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 Playing Advice: Bluegrass (Scruggs) Styles
 ARCHIVED TOPIC: picking backwards with the thumb pick?


Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link: http://www.banjohangout.org/archive/361101

Rick McKeon - Posted - 02/11/2020:  17:54:01


I always used to think that if you pick "up" with the thumb pick it might get hung up in the strings or come off, but that is not necessarily the case. I have been experimenting tonight with picking backwards and strumming up with the thumb pick, and it works just great (with a little change in hand position)! Of course I sucked on my fingers before putting on the picks so they would stick on pretty well.

Have you ever seen professional players using this technique? Maybe even Earl did!

Jack Baker - Posted - 02/11/2020:  18:10:24


Hi Rick,

I'm not exactly sure what you're talking about. The thumb pick can be used with the index finger combined with the thumb to make it like flatpicking. Earl has never used this technique that I've ever heard of. Earl did play some rapid fire notes with the alternating thumb and index like in Pike County....



Chet Aktins often used the combination of the thumb and index acting like a flatpick for some of his rapid fire leads...Is there some point I'm missing?....J


Edited by - Jack Baker on 02/11/2020 18:11:38

roydsjr - Posted - 02/11/2020:  19:05:31


If I did it, it was by accident. I pick hard so it would easily pull the pick off for me. I don't know what benefit it would be but that is how people come up with new ideas! So as the saying is : don't knock it until you try it! You might have something there.

Tractor1 - Posted - 02/11/2020:  19:33:25


Years ago Roger Bannister got to flatpicking really well that way

cantpick - Posted - 02/12/2020:  03:08:57


I have done it before, not on purpose, but on accident. If I am trying to hit the 5th string and I miss, my right hand reflexes want to hit that string no matter what, and I'll almost unconsciously find thumb coming up backwards to hit the 5th.

Dragonslayer - Posted - 02/24/2020:  20:26:49


Doyle Dykes does that on guitar, as do I occasionally. I saw a video once of Alison Brown (I think) playing steam powered airplane (I think) on John Hartford's banjo, and she was double picking with the thumb. But it's definitely not common

chuckv97 - Posted - 02/24/2020:  20:57:51


I think Tommy Emmanuel does that for single string playing,, not always like Chet.


Edited by - chuckv97 on 02/24/2020 21:01:31

Old Hickory - Posted - 02/24/2020:  21:15:22


quote:

Originally posted by Rick McKeon

I always used to think that if you pick "up" with the thumb pick it might get hung up in the strings or come off, but that is not necessarily the case. 






It's always the case for me. I don't know how I do it, but I've hung up the thumbpick on a string several times -- including in performance.

Rick McKeon - Posted - 02/25/2020:  08:42:57


I don't do it much, but it seems to work if you adjust your hand position by rocking it a little toward yourself and use a little lighter stroke.

Jack Baker - Posted - 02/25/2020:  09:12:10


Chet almost always used that method for single string leads...Jack




Originally posted by chuckv97

I think Tommy Emmanuel does that for single string playing,, not always like Chet.






 

Jack Baker - Posted - 02/25/2020:  09:14:11


Weird,


I've never seen or heard of a professional ever getting hung up with the thumb going backwards to the next roll or whatever...Maybe mine is a rare case. I don't remember ever having to re-position my picking hand to do anything but control the tone maybe as in the X or Y position...Jack


 

Originally posted by Old Hickory

quote:

Originally posted by Rick McKeon

I always used to think that if you pick "up" with the thumb pick it might get hung up in the strings or come off, but that is not necessarily the case. 






It's always the case for me. I don't know how I do it, but I've hung up the thumbpick on a string several times -- including in performance.






 


Edited by - Jack Baker on 02/25/2020 09:17:16

lature - Posted - 02/25/2020:  10:02:24


I think J.D.Crowe would occasionally strum a chord backwards with his thumb. For example, at the end of "I'll Just Pretend" there is a C chord strum at the 10th fret (from 1st to 5th). Normally you would strum with your I or M, unless your name is J.D.

Old Hickory - Posted - 02/25/2020:  10:27:52


quote:

Originally posted by Jack Baker

Weird,


I've never seen or heard of a professional ever getting hung up with the thumb going backwards to the next roll or whatever...Maybe mine is a rare case. I don't remember ever having to re-position my picking hand to do anything but control the tone maybe as in the X or Y position...Jack


 





Like I said, I don't really know how I managed to do it. I definitely wasn't intentionally picking backward. That's not something I do. But somehow nervousness set in, I attacked the wrong way, and next thing I knew the 5th string was inside the thumb pick. Took the space of several notes to get it out.



I've also had finger picks come loose at a jam or performance.  And a string or tuner to lose tension in the middle of a song.



If something can wrong in front of people, chances are I've done it.

picker5 - Posted - 02/25/2020:  10:43:22


I think this says it all. My old pal George

youtu.be/PqQwa1lwEvs

bellf - Posted - 02/26/2020:  00:38:10


Sonny Osborne used this technique on “the kind of woman I got”

Richard McVicker - Posted - 02/29/2020:  14:01:19


Saddle thumb picks are not uni-directional so you can pick on the up stroke. Once you know you can do it you will be hitting the right string going the wrong direction. Just think you don't need to go up just to turn around and go back down. I think you can see it demonstrated on the SADDLE thumb pick videos. You can see the thumb picks in the left corner.


Edited by - Richard McVicker on 02/29/2020 14:05:27

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