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Don Wayne Reno wearing finger picks while playing a banjo

A fingerpick is a type of plectrum used most commonly for playing bluegrass style banjo music. Most fingerpicks are composed of metal or plastic. Unlike flat guitar picks, which are held between the thumb and finger and used one at a time, fingerpicks clip onto or wrap around the end of the fingers and thumb; thus one hand can pick several strings at once. Generally three are used: one for the thumb, and one each for the middle and index fingers. Fingerpicks worn on the thumb are generally called "thumbpicks". Most players use a plastic thumbpick while using metal fingerpicks. Fingerpicks come in a variety of thicknesses to accommodate different musicians' styles of playing. Thin picks produce a quieter, more delicate sound, while thick picks produce a heavier sound.

Fingerpicks are also used by Hawaiian guitar players, Dobro players and bottleneck guitar players. Fingerpicks are sometimes considered easier to use than standard guitar picks, since fingerpicks provide more control than a traditional guitar picks. By using fingerpicks, guitarists can play a bass line at the same time as they play a lead (often the melody), and still get the sound of a standard guitar pick.

Classical guitar players, who traditionally use their fingernails to pluck the guitar's strings, may choose to use fingerpicks as an alternative to maintaining fingernails.

See also


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