Does Acoustic Blues Guitar Require Use of a Thumb Pick?



Asked by: Sam Cobain

The short answer is, no, blues doesn’t require a thumb pick. The blues is a broad class of music, played on all kinds of instruments, in all kinds of ways.

Do you need a pick to play blues?





Generally, electric guitarists use a plectrum of some sort to pluck the strings in and up down motion. Naturally, there are always exceptions, like Mark Knopfler, who uses his bare fingers to play both electric and acoustic guitars.

Do you need a thumb pick for guitar?

As I always say, before you make any final decisions, you should always try both types of picks out and see which one you feel more comfortable playing with: flat picks or thumb picks. You can totally purchase both, but most musicians typically end up choosing one type of pick and just sticking with it.

What picks do blues players use?

Four picks have come to the forefront as favorites for blues pickers. These four are: The Fender Extra Heavy Pick.



But if you can spare the change, you’ll have one of the best plectrums on the market today.

  • US Blues P3-JZAH Exotics Amber Horn Picks. …
  • Dunlop Jazz III. …
  • Dunlop Stubby Picks.


What guitarists use thumb picks?





So why go with thumb picks?

  • Great fingerstyle guitarists use them: Chet Atkins, Tommy Emmanuel, Merle Travis, etc.
  • It gives clarity and attack, especially to the bottom end. The low-mids can get muddy on the E and A strings. …
  • Allows for easier transition between fingerpicking and solos or strumming.


Did Robert Johnson play with a thumb pick?

Johnson played his Gibson L-1 using a thumb pick and occasionally used a slide. His recordings were largely unknown until they were rereleased in 1961.

What kind of pick should I use for acoustic guitar?

If you like to strum an acoustic guitar, go for the lighter one – 0.46 is the most popular for most beginner guitarists that I teach. They sound rich, have a lovely ‘zing’ across the strings, and are thin, therefore easy to control.

Is a thumb pick worth it?

Classical players (almost) never wear a thumbpick, but their picking-hand position is higher off the strings than most thumb pickers. That way, classical players get a great attack angle (as high as 45 degrees, perhaps) with the thumb, and get plenty of tone and volume from skin and thumbnail.



Do you need thumb pick for fingerstyle?

This will be your MAIN consideration. If you are playing Merle Travis, Chet Atkins type “boom-chick” you need to damp strings with the right hand at the bridge to get that “woofy” muted sound, and you’ll need a thumb pick or thumbnail to put an attack on those notes so they cut through.

Can you strum a guitar with a thumb pick?

The new Black Mountain Thumb Pick offers players the option of easily alternating between strumming and fingerpicking. The unique hybrid pick uses a patented, spring-loaded hinge that connects a thumb band to the pick itself, creating new hybrid playing options and interesting sounds.

Can you play guitar with thumb only?

Starting guitar with only the thumb is normal – even I started that way. It just felt natural. However, only using the thumb for all 6 strings is limiting. You cannot pluck multiple strings like you would during fingerpicking and you cannot pluck them quickly like you could when using the pick.



Are finger picks worth it?

EDIT: No, I would NOT recommend finger picks because they preclude the rest stroke — a very important technique for classical fingerstyle guitar. I WOULD recommend that you let you nails grow, but not too long — just enough white to accent the release the release of the string during a rest stroke.

Does Tommy Emmanuel use a thumb pick?

Tommy uses D’Andrea ProPlec rounded triangle picks and Jim Dunlop medium thumb picks.

Did Chet Atkins use a thumb pick?

Though Atkins played many styles, he is most often associated with country music and acoustic guitars. By using a combination of thumbpick and fingers, Chet created his signature “fingerpicking” sound.

What finger pick does Tommy Emmanuel use?

thumb pick



When playing fingerstyle, I prefer to utilize a thumb pick. If we play a progression of C-F-G, the thumb will sound, in sequence, the root note, the third, the fifth and the third once more (FIGURE 1).

How do I choose the right thumb pick?

If if you wanted to call this the the strap of the pick back here i typically have that strap right the middle right over between where my nail ends and the skin begins on the back of the thumbnail.

How do you play thumb pick on an acoustic guitar?

But when you're staying parallel. This allows you to have that pick come right out of the side of your thumb. And still get a sharp sound like you would get with your nail.

What size thumb pick should I get?

Unless you have a giant thumb, Medium is the size you want. Get a pack of 4 or 12 and the snugness will slightly vary between picks. Alternatively, place a pick in the microwave for 30- 60 seconds and slightly expand or squeeze the thumb opening. Let it cool (or place under cold water) and pick away!