I know what you mean about finger/thumb picks; it's really awkward at first. But there is a definite sound difference, especially with the ragtime - influenced material like Rev. Gary Davis. I have recently tried using the alaska (sp?) finger picks, which are made of plastic instead of metal and wedge under the fingernail. I like these a lot better than metal fingerpicks, which are too metallic sounding against the strings for me (although Jorma Kaukonen sounds great using them). I do use the National thumb pick, although it's length makes it subject to getting stuck in the strings if you're not carefull. I do think the rewards are worth the extra practice.
: I am seeking any advice on how to learn to play
: with a thumbpick.
: Last summer, I buckled down and learned to
: play with fingerpicks (I had played for
: 20+ years without them, using a flatpick
: and bare middle and ring fingers). I'm
: really glad I did it -- the sound is very
: different, and the contrast (I still play
: some material with bare fingers) is great.
: And the advice I got at this site was
: very helpful.
: I have now decided to try something probably
: more challenging: learn to play with a
: Why am I doing this? Two reasons:
: 1) String popping (ala Patton, Jefferson,
: House, et al) is much harder with a
: flatpick than a thumbpick. The angle is
: just different.
: 2) I believe that a flatpick, ring and
: middle fingers are just not that effective
: in picking quick rolls, or faster
: polyphonic tunes like those of Blake and
: Jefferson. The thumb, index and middle
: fingers seem easier to get working in this
: I'm very interested in people's thoughts and
: experiences along these lines.
: Thanks in advance.
: PS: One other hurdle -- I play left-handed,
: which limits my choices of thumbpicks.
: PPS: Ari, I noticed on your video you appear
: to use a glue-on thunmbnail? Do you find
: that better than a thumbpick?