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A bit of an epiphany about pick-holding

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by Seasicksailor, Oct 2, 2020.

  1. thankyouguitar

    thankyouguitar Tele-Meister

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    As much attention as the fretting hand gets from both players and audience, I belive guitar is something like 90% picking hand. Enjoy your trip down the rabbit hole!
     
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  2. alnico357

    alnico357 Tele-Afflicted

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    Interesting. I find I need to relax my fretting hand more but tighten the grip on my pick. The pick grip definitely influences tone.
     
  3. Seasicksailor

    Seasicksailor Friend of Leo's

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    Try relaxing everything and see what happens (other than a potential nap or bowel incident :D).
     
  4. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    2 carpal tunnel surgeries and a trigger finger surgery have me thinking a lot about my hands...and in new ways.
     
  5. Mandocaster68

    Mandocaster68 TDPRI Member

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    I'm actually a bit of an alien here, my primary instrument is mandolin and I only dabble with a tenor Telecaster guitar.

    In the mandolin world, a great deal of emphasis is placed on picking hand technique. Working on an high tension, short stringed instrument where strumming is not the general focus, players really work the pick hand elements to the extreme to get the best tone.

    A loose grip is a near universal practice in the mando-sphere. Loose grip, choked up on a thick pick, with a loose wrist, loose arm and good posture seems to be the winning combination among pro players. The looseness allows for more comfort over the long haul and, for me, a tremendous boost in speed and accuracy. It seems choking up the pick is the key to doing this successfully. It does take some practice to get used to, and to maintain in an aggressive picking situation. I find it almost impossible to play tremolo with a firmer grip. I've often wondered what Dick Dale's approach was to that style.

    Anyway, from where I sit, looser and choked up is always going to be better for me. I can very quickly tell from the quality of my playing if I've tensed up and am gripping too hard. If my playing doesn't tell me, my wrist and forearm will chime in painfully soon. Do I drop picks while playing? Nope. If you are just starting out with a looser grip, you may toss a few picks until you get the hang of it.
     
  6. Mandocaster68

    Mandocaster68 TDPRI Member

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    I use a nearly identical grip, although with much heavier picks.
     
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  7. suthol

    suthol Friend of Leo's

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    Don't Steve Morse and Albert Lee hold the pick in their fingertips

    Me I use what I was taught 60 years ago, between thumb and curled index finger and play with the speed of a sloth crawling out of a bucket of treacle on a cold day
     
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  8. Rufus

    Rufus Tele-Afflicted

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    No, I rarely drop it but it spins between my fingers so that it is effectively changing shape and length.
    I'm about to experiment and superglue a pick to a thumbpick to see if that helps any.
    IN THEORY, the thumbpick will remain stationary and hold the pick in position- and a pick is not as thick as a thumbpick
     
  9. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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  10. gregulator450

    gregulator450 Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    This is almost exactly how I hold my picks. I use a bunch of different picks but I really like the dunlop primetone .73mm in the jazz III XL shape as a good all-around pick.
     
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  11. gregulator450

    gregulator450 Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    There are several thumb pick/flat pick hybrids out there. Fred Kelly Picks, Black Mountain Picks, Blue Chip, and Dunlop (Herco) make one. I have collected Fred Kelly and Herco ones. Fred Kelly picks are such that the flat pick part slides on the thumb wrap. They would be perfect if the pick had 1/8" more room to slide on the thumb wrap.

    The one thing I found is that i choke up on my pick a lot more than these picks allow, so I have filed down the pick part to work for me. I have started using these a lot lately since I got a banjitar and am trying to learn banjo style fingerstyle on it.
     
  12. Rufus

    Rufus Tele-Afflicted

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    Thanks for the tip...I will look for them.
    I usually choke up and have very little pick showing too.
    Filing down seem like the only option.

    The other complication is that I'm lefthanded and the standard thumbpicks dont fit perfectly, but Southpaws get used to that sort of thing.
     
  13. megalo82

    megalo82 TDPRI Member

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    I’ve started to take guitar lessons in 2017, my teacher suggested me to learn as rigthy also if I am lefty, after 8 months I quit playing because of the picking hand. Now I’ve tried again and things seems to be better, but far from good! I’m trying to be relaxed but the pick drop every time, but if I hold it tight I strum very hard and imprecise... hope to sort that because I really want to learn
     
  14. Double Stop

    Double Stop Tele-Meister

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    Have you tried the John Petrucci signature Jazz III picks? They’re slightly bigger than a traditional Jazz III and they have a solid sharp point, plus the matte-textured portion of the pick where the “JP” initials are keeps the pick from slipping out of your hand. That’s all I use now. It’s a fantastic pick.

    For years, I used medium picks and when I tried these, it was an absolute revelation. I haven’t looked back since and my right hand technique has vastly improved. BE9D2F65-1A54-4233-B3CE-DB3962A779DA.jpeg
     
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  15. gregulator450

    gregulator450 Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I believe Fred Kelly, Blue Chip, and Black Mountain all make LH versions of their pick.
     
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  16. Seasicksailor

    Seasicksailor Friend of Leo's

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    Thanks! I'll give them a go.
     
  17. Sequimite

    Sequimite Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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    Mike Compton, the renowned mandolin player, taught me his grip and I've started using it on guitar. It maximises speed, volume, especially high frequencies, and is both fairly tightly and loose.

    Rather than using the fleshy tips of the thumb and index finger, use the last joints. Move the pick back to the thumb joint and tighten the hole made by the curved index finger until the pick is between the hard joints. In this position the pick will pivot even when held pretty tightly. With less soft flesh to mute the pick the highs come alive. Also the fingers are not as stressed and accurate speed improves in my experience.
     
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  18. teletail

    teletail Tele-Afflicted

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    I've struggled with improving my picking technique for several years. I got to the point where I realized it was my primary barrier to playing faster. I won't detail my journey, because I think it's probably different for everyone, but one of the things that really helped was studying the Truefire videos because you can get a really good look at how the different players used the pick.

    I think there are some general principles when it comes to picking, but this is one of those situations where you really have to find what works for you.
     
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  19. Kingpin

    Kingpin Friend of Leo's

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    An often over-looked aspect of picking is the depth of your pick attack on the string. Too deep and you lose speed (moving the pick in and out of the string plane). You just need enough pick striking the string to get it moving.
     
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  20. Rufus

    Rufus Tele-Afflicted

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    Its 2020...there ARE left handed guitars out there...maybe not in every color but a whole lot more than there were 50 years ago.
    I suggest giving a try to playing Lefty...many people have little rhythm in their non dominant hand.
    Buy an inexpensive lefty Squier
    You can always switch back to learning righthanded and sell the lefty if it doesnt work out.

    If you play Air Guitar with your left hand, then DO IT.
     
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