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> Picking For Tone
Ben Higgins
post May 8 2014, 03:48 PM
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Hi Guys.. when discussing different ways of building speed and being efficient with the picking hand we rarely discuss the tonal affects of our picking.

Depending on how you angle your pick or where along the string you play, the note will sound different. It might sound fuller, brighter or thinner, duller...

In an ideal world, we would have a picking technique that works and uses the least amount of energy we can get away with but at the same time, delivers the best tone. You might have to sacrifice a portion of one for more of the other.

One thing I try to encourage other guitarists to do when practising is this: Pretend that the lick you are learning is only going to be played slowly. Pretend that your are standing on stage and you have to play that lick unaccompanied at a slow tempo. Now, knowing this, your goal is to make the lick sound as best as possible. Not think about technique, not speed.. but sound. Now imagine if you applied this to the lick whilst moving up through the tempos. Your goal is still sound. Sound. Sound.

I believe that the more we concentrate on how something sounds and less how it is achieved then our guitar playing will improve to our ears and to the ears of the listener. Yet how many of us think about picking with the best tone ?


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Mertay
post May 8 2014, 04:16 PM
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I have like 15 different brand/models of picks in front of me and they all sound different, does that count? biggrin.gif


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klasaine
post May 8 2014, 04:24 PM
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Absolutely!
Changing your pick angle and/or changing the actual pick can have more of an impact on your tone than probably any pedal or cable or maybe even pkup or speaker change. *String gauge too can be a huge factor on sound/tone.
The high-end guitar builder John Suhr has a great quote, especially poignant coming from him (a builder) ... "most tone issues are resolved through practice".

This post has been edited by klasaine: May 8 2014, 04:25 PM


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Todd Simpson
post May 8 2014, 09:20 PM
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Very true!! And well done Ben on bringing this up smile.gif The tonality of picking is something that often gets short shrift. But as everyone knows, much of the tone of any player is in his/her hands. The same rig/guitar may sound way different depending on whos playing. The way the hold the pick, the way the pick addresses the strings, etc. All these things have a HUGE impact on tone.



QUOTE (klasaine @ May 8 2014, 11:24 AM) *
Absolutely!
Changing your pick angle and/or changing the actual pick can have more of an impact on your tone than probably any pedal or cable or maybe even pkup or speaker change. *String gauge too can be a huge factor on sound/tone.
The high-end guitar builder John Suhr has a great quote, especially poignant coming from him (a builder) ... "most tone issues are resolved through practice".



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Ben Higgins
post May 9 2014, 09:34 AM
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QUOTE (Mertay @ May 8 2014, 04:16 PM) *
I have like 15 different brand/models of picks in front of me and they all sound different, does that count? biggrin.gif


Only if you use them ! tongue.gif

Less gear acquisition and more practise is something I believe in !

QUOTE (klasaine @ May 8 2014, 04:24 PM) *
The high-end guitar builder John Suhr has a great quote, especially poignant coming from him (a builder) ... "most tone issues are resolved through practice".


Excellent and very true !


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Mertay
post May 9 2014, 09:58 AM
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Funny thing happened last week, I have a cousin that also plays guitar. Did lots of gigs in college days but mainly rhythm.

We bought a new guitar for him last year, I did the adjustments but he commented later on it was still buzzing in some frets. We went to my luthier, he checked the guitar and said it was adjusted fine only needed a string change.

We asked him to play a little and there were slight buzzing in 1-2 frets, I played it and the buzzing was gone. Turns out the problem was his picking technique (pick angle and wrist usage). To be fair he has a very hard non-music related job and expects twins in 2-3 months but with a short example/lesson at the shop (similar to Ben and Darius picking video's) he got the idea.


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Ben Higgins
post May 9 2014, 10:15 AM
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QUOTE (Mertay @ May 9 2014, 09:58 AM) *
Funny thing happened last week, I have a cousin that also plays guitar. Did lots of gigs in college days but mainly rhythm.

We bought a new guitar for him last year, I did the adjustments but he commented later on it was still buzzing in some frets. We went to my luthier, he checked the guitar and said it was adjusted fine only needed a string change.

We asked him to play a little and there were slight buzzing in 1-2 frets, I played it and the buzzing was gone. Turns out the problem was his picking technique (pick angle and wrist usage). To be fair he has a very hard non-music related job and expects twins in 2-3 months but with a short example/lesson at the shop (similar to Ben and Darius picking video's) he got the idea.


Yeah, it's surprisingly hard to teach people how to mute unwanted string noise and things like that. They really have to feel the effects for themselves.


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Cosmin Lupu
post May 9 2014, 10:35 AM
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I consider this to be a VERY important aspect of building expression in your playing smile.gif For me, it was more of an unconscious journey up to a point, but I slowly realized that by imitating OTHER instruments than the guitar, I was able to build good expression skills. This particular piece was the eye opener:





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PosterBoy
post May 9 2014, 10:37 AM
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There are 5 strings we want to stay quite for every note we want to play, it makes sense to spend sometime addressing that.


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Cosmin Lupu
post May 9 2014, 06:04 PM
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QUOTE (PosterBoy @ May 9 2014, 09:37 AM) *
There are 5 strings we want to stay quite for every note we want to play, it makes sense to spend sometime addressing that.


I'm not sure I understand what you mean, mate biggrin.gif


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