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> Video Of Pick Holding Truths Vs Myths!, .
michael schenker
post May 31 2007, 07:37 PM
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Clearly, with something so fundamentally important as how to hold a pick[i], there should be a accurate, precise, clear and well explained video instructional segment that covers and provides intensily detailed steps of: how to hold one, at what angle, starting with an open, empty hand, how far it sticks out, etc, etc.

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Andrew Cockburn
post Jun 1 2007, 03:24 AM
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QUOTE (michael schenker @ May 31 2007, 02:37 PM) *
Clearly, with something so fundamentally important as how to hold a pick[i], there should be a accurate, precise, clear and well explained video instructional segment that covers and provides intensily detailed steps of: how to hold one, at what angle, starting with an open, empty hand, how far it sticks out, etc, etc.

Thank you,
regards,
russell/schenker

... and the problem with that is when you start a thread syaing that, you'll get as many opinions as there are answers in the thread biggrin.gif

Its a personal thing, and it comes down to what works for you. What IS valuable though, is looking at the way that others do it and trying out variations for yourself until you find what works. I changed my 20-year picking habits just recently based on a similar thread and couldn't be happier, but I learnt at the same time that everyone is different and its worth trying out the variations for yourself, there is not right way that works for everyone.


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fkalich
post Jun 1 2007, 04:41 AM
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QUOTE (Andrew Cockburn @ May 31 2007, 09:24 PM) *
... and the problem with that is when you start a thread syaing that, you'll get as many opinions as there are answers in the thread biggrin.gif

Its a personal thing, and it comes down to what works for you. What IS valuable though, is looking at the way that others do it and trying out variations for yourself until you find what works. I changed my 20-year picking habits just recently based on a similar thread and couldn't be happier, but I learnt at the same time that everyone is different and its worth trying out the variations for yourself, there is not right way that works for everyone.


how do you hold it now andrew? like picture #2 (with thumb and digit of index horizontal to strings, or i might call it, metal position). don't you find that to be limiting in some respects? i can't see holding it that way all the time. there are styles of play where that is not an optimal way to hold it, not at all. i find i have to hold it different ways, depending on what i am doing. you can shift the way you hold the pick rather quickly.
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Ryan
post Jun 1 2007, 04:45 AM
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WELL THEN SHIFT AWAY DUDE biggrin.gif


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fkalich
post Jun 1 2007, 05:10 AM
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QUOTE (Ryan @ May 31 2007, 10:45 PM) *
WELL THEN SHIFT AWAY DUDE biggrin.gif


what i am doing here ryan, is presenting my perspective, not to display it particularly, but to determine what the perspective of others might be, whether they agree with my premise, or not, and if so, if they have an alternate solution, i.e. to learn something.

edit: do give me an answer andrew if you get a chance. i am particularly interested in your perspective, being that you have played for years, and clearly have other areas of interest than shred metal. i am curious how you used to hold the pick, and how you hold it now, and if you find some limitations.

also interested in any response from others. one thing I have found, is that i like to get harmonics in ways other than pinch technique. pinch technique has its good points, and it is worth doing. however, I am finding it is not suitable for everything, at other times it makes better sense to me to use the tip of my middle finger, making the holding of the pick as described above impractical. i have really not settled down on how i want to hold a pick, and am thinking that maybe that is the solution, you hold it different ways for different things. and i am asking for feedback from others on this solution.

i don't agree that whatever is comfortable is what one should do. things don't work like that often times. for example, you never should wrap your thumb around the neck. i am certain of that. but people get into that habit, because it is comfortable to them.

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Andrew Cockburn
post Jun 1 2007, 01:17 PM
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Sure - before I came to GMC I used to hold the pick with my first 2 fingers and thumb, the pick point would be an extension of my fingers, but still coming out of the side of my thumb (try it with a pick if that doesn;t make sense).

I played like that for 20 years, and it took everything I threw at it - acoustic & electric strumming, reasonably fast (but not lightening) legato, which was the mainstay of my soloing style. At this time I was using very thin picks as well.

Soon after I joined GMC and started practicing speed picking, it didn't feel right, so I got thicker picks (I now use 1.14 instead of 0.46) and changed my picking style to the standard one finger + thumb, pick comes out of the side of your thumb, finger is paralell to the thumb. For me this took a very slight amount of getting used to (really a week or so) and the benefits for me have been huge.

First, I get a lot better control over my speed runs - looking at the mechanics of what I do now vs then, now, picking is a wrist action, up and down, before, it was more of a rotation, which for me was more limiting and awkward.

Second, I can do pinch harmonics like crazy - I play in exactly the same position all the time, and whenever I want a PH I just dig in fractionally further to brush the string - I don;t need to change my pick grip or anything, its always there ready to go. I also found that PHs were easier with my heavier picks, no idea why.

I would say that the only real drawback I find with this would be for strumming chords, it doesn;t work too well for that, and I would probably use my old pick position for doing that - it has more give meaning you can brush the strings rather than dig into them.

Another thing that seems to vary tremendously is what you do with the rest of your hand. I make a loose fist (which is fine as long as it IS loose). Some people open their fingers and keep them flat over the strings (a must if you want to do hybrid picking - something I mean to master but haven't really tried yet - should be easy for me as I have played finger style for 30 years). Kris uses an open hand, Pavel tends to alternate between a closed fist and an open hand.

The last possibility is whether or not you use your pinky to anchor you to the scratch plate. Kris does this, Pavel does not, so I think its safe to say that that part of it at least IS a matter of preference.

As I said in my first post, this is my perspective, its what works for me, if it helps you to do something similar then that's cool, if you think its all wrong, then you are probably right from your perspective smile.gif

QUOTE
idon't agree that whatever is comfortable is what one should do. things don't work like that often times. for example, you never should wrap your thumb around the neck. i am certain of that. but people get into that habit, because it is comfortable to them.


And finally a word on this - you are correct, but there are a couple of specific exceptions:

1. Playing chords and using your thumb to bar the E string - can be extremely effective for playing open string chords up the neck.

2. To get an aggresive vibrato while bending a string upwards you need to move your thumb up there for leverage.

This post has been edited by Andrew Cockburn: Jun 1 2007, 01:18 PM


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MickeM
post Jun 1 2007, 02:52 PM
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I guess I'm the one being refered to as number two.... after posting that picture.
I'm using #2 for everything. Pinch harmonichs are way easy, fast picking and also strumming. I don't know how to explain it but for strumming I loosen then grip with my thumb around he pick, the pick itself stays where it's at. But losening (upwards so to say)with the thumb displays an extra 2 mm of pick and it's way easier to make chords.
Then for the picking stuff I tighten the grip again and the pick is hidded again showing only a tiny tip.

Don't know if that explanation is worth anything.... It's difficult to explain. I wasn't aware myself but I read #2 was good for speed picking but not for strumming and I thought - Hey, I use it all the time.
I picked up a guitar and played some and noticed I change a tiny bit while playing different things. I wasn't even aware myself until now.

So what can I say, #2 works for everything for ME, just a tiny change of thumb tension needed. That's done in an instant so there's no time loss while playing. The grip around the pick though, always stay the same.

This post has been edited by MickeM: Jun 1 2007, 02:54 PM


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Kristofer Dahl
post Jun 1 2007, 07:29 PM
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Good things said here! smile.gif

It's definately one of the most personal things and as long as you work on having a relaxed right hand you can't go wrong (+ plus think about all the other things mentioned in our picking lessons).


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fkalich
post Jun 1 2007, 10:08 PM
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QUOTE (Andrew Cockburn @ Jun 1 2007, 07:17 AM) *
Sure - before I came to GMC I used to hold the pick with my first 2 fingers and thumb, the pick point would be an extension of my fingers, but still coming out of the side of my thumb (try it with a pick if that doesn;t make sense).
..........


Super answer Andrew. I was curious, figured you did the same as i did when i played (as a kid), used two fingers. You answer is very informative, the type of answer that is helpful, even if i don't have the exact same perspective, which is to be expected.

I find myself holding it as you say quite bit, but sometimes I hold it the other way, more the flat of the finger than the side, and pointing down at about 5 O'Clock (as in picture #1). I am not sure how this will end up.

Let me make three points....

1) I understand the thumbing the bass note, that is the allowing exception in my view. BB King called that "easy money" as i remember.
2) Regarding vibrato, i don't use finger vibrato on up vibrato, i use my wrist and forearm exclusively. My thumb stays on the back of the neck, loosely. I do use finger vibrato for down vibrato on bass strings.
3) I am not convinced about pinch harmonics being the super best invention since the microwave. I realize you can hit them quickly, but I am believing more and more that I can get a better harmonic using the tip of my middle finger. I have found that i can do that holding the pick in either style #1 or #2. Of course, i reserve the right to change my mind. But the difference really stands out when you roll off the high frequencies. And i believe it may be possible to hit them that way just as fast as a pinch harmonic, and maybe with more legato. Not sure though, not yet.

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Andrew Cockburn
post Jun 1 2007, 10:17 PM
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QUOTE (fkalich @ Jun 1 2007, 05:08 PM) *
Super answer Andrew. I was curious, figured you did the same as i did when i played (as a kid), used two fingers. You answer is very informative, the type of answer that is helpful, even if i don't have the exact same perspective, which is to be expected.

I find myself holding it as you say quite bit, but sometimes I hold it the other way, more the flat of the finger than the side, and pointing down at about 5 O'Clock (as in picture #1). I am not sure how this will end up.

Let me make three points....

1) I understand the thumbing the bass note, that is the allowing exception in my view. BB King called that "easy money" as i remember.
2) Regarding vibrato, i don't use finger vibrato on up vibrato, i use my wrist and forearm exclusively. My thumb stays on the back of the neck, loosely. I do use finger vibrato for down vibrato on bass strings.
3) I am not convinced about pinch harmonics being the super best invention since the microwave. I realize you can hit them quickly, but I am believing more and more that I can get a better harmonic using the tip of my middle finger. I have found that i can do that holding the pick in either style #1 or #2. Of course, i reserve the right to change my mind. But the difference really stands out when you roll off the high frequencies. And i believe it may be possible to hit them that way just as fast as a pinch harmonic, and maybe with more legato. Not sure though, not yet.


Very interesting stuff - can you explain your AH technique again? I remember you saying something similar on the Harmonics lesson thread - sounds like you are doing real Artificial Harmonics which is cool, I'd like to understand it a bit better ... I don't care what you say I think Pinch Harmonics ARE cool smile.gif but they are just one technique of many and I'd like to hear your perspective on your technique.

Vibrato : - each to his own, if that works for you then yes, that's one less reason to move your thumb up top!


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fkalich
post Jun 1 2007, 10:19 PM
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QUOTE (MickeM @ Jun 1 2007, 08:52 AM) *
I guess I'm the one being refered to as number two.... after posting that picture.
I'm using #2 for everything. Pinch harmonichs are way easy, fast picking and also strumming. I don't know how
.....

very good. often a person learns things just hearing a perspective of another. i may end up as you do, not sure. yesterday i was doing some sweep exercises, and they were getting quick clean and crisp, and low and behold, i was holding it as you say. i did not notice, but i probably was doing as you say, holding it a bit looser while doing that. i had thought it not the best way for sweeps previously.

time will tell. at this point i may just let my body do what it wants to do, postion #1 or #2, just see how it works out, what works best. it could end up that i do both ways. there is a difference in the pronation of the wrist and forearm, depending which of the two above styles one uses. puts everything in a different position. but as pointed out, it is very fast for pinch harmonics, as you are already just about in the right position for that.

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fkalich
post Jun 1 2007, 10:35 PM
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QUOTE (Andrew Cockburn @ Jun 1 2007, 04:17 PM) *
Very interesting stuff - can you explain your AH technique again? I remember you saying something similar on the Harmonics lesson thread - sounds like you are doing real Artificial Harmonics which is cool, I'd like to


well it came about in similar fashion as did my vibrato, out of ignorance as a kid i tried to imitate some really wild vibrato, so i ended up with the wrist and forearm. only later did i learn those guys used wammys for that. that was in my former life.

this year when I picked it up again, i heard the term pinch harmonic, so i figured it out myself, wrong again.
i would pinch the string, between the tip of the pick and the tip of my middle finger, both on the picking hand. actually my harmonics are the true "pinch harmonics". the type you guys do unfairly stole the name.

in fact, i expect i will do them as you do more often in the future, i can see it is really suitable for some things. no reason you can't do both. whatever works best at the moment.

i do try to hit them precisely. typically at the 1/3 node, or 1/4 node below the 12th fret, at th 1/2 node above the 12th fret. as i play a number of guitars, i have to reference them all a bit differently. i hit them all at spots past the fretboard, over the pickups. i have found a few useful tricks. for example, if you hit the 1/3 node harmonic, you can hit that exact same spot, a major 5th up, and it will be the 1/2 node. most for a song, i have to just memorize a half dozen or so spots. i realize that you can set you tone so you don't even have to think about this stuff, you will get one just about everywhere. but it is best to hit them precisely, i am sure you agree.
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Andrew Cockburn
post Jun 1 2007, 11:48 PM
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QUOTE (fkalich @ Jun 1 2007, 05:35 PM) *
well it came about in similar fashion as did my vibrato, out of ignorance as a kid i tried to imitate some really wild vibrato, so i ended up with the wrist and forearm. only later did i learn those guys used wammys for that. that was in my former life.

this year when I picked it up again, i heard the term pinch harmonic, so i figured it out myself, wrong again.
i would pinch the string, between the tip of the pick and the tip of my middle finger, both on the picking hand. actually my harmonics are the true "pinch harmonics". the type you guys do unfairly stole the name.

in fact, i expect i will do them as you do more often in the future, i can see it is really suitable for some things. no reason you can't do both. whatever works best at the moment.

i do try to hit them precisely. typically at the 1/3 node, or 1/4 node below the 12th fret, at th 1/2 node above the 12th fret. as i play a number of guitars, i have to reference them all a bit differently. i hit them all at spots past the fretboard, over the pickups. i have found a few useful tricks. for example, if you hit the 1/3 node harmonic, you can hit that exact same spot, a major 5th up, and it will be the 1/2 node. most for a song, i have to just memorize a half dozen or so spots. i realize that you can set you tone so you don't even have to think about this stuff, you will get one just about everywhere. but it is best to hit them precisely, i am sure you agree.


Yes, I definitely agree - I try and tune my "Pinch Harmonics" in exactly the same way, to get an octave or 5th depending on what sounds good in that part of the song.

I would call what you are doing "True Artificial Harmonics" whereas I believe that what we usually call "Pinch Harmonics" are really "Opportunistic Artificial Harmonics" - I make the distinction because, as you point out, most people don't care which harmonic they hit when doing a PH, they just want a scream. What you are doing sounds like it could be expanded to play a whole melody in say octave harmonics, and get a cleaner sound.

You can do that with PH of course, but it tends to be harder, and your way sounds cleaner I agree.

Interesting stuff smile.gif I'll give your way a try.


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fkalich
post Jun 2 2007, 02:11 AM
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QUOTE (Andrew Cockburn @ Jun 1 2007, 05:48 PM) *
Yes, I definitely agree - I try and tune my "Pinch Harmonics" in exactly the same way, to get an octave or 5th depending on what sounds good in that part of the song.

I would call what you are doing "True Artificial Harmonics" whereas I believe that what we usually call "Pinch Harmonics" are really "Opportunistic Artificial Harmonics" - I make the distinction because, as you point out, most people don't care which harmonic they hit when doing a PH, they just want a scream. What you are doing sounds like it could be expanded to play a whole melody in say octave harmonics, and get a cleaner sound.

You can do that with PH of course, but it tends to be harder, and your way sounds cleaner I agree.

Interesting stuff smile.gif I'll give your way a try.


my exact perspective. i like the high harmonics (squeal) tone setting, but of course, not all the time, e.g. for a song like "Since I've Been Loving You", nah, not the squeal tone, at least not to my taste. If you want to hit a harmonic with a more traditional les paul sound, you have to hit a precise node. and that makes sense. with a fuller tone, the upper harmonics are not there as much, they won't smack you in the face like they do with the squeal tone setting.

i am not knocking pinch harmonics. i expect i will do more of that as time goes on. and as i said, i like the squeal tone setting quite a bit. not just for shred. good for clarity with chord stuff.
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Pavel
post Jun 2 2007, 10:25 AM
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Those are some huge posts with opinioins there... WOW.

I will only add a couple of words: I changed a lot of picking styles, going from Kirk Hammet style to Rusty Cooley. I tried to learn picking like Michael Angelo - and spent the whole year on it and finally i had to change that style 'cause it doesn't work for me. So i watched a lot of videos and loved Rusty's style the most. Since than i am picking like that and that's the best for me so i don't plan on trying any other style.

So here is the advice for those who doubt about their picking: watch videos of many different guitarists and try each of those styles. The one that is right for you is the one you feel most comfortable. Enjoy it!


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Marcus Lavendell
post Jun 2 2007, 11:23 AM
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QUOTE (Pavel @ Jun 2 2007, 11:25 AM) *
So here is the advice for those who doubt about their picking: watch videos of many different guitarists and try each of those styles. The one that is right for you is the one you feel most comfortable. Enjoy it!


I couldn't agree with you more, Pavel! very nice put!

Also consider what Kris said, that you should be relaxed in your right hand. That's important aswell.
Hold it just hard enough so you don't drop it.

If you tend to move the whole right arm (and if you're not comfortable with that), then try a more stiff/thick pick (1.0 or more), and when you play solo try to just barely touch the string with the pick (you don't need to "dig deep" in most cases).


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fkalich
post Jun 3 2007, 12:13 AM
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midkiem, andrew, i have come to feel your style (thumb and last digit of index horizontal to strings) is the way to go. certainly for my style. my resistance was that one does not see the middle finger as well as holding it in the other style (index pointing down at about 5 o'clock). as i don't like to do pinch harmonics much (for reasons i explained to andrew), and do them with the tip my middle finger, i liked being able to see that finger tip to help hitting the node precisely. however, i as speed picks up i realize i need to made that adjustment based on feel, not vision. and clearly the way you guys hold it has the advantages.

this brings up another issue. i play gibsons and fenders. the way i get a feel for where to hit the harmonic is largely based on the bridge, how that feels to my palm, i get my positioning that way. and since the bridge on a fender is different, well that means, well i don't know. may not play my fenders for awhile, until i can hit all the harmonics at speed blindly based on feel of the gibson.
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MickeM
post Jun 3 2007, 12:42 AM
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QUOTE (fkalich @ Jun 3 2007, 01:13 AM) *
midkiem, andrew, i have come to feel your style (thumb and last digit of index horizontal to strings) is the way to go. certainly for my style. my resistance was that one does not see the middle finger as well as holding it in the other style (index pointing down at about 5 o'clock). as i don't like to do pinch harmonics much (for reasons i explained to andrew), and do them with the tip my middle finger, i liked being able to see that finger tip to help hitting the node precisely. however, i as speed picks up i realize i need to made that adjustment based on feel, not vision. and clearly the way you guys hold it has the advantages.

this brings up another issue. i play gibsons and fenders. the way i get a feel for where to hit the harmonic is largely based on the bridge, how that feels to my palm, i get my positioning that way. and since the bridge on a fender is different, well that means, well i don't know. may not play my fenders for awhile, until i can hit all the harmonics at speed blindly based on feel of the gibson.


Some good points came up lately. Certainly it's great to play in a way that feels comfortably. Problem is that when one play the way one does, one never know if there's an even better way that could increase speed, accuracy or whatever. It's a kind of catch 22. I belive Pavels suggestion about studying and copy other players style is a great idea. Time consuming for sure but I guess very helpful in finding the way.
And lavendells point about not holding too tight. That's something I will have to work on a bit, become more relaxed and find what power for gripping is enough.

I'm sticking to the thumb, index position. In a couple of years I may look into improving it or changing by copying like Pavel said. But for now it's great for me.

About the other issue with Fender bridge. I also like to feel the bridge and keep a very low action on the strings. The problem for me with Fender Stratocasters is that when I play I keep accidently touching the volume time and again turning the volume down. It's from my position on the bridge. So I rather just play another model. It's strange though, Charvel and Ibanez have the volume knob in the same place but I never screw up with them. They are a bit harder to turn but I don't know if that's it, I don't belive I even touch them.


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Marcus Lavendell
post Jun 3 2007, 10:30 AM
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QUOTE (MickeM @ Jun 3 2007, 01:42 AM) *
The problem for me with Fender Stratocasters is that when I play I keep accidently touching the volume time and again turning the volume down.


I used to have the same problem (and still have to a certain degree).
I found that if you put your pinky around the volume nob you won't accidently touch it that much. That way ain't really 100% proof though, so when I do touch it by mistake I do a slight motion to turn it up again. The motion is so small that it's hard to even see it. check this video at 02:12 for an example:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ZrxJMeCxVQ

Don't know if this method suits you, but maybe it's worth a try?
I don't want you to stop playing Stratocaster because of this problem. smile.gif


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