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> Pick Angle
Phil66
post Oct 24 2017, 08:02 PM
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Hello folks,

I've always tried to, (and I don't really know why) keep my pick parallel to my strings. In this week's Livestream with Kris, I noticed that as he was shredding and went to the higher (thinner) strings, his pick kind of changed angle to between 30 and 45 degrees from parallel. To demonstrate this to yourself, put your picking hand on the bridge so that a flat pick sits on the bass E sitting flat on the string, (neck and and bridge end of the pick lying on the string. Now keep the flesh of your hand on the same part of the bridge as though there is a pin through the hand, connected to the bridge and rotate until you get to the high E. That's the kind of angle I'm talking about, not the hand position, that's just for this demo. So if you imagine a clock face with 12'o'clock pointing to the floor, on the bass E your pick would be pointing to 9'o'clock and by the time you get to the high E your pick angle would be like the minute hand at 10 or 11'o'clock.

My question is, have I been hindering myself all this time? I'm going to experiment a little bit but I've been trying to keep it parallel for so long it may be tricky.

Apart from my question, I thought this might make a good discussion wink.gif

Cheers folks.


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Mertay
post Oct 24 2017, 09:23 PM
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I'd say make a video for Gab. so he can check out what you're doing in detail, would probably be better for him to see rather than reading about it.

This might come a bit odd but the most I'm thinking about pick angle is when I'm on the bridge PU with high-gain soloing. Changing pick angle helps getting different tones even with high-gain, think emotional melodys rather than fast stuff.

I have to check but I think I only use the pick parallel when hitting really hard on low-gain overdrive sounds (think blues). Cause the string hits the fret, you not only get a louder but also brighter sound.

For speed though there's always some angle, even if the pick is a modern V design. I do like the feel the string a little, thats why I don't use a very thick pick but there should be very low friction so the angle helps that.


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Phil66
post Oct 24 2017, 09:45 PM
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Thanks Mertay,

I'm working on pickng with Gab at the moment, he hasn't spotted anything and said my right hand picking is fine.. I guess it's whatever works for you. When Kris was on the thin strings the pick was traversing diagonally across each string but I don't think it was on the wound strings.

Cheers

This post has been edited by Phil66: Oct 27 2017, 05:00 PM


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Todd Simpson
post Oct 24 2017, 09:45 PM
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Great point by MERTAY smile.gif Make a video so we can get a better idea of how you are holding your pick in general. It's much easier to diagnose issues when one can see them. We can get a rough idea from the description, but vids are always a bit more handy for such things. Doesn't have to be high quality, or good sound, just a cell phone would be fine. Just make sure we can see your pick hand smile.gif

Here is a short picking demo from me showing my picking angle. You can see it from the top of the pick. I choke up on the pick so you can't see the tip. But the top lets you know the angle relative to the string. I use sharp picks so I can hit the string from nearly any angle and have the strike be similar as just the point hits the strings.


QUOTE (Mertay @ Oct 24 2017, 04:23 PM) *
I'd say make a video for Gab. so he can check out what you're doing in detail, would probably be better for him to see rather than reading about it.

This might come a bit odd but the most I'm thinking about pick angle is when I'm on the bridge PU with high-gain soloing. Changing pick angle helps getting different tones even with high-gain, think emotional melodys rather than fast stuff.

I have to check but I think I only use the pick parallel when hitting really hard on low-gain overdrive sounds (think blues). Cause the string hits the fret, you not only get a louder but also brighter sound.

For speed though there's always some angle, even if the pick is a modern V design. I do like the feel the string a little, thats why I don't use a very thick pick but there should be very low friction so the angle helps that.


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Phil66
post Oct 24 2017, 09:56 PM
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Thanks Todd,

You may have missed my post immediately above yours as you posted a split second after me.

Cheers


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Mertay
post Oct 24 2017, 09:58 PM
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QUOTE (Phil66 @ Oct 24 2017, 08:45 PM) *
Thanks Mertay,

I'm working on living with Gab at the moment, he hasn't shipped anything and said my right hand picking is fine.. I guess it's whatever works for you. When Kris was on the thin strings the pick was traversing diagonally across each string but I don't think it was on the wound strings.

Cheers


For exercises, usually some angle is considered natural like what Todd shared here. Maybe with cleaner/low-gain tone the angle can be more parallel, to much angle might make too much scratch sound on the wound strings. So if Gab said its ok then cool.

But when you get into Genre's or musicality, then as you said whatever works... Not as lesson but as a side-project do experiment, you'll realize different guitars-amps reacts different to pick angle sometimes. Its actually a very deep topic but more about sound aesthetics rather than learning to play guitar.


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Phil66
post Oct 24 2017, 10:07 PM
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Hmmmmm, my cheap and cheerful Peavey Telecaster copy makes a kind of whistling sound as the pick hits the B string on my current alternate picking practise lesson, no other guitar does, if you make your mouth like you are going to whistle and move your tongue backwards and forwards quickly (not using breath) you will get a similar sound.

Cheers


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Mertay
post Oct 24 2017, 10:16 PM
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That might be a harmonic spot on the string, so extra pick angle+where you hit the string makes a difference in tone. Good example.


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Kristofer Dahl
post Oct 25 2017, 07:35 AM
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The best general advice I can give is to not be afraid to adapt your picking motion to the type of lick your playing. When I am improvising and combining different picking patterns - I also use different picking angles/techniques.

And when I practice slowly I analyse and try different methods to see if something feels easier.

Perhaps you can find a video where I use the type of picking you describe and I can try to analyse it. Here is a recent video of mine with some picking in it:



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Phil66
post Oct 25 2017, 12:45 PM
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Yeah that's it Kris, look at the lock angle on the unwound strings. Much more than on the wound ones.

When I've been trying to keep it pretty flat across all strings I have to shuffle my hand across the bridge to help maintain parallelism.

Cheers

QUOTE (Mertay @ Oct 24 2017, 10:16 PM) *
That might be a harmonic spot on the string, so extra pick angle+where you hit the string makes a difference in tone. Good example.


Ahh, I hadn't thought about that. Makes sense. Every day is a school day eh? smile.gif


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Darius Wave
post Oct 25 2017, 03:48 PM
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Personally I have no rules on this. I change pick angle all the time. It's a varible thing. Only general thing is - the smaller angle, the more tone and less pick noise.


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Phil66
post Oct 25 2017, 09:36 PM
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QUOTE (Darius Wave @ Oct 25 2017, 03:48 PM) *
the smaller angle, the more tone and less pick noise.


So this is due to less angle being more of a "pure" pluck of the string (like a harpsichord) than a scrape diagonally along the string and off?

Thanks people, this is getting interesting smile.gif


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Todd Simpson
post Oct 26 2017, 01:28 AM
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Just saw it smile.gif But I didn't see a vid of you showing what you were talking about. One of those would probably help even still, if you can find time to make one. Doesn't need to be much, just a quickie showing your picking hand close up.

As folks have said, it's a very flexible thing. Folks tend to drift toward whatever is comfy. In the end it will all come down to you. Your angle will probably shift as you go and learn and adapt. Ideally, you should be able to plant your right hand on the bridge and run a scale from low e to high e and back by just changing the angle of your wrist. This takes some folks a long time to get, some get it quicker. It allows you to always have a mute on deck, even if you are not using one so that you don't have to rely on left hand muting at all which becomes important in sweeping arps and low to high string runs and open string traverse licks.

Todd

QUOTE (Phil66 @ Oct 24 2017, 04:56 PM) *
Thanks Todd,

You may have missed my post immediately above yours as you posted a split second after me.

Cheers



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Kristofer Dahl
post Oct 26 2017, 08:36 AM
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QUOTE (Phil66 @ Oct 25 2017, 10:36 PM) *
So this is due to less angle being more of a "pure" pluck of the string (like a harpsichord) than a scrape diagonally along the string and off?

Thanks people, this is getting interesting smile.gif


Ok I think I get what you are referring to know.

Darius is right about how this affects tone. However the reason you have made these observations about my playing - is probably because when I am on the wound strings I am often heading towards the unwound ones, using downward pickslanting - which is very paralell to the string.

Once I have reached the unwound ( = highest strings) - I tend to use a mix of picking techniques to " go down" again. That is where the change of angle comes from.

Sometimes I will go down down using strict pentatonics (like Eric Johnson or Zakk Wylde) and in those cases I can keep the downward pick slant - and you won't see me change the pick angle.


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Phil66
post Oct 26 2017, 12:38 PM
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How do you manage to think of all that while playing at blistering speed? blink.gif Thanks for explain Kris smile.gif

This is interesting.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNGhugyNcMY


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Kristofer Dahl
post Oct 26 2017, 01:24 PM
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QUOTE (Phil66 @ Oct 26 2017, 01:38 PM) *
How do you manage to think of all that while playing at blistering speed? blink.gif Thanks for explain Kris smile.gif


I don't think about that when playing fast.

This is the kind of thing you think about when practicing slowly - you really need to consolidate the pick movement into the lick.

So when you play fast you just go for it - and the only thing you have the time to think about - or feel rather - is what type if lick you want to go for. The picking method/angle is embedded into the lick.



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Todd Simpson
post Oct 27 2017, 03:20 AM
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Good points smile.gif it becomes something that just happens when you play, rather than something you have to think about. After a time, it's almost an instinct.

Todd

QUOTE (Kristofer Dahl @ Oct 26 2017, 08:24 AM) *
I don't think about that when playing fast.

This is the kind of thing you think about when practicing slowly - you really need to consolidate the pick movement into the lick.

So when you play fast you just go for it - and the only thing you have the time to think about - or feel rather - is what type if lick you want to go for. The picking method/angle is embedded into the lick.



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Darius Wave
post Oct 27 2017, 04:56 PM
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All these things become our habits. We don't think of this at all smile.gif


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