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The Official Thumbpick Guide (Guitar Lesson)


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Jim Deeming

The Official Thumbpick Guide

Jim Deeming answers one of the most common fingerstyle questions, "which thumbpick should I use?"

Taught by Jim Deeming in Fingerstyle Guitar seriesLength: 13:03Difficulty: 1.0 of 5


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Member Comments about this Lesson

Discussions with our instructors are just one of the many benefits of becoming a member of JamPlay.


ftherdmanftherdman replied on December 26th, 2013

Jim, thank you for this informative video. I have a question about angling, or tilting, the thumb pick. When I use a regular pick, I’ve learned to hold the pick at an angle so that the edge of the pick (the edge facing the neck of the guitar) strikes the string. This gives a softer sound and allows for faster picking. I’ve tried the same approach with a thumb pick, and I like the results. Is this OK, or will it get me into trouble down the road?

pogopogo replied on May 9th, 2013

Jim Great lessons. I have a question about guitars. Do you prefer steel strings or nylon? I noticed you played the classical on "The Claw" lesson but the steel string on most others. I know Jerry Reed played nylon. I need a new fingerstyle guitar and the string spacing at the nut and bridge are critical. I find it hard to go from a 1 11/16"ths neck to a 2" neck of a classical, but I like the string spacing of the classical at the bridge. Are the Martin OMs with the 1 3/4" neck the answer? (I noticed thats what you play) Or should I just suck it up and deal with the wider neck of a classical?

Lilac LionLilac Lion replied on August 31st, 2011

Really Really like the Fred Kelly slick picks. Thanks for the suggestion Jim!

jcasejcase replied on June 21st, 2011

my thumb pick sometimes gets caught up in the strings when I am alternating. It gets caught in the gap opening where the thumb pick curves around. Any suggestions

joseefjoseef replied on March 12th, 2011

I almost jumped out of my headphones with that shattering glass noise...thought my windows were breaking...lol....great lesson thanks.

pick1pick1 replied on October 1st, 2010

Jim I was a tank commander and we were hit and I lost on my right hand the thumb from the nail down to the just about the top of what would be the knuckle. Are there picks that can be constructed to fit my circumstance? Many thanks

andylipscombandylipscomb replied on October 4th, 2010

Take a look at ProPick. They have a thin metal thumb loop and a delrin tip. They can be radically reshaped as needed. I use one because I apparently have a monstrously large thumb, something I had never noticed until I started trying on "large" thumb picks and found them all way too small. They're available from Elderly Instruments--www.elderly.com. Thank you for your service.

Jim.DeemingJim.Deeming replied on October 2nd, 2010

pick1 - I don't know what to tell you other than you might experiment with different sizes and shapes and see if you can get one to hang on. Also don't forget that you can shape them quite a bit after heating them in hot water.

Bill CameronBill Cameron replied on October 1st, 2010

They work well for me

dj.phillipsdj.phillips replied on October 1st, 2010

STOP THE INDOCTRINATION!

thedudethedude replied on October 1st, 2010

Great video Jim! I've heard really good things about the Fred Kelly picks - gonna have to give them a try. I guess with everyone it's a lot of trial and error - I've got dozens but only a few that I find effective with my thumb. Thanks.

Fingerstyle Guitar

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

Fingerstyle guitar allows you to play the bass, harmony, and melody of a song all within the context of a single guitar part.



Lesson 1

Intro to Fingerstyle

This lesson serves as an introduction for Fingerstyle Guitar with Jim Deeming. Come on in and get started!

Length: 24:32 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 2

Basic Fingerstyle

Jim demonstrates a basic fingerstyle exercise that you can use with any of the chords you know.

Length: 16:05 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 3

More Picking Patterns

Jim expands on lesson 2 and teaches several different picking patterns. He also covers the basics of muting.

Length: 14:23 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 4

Using Syncopation

Jim Deeming explains how to integrate basic syncopation into your rhythm playing.

Length: 17:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 5

Picking Melody Notes

This lesson is all about picking melody notes. Fingerstyle guitar really gets interesting when you combine bass, harmony, and melody.

Length: 33:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 6

Aura Lee

Jim Deeming teaches a fingerstyle version of the classic Civil War era song "Aura Lee."

Length: 43:23 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 7

Chet Atkins Style

Jim explains key components of Chet Atkins' guitar style.

Length: 18:12 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 8

3/4 Time and a Song

Jim Deeming teaches a fingerstyle arrangement of "Bicycle Built for Two." He uses this piece as an example of 3/4 or waltz timing.

Length: 37:34 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 9

Two Songs at Once

Jim Deeming teaches a fingerstyle arrangement of "Yankee Doodle" and "Dixie." Both songs are played simultaneously!

Length: 30:03 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 10

Open G Tuning

Jim Deeming teaches the basics of open G tuning. He also teaches a song entitled "Spanish Fandango" to show how the tuning can be used.

Length: 39:58 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 11

Carter Family Style

Jim Deeming introduces a playing style called "Carter Family Style." The technique is also referred to as "Frailing" or "Clawhammer" style.

Length: 13:07 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 12

DADGAD Tuning

Jim Deeming teaches the many wonders of DADGAD tuning.

Length: 32:25 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 13

Thumb Independence

Jim Deeming tackles the topic of thumb independence.

Length: 31:51 Difficulty: 1.5 FREE
Lesson 14

The JamPlay Song

Jim Deeming teaches a more advanced version of the aptly named "JamPlay Song."

Length: 7:24 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 15

The Wayfaring Stranger

Jim Deeming teaches a fingerstyle version of the classic song "The Wayfaring Stranger."

Length: 31:27 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 16

The Official Thumbpick Guide

Jim Deeming answers one of the most common fingerstyle questions, "which thumbpick should I use?"

Length: 13:03 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 17

Fingernail Guide

Jim Deeming presents his thoughts on how to properly grow and groom your fingernails.

Length: 7:07 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 18

The Entertainer

Jim Deeming teaches a fingerstyle arrangement of "The Entertainer," a classic piano song ported over to the guitar.

Length: 20:40 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 19

Arranging Fingerstyle Songs

Jim Deeming teaches the skills necessary to transform any song into a solo fingerstyle masterpiece.

Length: 37:04 Difficulty: 4.0 Members Only
Lesson 20

Arranging Fingerstyle Songs Pt. 2

Jim talks more about arranging fingerstyle songs. This time around he discusses harmonization and chord inversions.

Length: 13:35 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 21

Arranging Fingerstyle Songs Pt. 3

Jim Deeming demonstrates alternate ways to play the CAGED chords that can be very useful when playing melody and accompaniment simultaneously.

Length: 30:38 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 22

Arranging Fingerstyle Songs Pt. 4

In this lesson Jim Deeming talks about a simple way to add harmony notes to the melody section of fingerstyle songs. This technique is quite simple and can add a whole new dimension to your playing.

Length: 5:51 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only

About Jim Deeming View Full Biography Jim Deeming got his first guitar when he was only six years old. His Dad was taking fingerpicking lessons, and Jim wanted to be just like him. The Mel Bay books didn't last very long before he strapped on a thumb pick and added the Chet part to Red River Valley so it sounded better.

Most of Jim's early learning was by ear. With unlimited access to his Dad's collection of Chet Atkins albums, he spent countless hours decoding his favorite songs. They were never "right" until they sounded just like Chet. Around the age of 12, Jim heard Jerry Reed for the first time and just knew he had to be able to make that "Alabama Wild Man" sound. The styles of Chet & Jerry always have been a big influence on his playing.

More recently he has pursued arrangements by Tommy Emmanuel and Doyle Dykes, in addition to creating some of his own and writing originals.

Jim has performed in front of a variety of audiences, including concerts, competitions, weddings and the like, but playing at church has always been a mainstay. Whether playing in worship bands or guitar solos, gospel music is deep in his roots and is also the driving theme behind his debut CD release, titled "First Fruits".

Jim has been playing for about 38 years. He also has taught private lessons in the past but believes JamPlay.com is an exciting and better venue with many advantages over the traditional method of weekly 30 minute sessions.

Jim lives in Berthoud, Colorado with his wife, Linda, and their four children. Although he still has a "day job", he is actively performing and is already back in the studio working on the next CD. If you wonder how he finds time, look no further than the back seat of his truck where he keeps a "travel guitar" to take advantage of any practice or song-writing opportunities he can get.

The opening song you hear in Jim's introductory JamPlay video is called, "A Pick In My Pocket". It's an original tune, written in memory of Jim's father who told him early on he should always keep a pick in his pocket in case he ever met Chet Atkins and got the chance to play for him. That song is slated to be the title track for his next CD, which will feature several more originals plus some of his favorite covers of Chet and Jerry arrangements.

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