TeCh­nique Fo­Cus

Guitar Techniques - - PLAY: COUNTRY -

Many coun­try gui­tar play­ers use hy­brid pick­ing (pick and fin­gers to­gether) or a thumb pick. The thumb pick is a plec­trum style de­vice that clips firmly onto the thumb of the pick­ing hand and re­quires no ex­tra fin­gers to hold it. One of the ad­van­tages of us­ing a thumb pick is that you can main­tain a full fin­ger­style tech­nique. The thumb can freely play the bass notes, and the first, sec­ond and third fin­gers (re­ferred to as i, m, a) can play the melody. The thumb pick helps with the bass note def­i­ni­tion and sounds great when used in con­junc­tion with slap-back de­lay and a palm mute. The thumb pick can also dou­ble as a plec­trum to pick sin­gle-note lines and chords with both down and up strokes. With the thumb pick on sim­ply pinch your first fin­ger against your thumb as you would if you were hold­ing a plec­trum. Hy­brid pick­ing is like hav­ing your cake and eat­ing it. You get the def­i­ni­tion and attack of the pick in con­junc­tion with the dex­ter­ity and tone of the fin­gers. Much of the tone comes from pluck­ing hard with the fin­gers so the strings snap back onto the frets. If you com­bine this with a bright bridge pickup tone, the re­sults can be very ef­fec­tive. This month’s track was per­formed us­ing a thumb pick just as Chet did and it is easy to hear that the tone pro­duced is more ‘Chet’. This tune also can be per­formed with the hy­brid pick­ing tech­nique, which com­bines the use of a nor­mal pick with the pick­ing hand’s sec­ond and third fin­gers. With the hy­brid pick­ing tech­nique you lose some of the free­dom as­so­ci­ated with us­ing the thumb pick; plus of course you need the first fin­ger to hold the pick, so that is out of com­mis­sion also. But you can get great re­sults with hy­brid pick­ing and this tech­nique has the ad­van­tage of bolt­ing on to your ex­ist­ing plec­trum style.

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