Can You Do Fingerstyle on An Electric Guitar?


Playing the guitar “fingerstyle” involves using your fingers instead of a plectrum to pluck the strings.

It may be done on any guitar, although acoustic guitars are the most frequently used ones for this.

With a few modifications, fingerstyle playing is nevertheless doable on an electric guitar.

Since thicker strings might be challenging to pluck with your fingers, you should start by using thinner gauge strings.

Additionally, you’ll need to lower the guitar’s action because a greater action can make it challenging to select specific strings with clarity.

With a little practice, an electric guitar can be played fingerstyle, generating a distinctive and lovely sound.

Is It Simple to Play Fingerstyle On An Electric Guitar?

It is crucial to note that fingerpicking is an extremely technical skill that takes time to perfect; however, if you opt to learn this method on an electric guitar rather than an acoustic, you may find it easier.

First, the lighter string gauge will be more comfortable than the typically hefty acoustic strings since you’ll use the fingers as picks.

Further contributing to comfort is that the string tension on an electric guitar is lower than that of an acoustic.

The method for playing fingerstyle on an electric guitar should be the same as with an acoustic.

It calls for utilizing your thumb for the bass side (E, A, and D strings) and your index, middle, and ring fingers on the G, B, and high E strings, respectively.

Thumbs play downstrokes while fingers play upstrokes when playing this style.

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Do I Need Special Picks to Fingerpick With An Electric?

The quick answer is no. You may play fingerstyle without special picks.

Consider slightly lengthening your fingernails if you intend to play many fingerstyle guitars without using picks.

To achieve a clearer sound, many fingerstyle musicians this.

Of course, you don’t have to, but keep in mind that using your fleshy finger pads will result in a much quieter tone and can make you need to play louder.

Alternatively, you might spend money on fingerpicks that fit over your thumb and fingertips.

These are excellent if you want to play with extraordinary clarity, which is impossible using just your fingertips.

However, playing with just your fingers has at least one key advantage over utilizing picks: control.

Playing with bare fingers gives you a much greater feel for the strings.

It makes it much easier to adjust loudness and attack, allowing you to switch between warm and calm plucking sounds and bright plucking sounds.

Fingering Or Picking?

If you’re starting, a pick is usually advised.

You may play the guitar more easily and enhance your lead and melodic abilities using a pick.

The pick will be more comfortable if you are new to playing electric guitar because it produces a stronger tone.

On the other hand, your fingers can be an excellent option if you have a lot of experience. You get to decide.

Why Is Fingerstyle Guitar Difficult Compared to Strumming

Due to its more precise playing requirements, a fingerstyle guitar is not any simpler to play than a regular guitar.

With fingerstyle, you must pluck numerous strings simultaneously without accidentally playing the wrong one.

Strumming requires 3-6 strings to be played at the same time.

Therefore you only need to play 3 to 6 strings simultaneously.

As a result of their heavy reliance on alternate picking techniques, fingerstyle guitars are more challenging to master than strumming guitars.

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When you alternate, you go on to the next string, picking two strings simultaneously.

You must put in a lot of practice to pick effortlessly in alternates.

Generally, fingerstyle guitars require more practice to become proficient at playing than strumming guitars.

But it could be one of the most worthwhile skills to learn if you are ready to put the effort into it.

Can You Play Fingerstyle Without Nails

Although long nails are usually used to play fingerstyle guitars, small nails or even the flesh of the fingertip can be just as effective.

Although short nails or only the flesh of the fingertip might be just as excellent, if not better, long nails are frequently advised for fingerstyle guitar playing.

In relation to varied nail lengths, we’ll examine a few of the most crucial variables.

When you practice using the flesh on your fingertips, you’ll get calluses, which sound loud like fingernails when you strike them.

Most people feel motivated to pursue this professional route after witnessing some genuinely outstanding fingerstyle guitarists play without nails.

Most people wouldn’t pass up the opportunity to experiment with having long nails because it’s typically advised to have them.

The sound is louder and requires less effort to generate when long nails are positioned right away.

If you have excellent nails and can play very well, you do not need to be a professional if you are only starting.

It can be really inconvenient to deal with fake nails because you have to spend a lot of time on them.

It makes sense that most fingerstyle guitarists use their nails when playing.

How Do I Play Guitar Without Nails?

There are numerous ways to play a guitar without using nails.

You play the guitar with fingerpicks, which are tiny, sharp pieces of wood.

Furthermore, nylon string guitars are an excellent choice since they require no fingerpicks.

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Strings that are thin but strong are used to play the guitar.

There are a few alternative options for individuals who desire to play the guitar with their nails.

Nylon strings are easier to play without nails than steel strings.

In addition to picking tools, finger pickers are also available. Finally, there are prosthetic nails, which resemble pickpockets.

How Does Fingerstyle On An Electric Guitar Sound?

One of the main reasons some guitar players believe fingerstyle techniques are only for acoustic guitars is that they sound so good on acoustic guitars, but how does fingerstyle sound on electric guitar?

Fingerstyle playing on an electric guitar can sound fantastic.

It takes more time and effort to develop this ability than it does to play with a pick.

It takes some practice to achieve a good tone when playing with your fingers, but once you put in the necessary time and effort, fingerstyle playing on this instrument may sound exceptional.

The sound of fingers being played is less crisp and more mellow than playing with a pick.

Yet, the guitarist has considerably greater dynamic control over the strings when playing fingerstyle.

As a result, the player can get more feel, tone, and variety out of the electric guitar when playing fingerstyle rather than with a plectrum.

The guitarist can find ways to make the guitar sound bright or mellow, harsh or gentle, heavy or quiet, nuanced or intense by using different techniques within the fingerstyle playing method.

Electric guitarists who take the time to master the instrument can also develop a distinctive tone on their own.

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