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  • right hand wrist movement

    well, this forum has influenced me to try to shape up some of my flaws, and one I'm going to start doing is picking properly like all of my old GIT geek instructors told me to....of course I did it in the lesson but not at home. What the hell did they know?

    They always showed me to use the 'fist' style position as I've seen discussed here. I've been doing some exercises to get over the awkwardness of it. (I'm an index finger and thumb guy). I actually got to realizing how beneficial this could be from doing country style hybrid picking where you kinda have to hold your hand in that position.

    Anyways, my question is whether it is best to use a twisting movement with your wrist or more of an up and down 'waxing the dolphin' kinda movement. I know some people will probably tell me to do what's most comfortable for me, but I already know what that is, I want to know what is considered the technically correct way to do it.
    After I heard System of a Down, I thought, I'm actually alive to hear the sh**iest band ever. Of all the bands that have gone before and all the bands that'll be in the future, I was around when the worst was around - Noel Gallagher

  • #2
    I want to hear the answer to this one too. I've been thinking about working on my picking technique lately.

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    • #3
      I honestly feel that for strict, alternate picking, you should keep your wrist straight and move from the elbow. For other types of playing, like strumming, or slower blues playing, I revert to picking from wrist motion.

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      • #4
        So you're a GIT Grad also? I graduated in March 1984. Great experience and I used what I learned in my teaching business. Everyone moves their right hand differently, depending on what they are comfortable with. Johnny Smith and Mike Elliot are wonderful jazzers who move strictly from the elbow. It works great until your forearm cramps up like mine did one night onstage at the Golden West in So. Cal- ouch!
        I've spent time circle picking, which is the approach HR (Howard Roberts to you non GIT Folks), Larry Carlton, Tony Rice, Kenny Burrell and many other greats use. I also like picking from the wrist, which feels great at slow to medium tempos. Eric Johnson, Norman Brown(GIT & Mo'Jazz), Joe Satriani and most other virtuosos use wrist picking. Angling the pick down towards the floor will help. I'll bet you're a better fingerstyle player than flatpicker- correct? I've discovered in teaching hundreds of players that fast picking tends to come easily to a few players and those who don't get it easily tend to learn and master finger style more easily.

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        • #5
          Hi gigmeister....thanks for all the great info! Thought I'd like to apologize..I didn't mean to be misleading...I never attended GIT, but my main teachers were graduates from there. The teacer I studied mostly under studied under Frank Gambale there. I'm sure that's not a big deal, as you and everyone else there probably did too.

          Regarding the fingerpicking, I'm not that great at either! I have gotten much heavier into it though over the last year playing different jazz comps and country/rockabilly things (chicken pickin' and such). I seem to have caught on quite well...and as you suggested, I've incorporated it into some other areas of my playing to make up for me not being Gambale! I wouldn't call myself a bad picker, just not what I want to be. But since all of my 'fingerpicking' is done with a pick still in hand, if you took away my pick, I couldn't do any of it.

          One question....it may not make a difference, but when you say angling the pick to the floor....do you mean like / or (less of an angle of course). I ask because I've found that depending on what and where on the guitar I'm playing, one angle tends to be more efficient than another.

          I'm going to look into some of the other techniques you've talked about though. I always hear about the circular technique, but I have not yet familiarized myself with it....I've tried it a few times, but never stuck with it. Maybe I'll work a bit harder this time.
          After I heard System of a Down, I thought, I'm actually alive to hear the sh**iest band ever. Of all the bands that have gone before and all the bands that'll be in the future, I was around when the worst was around - Noel Gallagher

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          • #6
            for alternate picking DO NOT MOVE YOUR ELBOW !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
            It is a popular misconception that moving your elbow is a good thing, mostly fed by what people see on MTV...
            By using wrist motion only (not unlike spanking the monkey I guess...), you can attain speed.

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            • #7
              There is more than one way to grip the pick, but moving it from the wrist is what's important. I like the fist, but some find the thumb/first/second finger works better for them. Don't pick from the elbow. You'll be able to do one or two licks fast and sloppy, and have to learn another technique for other things. Good picking technique is hard enough to learn once. Play from the wrist.
              You play guitar with your ears; your fingers just do the work.

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              • #8
                The most technically correct way is to use wrist motion for picking and use arm motion to help when switching strings. You can use the "waxing the dolphin" motion pivoting from the wrist, or you can use a slight twisting of the wrist, like turning a doorknob, but a much smaller movement. I recommend a combination of the two. As far as angling the pick, the direction you angle it is very important; some are ok, others are not. I like to angle the pick so I'm striking the string with the edge of pick that's closer to the neck on the downstroke, and on the upstroke the edge closer to the bridge stikes the string. Having the pick more parallel to the string seems to facilitate speed, but angling it this way produces a nicer tone to my ears. Classical guitarists apply a similar pricipal with their nails and tend to debate the tonal vs. technical advantages. IMO all the best players concern themselves with tone before speed, though. It is very important to make sure the tip of the pick points straight toward the top of the guitar though, rather than tilting your hand so the side of the pick you're holding crosses the string before the tip hits it. If you tilt your hand to make downstrokes easier, the upstroke becomes more difficult, and they won't sound uniform. Of course if you want to do a series of hard downstrokes this technique works great to make the strings slap into the frets for that SRV clang.

                I think the best way to hold the pick should begin with just laying your hand on your lap. Just have it totally relaxed and half open. Your thumb is probably not too far from the last joint of your index finger. I just set the pick on the side of the last joint of my index finger and bring my thumb over it. It points down perpendicular to the thumb. The other fingers should hang loosely, parallel to the index finger, in an easy, moderate arc. Having the hand half open like this insures comfort, the best range of motion, and also facilitates fingerstyle technique, so you can switch from picking to pick and fingers to fingerstyle with little adjustment.

                Everybody recommends the book Speed Mechanics For Lead Guitar, which is great but not this detailed when it comes to the picking position and motion. There is a book called Perfect Pick Technique, which covers most of this very well. I hope that helps. If anything is unclear or if you have other questions, I'll probably have a decent answer.
                Originally Posted by echodeluxe


                dogs can grow a beard all over.



                WTB:
                TRIANGLE KNOB BIG MUFF

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                • #9
                  I find that the fist way of holding the pick only works when you are sitting down, or your guitar is in the "sitting down" position when standing.

                  Usually its more comfortable to have your guitar a little lower than that, and I find that if you hold the pick between your first finger and second finger and thumb, then its easier to mute strings for me anyway... and the angle of the pick is easier to maintain when standing up

                  if I had a digital camera I would show you... picking from the elbow will cause your arm to tense up... this makes you slow, causes more strain, and I think it can even cause long term problems... picking from the wrist gives the most control over relaxation and being relaxed is the key to almost all guitar technique

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