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Hold your pick correctly

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lloyd64 09 Apr 00 - 06:45 PM
Dulci46 09 Apr 00 - 07:20 PM
McGrath of Harlow 09 Apr 00 - 07:33 PM
Song Dog 09 Apr 00 - 07:39 PM
catspaw49 09 Apr 00 - 08:00 PM
John E 09 Apr 00 - 08:16 PM
ddw 09 Apr 00 - 08:48 PM
Barbara 10 Apr 00 - 01:47 AM
Whistle Stop 10 Apr 00 - 08:30 AM
Vixen 10 Apr 00 - 08:35 AM
GUEST,Peter T. 10 Apr 00 - 09:48 AM
BlueJay 10 Apr 00 - 12:37 PM
GUEST,old-blew@msn.com 10 Apr 00 - 12:57 PM
Margaret V 10 Apr 00 - 08:41 PM
JamesJim 10 Apr 00 - 11:09 PM
WyoWoman 10 Apr 00 - 11:30 PM
Whistle Stop 11 Apr 00 - 01:32 PM
M. Ted (inactive) 11 Apr 00 - 01:55 PM
BlueJay 11 Apr 00 - 03:19 PM
Whistle Stop 11 Apr 00 - 03:46 PM
jeffp 11 Apr 00 - 06:58 PM
JedMarum 11 Apr 00 - 07:00 PM
jeffp 11 Apr 00 - 07:10 PM
Terry Allan Hall 11 Apr 00 - 07:11 PM
ddw 11 Apr 00 - 09:07 PM
Banjoman_CO 11 Apr 00 - 10:26 PM
GUEST,Guest, leeneia 12 Apr 00 - 12:18 AM
JedMarum 12 Apr 00 - 11:25 AM
Lady McMoo 12 Apr 00 - 11:42 AM
catspaw49 12 Apr 00 - 11:55 AM
GUEST,Mbo_at_ECU 12 Apr 00 - 11:59 AM
canoer 12 Apr 00 - 01:08 PM
Mbo 12 Apr 00 - 01:24 PM
Whistle Stop 12 Apr 00 - 01:35 PM
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Subject: Hold your pick correctly
From: lloyd64
Date: 09 Apr 00 - 06:45 PM

Learn now to hold your pick…..

After fifth years of paying rudimentary Guitar and Mandolin, I have just found out I am holding the pick incorrectly. I did not even know there was a correct way to hold a pick. When it was not in my teeth, I held my pick with my thumb and the tips of my first and second fingers. I now realize, every guitar and mandolin book in the world shows the pick being help by the thumb and the side of the first finger. Will it make a difference in the sound? It sure did, but I'm having a hard time getting use to it. The pick keeps slipping. ( Maybe I should have a thumb pick like Art). Can you play a Mandolin with a thumb pick? :)

So, you young pickers, start out holding the pick correctly.

Lloyd62 (formerly lloyd62


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Subject: RE: Hold your pick correctly
From: Dulci46
Date: 09 Apr 00 - 07:20 PM

My son plays the guitar, when I was trying to learn it he kept telling me I was holding the pick wrong. I tried and tried to hold it the way he showed me but like you say it kept slipping. I still haven't figured out how to keep it in my hand. Still don't know how to play the guitar either. I play the dulcimer and I don't think I hold it right for that either and have been trying to change but as you said, it's certainly not easy to break habits. I agree with you do it right from the beginning and you won't have the frustration of changing later.


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Subject: RE: Hold your pick correctly
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 Apr 00 - 07:33 PM

The right way to do something is the way that's right for you.

I've just checked, and I find I use the pick both ways, according to what instrument I'm playing (eg single course of strings like a 6 string guitar, or double courses like a mandolin), what kind of music and which pick I'm using, and whether I'm picking out notes or strumming or whatever, and whether it's just me, or if there's a group of musicians.


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Subject: RE: Hold your pick correctly
From: Song Dog
Date: 09 Apr 00 - 07:39 PM

I say, hold your pick any way that pleases you, if it works. Just tkink, if we all made love the same way, there would be fewer children.


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Subject: RE: Hold your pick correctly
From: catspaw49
Date: 09 Apr 00 - 08:00 PM

I generally hold mine with my thumb and middle finger and use my index finger to correct any aiming problems. This is generally the best method for me althiugh I sometimes............say what?.....pick?......How do I hold my PICK?........uhhuh........Well, that's different...........

Sorry....never mind.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Hold your pick correctly
From: John E
Date: 09 Apr 00 - 08:16 PM

Yeah, it makes a difference in sound. So, what's wrong with different sounds? This isn't virtuoso violin or dressage. Wes Montgomery made a name for himself playing with his thumb. You won't find that in too many books on how to play. Here's my thought: Don't break old habits, but if you want to learn new ones to add to your sounds, by all means . . . Peace, sj


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Subject: RE: Hold your pick correctly
From: ddw
Date: 09 Apr 00 - 08:48 PM

Lloyd, you're one up on me if you've been holding a flatpick any way for a long time. I keep trying, but the best I can do is about four licks and it's down the sound hole. I usually just sake it out and put my fingerpicks back on.

david


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Subject: RE: Hold your pick correctly
From: Barbara
Date: 10 Apr 00 - 01:47 AM

Actually, y'all need some Gorilla Snot.
Or something like that. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think there are these substances available that make for a firmer union of your fingers and your pick. Makes it stick right there like it was glued on with.., uh, with... never mind. Gorilla Snot just happens to be the one with the best name.
Blessings,
Barbara


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Subject: RE: Hold your pick correctly
From: Whistle Stop
Date: 10 Apr 00 - 08:30 AM

There are lots of ways to hold a pick. My advice is (a) hold it however it works best for you, and (b) don't necessarily limit yourself to just one grip. The "side of the index finger" approach that you describe is quite common, but as a rule it doesn't work that well for me. I tend to hold the pick between the thumb and the tip of my index finger, rather than the side, sometimes adding my middle finger for extra support when I need to dig in. I find that this grip accomodates variations in how firmly I am holding the pick -- I can relax a little when I want the pick to have more "give" (like when I'm strumming a gentle rhythm) or hold it more firmly when I want to make a lead line stand out more prominently. Once you're accustomed to your grip on the pick, these variations happen on a semi-conscious level -- you think of the tone you're looking for in any given song/line/note, and your fingers pretty much know what they need to do without being told.

A lot of bluegrass guitar players do like the "side of the index finger" grip, because they can get a lot of power behind the notes that way. But there are advantages to other approaches as well, so I wouldn't be too quick to abandon what works for you for the sake of "doing it right".

As for Gorilla Snot, the stuff is out there, and evidently there's a market for it. But I think you're better off learning how to hold a pick without it; that way you can change your grip at will, and you aren't dependent on smearing sticky stuff on your fingers every time you want to play.


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Subject: RE: Hold your pick correctly
From: Vixen
Date: 10 Apr 00 - 08:35 AM

The solutions to pick issues are, IMHO, Experiment and Practice.

I had the same problems as ddw and dulcl. I couldn't hang onto the pick a'tall. Gave up and learned to finger pick, since I have yet to drop a finger in the sound hole or anywhere else. (of course, I don't use power tools...)

Anyway, I finally *DECIDED* that if other people could strum with a pick, so could I. I'm just finishing up about a year of frustration but I have acquired the ability to HANG ONTO THE PICK, *AND* pick out alternating bass notes with strums in between.

Gorilla Snot does stick the pick to your fingers, but I didn't like it. What I did find, though, was two types of picks that were comfortable for me. One is "big stubby" which has a nice deep dimple for my finger tip to sit in. This is a "slippery" pick, though--I don't like how it feels on the strings. I found picks made of cow horn at a bluegrass festival, and I've been using them ever since.

So, experiment with different picks, AND just practice...Some ways of holding the pick are more effective than others for different things, so I'd suggest not getting locked in to one way of holding it.

Catspaw--you shouldn't be aiming that thing at the sound hole...

V


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Subject: RE: Hold your pick correctly
From: GUEST,Peter T.
Date: 10 Apr 00 - 09:48 AM

Size matters! (a homage to Catspaw's intervention) I futzed around with small picks for awhile, and always lost them in my hand. A few weeks ago I just got a big solid Fender pick (1mm) (I play acoustic), and things have improved dramatically. God knows whether it sounds any good, but at least I can hold on to the damn thing. yours, PEter T.


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Subject: RE: Hold your pick correctly
From: BlueJay
Date: 10 Apr 00 - 12:37 PM

Lloyd- There's another way of holding the pick that Dan Crary recommends in an old book I have: holding it between the thumb and the tips of the index and middle fingers. He states it gives him better control, and also keeps the pick from rotating. I've tried it, and found it awkward, but you might not. Haven't tried it on the mandolin. The point is, Dan Crary holds his pick in a non-traditional manner, and I think that he's not done half bad. :) It relates to what YOU are most comfortable with, not anyone else's standards. BTW, I've not seen anyone respond to using a thumb pick on the Mandolin: I tried it after reading your original post, and found it unwieldy, especially trying tremolo. Doesn't mean it's not right for you however, or even for me. I might try again. Just keep on pickin'! Thanks, Bluejay


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Subject: RE: Hold your pick correctly
From: GUEST,old-blew@msn.com
Date: 10 Apr 00 - 12:57 PM

i had trouble holding my pick with index finger and thumb until irubbed my finger in the rosin of a fiddle. it works better than gorilla snot when your body heat melts the rosin you can hold the pick on the finger and wave it and it wont come off= good picking.


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Subject: RE: Hold your pick correctly
From: Margaret V
Date: 10 Apr 00 - 08:41 PM

I just want to say thanks for these suggestions, all of which I will experiment with per Vixen's good exhortation! If I use the grip of death on the pick, it'll stay in my hand allright, but then I can't seem to control volume or, well, much of anything at all. Margaret


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Subject: RE: Hold your pick correctly
From: JamesJim
Date: 10 Apr 00 - 11:09 PM

As to "holding on" to a pick - simply lick your finger(s) before grasping the pick. You'll be surprised at how plain ole' saliva does the trick! Jim


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Subject: RE: Hold your pick correctly
From: WyoWoman
Date: 10 Apr 00 - 11:30 PM

And, saliva has the advantage of being applicable to Catspaw's activity as well...

(I've been lurking on this thread because I'm going through some of the same dilemma. Have been trying to learn to hold the pick and the guitar always sounds over-powering to me no matter how I use the pick. Then my friend the guitarist insists that I use a pick because ... I've never really figured out why he thinks I simply MUST have a pick. Isn't it ok sometimes to just plunk around pick-less?)

WyoWoman


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Subject: RE: Hold your pick correctly
From: Whistle Stop
Date: 11 Apr 00 - 01:32 PM

It's okay to use a pick, or to not use a pick. You get to choose.

I mentioned in another, related thread that part of the key (for me, anyway) is to NOT hold the pick too tightly. If you use a "death grip," you lose the ability to control dynamics, as Margaret V says. But moreover, it actually can make it MORE likely that you'll drop the thing. A more flexible grip allows the pick to move a little when it first hits the string, and then come back into playing position, without weakening your grip on the thing. It's like the old saying about how the tree that won't bend gets blown over in a storm, but the grass that bends is not bothered by wind (something like that, anyway). Then you can vary your grip -- hold it more stiffly to dig in on those single-note leads, or relax the grip when you want to strum chords or play lines that don't require so much power. Sounds counter-intuitive, but it's worth exploring (I've been playing with a flatpick for 30 years, and this is what works for me).

I didn't know that Dan Crary held his pick that way, but BlueJay's description of his grip is actually pretty similar to mine. I only use the middle finger when I really need the extra power; usually it's just the thumb and tip-of-first-finger. But Mr. Crary plays with a lot of power, so his approach is worth looking into.


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Subject: RE: Hold your pick correctly
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 11 Apr 00 - 01:55 PM

The way that you hold the pick depends a lot on what sort of music that you are playing--if you are playing lots of fast little notes and tremoloes, you will need a whole different approach than if you are strumming open chords-- If you play chord melody style lead, you will have to hold the pick differently, as well--


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Subject: RE: Hold your pick correctly
From: BlueJay
Date: 11 Apr 00 - 03:19 PM

...And then there's the guy who didn't have a pick, so he played loud and furiously with an old style pull-off tab from a beer can. He scratched the top of my Guild pretty good. I think that was the closest I've ever been to wanting to physically attack somebody, but he was holding my guitar. Possibly material for another thread. I didn't notice his grip, and I doubt if there is a correct grip for a beer can tab! (I still loan my guitars, confident that 99% of guitar players have at least SOME common sense).


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Subject: RE: Hold your pick correctly
From: Whistle Stop
Date: 11 Apr 00 - 03:46 PM

I think that's why they changed the way beer cans are made -- too many complaints from guitar players with hangovers (not a group you want to anger).


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Subject: RE: Hold your pick correctly
From: jeffp
Date: 11 Apr 00 - 06:58 PM

When I started playing guitar, I was self-taught. I held the pick between my thumb-tip and the tips of my index and middle fingers. It worked OK as I was just strumming along with my singing. I lost the pick once in a while, but I just thought of it as something that happens. After a few years, I got into bluegrass and fancied myself a budding bluegrass picker. Well, I hit a wall and just couldn't get any better, no matter how hard I practiced.

So, I decided to take some lessons. At my first lesson, my teacher taught me the "proper" way to hold the pick (index finger curled, the thumb across it at the end knuckle, the pick between them poking out between the fingertip and the thumb-tip). It drove me crazy!!!!!! I couldn't get the hang of it for quite a while and after a short time of trying, I couldn't do it the old way either. Several times I had to put the guitar down and walk away from it to keep myself from smashing it in frustration.

Finally, I got the hang of it, and it really improved my playing. A side benefit is that I only drop my pick once or twice a year now, usually when I am too impaired to really be playing. Once you get used to it, you can control your volume by how tightly you grip the pick. You'd be surprised how loosely you can hold it and still hang on to it once you have the knack. You can even control the angle of rotation of the pick by changing the angle at which you strike the strings.

After 26 years, it's become second nature, but I remember the trauma of learning it. I nearly gave up the instrument. I'm so glad I stuck with it, though; it's brought me so many good times.

jeffp


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Subject: RE: Hold your pick correctly
From: JedMarum
Date: 11 Apr 00 - 07:00 PM

Wow - if there's a correct way of holding yer flat, I always get it wrong for at least part of the night! I use several variations of holding the pick, including one that grinds my index finger nail down some ...

I think you'll find that everything else about folk guitar; do what works, don't worry about what's right!


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Subject: RE: Hold your pick correctly
From: jeffp
Date: 11 Apr 00 - 07:10 PM

I've ground my index fingernail down some, too. I've even ripped hunks of it off on particularly rowdy stuff (I used to play in a rock band).

jeffp


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Subject: RE: Hold your pick correctly
From: Terry Allan Hall
Date: 11 Apr 00 - 07:11 PM

There is no "correct" way to hold a pick...just the way that works best for you!


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Subject: RE: Hold your pick correctly
From: ddw
Date: 11 Apr 00 - 09:07 PM

Something I haven't seen anybody mention is a trick an old acquaintance showed me. I tried it and it was an improvement, but I guess I'm just not born to flatpick. What he showed me was to take some plastic wood filler and put a 3/4-inch or so smear on each side of the pick. Let it dry and the pick is a lot easier to control. And it's nowhere near as messy as Gorilla Snot.

david


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Subject: RE: Hold your pick correctly
From: Banjoman_CO
Date: 11 Apr 00 - 10:26 PM

Hey Dulci46: I was just scanning the threads and I came upon this one. I have a request. Do you play mountain dulcimer or hammered dulcimer? If you wouldn't mind, please contact me via email. I have some questions for you. By the way, I can't hold on to my flat pick either. I added some sand paper to the upper part to give me some traction. It works great.

Banjoman (my email address is in the 'mudcat resources'.


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Subject: RE: Hold your pick correctly
From: GUEST,Guest, leeneia
Date: 12 Apr 00 - 12:18 AM

The best way to hold a pick is "some of the time." Playing with a pick is hard on your hands. So put it down and let your hands be relaxed and natural.


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Subject: RE: Hold your pick correctly
From: JedMarum
Date: 12 Apr 00 - 11:25 AM

right on, leeneia! I agree. Besides, acoustic guitar strinsg love to be finger picked!


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Subject: RE: Hold your pick correctly
From: Lady McMoo
Date: 12 Apr 00 - 11:42 AM

I personally prefer fingerstyle or sometimes use a plectrum rather than a pick which I find rather large and heavy and difficult to put in my pocket...

mcmoo (:<)>


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Subject: RE: Hold your pick correctly
From: catspaw49
Date: 12 Apr 00 - 11:55 AM

Try a mallet instead mooman......The flat edges don't poke holes in your pockets. Still a bit large, but..........

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Hold your pick correctly
From: GUEST,Mbo_at_ECU
Date: 12 Apr 00 - 11:59 AM

Whoa, this is some weird stuff! Between the thumb and SIDE of the first finger?! I used to hold it between my thumb and tips o' my first & second fingers (p,i & m) but my guitar teacher said that you can get greater versatility if you hold it only between the thumb and tip of the first finger (p & i). It took me a few days to get the hang of it, but I'm glad he showed me! My picks have raised relief logos on them, and theses little crosshatched grippy things so they don't slip out of your hands. They cost ten cents each, and I've been using the same one for 5 years. I've lost it many times, but I always find it again. My lucky pick. I also like to sometimes hold the pick very very close to the bottom point of it, so when you do solos, you can get this neat chunky sound!

--Mbo


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Subject: RE: Hold your pick correctly
From: canoer
Date: 12 Apr 00 - 01:08 PM

McMoo, what a great idea about the pick! Even if it is a bit large, think of the air of authenticity it lends to all those mining songs!


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Subject: RE: Hold your pick correctly
From: Mbo
Date: 12 Apr 00 - 01:24 PM

Question--if you're playing block chords, is it OK to use an ice pick? Or a Fro pick when playing slap bass? ;->

--Mbo


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Subject: RE: Hold your pick correctly
From: Whistle Stop
Date: 12 Apr 00 - 01:35 PM

I think Jimi Hendrix used a toothpick.


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