Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premier Sponsors

Banjo Lovers Online

Want to hide these Google ads? Join the Players Union!
Jul 19, 2019 - 3:10:08 PM
35 posts since 5/20/2018


I'm new to clawhammer and was curious as to what fingerpick(s) most prefer. I know that most prefer to use their fingernail, but, being primarily a guitar and 4-string player, it's difficult to maintain a long enough nail. Are there any fingerpicks that sit/play as a fingernail would?


Jul 19, 2019 - 3:16:44 PM
likes this



9160 posts since 1/22/2003

The nail does not need to be long, with a little technique, you can clawhammer just as well with a normal (short) nail…

Jul 19, 2019 - 3:29:44 PM
like this
Players Union Member



3623 posts since 3/11/2004

This question comes up often. I like the Fred Kelly Freedom Pick (white more than clear, ones). They run small so you may need a larger one. You can search the Hangout using the magnifier glass in the left panel. Here are a few results:


Jul 19, 2019 - 3:31:01 PM
likes this



7036 posts since 8/20/2016

I agree with Email, my nails are ultra short, almost no white and still get a clear note and volume...I use ClawJam picks when I want to switch between Bluegrass and Clawhammer without removing my picks.

Jul 19, 2019 - 3:41:04 PM

35 posts since 5/20/2018

Thank you all for the quick responses! The main problem is that, playing guitar and tenor banjo, I often end up filling down my nail past the point where there is no white left. I didn't realize how many threads there were and didn't know how to search. I'll look through the old threads. Thanks again!

Jul 19, 2019 - 5:41:26 PM

2085 posts since 4/29/2012

As others have said. I keep my nails slightly longer than I really need for banjo as that's the optimum length (for me) to fingerpick guitar and ukulele with nails. As I'm using the back of the nail for banjo the length is less critical than for guitar.

Jul 19, 2019 - 6:17:13 PM
likes this

26 posts since 10/17/2017

I like the Hooks thimble ->

Jul 19, 2019 - 11:49:19 PM

96 posts since 10/9/2017

I’ve experimented with a number of finger picks over the last two years and I like the Hooks Thimble the best, but, on the recommendation of Ken Perelman, I prefer to put Scotch tape on my nail. Use the opaque rather than clear type: cheap, easy, and produces a good sound.

Jul 20, 2019 - 12:04:15 AM



434 posts since 7/4/2017

I just took a cheap bluegrass pick, bent it t nail shape and ground it down to the right length with a dremel.


Jul 20, 2019 - 2:32:39 AM
likes this

777 posts since 3/22/2012

I'd guess a majority of clawhammer players over the years have got by without a pick or nails so personally I'd Just push on as you are.

But one lesson I learnt that I'll pass on.

Whatever pick you try, give it a fair chance. When I really had to use a pick at one time a few years ago because of an injury, I tried several, tried using another finger etc and got very frustrated. Finally I went with the one I hated least and persevered since it was either that or stop playing for a while. After about a month it started to become manageable and now I make sure I use it for at least some of the time most days.


Enjoy your new journey Sam.

Edited by - Winged Words on 07/20/2019 02:39:56

Jul 21, 2019 - 8:00:50 AM
likes this
Players Union Member



130 posts since 5/16/2017

Originally posted by smarks15

Are there any fingerpicks that sit/play as a fingernail would?

Take a look at Cling Pro. I get an acrylic nail done at the salon but keep a Cling Pro around for backup.

Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories