Switch from Flatpick to Fingerstyle [Intermediate/All Styles/Technique]

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Switch from Flatpick to Fingerstyle

There are a few different ways of switching back and forth between flatpick and fingerstyle from what I've seen and read. One method is to tuck the pick into the palm of the hand leaving whatever remaining fingers for fingerstyle. I know that this works successfully for players. And players can become very proficient at this. One example is that Brian Setzer does a demonstration on his instructional video.

While that may be ok for him, I never learned that way. What I do is something very simple and effective. Since I primarily use the thumb, forefinger and middle finger for fingerstyle, I simply tuck the pick away between the ring and middle fingers when the need arises. I can go back and forth between the normal pick grip and fingerstyle at will and with ease. I believe you can too. Also, I can ocassionally use my ring finger for picking. Here's how it works:


The reason this method works for me, and may for you as well, is due to the situation of me being able to adjust the pick on the fly.

Part of being able to do that is to gain superior control of the pick. I often alternate between using only my thumb and forefinger when holding the pick, but I will just as often employ the use of the middle finger to adust the pick for the sound I want. And then when it comes to heavy strumming I will use just as much of the middle finger together with the forefinger and thumb with varying pressures and pick holding positions in between.

The challenge to gain superior control of the pick is this: The Pick Control Challenge. This is a different lesson here at GfB&B than this one. It simply shows how you can learn to twirl your pick between your fingers while playing. Not to show off, but so you can develop superior pick control so you can adjust your pick to any playing style or condition.

So, for the purposes of this lesson, Switch from Flatpick to Fingerstyle, I want to encourage you while viewing the pictures above to work on simply allowing your ring finger to grab the pick so it rests between the ring and middle fingers, and then work on allowing the thumb to come back down on top of the pick. That's all it takes to learn this maneuver. It will become second nature to you in no time.

Whether you decide to practice this technique now or later, I encourage you to take the Pick Control Challenge so you will not only be able to go back and forth between flatpicking and fingerstyle, but so you will also never drop a pick again while playing.


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