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Different string gauge for pick vs fingerstyle?

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Hi all,

off late I am getting more into playing with a pick, especially the faster funk of Bobby Vega, Cody Wright etc.
I usually play fingerstyle (funk, disco, jazzrock, rock) with 45-105 DR LowRiders on my Spector NS4CR. Nice tight attack, deep full sound, long life.

Would a different (lighter) gauge be better for pick playing?
What would the difference be tonally and on playability?
What strings do you prefer for pick playing?

Thanks for all input!


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I find playing with a pick to generate more highs in comparison to finger style, which to me is a warmer sound. 

I’d stick with the same strings to start and see where you go from there, you know you like them and they’ll feel natural to you when learning the new technique. 

For myself as a confirmed pick player I prefer steel rounds, for years it was Rotosound 66, then Warwick Red Label, have settled with Elixirs, they feel great, sound great and last a long time. 

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Playing with a pick first an foremost gives you an unique very specific snappy emphasis on the attack, that is the main difference tonally from finger picking.


Be aware though that there is a big difference in sound depending on the gauge, flexibility and material of the pick, which will all have an influence both on fell and tone of a given pick, and choosing the right pick is very much entirely a matter of personal preferences.


As an example picks made of Nylon will produce a warmer tone, mainly the attack, and be more flexible relatively to thickness compared to Tortex picks, which in comparison will produce a brighter tone, more clicky sort of attack, and be less flexible relatively to thickness.  .


Many prefer a relatively thick inflexible pick for bass, like 1mm and above, some even 3mm totally inflexible picks made of stone, but then again for example Bobby Vega prefers the .73mm Dunlop Tortex pick, and personally I prefer mine even more flexible, namely the .60mm Dunlop Tortex pick.


Regarding overall playabillity, once you've mastered both finger picking and playing with a pick, and have found just the right pick for you that makes you play optimally and give you the tone that you prefer, you will find that some stuff will lend it self to, sound better and be easier to play with, a pick, other stuff more to finger style playing.


Edited by Baloney Balderdash
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  • 3 weeks later...

i always just use rotosounds swings or the 77s at the moment, and im playing with a pick a solid 95% of the time, i use the .73mm dunlop nylons, id just stick with the same strings and jump between fingers and pick just go wiht what feels best and what youre used to id say

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