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Help with strumming and pick moving out of my hand

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(@jcashfan)
New Member
Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 2
Topic starter  

Hello. I have been teaching myself acoustic guitar over the past 5 weeks and am ecountering issues with the pick slipping around when I strum. Also, I can't seem to get comfortable with up and down strumming patterns. I have been learning basic chords and trying basic songs to get used to switching chords, but I lose it when I try to do a down up strum pattern, the pick moves out of my hand every time. I read to try and strum like on a washboard, and I also got dunlop turtlex? picks but which help a little.


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 cnev
(@cnev)
Famed Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 4478
 

Join the club. It's a very common problem for beginners I can't tell you how long it took me to get over it but you will. Get whatever pick you feel most comfortable with and go with it. The thinner ones are easier to strum with and may be the best place to start until you can hold it without dropping it

"It's all about stickin it to the man!"
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!


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(@sean0913)
Trusted Member
Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 65
 

What kind of pick do you use? I'd suggest getting a supply of Dunlop Nylon .60's and see if that doesnt help.

I wouldn't suggest Tortex for acoustic unless its the thinner ones (Red). They are much better suited for the Electric.

Best,

Sean

Guitar Instructor/Mentor
Online Guitar School for Advanced Players
http://rnbacademy.com


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(@ballybiker)
Reputable Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 494
 

A Cash fan....top marks :D

+1 Dunlop nylons are good for beginners and yes we've all been there....nothing worse than trying to shake a pick from inside an acoustic (you'll get good at this too )

just keep at it and don't lose heart!

search back over previous posts on here and you will find hundreds with this very same question, bet they all strum fine now.

what did the drummer get on his I.Q. test?....

Drool

http://www.myspace.com/ballybiker


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 Ande
(@ande)
Honorable Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 659
 

Same used to happen to me, and it hasn't exactly stopped, just gotten better. (Funny- now, I never drop picks at home, but in performance, I've always got a stack of them within arms reach, cause they FLY sometimes.)

Try a lot of picks, and find one that you like and hang on to easily- but it's mostly about being used to it. With practice, this problem fades.

Another thought- how are you holding the pick? How much of it is hitting the strings? A common beginning mistake is to have the pick sticking too far out from your "grip." If you're doing this, try to hold more of the pick, and have just the point sticking out and hitting the strings.

Best,
Ande


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(@bkangel)
Estimable Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 118
 

Yep, have that problem.

I found that part of my problem was sweaty fingers and plastic picks. Not a good combination. I've found a Dunlop Tortex really helped me, because it seems to absorb the oils/sweat. Interesting what people are saying about using a lighter pick, as I was told by a teacher early on to use a heavier rather than lighter weight pick on my acoustic guitar until I had better control.

What I lack in talent and natural ability, I will have to make up with stubborness.


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(@rparker)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 5492
 

I still get that some times. I only really notice it if I'm playing a song with my bass-player friend or if I'm recording a really long and strummy song.

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


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(@noteboat)
Famed Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 4933
 

Make sure you're grabbing enough of the pick. Many beginners pinch a pick between the tip of the thumb and the tip of the index finger - and that doesn't put much surface under your grip. Most pros curl the index finger, so the first joint of the finger is parallel with the edge of the thumb. That puts your thumb across the widest part of the pick, and gives you plenty of finger support on the other side.

It takes some getting used to, but it's a lot more secure.

Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL


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(@jcashfan)
New Member
Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 2
Topic starter  

Thanks for all of the replies. I'm glad to hear that it should get better over time. I do believe I leave too much of the pick sticking out when I strum; I'll try exposing less pick. I'm also going to try various thickness picks to see what seems to work best for me.

Regarding curling your index finger, do you hold your index finger pointing at a right angle to your thumb (which is what I've been doing) or actually curl it so your finger is parallel as suggested?


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(@rparker)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 5492
 

As I discovered a few years ago, there isn't one al agreed upon way to hold a pick. I actually freaked out because what I was taught was contradicted and agreed on here in the forums and/or in lessons online in You Tube.

I picked up a pick just now to see what exactly I do now. It is slightly off 90 degrees, but not a full curl by any means. That is just one person and does not suggest that it is proper or not.

I also read recently that famed rhythm guitarist, Keith Richards, said that he sometimes holds the pick so that the flat edge of the pick touches the strings. He claims that this gives his tone an edgier, crisper feel (or something to that effect). Being a Keith fan, I - of course - had to try this. It worked, but wasn't terribly flexible right off the bat for me. I stopped the experiment.

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


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(@c-c-speakeasy)
New Member
Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 2
 

The Dunlop Nylons are a great suggestion, Another option if you have become particularly fond of a pick is to carve 2 over laping X patterns into the pick.

I have a pick like this that I acquired a few years ago that is nice to use as it never slips due to sweat or oils. I have never actually made a pick like this myself but i would assume you could do this with something like an exacto knife.

the only note i would add is to make sure you don't go to horizontal as it will weigh against the integrity of the pick.


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(@staffan)
Estimable Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 125
 

A couple of years ago - when I kept dropping picks right & left - I stumbled upon a pick type referred to as a "cat-tounge" pick. It´s nylon but the surface where you grip it is covered with tiny "bumps" (resembling the surface of a cats tounge). Now, I found that this surface greatly improved my grip instantly!

But, on the downside - I noticed that I got so used to this "help from the pick itself" that I didn´t develop the correct gripping technique, so whenever I tried a "non-cat-tounge" pick, I kept dropping them or they kept slipping. So for short-term relief (maybe if you´re playing a song for your loved-one and don´t want to f**k up) they can be good - but I still would keep trying with the normal ones to build the correct "feel". It takes time, but you´ll get there!

I would second the advice to start with a light pick for strumming acoustic and then build up in thickness to your liking. (A friend of mine still uses the Dunlop Tortex .63 mm and he´s a semi-professional and has been playing forever. He even uses it for both acoustic and electric; strumming as well as string plucking.)

I guess it´s a matter of taste in the end and you have to find your favourite pick-type and material. Keep trying different ones though until you find one you like.

Keep at it

AAAFNRAA
- Electric Don Quixote -


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(@minotaur)
Noble Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 1092
 

I have the same problem sometimes. I'm thinking about trying some Gorilla Snot.

It is difficult to answer when one does not understand the question.


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(@loveartist)
New Member
Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 1
 

http://www.guitartips.addr.com/tip92.html

Has a bunch of useful solutions to slippery guitar pick here are my favorites *note i have not tried any of them yet*:
super glue sandpaper on top half of pick
skateboard grip tape on top half of pick
hole punch it the pick
stuff you put on bathtubs so you dont slip on top half o pick
hook side of Velcro on top half of pick


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(@rsadler)
Estimable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 210
 

Here's a video on it from a site that I use alot. Pretty decent instructor.

http://justinguitar.com/en/BC-107-PicksHolding.php


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