pick direction

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by Vishnu, Oct 5, 2008.

  1. Vishnu

    Vishnu Member

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    can anyone show me a DIAGRAM(S) illustrating the different angles and pick directions for various types of up and down motion?
    i tried reading the tuck andress article on picking but i'm afraid i dont have an english degree.
     
  2. JonR

    JonR Member

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    LOL.
    A quick google found these, dunno how much they help:
    http://www.benvesco.com/misc/holding_a_pick.php

    Personally, I hold my pick the same angle for any kind of up-down movement: always pointing in at 90 degrees to the string, either flat on (parallel to string) - so upstrokes get the same attack as downstrokes - or maybe slightly crosswise if I want some very fast alternate picking.
    I also vary the tension with which I hold the pick, I think this is crucial.

    (I won't go further for risk of turning into tuck andress... :rolleyes: )
     
  3. dewey decibel

    dewey decibel Supporting Member

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    I though the Andress article was written pretty clearly. Which parts are you not understanding?
     
  4. stevel

    stevel Member

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    Why?

    Take your pick, try it at different angles, and note:

    A. What kind of tone is produced
    B. What kind of impact this has on attack (or speed, etc.).

    I do many things with my pick:

    1. 90 degree - parallel with the string.

    2. "downward angle" - that is, the leading edge (the edge on the nut side) attacks (for downstrokes).

    3. I will also angle the pick perpendicular to the body - that is, the tip of the pick is closer to the ceiling than the big end of the pick (where you're holding it). I can "drag" across the strings when playing a chord this way, almost letting the pick "fall" from string to string.

    4. I will let more of the "flat" of the pick (its surface) hit the string, which has a kind of "choking" effect to it.

    5. I will turn my pick 90 degrees from "normal" so that the flat side of the pick is perpendicular to the string (lie you would do a pick scrape). You can "bow" the strings and produce undulating sounds between a pair of strings this way.

    6. Etc.

    In other words, the amount of different tones you can create with a pick are (or should be) limited only by your imagination.

    And sometimes, it doesn't hurt to use your fingers instead!

    HTH,
    Steve
     
  5. Vishnu

    Vishnu Member

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    thanks guys...
    STEVEL,the "normal" you refer to in part 5, would that be "parallel with the string?"
    in part 1 the "90 degree - parallel with the string" is two different positions.right?
    and in part 2 the leading edge would also be used for upstrokes?
     
  6. stevel

    stevel Member

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    here are 6 strings as you would look at another person playing the guitar, so the bridge is to the left and nut to the right.

    In # 1, pick is this way:

    __

    I think this makes a nice "ting" - a good crisp attack on notes with good pitch definition.


    In # 2, pick is this way:

    [trailing edge] \ [leading edge]

    so the leading edge hits first (though I don't usually play with the angle that steep - it's closer to #1 but with the leading edge down a bit).

    If the angle is shallow, I don't actually change for upstrokes - so the trailing edge is what hits on the upstrokes (but very little of the tip is going into the string).

    This way has less resistance than # 1, so I use it for tremolo picking, and strumming, and in generally find it to be more "glassy" of an attack, with more "stringiness" to the sound, if that makes sense.

    I will however switch so that the leading edge still makes the upstroke, so it would be:

    \ downstroke,

    / up stroke

    though again, not as steep an angle as that, but steeper than the first part.

    More for a special effect for even more "glassiness".

    For #5, it's this way:

    |

    (and I twist my wrist around and use my forearm for up and down motion, not just the pick).

    Again, it's more of a special effect to emulate bowing, or undulating sound between a pair of strings. I'll also do tremolo on one or more strings this way too - it seems to get rid of the attack which gives it more of a "bowing" sound (compared to regular picking that is).


    For # 3 and 4, let's say you are looking down the strings towards the nut - in line with them:

    *
    *
    *
    *
    *
    *

    left is the fingerboard, right is where my hand (and the pick) would be

    # 3 is \ for down strokes, / for up strokes.

    I find this produces a more "clacky" sound as the pick smacks the strings in succession - by the way, I usually keep a loose grip on the pick so it can "toggle" between my fingers.

    #4 the pick is "flat" like:

    __

    but in #3 I have very little of the pick's tip into the strings:

    *
    *
    *\
    *
    *
    *
    whereas in #4 I put it in further, more like:

    *
    *
    __
    *
    *
    *
    *

    So much more of the pick's flat side touches the string, choking it out.

    Hope the diagrams make sense.

    I thought about also mentioning this before, but I'll do it now (since this has gotten just as long) - you can also use the pick to do hammer-ons, use it sort of like a slide (do bird effects high on the strings) - pick scrapes of course, and not only does the angle of the pick, and how much of the pick touches the string affect the sound, but where you pick along the length of the string creates fairly distinct differences (which can be enhanced by using certain pickups in certain positions). So experiment!

    Remember, when pickin', it doesn't hurt to be grinnin' too[​IMG]

    Steve
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2008
  7. Vishnu

    Vishnu Member

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    STEVEL...thanks man i feel i owe you a bottle of wine or two. i've been playin' a long time,i just somehow got "LOST." its a bit like those dart players that cant let go of their darts,some reassurance and confidence is perhaps all i need.
    i've been checking through some of your old threads if i can help with anything i will post something up for you.....
    "set list of rock instrumentals" off the top of my head,check out peter green playing "jigsaw puzzle blues" its great, and sylvia by focus.
    "gt500 hum" mine (ser# 130) would only work when used with a PP2+ otherwise it would hum like boxcar willies socks.
    appreciate the time you must have spent on your last post to me it has been really helpful and throws some light on other articles i have been reading.thanks again stevel.
    och well i'm off to the woodshed.
     

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