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Need some help with picking grip tech

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Sazgo, May 1, 2009.

  1. Sazgo


    Apr 6, 2009
    OK this will be a long one but i need to get this sorted out:

    About 6-8 weeks ago i deceided it was time to start focusing on using a pick, there was a few songs i just couldnt get the right tone for and i found with some songs my plucking hand couldnt keep up with my freting hand(im a lefty playing righty if that makes a diffference) so anyway, i knew it would take some time for me to get the accuracy but i practiced alot and can now play pretty much anything i can with my fingers with the pick without hitting strings/missings notes etc. but heres the problem:
    Usually about 1/2 way into a song or towards the end it will get to the point where my pick has moved sideways in my fingers/spun and i will simply have to stop and readjust which means i cant perform any songs properly with a pick yet.
    Im self taught but ive never had any problems with technique til now, im guessing that i have a wrong grip even though it does feel comfortable and controlled this way.
    Alot of the problem comes from the fact there seems to be no good rescources about how to actually hold a pick to play bass anywhere online. Ive tried forum searches, googling, youtube etc. and the basics just arent there. Someone saying 'i hold a pick between my thumb and index fingers' could mean anything.
    I tried watching alot of pro's on youtube but i just cant quite see the grip clearly enough. Theres loads of stuff on classical guitar pick holding but i find it hard to use that grip when i stand up unless i strap my bass high around my chest the angle you hit the strings doesnt seem right and has a scratchy sound.
    So anyway this is my last resort.
    I hear its best to hold it on the side of your finger but to me that seemed really unstable and more likely to spin than my current grip. Im holding it between my index finger tip and thumb pad/tip and i try to keep part of the pick tucked into the join of my first index finger knuckle. Could the type of picks im using also be a problem these were some cheap 1.50mm heavy gauge unbrandeds i got when i first got my guitar years ago and never had any interest in pick playing back then. Ive tryed using a stubby pick that i found but it was a 3.0mm and still seemed to spin after alot of fast E string notes.
    Heres 4 pictures taken with my old mobile phone hopefully they are clear enough.

    Any help is appreciated or if someone could point me to some well pictured info about how to actually hold a pick securely would be nice.
    Its really depressing being able to play our stuff perfectly finger style and then messing up half way through a song with a pick. We are trying to cover some punk songs at the moment and hopefully make our own but finger style just cant get that tone.:crying:
  2. BassScum


    May 1, 2008
    So Cal
  3. jgroh

    jgroh Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2007
    Not sure if this will help you but Ive played with a pick exclusively for over 20 years...I use both my index and middle finger (along with the thumb of course) to grip the pick. I hold the pick parallel to the string so that its an up and down motion. I also use my pinky to anchor my hand to the strings by hooking it under the G string (lightly). I unhook when I need to play the G string of course. I also tend to use my wrist to get the up and down motion rather than move my whole arm up and down.

    Other than that, its all about practice and it will come in time. Try running your scales up and down so it sounds even, then try eight and sixteenth notes.

    Hope this helps.

    Just looked at your pics...try holding the pick so that the tip of it points in the same direction as your fingers (and the strings...so that the edge of the side of the pick is hitting the string)
  4. Sazgo


    Apr 6, 2009
    Thanks for the info. But it is wierd. I bought some dunlop yellow tortex picks the other day and its completely changed my pick playing. The pick no longer spins and im finding it so easy to play like before i would also have alot of thumb pain after about ten mins play but that is gone and i can play faster than ever. I couldnt believe that such a small thing as pick thickness would make all this difference but it has. Im going to try out some of those dog picks with the grip as well sometime as it might help even further - i will have order them to be shipped as i couldnt find any locally i the UK.
  5. cowsgomoo

    cowsgomoo gone to Longstanton Spice Museum

    Feb 8, 2003
    there are many picks, and ways to pick, so I'll tell you what works for me...

    first of all, I use Jim Dunlop tortex 'Jazz' sized guitar picks, 88mm:


    I prefer smaller picks than the standard size.. I find the larger size tends to press into my finger rather than sit in between the 'pinch' of my inder finger and thumb

    I used to use Jazz III's but since trying the above picks, I find they're a bit more mobile, have a nicer grip, are fairly stiff and have a nice firm tone despite the relative light weight.. the only downside is that they tend to wear out quicker than a Jazz III, but I can handle spending a little bit more for those benefits

    ok.. pinch your index finger and thumb together... THAT's where I hold the pick.. it makes sense to me to hold it in the strongest way you can grip it...

    don't grip the pick very tightly all the time... you can't make beautiful music if you're all tense... and the firmness of your grip on the pick dictates your tone to quite an extent, so you need to vary the amount of 'give' you have in your pick grip... gripping it tightly is actually the best way to ensure your pick slips, because your finger and thumb aren't loose enough to absorb and counteract any movement

    there should be no problem with the pick slipping around a bit - you ought to be practiced to the point where you're unconsciously compensating for the pick moving

    so to sum up, my advice is counter-intuitive... loosen your grip a little, and learn to dealt with the pick bouncing around... the added benefit is that you'll probably sound more musical in the process

    I've described how I play here if you're interested: http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=523998&highlight=pick

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