is it easier to pick faster on lighter strings?

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by regotheamigo, Aug 10, 2006.

  1. regotheamigo

    regotheamigo Member

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    I've been experimenting with picking every note lately, and just wanted your thoughts on this. I've got a set of 10's on my strat, and sometimes I feel that I am fighting the guitar more than I really want to. It seems to me that a lighter set would enable the pick to sort of cut threw the string better when playing faster stuff. Does this make sense to you, or am I talking out my ass? :jo
     
  2. Flyin' Brian

    Flyin' Brian Member

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    Can't offer thoughts as to where your words emanate from :), but for me it's easier to pick heavier strings. When I go into a store and try to play something with 9s on it, I'm lost. The strings give so easily that I have a tough time with accuracy. I use heavy to extra heavy picks so that may be part of it, but it's the same thing with picks for me....the less "give" the more accuracy.
     
  3. Madgansound

    Madgansound Member

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    Jazz players like 'em fat for a reason, and it's not just tone!
     
  4. regotheamigo

    regotheamigo Member

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    Yeah I was wondering because Malmsteen uses 9's and so does Vai. Those guys are pretty good pickers I think .)
     
  5. countandduke

    countandduke Member

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    Strange thing, Shawn Lane preferred 8's and was about the fastest player I can think of. For me, I tend to like bigger strings as they "give" less and let the pick slide over them easier. Better tone with bigger strings too.....

    Chris
     
  6. KRosser

    KRosser Member

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    It depends totally on your touch. Players with a light economical touch tend to like lighter strings; lighter strings respond very well to that.

    Players that play hard like heavier strings, which respond much better to that.

    What works and responds best to you will have a lot to do with your technique
     
  7. Shredcow

    Shredcow Member

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    Its also got to do with the size of the pick.

    Light strings (8s & 9s) seem to prefer heavy thick picks IMO. Things like the those small red JazzIIIs, the 2mm Big Stubbies work REALLY well with the light strings.

    Thinner picks work better with heavy guages, think Ibanez 1mm picks, like the Paul Gilbert series or Vai picks.

    Of course, all that in my experience, as one gentleman above me has the oppposite experience. YMMV.
     
  8. Redbell

    Redbell Member

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    What he said but it's mainly whatever you get used to.
    Billy Gibbons uses 8's, EVH uses 9's, SRV used 13's or so I'm told.
     
  9. Yngtchie Blacksteen

    Yngtchie Blacksteen Member

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    Good pickers can do their thing on any string, it's all about having good technique. I use .011's on my main guitar, and my picking speed is pretty much the same as when I try guitars with lighter strings. To me, .010's aren't heavy, I don't play anything lighter.

    I would suggest you work more on your technique using your current strings, as it's not the strings that are slowing you down, it's your technique.
     
  10. regotheamigo

    regotheamigo Member

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    who says my technique is bad Lars Landerback? I just wanted to know if lighter strings make it a little easier. .)
     
  11. 57tele

    57tele Member

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    Yeah, IIRC, McLaughlin used 008s in Mahavishnu. He also made his own thick picks using the plastic from those wedge-shaped containers that you use to store pieces of pie in the fridge.
     
  12. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

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    It all depends on what you are comfortable with. Personally, I find that a very thick pick and heavier strings (usually .011s on my guitars) allows me to play the smoothest/fastest. I do play with a light touch, though I do occasionally play harder.

    Bryan
     
  13. Pedro58

    Pedro58 Supporting Member

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    The pick is important, as has already been mentioned. Also, I think it can depend on where your speed comes from, i.e., legato vs. picking each note. Legato would favor lighter strings, I think, and strict alternate picking (DiMeola) would need heavier strings.
     
  14. BORR4

    BORR4 Member

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    For me, yes. I use a thick pick (2mm) and I recently tried 9's (used 10's my whole life) and the difference was HUGE. My picking is much more fluid with the lighter strings. I don't really know why but there is a big difference in my picking now.
    I always bought in to the hype of lighter strings = thin & weak tone so I never gave 9's any real consideration. But on the advice of my teacher I tried the 9's and my picking improved dramatically. I can hear a little bit of what people say about thin strings but honestly the advantages I've gained in technique outweigh the difference in tone. I don't believe that the 9's are weak but there is a difference. Not better - not worse, just different.
     
  15. regotheamigo

    regotheamigo Member

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    See I agree with this %100. I too always bought into that lighter strings will make your tone thin and weak. I think the thing that works for people is based around what kind of hands they have. Like I said before, I always feel like I'm having to work to hard and fighting the guitar when I play with 10's. Maybe its my type of hands. My hands are long and lean, but don't have a lot of meat on them (yes we are still talking about hands here) so I just don't think I'll ever be able to have the strenght to play bigger strings comfortably. Take a look at SRV hands. There is a reason he played with 13's other than it making his tone bigger:eek:
     
  16. MGT

    MGT Member

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    According to the D'Addario site, Al Dimeola doesn't use heavier strings, only .010's.

    For me it's a tradeoff...I can obviously bend easier with .009's but it's also much harder to grab a more difficult chord voicing because the strings are so "floppy". I guess my hands aren't that strong either because I find .011's too hard to bend on a strat or tele (although it's easier on 335's with the shorter scale)...so I use .010's. Just recently switched from a Fender Heavy pick to a Medium because I tend to pick hard. Seems to be working better but haven't made up my mind yet.
     
  17. regotheamigo

    regotheamigo Member

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    If I decide to start going with 9's instead of 10's do I need to reset up my guitar? There's a guy here in Los Angeles that I take my stuff to, but if its something that's easy to do I will. Thanks
     
  18. Tom Gross

    Tom Gross Supporting Member

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    I pick hard.
    When I used lighter strings, I used the little hard jazz teardrops.
    Since I've moved to somewhat heavier strings, I moved to somewhat lighter picks (the purple Dunlops).
    The one thing I do know is, I can't use too light of a pick, since if the tip is bending, I feel like I can't wait for it to spring back - I don't know where it is.
    Benson uses light picks, and he burns.

    As for Shawn Lane, his guitar has a flat radius, low action, and thin strings. His light touch (and amazing technique, of course) made it work with the light pick.
     
  19. Yngtchie Blacksteen

    Yngtchie Blacksteen Member

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    Shawn didn't use light picks, he used Jazz III's.
     
  20. Monkeyboy23

    Monkeyboy23 Member

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