Dunlops are too small for my thumb. I could feel it cutting off circulation after a couple minutes. Is there something slightly bigger that's available in lefty?
  13. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    I found these two videos to be very helpful.

    I haven’t mastered thumb or fingerpicks (I play a little banjo) anywhere near to being completely comfortable with them. But these two videos helped me a lot with choosing and using a thumbpick.


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