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Thumbpicking a telecaster

PostPosted: Sun Aug 10, 2014 5:22 pm
by thumper
I need some advice on thumbpicking a telecaster. I love the sound of a telecaster but dont have enough picking space. I use a kelly speed pick. I can play other styles just fine but when I try to play alternating bass style I hit the body of the guitar with my thumb pick. I dont have that problem with Gibson style electrics (strings higher off the body), no problems on acoustics either.

Re: Thumbpicking a telecaster

PostPosted: Sun Aug 10, 2014 7:18 pm
by Roger Pratt
I have no problem thumbing a Tele, I suppose it's a matter of how aggressive you play. Try to develop lighter touch and mute the bass strings with the heel of your picking hand and you can really dig in if you want. So what if you hit the body of the tele.

Re: Thumbpicking a telecaster

PostPosted: Sun Aug 10, 2014 9:00 pm
by DagerRande
I play thumb picking style all the time on my Stratocaster with no problems. I don't believe there's much physical difference between the two other than for the number of pickups. I also have a '67 CG that I do the same with.
I'm not sure how to describe how I handle both of these guitars for finger picking but I guess I just adapt to each one
as needed.

Re: Thumbpicking a telecaster

PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2014 8:56 am
by Norm
If you have the MAMG book and look at the photo of Chet's much used Gibson CG you will notice a little piece of Velcro on the fingerboard pickup put there probably to help deal with pick click on the pickup cover. That's always an option.

You might try shortening the blade on your tele thumbpick. Custom shaping a thumbpick isn't unheard of. I use Dunlop mediums and always shorten and round the blades on them. Chet reshaped his picks too.

People who make picks don't get their feeling hurt if you do this.

Re: Thumbpicking a telecaster

PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2014 10:29 am
by BillB
I shortened a Speed Pick a few years ago for playing on my Strat, and it seemed to work well for me. Anymore, I use a Slick Pick on all my guitars. I think you just keep doing it until you adapt to the technique that works on all of them.

Bill B.

Re: Thumbpicking a telecaster

PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2014 10:40 am
by Ray Bohlken
I looked at some of Scotty Anderson's videos on Youtube to see if they showed how he held his thumb pick and found a couple. You don't need to watch the whole video, but there are different angles shown with him muting the strings and playing that thumb beat. I hope these links help.

Re: Thumbpicking a telecaster

PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2014 7:14 pm
by Norm
Man, he's scary sometimes.

What I would like to see is just what, if anything, he does to the blades on his picks. I'd bet he shortens them some.

I gave all this a lot of thought years ago and what I came up with was this. I dug around and found a couple of flatpicks in my possibles box and played some regular guitar stuff (no attempt to hold the flatpick and imitate thumb style.)

After I had done this for a little while I looked at how much of the flatpick was actually sticking out past the edge of my thumb when I looked at it from the top as I held the pick.

I noticed immediately that there was way less plastic pick showing than the same view was when I wore my right-out-of-the-box thumbpicks.

Conclusion: I didn't need all that excess plastic so I trimmed the blades on my thumbpicks and rounded the resulting chopped edge and it seemed to improve my playing some and definitely eliminated 'pick-click' on the pickup covers.

Works for me and makes sense, too...

PS. Maybe we can take up a collection and get him a new nut for his Tele. That piece of paper is a band-aid

Re: Thumbpicking a telecaster

PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2014 9:38 pm
by thumper
Scottys pick is very short and he is very scary. I think I am a bit heavy handed as I learned my travis picking on a 1951 D28. I would do me good to learn to lighten up a bit. Thanks for the advice I respect everyone here and enjoy this site. Check out Scottys video of Ill see you in my dreams where he is playing a 6122. The video is dark but MAN. What gauges of strings are you guys using on your strats and teles. Thanks! :D

Re: Thumbpicking a telecaster

PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2014 11:34 pm
by Roger Pratt
Always 10's on my Tele.

Re: Thumbpicking a telecaster

PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2014 6:12 pm
by George Beasley
Back in 92 or 93, I was in downtown Nashville when NAMM was going on. I went down to see Danny Gatton play in the courtyard outside the Mechant's Hotel on Broadway. Danny was great as expected...but unexpectedly, he brought up Scotty to jam with him. They had an issue when the power went out, but when they got going again, Scotty was a monster. Needless to say, I am glad I was there....two Tele masters just having fun, and playing the hell out of a plank of wood.