Holding the pick
My first post here on guitarnoise. I've had my acoustic guitar around for about 2 years but this site made me wanna learn playing i correctly. Thanks!
I sat and practiced playing with my newly bought metronome when i started thinking about how my pick moved betweed my fingers all the time, and how i frequently had to get a new grip around it. It seems that i really have a loose grip around it. Then i tried to hold the pick steady, so that it's not the pick that bends when touching the strings, only the strings. This felt kind of awkward, like the strings were gona break if i came in to hard, but as if i was in a litle more control. My question is, should i give the pick a litle slack, or should i hold it this hard so that it's not moving/bending at all when brushing the strings?
Holding it firm is usually best. Not just to keep it from rotating in your fingers but to give you a cleaner attack.
I find that when I slacken my grip on the pick it tends to rotate and give me more clicking sounds, ect because the pick slaps against the strings, ect.
Holding the pick is one of those right hand things that dosen't get a lot of bandwidth, but is very important. I can remember how frustrating it was to have the pick spinning, or losing it completely. Hold the pick firmly (not a death grip) between the thumb and index finger with the tip of the pick (about 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch) sticking out perpendicular to the thumb. For a person who is beginning to pay I would recommend a softer pick, this will have some flex, probably won't spin as much and will reduce the amount of buzzing you get initially. A softer pick is okay for most strumming, but istn't geat for single note stuff. You will notice a softer pick will create more noise from the pick as it travels over the strings.
I will now repeat the mantra we hear so often, it will come with time. That it true for most things including the pick difficulties most of us go through. Monkey around with it and find what works for you. You will eventually find your own style.
Oh, welcome aboard by the way. Never be afraid to ask a question here, some very knowlegable folks who are very willing to help hang out here.
Take Care, Good Luck and have patience with yourself.
"You want WHAT on the *&%#ing ceiling?" - Michelangelo, 1566
Great stuff already posted. It is truly all about experience.
I'll add a little tidbit that I picked up from a Paul Gilbert video when I was first learning: the difference between picking loud and quiet notes has very little to do with the pressure you actually apply with your picking hand, instead, it has more to do with "how much" of the pick you actually use to hit the string.
Think of the guitar pressed to your body, now, generate louder dynamics by actually bringing your picking hand closer in to your body, and hence using a wider part of the triangle to strike the string. Understand?
Using this method, you should be holding the pick with pretty much the same pressure all the time, but you should be able to generate all levels of dynamics. Most people do this but just don't realize it.
Hope this helps you "pick" it up a little faster!
Do something you love and you'll never work a day in your life...
Thanks for all the good information! This site really is helpful.
I tried a softer pick by cutting one out of a paper pizza box... worked great. ;)
I think that will do as a start just to get the feel of the strumming. It seems that i'm a litle afraid to just let go with my other not so soft pick.
Now, back to practice!
For those pesky pick problems
diclaimer - I read this somewhere - possibly on this site
Drill a hole in your picks so that the skin on your thumb and index finger is touching. That should help get rid of pick movement.
Don't worry about strumming too hard; it's not going to happen. If a string breaks, it was on its way out anyway.
Like everything else it will come with time.
I had a similar problem when I started, I would always drop the pick while strumming and it was getting very frustrating. I tried several different styles of picks, the thinner ones seemed to help with strumming.
But eventually I started to notice that I didn't drop the pick anymore and now all I use pretty much is a fairly heavy pick, which I almost never drop.
So I think for the most part it will work itself out in time but you can try some of the other things mentioned to get you through this.
"It's all about stickin it to the man!"
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!
My two cents from tips I've gotten from folks (many of them here @ GuitarNoise)
1) Hole punch your picks (similar to the drill a hole above but very easy w/a hole punch).
2) While you're playing get a pile of picks and put them next to you....when you drop a pick grab another. Get the broom out when you're done and sweep up your mess :-)
3) Keep practicing....one day you'll notice that you haven't dropped a pick in some time.
Jim Dunlop Nylon picks are very nice. They come in many thicknesses and have handy little gripper. Everly makes picks that already have star-shaped hoels for gripping. But they tend to be really stiff.
I've used specialty picks for almost two years now and love them because they can't spin in your fingers. Like picks with training wheels.
Long ago I bought some Gorilla Snot and that stuff works. It makes your thumb/index fingertip a bit tacky and keeps your pick stable. For a few bucks, I think it would help most any player. Check it out:
"Nothing...can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts."