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Picking with the Side of the Pick

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by gitapik, Oct 13, 2012.

  1. gitapik

    gitapik Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

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    Hey,
    I've played guitar for a long time. Most of the electric stuff has been lead except for a stint of funk rhythm where I used a sharkfin pick (with the little ridges).
    Lately I'm into playing country riffs/fills and more rhythm stuff. Something new for me and the G&L brings it out beautifully. I've found myself using the side of the pick a lot. I found it by mistake and have been playing around with it.
    I really dig it.
    I don't like it as much for heavier distortion stuff or jazz...but it's really cool with clean and light OD country, blues, and funk.
    Anybody else play like this? I'm wondering if it's standard stuff that I've just "missed". If so: any tips to bring out the best in it?
     
  2. boosh

    boosh Tele-Holic

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    [​IMG]

    I play with the side of a Dunlop Tortex 0.6mm pick, always have for some reason, but I almost exclusively play rhythm. I'm starting to play more riff/lead based stuff now though, so may start to use the pointy end. The stuff I'm playing ATM is funk/punk/rock.

    I'm not the man to tell you how to bring out the best though as I'm rather heavy handed to say the least.
     
  3. telepath

    telepath Friend of Leo's

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    If / when I use a pick, I hold it the same as you - i.e. using the side too.

    Just go with your own thing. There is no right or wrong.



    FWIW, Stevie Ray Vaughan did too - I'm fairly I sure remember reading.
     
  4. Steveareno

    Steveareno Tele-Afflicted

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    +1. Got turned on to playing the pick "on the shoulder" by Dan Huckabee (Texas bluegrass guitar and dobro guru) on one of his instruction tapes (cassette!)...about 25 years ago. Haven't looked back. Bigger, fatter tone and better release off the strings.
    Swang on,
     
  5. andrewsadlon

    andrewsadlon Tele-Meister

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    I do. Stevie did. Dunlop Tortex .88 for me.
     
  6. gitapik

    gitapik Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

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    Great. Funny you should mention SRV...that was how I started to follow the sound. I said, "Hey...that sounds like Stevie" and kept on doing it. Just seems like there are a lot of overtones that I can get with that technique that don't come with the point of the pick.

    Tanks, dudes. I shall swang on...

    :)
     
  7. dman

    dman Tele-Afflicted

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    I first learned that from Matt Schofield's instuctional DVD. I was using Dunlop Ultex 2.0mm Sharps; I found using the shoulder gave a much better release and softer attack. The problem was holding the pick in that manner felt strange and a bit too small, so I went with Golden Gate mandolin picks, which are triangular with a very rounded point, like the shoulder on a standard Fender 351 (?) pick.

    Lately, I've gotten more used to using the shoulder on the Dunlops, so I go back and forth between them and the GGs.
     
  8. Ugeen

    Ugeen TDPRI Member

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    Hello there, new user here, but long-time follower for infos about guitars and amps! :p
    I only play with the side of the pick (tortex standard) however I am also deeply interested in using a thumbpick, à la Johnny Winter, I was wondering if you knew such a thing, because switching pick to thumbpick gets easily frustrating...
    anyone with my same ideas??
     
  9. gitapik

    gitapik Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

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    Hi. Welcome to TDPRI!

    Practice makes perfect if you want to do it. The fact that Johnny Winter does it is a perfect example.

    My main thing, for years, has been solo acoustic fingerstyle. I use a thumbpick with all my steel strings, but have never really gotten the hang of it for electric. Whenever I tried, I always felt limited by it...and I never really put the practice time into making it right.

    The area where I had problems was with the faster rhythm stuff. Like with the shoulder of the pick, by coincidence. You're kind of forced to use the point with the thumb pick. But, as I said: that's just me and I imagine that, with enough practice, you could get it the way you like.
     
  10. Ugeen

    Ugeen TDPRI Member

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    Howdy!! thanx!!
    yea I totally agree with that, thing is, I've played a lot with both picks and thumbpicks, now I wanted to merge things up like an "extended-striking-surface thumbpick" meant to simulate the touch of the side of a normal pick(I know, it's crazy...), it's not that I feel limited by using one instead of the other(both of them have their adv./disadvantages) o well, guess the right path is to carry both in my pocket :D
     
  11. gitapik

    gitapik Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

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    I tried one of these. I think I could've gotten better with it if I'd put in more practice:

    http://elderly.com/accessories/items/HE113.htm

    You have to put it in boiling water to soften and customize it to your thumb size.
     
  12. Indontmiztipe

    Indontmiztipe TDPRI Member

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    I know Robben Ford plays like this too, seen some dvd's where he is advertising to play with the pick upside down, kinda gives a thicker sound.
     
  13. adjason

    adjason Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    For some reason when I first started thats how I did it and now 20 some years later thats still how I do it-every once in a while I notice my pointer finger nail is getting worn down from hitting the string too. Works for me
     
  14. AngelStrummer

    AngelStrummer Friend of Leo's

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    Works for me too.
     
  15. paul74

    paul74 Tele-Meister

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    After twenty years playing it's only the last few years that I've really learned to us the pick as a tone control. I use heavy picks (1mm plus) and really dig into the string using the edge of the pick, sounds 'chewy', almost like a wah-wah, depending on vibrato and pitch etc.
     
  16. pfitz

    pfitz TDPRI Member

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    I stumbled upon this too. Gets a warmer tone out of the strings, I feel more connected w the guitar if that makes sense. I used to play w a thumbpick and remember liking it better when id worn the end of the pick down. it puts you just slightly closer to the strings, gives you more control. I spend A LOT more time playing w just my fingers though. But this trick is helpful for fast rhythm lines.
     
  17. jdaunt

    jdaunt Tele-Meister

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    Did SRV play with the side or with the pick upside-down? I thought I had read upside-down, which is how I play. I guess it's similar, I've never tried on the side, but really love the tone I get from the "round end." I've always liked the tone from finger picking, but when I play with my fingers it doesn't have the same bite to it as when I play with a pick, but I've found playing with the pick upside-down has more of a finger picking sounding tone but has the extra bite to it.
     
  18. BBill64

    BBill64 Tele-Afflicted

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    I use one of the round corners, the point goes towards my palm. Dunlop tortex 1mm (although I've got some Gator grip .96mm which aren't too bad but wear out quicker. I suppose I'm playing a bit hard?)
     
  19. gitapik

    gitapik Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

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    I like to keep mine a bit angled with the point away from me. That way I find it easier to shift to the point if I want. I'm going to try it upside down, though.

    Thanks for the feedback.
     
  20. Ugeen

    Ugeen TDPRI Member

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    thank you!! I'm gonna try them as soon an I can
    maybe I could round 'em up a little bit on the tip to get the exact shape, but those are definitely similar to the side of the pick!
     
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