Here is a collection of great guitar players doing their thing without the standard flat-pick that many people use. Most of these players should be familiar to any guitarist and all of these players have had an impact on guitar playing. Personally, I love playing without a pick sometimes and one the best things a player can develop is the ability to play either with or without. There are many reasons for playing this way including:
• The ability to play complicated patterns and contrapunctal lines
• Greater control for attack
• A wide variety of tones from using different parts of the hand
• Greater control for damping (especially slide players)
Of course some players reach a level of mastery or that makes the pick completely unnecessary. Other players would have a really hard time even approaching what they do if they had to worry about holding on to anything. What’s great about the following videos is many of them have close-up views so you can really get a good look at what’s going on. YouTube really is a GREAT learning device. Plus all this music is pretty brill don’t you think?
The Allman Brothers (Derek Trucks / Warren Hayes*)
* Chet Atkins and Bonnie Raitt are both using thumbpicks, but they are also using their fingers and Warren Hayes is switching back and forth between using a standard pick and just using his fingers.
The crab picture I shot myself in Mexico a few years ago. I’m not sure what kind it is and it looked pretty ferocious in person but was really shy. It came out from under the porch of the bungalow one night while I was playing guitar.