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  1. #1

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    I’ve been playing jazz guitar for 40+ years (sometimes professionally) and have never NEVER felt fully comfortable with a standard flat pick; I was always adjusting my angle, switching from Benson-picking to some other method; studying videos of super-pickers, etc etc. I mean I can play... but never felt that I conquered picking with a pick.

    So about a year ago I switched to thumb pick and, except for “falling off the wagon” a few times, I’ve stuck with it. There are some challenges with it playing single note runs: I have to adjust the angle and rotation of the pick and support it with index or ring finger to get a comfortable feel when playing bebop type runs, but, since I was uncomfortable with flat pick anyway, it was not a showstopper. Plus there are clear advantages: you can rip into good fast runs using thumbpick and index or middle fingers a la Nashville players, and you can play classical or bossa nova style (or Chet Atkins style) at will. You can comp like a pianist. Perhaps the biggest challenge is playing funky rhythm which is easier with a flat pick.

    So —- anyone else out there experiment with thumb pick for jazz?

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Lennie Breau comes to mind, but I can't recall anybody else in jazz with a thumbpick.

  4. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by ronjazz
    Lennie Breau comes to mind, but I can't recall anybody else in jazz with a thumbpick.
    Right, but there are quite a few fingerpickers.

  5. #4

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    Ron Eschete uses a thumbpick. He gave me one of his custom made thumbpicks.

    Dan

  6. #5

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    I think Ron uses a Strum'N'Comfort pick. It wraps around the thumb and is secured with velcro. (It doesn't bind like thumbpicks can.) You can change picks, so don't think you'd have to buy a new gizmo whenever a pick wore out.

    There are a few varieties of these. I'm not sure which one Ron is using now.

    https://www.amazon.com/Strum-N-Comfo...15062495&psc=1

  7. #6

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  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by ronjazz
    Lennie Breau comes to mind, but I can't recall anybody else in jazz with a thumbpick.
    Lorne Lofsky

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by dcrowe
    Yes ! And you're more in tune when you play with a thumb pick.

  10. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes
    I think Ron uses a Strum'N'Comfort pick. It wraps around the thumb and is secured with velcro.
    Thanks, I’m ordering some.

  11. #10

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    And here's a demo by Dick Eliot -


  12. #11

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    I switched to this pick several years ago. This can be grasped with the thumb and index finger like a regular pick but also stays stable when used like a thumb pick.

    I found the thin pick too floppy. The stiffer ones work well. They are durable.

    It took about a year to make a full transition. But it wasn't a hard transition at all. It was worth it.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rsilver
    Thanks, I’m ordering some.
    Two things about those picks.
    First, you can get the picks separately.
    They come in several thicknesses too.
    Some people who use these a lot---I think Ron Eschete is one---have the pick tips shaped to suit them. (I think this is done for Ron by the maker, and you can buy the kind he uses shaped the way he likes it, but as with most things, what's just right for him may not be for you.

    Also, the wraps differ. The Sharktooth is much wider. It's super light, so weight is not an issue but it may take more getting used to. The Kodiak strap / wrap (whatever) is narrower.

    Also, if you have the wrap, you can use your own picks with it.

    Thumb pick for jazz?-sharktooth-kodiak-flatpick_lrg-jpg

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by dcrowe
    Ron Eschete uses a thumbpick. He gave me one of his custom made thumbpicks.

    Dan

    Ahh, Ronnie and his beautiful CB Hill guitar!!

  15. #14

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    I've never been able to balance the thumbpick against the fingers volume-wise.

  16. #15
    I've been reading quite a bit about thumb picks and had some thoughts. For players looking to combine conventional alternate picking (flatpicking) with fingerstyle playing, the challenge is finding a thumb pick that feels and performs like a flat pick. There are a lot of good thumb picks out there for fingerstyle/downstroke only playing, but the choices for some kind of hybrid pick are pretty limited. I think everybody has slightly different thumbs and holds their picks in slightly different positions and with different techniques. This makes finding a manufactured thumb pick product with the same feel and position as your flatpick pretty unlikely, unless you're really lucky or perfectly average.

    So, I decided to take a crack at making my own hybrid thumb pick and am very pleased with the results. (see photos below)



    I used two of my favorite picks for the process:

    - A wegen triangle 1.5mm flatpick (current jazz pick of choice for me)

    - A blue herco thumb pick (arguably the most popular thumb pick among pedal steel players)


    The wegen pick has holes in it which I used to add surface area/strength to the adhesive bond, you could drill holes through a regular pick though.


    Here's the process I used...

    1- Hold the flatpick as you normally would, and trace the profile of the pick onto the pad of your thumb.

    2- place the thumbpick around your thumb and the flatpick, makig sure not to move the flatpick.

    3- Once comfortable, trace the shape of the thumbpick onto the flatpick.

    4- remove from your thumb and trace the holes of the flatpick onto the thumbpick, ensuring everything is still aligned.

    5- drill holes through the thumbpick so they match the flatpick.

    6- use JB plasticweld, to bond the picks together. Get the putty between the pics and pinch them together so the putty comes through the holes. (I decided to put the flatpick on the outside -see photos- but the inside could work too)

    7- once it starts to set (20 minutes) you can scrape away excess putty. I decided to leave a fillet weld style bead around the edges.

    8-once set (2 -3hrs) use sandpaper and or a razor knife to clean up and smooth any excess adhesive.

    9- try it out, and experiment with the thumb-band by stretching or pinching the plastic to tighten or loosen the fit. I found I liked it a little looser than I like my thumb picks for pedal steel...


    For a first attempt I'm very happy with the results. I can switch fluidly between fingerstyle and conventional picking, and the conventional picking feels natural. This was a pretty quick process, and the pick feels custom fit to my hands, pick choice and right hand technique.

    IThumb pick for jazz?-img_20201127_133147-jpgThumb pick for jazz?-img_20201127_133223-jpgThumb pick for jazz?-img_20201127_133215-jpgThumb pick for jazz?-img_20201127_133140-jpgThumb pick for jazz?-img_20201127_133159-jpgThumb pick for jazz?-img_20201127_133128-jpg

  17. #16

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    Buddy Fite switched to thumb pick early in his career, because he said he was so drunk on gigs, that he kept dropping his picks. With a thumb pick, there was no way he could drop his pick anymore.

    He and Lenny Breau did things with the thumb pick that changed the course of jazz guitar playing forever.

  18. #17
    Something I learned from Los Indios was to drill two small holes like a snakebite and tie a small rubber band and make a knot to adjust it to your finger size. If you want to hear real Amazonean Indians play Chopin or Fantasia on classical guitar check out Los Indios Tororas last word wrong but close.

  19. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by ronjazz View Post
    Lennie Breau comes to mind, but I can't recall anybody else in jazz with a thumbpick.
    Brent Mason is a excellent jazz thumbpicker!!

  20. #19

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    nathen page


  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by steve burchfield View Post
    Something I learned from Los Indios was to drill two small holes like a snakebite and tie a small rubber band and make a knot to adjust it to your finger size. If you want to hear real Amazonean Indians play Chopin or Fantasia on classical guitar check out Los Indios Tororas last word wrong but close.
    Los Indios Tabajaras. I saw them in the late '60s when they played at my university on a tour. They had quite a few hits back then, and I still have some of their albums.