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How do you hold your pick?

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  • How do you hold your pick?

    I just watched a profile of Ronnie Wood. He holds the pick very near the end. If you took a dunlop pick his thumb would hardly cover the grip. 50% of the pick must be sticking out.
    I am just trying it and expected hard work and zero control. Not the case, plenty of control and easier strumming action.

    What do you do?
    "I don't think he's a liar, just a fantasist. He says whatever he likes, and then he believes it."
    Norman Tebbit

  • #2
    I hold mine right near the end. Quite often, I play without one with my acoustic and employ a pick grip without a pick (I like the softer sound it provides). This probably translates to me just having a tiny bit showing when I play electric.

    I'm going to try what you and Ronnie Wood did just for kicks. I'm open to new ideas.
    One MIA Fender Strat, one Gibson Les Paul, one Martin Acoustic, what more do you need?

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    • #3

      Big Picks


      Little Picks

      I move them around quite a bit depending on what I'm doing. I hold further back for jangly rhythm, but "choke up" on the tip for leads.

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      • #4
        I'm tempted to say I hold it with my fingers. Seriously, since I normally use a nylon pick like a Dunlop, Herco, or Dava, they have ridges where you're supposed to hold them. I typically have maybe 3/8" (about 1cm) of pick sticking out. A while back I bought an Everly Star Pick, which has a cutout shaped like a 10-pointed star, and the thumb fits there sort of naturally, so again I guess that's how the maker/designer wants you to hold it.
        Official HCAG “Theory-Challenged Hack”
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        • #5
          Pretty much exactly how Paul Gilbert does now as he describes in this video. (he talks about pick grip at about 1:20 or so). Funny...... this is just the natural way I held a pick the very first time I ever played.



          I'll also (using the same grip) a lot of the time, play with the fat corner of the pick. If I need more precision then I use the normal end.

          If I need rhythm strumming then I choke back on the pick and maybe flatten it out a bit (giving it more length) and for faster stuff, pinch harmonics, soloing etc...then I choke up and only use a little of the end.

          It really varies by the type of sound I want to get out of the guitar at a given moment with regard to angle and length, but the basic grip is always the same.
          Last edited by soundcreation; 08-21-2014, 11:22 PM.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by DeepEnd View Post
            I'm tempted to say I hold it with my fingers.
            I prefer using my teeth. I find I get more bite this way.

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            • #7
              Playing rhythm I hold it sideways, with the point towards my palm and the rounded edge protruding. I'll rotate it to the traditional pointy-end-to-the-strings for lead or a different dynamic if needed. Either way there isn't a whole lot of pick exposed to the strings.
              ...

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              • #8
                I hold it with maybe 20% sticking out. (uh huh). VERY little pick protrudes. BUT, I vary this grip to accommodate what I am playing. If more strumming, I will choke up less, ala SRV. With an acoustic, I will back off and use a thinner pick.
                To me, it's one of the most important things that accomplish the feel and tone I look for. F'ck tonewoods.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by soundcreation View Post
                  Pretty much exactly how Paul Gilbert does now as he describes in this video. (he talks about pick grip at about 1:20 or so). Funny...... this is just the natural way I held a pick the very first time I ever played.



                  I'll also (using the same grip) a lot of the time, play with the fat corner of the pick. If I need more precision then I use the normal end.

                  If I need rhythm strumming then I choke back on the pick and maybe flatten it out a bit (giving it more length) and for faster stuff, pinch harmonics, soloing etc...then I choke up and only use a little of the end.

                  It really varies by the type of sound I want to get out of the guitar at a given moment with regard to angle and length, but the basic grip is always the same.
                  Pretty much how I hold my pick as well.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Jazzer2020 View Post
                    I prefer using my teeth. I find I get more bite this way.
                    I tried playing by ear for a while but it hurt.
                    Official HCAG “Theory-Challenged Hack”
                    Member of the IBANEZ ACOUSTIC ASSASSINS
                    Proud Member of The Alvarez Alliance
                    Member of the Schecter Society
                    Person-2-Person on the Web

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                    • #11
                      I hold the pick loosely and relax my index finger slightly rather than keepin it parallel to the thumb. I hold my thumb near the tip of my finger and typicly have about a quarter inch of pick showing,but this may change depending on the type of pick and the sound I want. I play loosely for clean and smooth and grip tighter as I get more aggressive.

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                      • #12
                        With double-sided carpet tape.... a few months ago I began losing function in my right hand,,, couldn't extend my fingers, could barely bring them together, lost coordination. The only way I can play is to tape the pick to my fingers, otherwise I couldn't hold the pick at all. Forget any fancy picking! I had spinal surgery four weeks ago to grind away part of one of my vertebrae that was pinching the nerve causing the problem. My finger function is coming back very slowly.

                        Please visit my website www.treeguitarworks.com

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                        • #13
                          Ugh, sorry to hear that stormin1155. I recently changed how I use my pick, went from tonight and "normal". To much looser and more pick showing. Much rounder sound, less attack, but way more control than I expected, although I can't repeat strings as fast as with the previous grip.. What made me try the new way was some video of BB king holding a pick like that, so I had to try it. I also saw that Gilbert video and I don't like the " grating " sound he calls cello-like. Maybe because I play mostly clean or on the edge of breakup, not the highly distorted sound Gilbert favors.

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                          • #14
                            I let mine roam freely. I currently have about 8 in rotation and can account four 4 or 5.
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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by papaschtroumpf View Post
                              Ugh, sorry to hear that stormin1155. I recently changed how I use my pick, went from tonight and "normal". To much looser and more pick showing. Much rounder sound, less attack, but way more control than I expected, although I can't repeat strings as fast as with the previous grip.. What made me try the new way was some video of BB king holding a pick like that, so I had to try it. I also saw that Gilbert video and I don't like the " grating " sound he calls cello-like. Maybe because I play mostly clean or on the edge of breakup, not the highly distorted sound Gilbert favors.

                              yeah but with the gilbert way you don't have to angle the pick like that if you don't want to......the angle is to get that tone and for speed.

                              The beauty of this grip is that to flatten the pick out all you have to do is keep your thumb straight. And if you want any kind of angle you just bend your thumb naturally toward your palm and that in turn pulls your index finger back toward the palm. The pick just pivots on the side of your index finger as your index finger moves. So to go from flat to angled is instant. Like a hinge. When I'm playing it's not even something I have to be conscious of.

                              He kind of shows that in the video around 2:35 where he talks about putting the pick parallel with the string and how it gives him a sound he doesn't like. But that's why it's cool...you can see that he goes from flat to angled in an instant and the basic grip never changes and (in my experience) is never uncomfortable.
                              Last edited by soundcreation; 08-26-2014, 02:51 AM.

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