Alright Guys let's talk about it... THUMBPICKS

Alright friends, so I’ve experienced with thumbpicks and have been heavily intrigued by them… I mean when you get rid of the pick for a few weeks and play fingerstyle à la Ritchie Kotzen or grab a thumbpick and try to be the next Brent Mason, Tommy Emanuel, Lenny Breau, or dare I say Scotty Anderson !!

The only thing I found hard to do is funky playing with a thumpick… like 16th note strumming is brutal however not as bad with a Fred Kelly BumbleBee… It’s like having a Jazz III glued to your thumb. It’s great. Now this one is for you @troygrady… Will you ever release that stuff you did with Scotty Anderson ?? I used to watch that clip you had online before launching and it dlew my mind !!! What happened man ?

Anyway I think it would be awesome to have some thumbpick stuff in MIM !!

What do you guys think ??

Cheers have a great week !



Thanks for posting this, I also always wondered how to use a thumbpick properly. I am stuck at the very basics: why are they so goddamn small and uncomfortable? Even the size L ones completely squash my thumb, and I am pretty sure I have regular sized fingers… what am I missing, should I wrap it around the pinky instead? :joy:

Interesting tommo ! ya know what man, I encountered the same issue and somehow, if you put your thumbpick in hot water for a minute and then put it back on your thumb, put your finger in cold water and repeat, it will eventually reform itself. I have also filed the end a bit like Scotty Anderson and Brent Mason. There is a lot of experimentation ! I still haven’t found the perfect match yet but I am still looking. I even used a Peavey Thumbpick frame, cut the end and superglued a 351 pick at the end ! Worked nicely for a while but then it snapped. Look what this guys did !

Anyway have fun !!

1 Like

Put your thumb pick in really hot water, to soften it up, then try to mould it to the shape of your thumb. You will probably need to trim the end to make it more comfortable and easier to play.


Beautiful playing. It is, however, surprising to see Rick using a thumbpick to play classical, which would be considered unorthodox. IIRC he studied classical guitar at degree level.

Here is a selection of my customised thumbpicks -

I filed the tips down on the Herco and the Dunlop large thumbpick. I rarely play the Fred Kelly ones as they have a nub type thing on the back of them, to facilitate adjusting the pick, and I find it uncomfortable and annoying.

The Dunlop is the most comfortable as it has a nice bevel on it. I find it hard to strum chords with thumbpicks though and play with pick slanting.

This is the custom Dunlop thumbpick I made by gluing on a Tortex TIII onto a thumbpick which I cut the tip off. I probably should have made left a little more tip sticking out but it’s glued on and I can’t change it now! Again it’s hard to strum chords with but good for lead and lends itself well to hybrid picking.

This is the most comfortable thumbpick. The tip is just right and it’s well beveled from my playing.

I would not recommend Fred Kelly Bumblebee picks due to the adjustment on the back. If you want to try it then I wouldn’t bother buying them in bulk in case you don’t like them.

Filled down Herco - I need to play this a little more to make the bevel smoother.

Normal Herco for comparison.


I’ve played exclusively thumbpicks for over a decade now. It’s reached the point where a regular flat pick feels weird for me now. Like most things, there are advantages and disadvantages.

On the plus side, it’s effortless to switch between picking and fingerstyle. It also really aids relaxation in your right hand. With flatpicks, there’s always a balancing act between not to gripping it too hard, but not relaxing so much that you drop the pick. Since that’s no longer a concern, the index finger doesn’t have to expend any energy holding the pick, and just acts a guide.

The downsides, as others in this thread have mentioned, is that you don’t have a wide selection of picks to choose from. Many of them are uncomfortable unless they fit your thumb JUST right. What you also lose is the ability to make micro-adjustments in how you position and how hard you grip the pick. Interestingly, I don’t think this makes it much harder to play single lines, but it does make it harder to strum chords.

I went from Dunlop thumbpicks, to Hercos, to Fred Kelly Bumblebees. I tried the V-Pick thumbpick. None of them felt quite right.

Now I play SharkTooth thumbpicks ( – they’re easily the most comfortable I’ve ever used. I can’t say that 16th note strumming is now easy, but it’s certainly much easier. And you could easily replace the default pick with a pick of your choice (Jazz III, Fender Medium), although I’ve never felt the need to do that.


What style of music do you play? I find metal rhythms extremely hard to play with a thumbpick. I have no idea why, but they seem to be more challenging.

You know what, I might give that stum n comfort pick a try

hey man have you heard of Glenn Delaune ? Just a guy a saw online when I was into the TC G-System… anyway he plays a lot of classic hard rock and metal pick a thumbpick and it sounds killer

here’s glenn playing some metal check at around 4:30

1 Like

Yeah I know Glenn well. He’s great with a thumbpick, he can play some surprisingly fast lines with his technique.