Different finger plucking styles

So the default plucking style advocated by Josh throughout the course is index/middle but what other styles are used? I find I naturally try to rest my middle, ring and pinky on the pickguard below the G string and pluck with thumb and index. In fact my MIJ reissue jazz bass has two screw holes on the pickguard in about this position which is where I think finger rests were sometimes screwed for this purpose. So I’m wondering if thumb/index is an acceptable technique or if not what the drawbacks might be?


I would say that is perfectly acceptable. The more styles you have under your belt the more versatile you will be as a player. Damian Erskine uses the thumb/index plucking a lot, mainly because it makes it easier for him to use palm muting, which he does a lot… and also for some chordal playing.

My guess is that Josh wants us to focus on one (and perhaps the main) technique in the start before venturing out and trying other options.

Or check out Janek Gwizdala (he uses thumb/index quite a bit as well)!


@joergkutter, thank you for suggesting Janek. He’s got a great youtube channel as well. His 10 minute practice video is particularly good.

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Do your own thing! That being said, the thumb is stronger than the index finger, and different in shape. This might give you slight differences in volume and sound when using it versus your index finger. Might not be enough to really notice though. I say people should do whatever they desire, as long as it is not going to cause physical ailments.

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Is this what you are asking about?

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Some people do 3 finger plucking. Entwistle plucked the strings ON the fretboard by striking them with his plucking fingers.

The Thumb index style is very legitimate. The best player I’ve seen who regularly uses it is Remco Hendriks. It isn’t slap either, he is plucking, almost like Spanish style guitar.


Thumb-index is nice for playing repetitive octaves too. Less of a gnarled finger thing going on than index-middle.

Agreed :arrow_up: . . . everyone is different: different hands, finger lengths, sizes, etc.

Whatever works best and is most comfortable for your playing style . . . :slight_smile:


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Josh teaches u the technique to set you up for success for the most playability for the most songs possible. certain styles are beneficial in some genres and not in others. I look at it the same way as raking strings. it helps u play fast, but be able to play it all ways that are necessary to not give yourself a crutch that keeps u from advancing later.