Fast strumming is too hard on my thumb---I tried playing through the pain and letting callouses develop, but the callouses themselves wear off, and blisters form. I'm pretty sure it's not good for my thumb. So I've been trying out various "thumb guards", but none I've found so far seem to work. Any recommendations?
Would it be safe to use some sort of lube instead?
I've tried using picks---aside from the annoying clicking sound, they don't seem to work for fast alternating down/up strums. The pick material bends too much, so I haven't been able to do it fluidly.
(If I try to use my fingernails in an "air picking" style for fast down/up strums, either the nail of my index finger gets caught on the upstrum or---if I try to use the nail of my thumb on the upstrum---I have to move my thumb too far under the bridge to strum quickly.)
My biggest complaint is strumming up -- I can manage strumming down, the motion (+gravity, I guess) makes it easier. Strumming up, however, seems to have greater resistance. What I am now doing is basically "scratching" up and down, but the side result is the black residues coming off from the bridge's "buttons".
Make no mistake, though, I think the idea of having buttons instead of strings is a better idea. It's just that Artiphon needs a better implementation if there's ever an Instrument 2.