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> Picks And Plectrums Problems
Mr Mayhem
post Dec 8 2010, 09:40 PM
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Hi all GMC ers.

I've been playing on and off for about 16 years. Im a big fan of shred especially the more melodic type like Europe and Malmsteen. Therefore it probably won't surprise any of you that im big into speed picking.

I need thoughts and advice on a problem i feel has been holding back my progress for years, and that is picks slipping and/or rotating in my fingers.

It results in missing notes or even worse the string altogether, simply because the pick has rotated around to point the wrong way and im then trying to pick with the side instead of the point of the pick.

Usually this happens after i have been playing for some time and my hands have started to get hot and sweat a little. But once it starts its so frustrating. I end up having to reposition my pick after every run or even just practising scales i can usually count on it moving out of place before i finish a whole exercise. I can temporarily fix the problem by going and washing my hands with warm water and soap, and usually washing the pick too helps. This restores grip perfectly and i can play accuratley again for about 30 mins, but eventually my hands build up perspiration on the pick and hey presto i can't play properly again. It really damages your confidence if half way through a solo or something you feel the pick moving out of position and you begin to struggle hitting the notes. The thing is when i get to play on stage, i can't really have a bowl of warm water on stand by so if during a song i need to wash the sweat of my hands!

Now i have spent considerable time over the years trying to sort this problem out. Some people i have spoken to say that its a technique issue and if the pick is moving im not holding it right. I have spend years trying different approaches to ways to hold the pick, and never found a way that prevents the problem. I've also spoken to guitarists that say its the angle you hit the string at, and hitting the string incorrectly will make the pick rotate. Again i have over the years tried different angle's and not found a cure. Different angles seem to make a difference to the sound you get, but not really any difference to the pick trying to move around. For a while i tried simply gripping the pick tighter, but quickly found this locked up my wrist and slowed me down to such an extent it was like going back to being a begginer.

Other people ive spoken to about this problem say that its something you just learn to live with, and you just get better at repositioning the pick part way through a piece of music? While other come up with all sort of suggestions about how to modify your pick to prevent it from moving, including drilling holes in it, using gorilla snot, and even sticking double sided tape on both sides of the pick! I've tried some of these idea's with limited results. Ive also had people say that gripping it too tight has the opposite effect and makes you perspire more, and the key is to loosen your grip a bit. Again i have tried this over extended periods of time and with different amounts of grip tightness, but it doesn't fix the problem. If i grip looser the problem is magnified and the pick is all over the place. If i hold it tighter then my finger sweat even more and its all over the place again. Im very sure that my grip is about right and it hasn't got anything to do with it. (in my case anyway.)

At the moment i am testing out some very expensive picks that claim to fix the problem, and when/if one cures the problem for me i will let the forum know. However i wanted to get the view of the guitarists, and especially the teachers on here. Is this a common problem? Have i been playing wrong for all these years and there is some secret to holding a pick? Or does everyone accept its a problem and learn ways around it?

Personally i think it might be more of a personal thing. Some people sweat a lot on their hands (like me) and some people are lucky and don't hardly at all. Therefore it would make sense that some guitarist say its how you play it, and can use virtually any pick they want. And then there are others maybe like me who sometimes find this problem so frustrating that they want to super glue a pick permanently to their fingers!!

Please comment and give me your views.

Jon Mayhem.



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MonkeyDAthos
post Dec 8 2010, 09:44 PM
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check the pick his using wink.gif


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slash48
post Dec 8 2010, 10:22 PM
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Have you tried Dunlop Jazz III max grips? They are really grippy and designed incredibly well. (John Petrucci, Eric Johnson, and guthrie govan use jazz iii to give you an insight on how great they are. Other than that...I think V-Picks are known to have some method to stick to your fingers but I've never really liked V-Picks....Good luck!


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slash48
post Dec 8 2010, 10:22 PM
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Have you tried Dunlop Jazz III max grips? They are really grippy and designed incredibly well. (John Petrucci, Eric Johnson, and guthrie govan use jazz iii to give you an insight on how great they are. Other than that...I think V-Picks are known to have some method to stick to your fingers but I've never really liked V-Picks....Good luck!


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MickeM
post Dec 8 2010, 10:23 PM
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I belive I recall someone said V-picks has good grip for sweaty hands. I have a few of those but I wouldn't know if they work like that since my hands usually stay dry when I'm playing. Could be worth checking out.


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Mr Mayhem
post Dec 8 2010, 11:12 PM
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Thanks for the reply's so far guys.

I have tried so many picks. Mostly from the Jim Dunlop range including the Jazz iii. The main pick of choice for me has always been the big stubby picks, which i love for the tone they produce. Very clear and you can really hear the different notes, which is great when playing lots and lots after one another. The only problem with it, is its kinda shiny and so doesn't grip well when i start to sweat. I tried some others with grip on them like the jazz 3 and the gator grip ones. I also tried the max grip one, which i thought had brilliant grip on it. The problem is i just don't like the sound compared to the big stubby. One thing my old guitar teacher used to get me to do was to sharpen my picks with sand paper, which he did to improve the attack and tone of the picks he used. I did this too for a while, but my quest to find the ultimate pick began when i got fed up with modifying picks. I wanted an off the shelf pick that i could just pick up and play with. My searching led me eventually to the big stubby, because it sounds like the sharpen ones i used to use without me needing to do anything to it.

I too have read a lot about V picks. Their idea is that the material becomes almost tacky when warmed up, and that really appeals to me. This led me to buy some this morning, but today i haven't had a chance to try it out. Watch this space as i will try it out properly tommorow and post a result later.

I'm almost nervous about trying this v pick tommorow. Could my search be over? Can there really be a pick that gives me the tone of a big stubby, yet offers superior grip and cures all my old problems? Tune in tommorow night for more exciting adventures.


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slash48
post Dec 8 2010, 11:31 PM
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I just wanted to recommend the Eric Johnson signature jazz iii as a last pick choice. It's got a superb tone (I think), it wears slowly, it's effortless to play chords with them unlike all the other jazz iii picks, it's used by a great player, and it cuts through the strings like butter. After all the picks I've tried in 4+ years, it's my favorite. It's different from a regular red one because it's modeled after one of dunlop's very early models of the Jazz III pick. Only problem is you'd probably have to scrape where you hold it up up a little bit to get it grippy but these things never wear so it's worth it. You might wanna try it out... Again, good luck


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Mudbone
post Dec 9 2010, 04:18 AM
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I'm a sweaty ass greaseball, so I've had a hard time finding a pick I could maintain a grip on. I've settled on the Dunlop Jazz III Max Grip picks, but before I used those I came up with a nifty little trick. I picked up a step tread with an adhesive back from a hardware store and cut out pieces to attach to my picks. Its got the abrasiveness of about 80 grit sand paper, so there is some serious friction going on. You could stick your hand in a bucket of lard and still be able to maintain a grip on this pick. keep in mind though, this will make your pick thicker.

Check out the tread here:

Reflective Tread

Heres a picture of the one I've created.



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jstcrsn
post Dec 9 2010, 04:48 PM
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QUOTE (Mr Mayhem @ Dec 8 2010, 11:12 PM) *
Thanks for the reply's so far guys.

I have tried so many picks. Mostly from the Jim Dunlop range including the Jazz iii. The main pick of choice for me has always been the big stubby picks, which i love for the tone they produce. Very clear and you can really hear the different notes, which is great when playing lots and lots after one another. The only problem with it, is its kinda shiny and so doesn't grip well when i start to sweat. I tried some others with grip on them like the jazz 3 and the gator grip ones. I also tried the max grip one, which i thought had brilliant grip on it. The problem is i just don't like the sound compared to the big stubby. One thing my old guitar teacher used to get me to do was to sharpen my picks with sand paper, which he did to improve the attack and tone of the picks he used. I did this too for a while, but my quest to find the ultimate pick began when i got fed up with modifying picks. I wanted an off the shelf pick that i could just pick up and play with. My searching led me eventually to the big stubby, because it sounds like the sharpen ones i used to use without me needing to do anything to it.

I too have read a lot about V picks. Their idea is that the material becomes almost tacky when warmed up, and that really appeals to me. This led me to buy some this morning, but today i haven't had a chance to try it out. Watch this space as i will try it out properly tommorow and post a result later.

I'm almost nervous about trying this v pick tommorow. Could my search be over? Can there really be a pick that gives me the tone of a big stubby, yet offers superior grip and cures all my old problems? Tune in tommorow night for more exciting adventures.



i am right there struggling with very similar problems - i to like the big stuby (2mm) , but they are the worst for sliping problems even for me- and i am not a sweater - so i can feel your pain . however if you like their tone and their pick scracthes - which i do - get some thin super glue and while holding the pick upside down let the glue run down the part of the pick you hold ( not the tip , as this will change the tone)
be careful not to GLUE YOUR HAND TO THE PICK
THE GOAL HERE IS TO PUT A THIN COAT WHERE YOUR FINGER GRABS THE PICK AND NOWHERE ELSE
i also drilled a hole in the pick to change where i hold it
hope this helps
p.s.wait till the glue dries before you use it

This post has been edited by jstcrsn: Dec 9 2010, 04:51 PM
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NoSkill
post Dec 9 2010, 05:14 PM
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I have exactly the same problem and started using Vpicks about a year ago. They don't solve the problem, but they make it less of an issue. I've tried 5 or 6 different variants of them and like them all.


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Todd Simpson
post Dec 9 2010, 05:35 PM
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I feel your pain. I"m a big fan of Clayton picks and they make several that have great grip. First up, the S STONE PICK (These picks START at 2.0mm so they are THIIIIIICCCK)
Attached Image
Great grip and focused to a point like a Jazz III for shredding. Here is a link to more info.
http://www.shopatron.com/products/productd...250/6/726.0.1.1

Next Up, the Clayton FROST BITE pik. Also, grippy and pointed like a Jazz III for shredding but a different material.
Attached Image
Here is a link with more info.
http://www.shopatron.com/products/productd..._12PK/726.0.1.1

Last up, my personal fav the Clayton SHARK PICK which actually has something that feels like sand paper on the pick front so it has killer grip and made of Acetal which I personally prefer over other materials due to it's rigidity and lack of flex.
Attached Image
And the link
http://www.shopatron.com/products/productd...H_6PK/726.0.1.1

I have several V picks and they are nice, but the tone they produce can be a bit "chirpy" I actually sanded/shaved the pointed one down to a finer point and it tamed the tone a bit.




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emirb
post Dec 9 2010, 05:55 PM
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I use JazzIII too, but my other choice when (trying to) playing fast is this one:

Attached Image

It has sand-sides and it's NOT slippery. Worth a try?


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Mr Mayhem
post Dec 9 2010, 09:14 PM
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still getting used to this forum stuff.

This post has been edited by Mr Mayhem: Dec 9 2010, 09:17 PM


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kaznie_NL
post Dec 9 2010, 09:27 PM
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Maybe check Dava Picks!



This post has been edited by kaznie_NL: Dec 9 2010, 09:29 PM


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Ben Higgins
post Dec 9 2010, 09:53 PM
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John I'm sorry to hear about your pick issue.. that must be so frustrating !! I wish I could offer more advice but the guys here have probably already stumbled across some great types of picks..

It's weird as I have almost the opposite problem.. the drier my fingers are, the harder it is for me to keep the pick in place. Especially if my hands are colder.. I'm no medical expert but I just put that down to my pores being closed due to the cold, and making my skin surface smoother ?! But that's a total guess. I usually have to lick my finger and thumb a few times before I can grip the pick properly without it moving. I think I sweat quite a lot too but don't seem to have a problem when gigging, which is when I'm at my sweatiest ! wink.gif

I use Dunlop Tortex picks, 1.14mm, the purple ones.. not sure what people's experiences are with those but I just love 'em !




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Mr Mayhem
post Dec 10 2010, 03:22 PM
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Thanks Ben.

Everyone's so great on here. I tried the V pick dimension yesterday. Basically i went into my local music shop and tried out all the V picks they had in stock (which was only a small selection of the many types they do.)

I bit the bullet and settled on the "dimension" pick which during the few minuits i spent mucking around in the shop seemed like the best of the ones they had. It has a simmilar feel across the strings as the big stubby i normally use, although its almost twice as thick. It would have been nice to spend longer than ten mins in the shop trying things out, but after a while i started to feel like a nuisance so i had to make a decision.

When i got it home i found it didn't really solve the slippery finger issue at all really. In comparisson to the big stubby it didn't grip any better at all, which was dissapointing after all the claims the website made. However there might be other picks they do i would have more luck with, only they weren't in stock at my local shop to try.

Anyway this meant soon switching back again to my trusty big stubby 2.0. I did have one small revelation yesterday evening though, and that was after i had finished i have recently been using this GHS strings stuff. Its like a stick you rub on the strings and is meant to clean them up and help them last longer. Now after a bit of thinking realised that during my practise i usually stretch out my fingers a bit when i start by playing something more classical with finger picking technique. I also realised that although after you use this stuff your supposed to wipe the excess off with the supplied cloth, there is still some residue on the strings. That stuff i realised is not only getting transfered to the finger tips of my right hand when finger picking, but its as slippery as hell!

The problems i have had with the pick moving about over the years is one that seems to dissapear and then reappear again, and im starting to wonder if this stuff getting on my fingers has made it re-appear. I have therefore decided to stop using it for now to see if it helps my problem. I would rather replace my strings more often, but be able to use them better while they are there. I have fairly sweaty hands i think anyway, but this stuff can't be helping.

I have also got some stuff to try sticking onto my picks to see if that helps at all.

I will keep everyone posted on how i get on today. Thanks again everyone for your help and advice.

P.S I also find that licking my fingers helps to get the pick to stick better.


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Sollesnes
post Dec 10 2010, 10:54 PM
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QUOTE (Mr Mayhem @ Dec 10 2010, 03:22 PM) *
I did have one small revelation yesterday evening though, and that was after i had finished i have recently been using this GHS strings stuff. Its like a stick you rub on the strings and is meant to clean them up and help them last longer. Now after a bit of thinking realised that during my practise i usually stretch out my fingers a bit when i start by playing something more classical with finger picking technique. I also realised that although after you use this stuff your supposed to wipe the excess off with the supplied cloth, there is still some residue on the strings. That stuff i realised is not only getting transfered to the finger tips of my right hand when finger picking, but its as slippery as hell!


You are not only supposed to wipe the fast fret off, but also only use it on the fretboard area. It has no use above the pickups smile.gif
Might be a contributor. Hope you solve it smile.gif Might help to change your strings.
As my fast fret applier was getting old, I felt it was making the strings more sticky than "fast", so I stopped using it. smile.gif
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Gary
post Dec 11 2010, 07:32 AM
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Jon,

You have done an good job of documenting this issue. Unfortunately I suffer from the exact same problem and although I still struggle with it, I have learned to do some things that help. BTW.. I also use the 2.0 big stubby and fast fret too.

After picking a long series of notes I would more often than not end up playing with the side of the pick. I could feel the pick re-positioning in my hand but was really powerless to stop it. Out of frustration I began to look closely at my pick position and noticed that much of the time I was holding the pick in an "angled up" position, basically meaning the back of the pick was higher or above the string. I am now trying to focus on keeping the pick perpendicular to the string or guitar body. I also found the less I choked up on the pick the worse the slippage, so I have made that adjustment as well. To facilitate choking up I now sand the big stubby's to a finer point as this allows me to pick with very little material exposed. The last thing I do is wash my hands and my picks before I start playing.

In the end the steps I have taken have helped but the problem is yet to be totally solved. If I find the silver bullet I will post it.

Cheers~
Gary

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Todd Simpson
post Dec 11 2010, 08:51 AM
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QUOTE (kaznie_NL @ Dec 9 2010, 03:27 PM) *
Maybe check Dava Picks!



These look pretty spiff! I haven't heard of them before. I didn't see a link but I'll google it. They look worth a shot.
Todd


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maharzan
post Dec 11 2010, 09:08 AM
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I had/have the same issue too. And I have played well over 16 years with 3 initial years and then next 12-13 years just occasionally. Since I joined GMC to seriously learn guitar, I have had the same issue of pick slipping and unable to grab after some quick licks bar. Sometimes the pick just dropped. I tried all the tricks and picks too. Interestingly, I don't sweat but its hard for me to play if I wash my hand.. I have to put saliva so I can grab the pick and play. smile.gif

Anyway, I think the pick I have landed is Jazz III (Jim Dunlop). I have tried thicker ones but it seems Jazz III suits best for me. I haven't tried V-picks so not sure how they would work. The pick might just contribute a little bit I guess. The problem is the way your hand reacts when you are picking fast. My hand seems to loosen up when I pick fast thus the holding gets weird and pick position changes. I have tried all sorts of pick holding tricks to get rid of this, even Paul Gilbert angled style (which kinda works for me).

I have somehow got rid of this problem by constantly practicing fast stuff. I have been pushing my speed level time and again since I joined GMC and after a year and half of practice, I think I can now hold my pick properly. There is still issue of 'missing notes' while playing fast. Hope I can get rid of that too soon. smile.gif


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