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Holding a Pick... 2 fingers or 3 fingers (changed due to confusion... LOL)

stevel

Member
Messages
15,210
I have a really hard time with one finger - it seems to just fall right off since there's no other digit to hold it against said finger :stir

Seriously, Thumb and Index finger usually. Will hold it between Thumb and Middle if doing tapping with my Index finger. If multi-finger tapping is needed, I set the pick down or hold it my palm, etc.

I don't see any reason why we really *have* to hold our picks between Thumb and Index though - in fact, if we were smart, we'd actually cultivate holding the pick between Thumb and Middle, leaving the index free for tapping, harmonic touches, fingerpicked notes (though not as good for hybrid picking as the "usual" way).

Then there's the Thumb Pick - NO FINGERS - tah-dah. Use them fingers for something else.

Steve
 

JonR

Member
Messages
15,693
I hold it mainly between thumb and middle, index bracing the front edge. This enables me to manipulate it in various ways - it's good for both rhythm and lead, tho not ideal for really fast playing.

(This is not a recommendation, if that's what you're looking for!)

I don't tap or hybrid pick, but I often move the pick to the crook of my index to play fingerstyle with my other fingers - thumb, middle, ring (I keep my nails long for the purpose).
 

Hendog

Member
Messages
1,155
I started this thread because I CANNOT "shread" with 3 fingers but I cannot do that funky jazz chucking with 2.
 

travisvwright

Member
Messages
11,863
I second the depends on what I'm playing. I mostly play acoustic which I use Thumb Index Middle for. If I"m playing my electric like an acoustic (large chord strumming) I'll continue with that handle. But if I am playing individual lead lines I'll drop the middle finger.
 

stevel

Member
Messages
15,210
I started this thread because I CANNOT "shread" with 3 fingers but I cannot do that funky jazz chucking with 2.

Well, I *never* use Thumb, Index AND Middle on the pick.

I have caught myself getting into the bad habit of putting my middle finger on top of my index finger (like holding it down against the pick) - probably not that bad really, but it seems like I'm doing it because I'm tensing up too much.

You may need to experiment with the type of pick you're using - shape and thickness - in addition to how many fingers you're using.

To be honest, shredding and strumming seem to require two different picks - at least to some degree. I only say that though because I haven't heard many speed demons who also have good rhythm chops to do funky stuff - a lot do more like power chord backings.

In fact, many players use a different pick on electric than on acoustic - I prefer a heavy pick in general, but found when playing 12-string I had to use a pick thin enough to catch the thinner string of each course.

I've found a pick that works "all around" for me on electric - heavy enough to dig in, but not so heavy I can't do some light chinky-chinky funky strumming. It's a bit slow on trying to do some of the "triplet-chord-intro" strums like Pete Townshend does (you know, kind of like a drum roll at the beginning of a chord) and maybe not as fast as something like a "stylus" pick or something like that, but I'm trying to concentrate on taste before speed.

I've got to say my all-time favorite thus far have been stainless steel picks, thick enough that they don't bend while playing. To problems though - they tear up the wound strings very quickly, and they make an audible "click" or "chirp" as the hit the string. Maybe I should try some of those Jade ones or something.

Hey, I'll make another post :)

Best,
Steve
 

p.j.

Member
Messages
5,532
I usually hold the pick w/ pointer and thumb unless I am playing harmonics in which case I chime the harmonic w/ my pointer and hold the pick w/ middle and thumb. I got this technique from an instructional guitar video that had Richard Thompson. Works for me. Michael Schenker and Ron Wood were also in the video. Richard was, by a pretty huge amount, the most helpful and easily understood. If Woodie and Schenker ever toured it could be billed as the Incomprehensible Tour!

=-) PJ
 

JonR

Member
Messages
15,693
I started this thread because I CANNOT "shread" with 3 fingers but I cannot do that funky jazz chucking with 2.
This is the generally recommended pick grip for fast playing -

Ignore the other fingers, which don't have to rest anywhere, and could be curled up towards the palm. But that index tip (which you can't see) is curled back, pointing upwards.

I find this position a little awkward myself (the picture isn't me!), but I have found it's pretty smooth and fast for lead playing (jazz or rock).
I don't like it for rhythm playing, which is why I don't use it much (most of what I do is a mix of rhythm and lead).
(For fast lead playing I would also use a thicker pick than this guy seems to have.)
 

buddastrat

Member
Messages
14,689
I prefer the "normal" style. Holding a pick with too many fingers, will limit hybrid picking styles.

I use a heavy pick and love playing the funk and shred styles. No problem playing either with them.
 

Donbecker

Member
Messages
291
I found with the normal size picks (used to use the green .88mm Dunlop tortex) I would use both my middle and index on it.

I've since switched to the Dunlop Jazz III's (normal sized, which are smaller than the normal picks).

This forced me to only use the index and thumb, keeping my middle finger free to pick another string.

After working with the smaller picks for about 3 months, I feel like my picking is more accurate, and a normal sized pick feels huge.

Someone posted about using 3 fingers for the "funky jazz chucking", I'm not sure if he meant the gypsy jazz type rhythm backing stuff, but those cats use really big, thick picks for that and hit it pretty hard.
 

A-Bone

Montonero, MOY, Multitudes
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
103,391
Isn't the Gypsy Jazz strumming motion akin to flicking out a match? I seem to recall hearing that description in a documentary about Django Reinhardt and the form generally.
 
Messages
10,865
I hold it generally like JonR has shown in the pick. But, I hold it so Im hitting the strings with one of the two rounded corners these days. Its a warmer sound to my ears.
 




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