Pick­ing hand tech­nique

TeCh­nique Fo­Cus

Guitar Techniques - - PL&AY: PICKING -

1) There are sev­eral schools of thought on op­ti­mis­ing pick­ing hand tech­nique; the over­rid­ing opin­ion favours an an­chored but re­laxed arm (rest your fore­arm on the guitar’s body) with the edge of your palm just rest­ing on the bridge. Pick­ing mo­tion should come from your wrist your el­bow (this uses the wrong mus­cle group and could lead to RSI). Grasp the pick firmly be­tween your thumb and first fin­ger al­low­ing just the tip of the pick to be vis­i­ble. Avoid ‘stir­ring’ the pick be­tween your fin­ger and thumb as this also re­sults in a lack of con­trol. Some play­ers like to achieve ad­di­tional sta­bil­ity by an­chor­ing their re­main­ing fin­gers on the scratch­plate. 2) Many con­tem­po­rary play­ers an­gle their pick so that the lead­ing edge is point­ing down­wards (ie ‘pick slant­ing'), as this re­duces the drag of the pick on con­tact mak­ing it eas­ier to pick faster. How­ever, this isn’t manda­tory. Play­ers like Steve Morse or John McLaugh­lin at­tack the strings flat on and still achieve in­cred­i­ble speed. By com­plete con­trast Ge­orge Ben­son and the late Shawn Lane’s light­ning runs are cre­ated by angling the pick in the op­po­site di­rec­tion so that the lead­ing edge points up­wards. The im­por­tant thing is to experiment and find which ap­proach works for you; so con­stantly an­a­lyse pick­ing mo­tion while keep­ing pick and fret­ting hand move­ments to an ab­so­lute min­i­mum in or­der to achieve max­i­mum ef­fi­ciency. 3) A very thin, floppy pick is pretty use­less for faster pick­ing. Some­thing that flaps around in your fin­gers is not con­ducive to build­ing a pre­cise and con­trolled tech­nique! Thicker is def­i­nitely bet­ter and prefer­ably the tra­di­tional teardrop shape with a nicely pointed busi­ness end for min­i­mum string con­tact (although some favour the rounded end). Some play­ers pre­fer an in­den­ta­tion to aid grip, some don’t. Be pre­pared to experiment (don’t just copy your favourite gui­tarist) and find what re­ally works for you.

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