In all the years I have been around other who love music I would have to say that the acoustic guitar is among the preferred musical instruments, maybe even world-wide. It really doesn’t matter your age, heck I didn’t learn to play acoustic guitar until I was 47 and I’m now 59 and still love playing every single day.
Should You Use A Guitar Pick?
When I started I chose not to use a guitar pick and I believe it actually held me back as my fingers would get sore when I was trying to strum. I was fine while learning to finger pick specific songs but not so much when hitting the strings with the back of my nails or using my finger nails to strum.
Once I started using a pick I was able to play much longer and get a better sound as well. The thing is there are times I want to play without a pick as I like the sound I can get but not all the time.
Flamenco guitarists for instance will rarely use picks because it doesn’t produce a sound OK for their kind of music.
Playing Fast Lead And Doing Scales
The times I have the hardest time playing without a pick is when I’m learning or playing faster lead or practicing scales in order to play faster. It starts out great but soon my finger tips and nails start to hurt and it’s time to switch to a pick again. I have bruised myself under my finger nails at times and it takes days before I can play with my fingers again. Using a pick more often helps avoid this.
When you are just strumming slow acoustic songs it doesn’t hurt to make use of your fingertips but for faster songs it might basically make your fingers bleed or feel like they are going to.
I have learned which songs I can use my fingers and others where I should be using a pick and I do fine. It took me a while before I was even willing to use a pick but it has really made a difference in my strumming and picking ability.
I am not sure if everyone has a problem holding a pick at the beginning but I had a real problem with the pick moving around between my thumb and forefinger at the beginning. Eventually I got it right but perhaps it was due to me only using my fingers for the first 4 years of playing.