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Fingerpicking Guitarists - Question

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Aug 15, 2020 - 9:20:31 AM
2057 posts since 2/10/2013

I want to work on fingerpicking acoustic guitar. For my purposes, research recommends phosphorous bronze strings. And, light gauge strings are recommended. There are 3 types of light strings, and at this point I am thinking about using medium light strings. Right now I am using metal fingerpicks, but that could change in the future. My final decision will be determined by the information I can gather.

What string manufacturer and type of string do you experienced fingerpickers recommend ?
Personal feelings about sound quality, string durability, etc. are appreciated.

Thanks for your assistance

Aug 15, 2020 - 10:11:05 AM

chuckv97

Canada

51855 posts since 10/5/2013
Online Now

I go with medium lights too,,,the lights for me are just too slinky and my hand pressure often pushes them sharp. As for brands, I just buy what’s on sale - don’t find a lot of difference but then I don’t have a high quality steel string. Picks are ok but I like going with bare fingers and a bit of fingernail.

Aug 15, 2020 - 10:46:32 AM

Emiel

Austria

9559 posts since 1/22/2003

I feel the finger-picked guitar sounds better with heavier strings. I use mostly medium gauge, 13th, occasionally heavy gauge (14th). I also like the "pure nickel" sets.

Aug 15, 2020 - 11:46:14 AM

60 posts since 6/30/2020

I’ve been playing guitar for 56 years but at some point I just gravitated to primarily fingerstyle and I don’t use picks but flesh of fingers. If you can play banjo with picks you can easily play guitar using no picks, only a thumb pick, or all picks. That said I urge experimentation to find the tone you like. Seems guitars like a thumb pick put not so much finger picks.
So, for a great string set for any combination of the above, check out D’Addario EJ24 PB True Medium. These are MLLLMM (low to high). The Medium gauge bass and top strings even out the string tension, So fingers have a more consistent feel on the strings. If you ever tune to Dropped D the heavier bass string accepts it well. Also helps even out the mid-range scoop.
On my lighter smaller guitars 00 and parlor I use D’Addario EJ16 PB. Nice crisp sound.

P-A-L

Aug 15, 2020 - 2:47:21 PM

5655 posts since 9/5/2006
Online Now

back when i did finger pick guitar ,,much more then now i always played a classical guitar ,, and used augustine strings,, they felt good and were cheap and sound real nice.  i did finger pick some on steel string guitars in the late 80s and 90s , and i used D'adarrio medium gauge then

Edited by - 1935tb-11 on 08/15/2020 14:49:04

Aug 15, 2020 - 3:20:44 PM

chuckv97

Canada

51855 posts since 10/5/2013
Online Now

I’ve used Augustines on my classical - good strings. I usually have D’Addario Pro-Arte normal tension, on mine. There’s a photo I’ve seen years ago of Julian Bream (RIP , passed ystrdy) standing beside Rose Augustine in their string factory as she had his bass string on a machine and she was burnishing it with sandpaper. A lot of players did that to take some of the winding off to eliminate string squeaks. I bought a set of LaBella’s that have very little winding for recording. They don’t last very long though.

Edited by - chuckv97 on 08/15/2020 15:22:34

Aug 15, 2020 - 3:28:47 PM
likes this

chuckv97

Canada

51855 posts since 10/5/2013
Online Now

Try fingerpick this!....(one guy looks like he’s out of some Peter Sellers movie)
youtu.be/0g4FrGcRAIs

Aug 15, 2020 - 3:41:50 PM

Paul R

Canada

13088 posts since 1/28/2010

I used lights, mediums, Bluegrass sets. For a while now I've been using silk and steel (Martins - I tried another brand but the low E sounded dead). I like the sound and I like to be able to bend notes. I first put them on a '28 Martin 2-17 and it really popped. Then I put them on my bigger acoustics. Lately I'm trying to figure out how to play them through an amp, with my pickup-equipped acoustics - fingerpicks? bare fingers? thumb pick and bare fingers?

Aug 15, 2020 - 4:03:40 PM

chuckv97

Canada

51855 posts since 10/5/2013
Online Now

I think thumb pick and bare fingers only works if you’re muting the bass strings a la Merle and Chet. I’ve seen videos of players online that don’t mute the bass and the thumb notes are way too loud compared to the fingered notes.

Aug 15, 2020 - 4:20:36 PM
like this

rcc56

USA

3091 posts since 2/20/2016

It's all personal-- you have to find out what works for you. I studied classical guitar, so I maintain my nails conscientiously and play with a combination of nail and finger.

I generally prefer a straight light gauge set except I use a .056" for the 6th string.

Bream was a truly great guitarist.  The video posted earlier barely scratches the surface of what he could do.

Edited by - rcc56 on 08/15/2020 16:22:03

Aug 15, 2020 - 5:52:07 PM
Players Union Member

OM45GE

USA

99869 posts since 11/7/2007

I am primarily a finger style guitarist who plays small (0 and 00 size) parlor guitars. I love the sound and feel of John Pearse Nuages strings in light (.010 to .045) or light/medium (.011 to .046).

I use plastic aLaska finger picks and Zookie plastic thumb pick. I just can’t keep my natural nails intact and I find the aLaska’s give the closest sound to natural nails. I used them on banjo as well. You can even frail with them.

Aug 15, 2020 - 6:24:42 PM

60 posts since 6/30/2020

quote:
Originally posted by rcc56

It's all personal-- you have to find out what works for you. I studied classical guitar, so I maintain my nails conscientiously and play with a combination of nail and finger.

I generally prefer a straight light gauge set except I use a .056" for the 6th string.

Bream was a truly great guitarist.  The video posted earlier barely scratches the surface of what he could do.


The D'Addario EJ24 PB True Mediums do have a .56 low E string. They are 56-42-32-24-17-13. Quite agreeable and sound great with minimal string tension increase ove lights 

 

P-A-L

Aug 15, 2020 - 10:02:56 PM

rcc56

USA

3091 posts since 2/20/2016

I've used them, but I prefer a 12 and a 16.
By the way, if anyone needs any 53's, I've got several that are unused that I'll never use.

Aug 15, 2020 - 10:27:24 PM

2153 posts since 1/16/2010

I’ve used LaBella 820’s for the last 15 years. They are red flamenco nylon strings, a light set...which is what Jerry Reed used. I’ll never switch to anything else...

Dow

Aug 16, 2020 - 4:11:03 AM

chief3

Canada

1107 posts since 10/26/2003

It would be helpful if you could describe the guitar you are playing. The body size/type and scale length among other things can be determining factors when choosing string brands, gauges and even composition. I don’t use the same strings on all of my guitars because the tone and comfort varies with each one.

Aug 16, 2020 - 3:08:43 PM

3987 posts since 11/29/2005

I've used Augustine Classic Blacks on my Goya G-10 since I got it in 1964. Since I played classical and folk styles I never used picks, still haven't, even when I had a Martin 000-15S for a few years.

Aug 16, 2020 - 3:18:25 PM

rcc56

USA

3091 posts since 2/20/2016

For nylon strings, my current preference is Hannabach 815. Augustines are also good, but I've sometimes had intonation problems with the 3rd string in the upper positions. I haven't had those problems with Hannabach.

Aug 17, 2020 - 6:58:49 AM

2057 posts since 2/10/2013

I am going with D'Addario medium lights. They sound good. No sense "scrimping" on a few dollars and paying quite a bit for an instrument. Somebody mentioned the importance of the instrument in getting quality sound. That is true and I will be selling my #2 and getting a different guitar. Unlike most instruments, moderately priced acoustic guitar availability seems to be improving.

Aug 17, 2020 - 8:55:08 AM

chuckv97

Canada

51855 posts since 10/5/2013
Online Now

I got a nice Simon & Patrick Songsmith (used, almost like new) for $300 a few months ago. Solid spruce top, wild cherry back and sides. Sounds great but still needs breaking in. They’re made by the Godin company in Quebec, in the family of Seagull, Art & Lutherie, Norman, etc. But remember, just like banjos, the tone you want depends on your right hand.

Edited by - chuckv97 on 08/17/2020 08:58:16

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