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Amazingly incredibly STUPID newbie question

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by jimmybcool, Dec 18, 2005.

  1. jimmybcool

    jimmybcool Supporting Member

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    OK. So I've been playing now for about 5 months. I prefer fingerpicking but I also want to do some harder rock and need to learn flatpicking.

    So why is it so damn hard to hold the pick right?

    I mean really, is there a diagram or picture showing proper technique to hold the pick so it doesn't extend so far it is uncontrollable, but far enough you don't drag your other fingers on the strings? And what IS the correct angle of attack on the strings?

    I feel I will never become any good at this if I don't develop proper mechanics.

    This is a serious amazingly incredibly STUPID newbie question and I really am having problems. I have an instructor and he constantly corrects my right hand technique but just maybe a picture would paint a 1000 corrections :)
     
  2. UnderTheGroove

    UnderTheGroove Supporting Member

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    Hopefully someone will have a picture they can post to help you. In the meantime, I would ask your instructor to show you how to hold the pick and right hand technique again. A picture is worth a 1000 words, but having someone knowledgable show you in person is priceless. It is going to take some practice to get used to it, but when you are doing it correctly it should feel comfortable.
     
  3. Serious Poo

    Serious Poo Armchair Rocket Scientist Graffiti Existentialist Gold Supporting Member

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    First off, that isn't a stupid question at all. There are probably a million different ways to hold a pick, and none of them are wrong. Allan Holdsworth, Eddie Van Halen, Rik Emmett, and Eric Johnson all hold the pick WAY differently, yet they all seem to manage OK.

    :AOK

    This should get you started in the meantime. Hold your hand out as if you're about to shake hands with someone. Now curl your index finger inward as far as is comfortable. Lower your thumb. Now slide a pick in between and you're all set. The pick should sit between the fleshy part of your thumb and the first join of your index finger, how much pick you extend out is merely a matter of comfort and what feels right. Good luck!
     
  4. jimmybcool

    jimmybcool Supporting Member

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    Thanks for not raggin on me. I do intend to work on this with my teacher on Tuesday. But until then I wanted to continue practicing and for some reason I am getting more uncomfortable holding a pick instead of the reverse.

    You all have been a great help. I am now off to the music room with no computer or phone to practice. But maybe a glass of scotch can follow me in. :AOK
     
  5. grego7

    grego7 has left the building Gold Supporting Member

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    This is probably way more information than most people need (God knows a lot of it went right over my head), but Tuck Andress did an article on pick and fingerstyle technique. You can read it here: http://www.tuckandpatti.com/pick-finger_tech.html

    FWIW, really try and learn an efficient picking stroke now, before the bad habits set in. I've never been able to pick very fast (but have always wanted to, having lived through the 80s), and I think a big part of it is the way I learned to pick when I first picked up the guitar. My index finger and thumb are essentially opposed (? apposed), the pick being held between the flat of each, and then my other fingers naturally stay open, resting on the face of the guitar. Works fine for most things, but when trying to get any speed, it is very inefficient. Now I'm trying to hold the pick against the outside of the tip of my index finger, and it is really a pain trying to relearn something that I've done (incorrectly) for the past 20 years.
     
  6. jimmybcool

    jimmybcool Supporting Member

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    grego,

    Thanks for the link. As a newbie I am taking the same approach as I did with golf. Better to learn it right the first time. The funny thing is I would not have thought it mattered much how you hold a pick. I mean heck, its just strumming right :rolleyes:

    But I think clean and fast picking is dependant on technique as well as talent. I don't know if I have much talent yet but even if I do, the wrong technique will slow me down.

    And like golf it seems learning the right "grip" is unnatural.

    But practice yesterday was productive. Towards the end I was almost forgetting that I was holding the thing. It seems I found a useable grip except that my index finger gets tired and wants to extend down into the path of the strings.

    Practice practice practice. Gonna be dull for at least another 6 months. Maybe by then I will start to see some cool riffs and things coming easier.
     
  7. Yossi

    Yossi Member

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    There's no such thing as a stupid question.

    Don't worry. No one here is going to "PICK" on you:)

    Yossi
     
  8. DrDespair

    DrDespair Member

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    the best advice I can give:

    Try to find a way soon to hold it that´s equally cool for strumming, flatpicking AND Soloing…

    If you have to switch (in a Song, on stage) you´re in hell…

    DrDespair
     
  9. AaeCee

    AaeCee Member

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    Went through it myself. Agonized about it. My instructor was (purposely) of little help, but in his own way, it really helped. When I whined about my troubles, he'd hand me the pick and say, 'there, that's how it must be comfortable for you', and just go on with the lesson. What it did, was to get me to stop thinking so much about how I was holding it, and just play. Now I do just that. Rarely think about it, feel very comfortable holding it, and can just naturally (and almost absentmindedly) grab and play. Took a while for me too, but it eventually took. AC
     
  10. KRosser

    KRosser Member

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    This is absolutely not a stupid question. There is no standardized electric guitar technique. Name me a "wrong" picking grip and I can guarantee I can come up with at least one great player who uses it.

    In other words, it's kinda up what works for you...try some different things, look at some different players, and definitely let your teacher suggest some options.
     
  11. Shawn Tubbs

    Shawn Tubbs Member

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    You'll find what works for you...These guys have given you some great insight. The main thing is to be incredibly patient about the whole thing. It's weird how things come together when just relax and play. Developing muscle memory is a huge part of learning to use a flat pick. The more you play and develop your vibe doing the things your hearing, the more you develope the muscle memory. Now keep in mind your muscles could care less about how it sounds or what your doing. Try to stay focused on a somewhat correct technique until you settle into something because your muscles will remember everything you do.

    Hows that? Clear as mud?

    I wish you the very best. Glad you posted this question

    Best

    Seamusmcwhattheheckishetalkingabout
     

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