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Pick - how large hand movements?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by SwiftyTom, Jul 19, 2012.


  1. SwiftyTom

    SwiftyTom

    Oct 7, 2011
    I'm relatively new to playing with pick, started a few months back. I'm trying to figure out a proper technique now. I've seen lots of videos where people move their whole arm quite a lot, pretty much as if they were strumming all strings on a guitar. I suppose it's easier to keep a steady rhythm with this, but how does one prevent the other strings from ringing? Shall I mute them and not care about striking them? Or is this technique more accurate than it looks and the pick actually only goes down for that one string?

    What I do now is that I only move my hand at the wrist, so the pick is like a little pendulum above the string, striking it in the middle vertical position. But sometimes the pick gets kinda stuck, I guess if I don't get the angle perfect, and throws off the rhythm a bit. Also it's very sensitive to how firmly I hold the pick. That's why I'm wondering if there's a better way.
     
  2. fearceol

    fearceol

    Nov 14, 2006
    Ireland
  3. BullHorn

    BullHorn

    Nov 23, 2006
    Israel
    Sub'd for reading them tips when I get home. Thanks, brah.
     
  4. SwiftyTom

    SwiftyTom

    Oct 7, 2011
    So static arm is the way to go, cool. Still makes me wonder how do the punk bassists do it, when they swing the whole arm :)

    Just need clarification on one thing - she says that heavy picks are the way to go. Which means that the pick angle is very important, to prevent it from getting hooked on the string. So, when you strike the string, is the pick supposed to be at a 90 degrees angle and then the string just slips under it, without the pick "giving way"? Or is it very slightly angled and also goes slightly up when it hits to make this easier?
     
  5. This. I forced myself to learn to pick this way, and have never looked back.

    As far as the question of how the pick moves across the strings... I have a natural position of more or less flat with regard to the string upon attack. You're alternating up and down strokes, so that's what you want. If you use Carol's method, you'll see that the wrist movement creates a good bit of force with minimal effort, which helps the pick power its way through the string. However, because you are holding the pick with a relaxed hand (i.e. not squeezing the pick really hard with your thumb), and because the pad of your thumb has some natural give, you'll find that the pick does "roll" a little (not much, though) upon contact with the string. If you try it, you'll see what I'm trying to say (hopefully).
     
  6. When confronted with a pick for the first time, the first thing my students do is use way too much motion, so much that they get lost and end up missing about half the time.

    Refined motion is the key. Only enough at first to strike the right note/string.

    After you have developed accuracy through controlled refined motion, then you can loosen up a bit and work in dynamics and more exaggerated motion.

    But at first, only enough motion to get the note to sound. It should actually appear to be a very tiny movement.

    I agree with thicker picks. Fender Heavy is a good example, or other brands around the same thickness (.80-1.20 mm).

    And don't hold the pick like a dead bug, choke up on it a bit, and don't hold it like you hold a pencil or pen. Use thumb and finger 1, and they should cross approximating a T angle.

    Start developing alternate picking right off the bat. Down strokes only get you so far, and only half as fast as you could potentially be. Use a metronome and use down-up strokes, especially on eighth notes or shorter (although sometimes you'll want to chunk on eighth notes with all down strokes, you'll need alternate picking to play faster phrases).
     

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