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(@old-lefty)
Eminent Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 43
Topic starter  

So I've gotten in the habit of using a soft pick for playing chords, and a medium when practicing lead/solos. Now I'm starting to play some songs where I'm playing both the chords and the solos....but using the medium pick for rythm just feels wierd, and using the soft one for solos feels sluggish. I imagine I just need to get used to the medium for all around playing, but I wanted to hear what some of the more experienced players use.

Thanks,

Brian


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

I think you'll get a different answer from every person that responds. My instructor told me I should use at least 1 mm pick (or thicker)for everything and then adjust how hard you hold the pick depending on what you are doing. So if playing rhythm you'd hold it alittle looser then when you are playing lead lines where you'd usually want more attack.

He uses a 2mm pick but I personally have always liked the 1 mm and that's all I use.

But it proabably will come down to what you are omfortable with.

When I started just holding the pick without dropping it was a challenge (not a problem anymore) and I always used the thinner picks to strum with, the thicker ones seemed to get stuck in the strings.

"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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(@dogbite)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 6353
 

I buy the picks from the jar usually next to the cash register of my music shop. four for a dollar.
they work great for me. one pick does it all.
the secret is how you hold and use it.
I can choke up on it, exposing only a bit of pick. the side of my thumb and pick hit the string and I have squealies (pinch harmonic); I can hold it very lightly and feather my acoustic or ukulele for soft strums....
I believe the right pick is more technique than size, shape and thickness.

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(@notes_norton)
Noble Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 1497
 

I tend to get Fender Mediums because they are consistent and available just about everywhere. Plus I prefer them to be white, because if I drop them on a dark stage they are easy to see.

Notes

Bob "Notes" Norton

Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com Add-on Styles for Band-in-a-Box and Microsoft SongSmith

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(@neztok)
Estimable Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 152
 

It's whatever you get used to. I used Fender Heavy for 4 years and recently for no reason started digging 1.14 Tortex picks. Many people use whatever is available, and I wish that I wasn't so particular, so my advice is to buy many different material/sizes.


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(@size9)
Eminent Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 36
 

I use as hard of pick I can find. I just find that it gives me more control. When I'm playing rhythm on an acoustic for that matter I can get a real clear and higher volume of sound. When I'm playing lead on and acoustic or an electric I just angle the pick at more of a 45 degree angle to give less resistance and more speed. Here's a good video on how to hold a guitar pick by David Wallaman. This really helped me gain more speed and clarity.

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

I'd just like to be able to hold a pick. Lately I cannot hold one. It slips all over the place, forcing me to squiggle it back into position while I'm trying to play. I've tried textured picks to no avail. The only difference is that I've been using teardrop shaped picks lately. When I used triangular picks I don't remember having a problem. I should go back to the triangular picks. I'm also working on playing pickless, with just my fingernails.

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


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 Nuno
(@nuno)
Famed Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 3998
 

Mainly I use my fingers but when I use pick, I use the same pick for playing chords and lead. I tend to use the pick for lead but barely for strumming.

Lately I am using one of those blue Dunlop Tortex (1 mm, I think). I have also used (and I love it) the small Dunlop Jazz III (in fact, when I use the Tortex or other normal size picks, I use the "lateral tip", I don't use the normal tip: it makes it shorter).


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

I tend to use the pick for lead but barely for strumming.

I'm starting to notice more people on YT strumming without a pick. I don't do lead or finger picking. So maybe pickless is the way to go.

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


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 Crow
(@crow)
Honorable Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 554
 

I prefer to do everything I can with bare fingers. Flatpicks are a necessary evil, however, and as the years go by I prefer heavier & heavier picks. Dunlop 1.14 mm is my minimum. I like Dunlop's Big Stubbys. I have some fat Gibson picks that are pretty gnarly.

Pat Metheny uses a lighter pick & bends it on the fly for a different touch, which is an interesting approach. Jerry Garcia's picks were "like a stick." Felt picks can be cool on bass guitar, but Phil Lesh uses (or used) metal picks. There are innumerable ways to do this stuff. Picks are cheap -- a good outlet for GAS -- so I recommend buying one or two of everything your local mom-and-pop music store has, and find what works for you!

"You can't write a chord ugly enough to say what you want to say sometimes, so you have to rely on a giraffe filled with whipped cream." - Frank Zappa


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(@blue-jay)
Noble Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 1638
 

So I've gotten in the habit of using a soft pick for playing chords, and a medium when practicing lead/solos. Now I'm starting to play some songs where I'm playing both the chords and the solos....but using the medium pick for rythm just feels wierd, and using the soft one for solos feels sluggish. I imagine I just need to get used to the medium for all around playing, but I wanted to hear what some of the more experienced players use.

Thanks,

Brian

This is what I found too, long ago. Consequently I have used Fender and EB3-Alien mediums, which look good, feel good and last. I play rhythm and lead at the same time. I have some variations in picks, but keep my own playing style; the Dunlop Tortex .71 which wear out fast, very annoying, so on my last pick buying excursion, I was sold Wedge .73's. I am happy with them, but also use Dava control picks, one piece molded green. I wear out the rubberized Dava's which drag on the strings, and can't be turned sideways to do my pinch harmonics, or reversed to the fat side for longer or aggressive leads where I want to dig in and make a hard chunky sound near the bridge, behind the bridge pickup and ahead of the saddles on Teles & Strats. Repeat, maybe you can reverse the pick & use a piece of it as small as a fingernail/cuticle to play lead riffs.

I don't do things according to rules, and don't play "normally" - I always do whatever works for me and just git'r done.

Like a bird on the wire,
like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free.


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 Nuno
(@nuno)
Famed Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 3998
 

I tend to use the pick for lead but barely for strumming.

I'm starting to notice more people on YT strumming without a pick. I don't do lead or finger picking. So maybe pickless is the way to go.

In my case, when I started to play guitar (around late 70s) the picks were strictly prohibited by my teacher. We played guitars, bandurrias and laudes. Only the bandurrias can be played with picks (they play the lead). If he saw you were playing with a pick, he got it. We played traditional songs. I guess I got used to play just with the fingers then.

Somebody said that the pick is the first link in the amplification chain.


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

I read that a good way to strum pickless is to pinch the thumb and index finger as if holding a pick. Use the index and other fingers for downstrokes and the thumb for upstrokes. Anyone do this, and is that right? I kind of like the idea. I should try it.

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


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

Frank you know there is nothing right or wrong only what you like and the tone you are trying to acheive. With that said I have done that when I couldn't find a pick but I wouldn't play without a pick so it's really not something I worry about.

For the most part I play rock/hard rock whatever that is, and to me it requires a pick to get the attack/sound I want. People might use Mark Knoeffler as an example of someone that plays without a pick but I don't consider anything he plays to be hard rock and his sound is not what I want to emulate.

There are many factors that would go into the equation, the type of music you are playing, the guitar, is it only strumming or is it lead also, etc. Then I think it's a matter of trial and error.

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

Frank you know there is nothing right or wrong only what you like and the tone you are trying to acheive.

Yeah, I worded that wrong.
For the most part I play rock/hard rock whatever that is, and to me it requires a pick to get the attack/sound I want.

Agreed, I can't see anyone doing solos or leads without a pick. On the odd occasion I do some single note or double stop riffs, a pick is a must. But since those are in the context of a rhythm piece, I think a fingernail should suffice.
There are many factors that would go into the equation, the type of music you are playing, the guitar, is it only strumming or is it lead also, etc. Then I think it's a matter of trial and error.

It occurred to me that when I was taking lessons I used my electric. And since I wasn't doing any hard strumming, that masked my not being able to hold a pick without it slipping. When I started using the acoustics more and getting bolder (better?) in my rhythm, I noticed the problem with holding a pick.

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


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