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(@caltone)
New Member
Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 2
27/04/2010 5:57 am  

I've been playing almost a year now. Spent way too many months taking lessons from a guy who was very nice and talented, but not a teacher. I've grabbed a few books and visit sites like GN daily.

Someone asked me to play something recently, and I picked out a couple of blues tunes I learned early on. They then asked me if I knew any "songs". I love the blues, but think they were expected some of the old sit around the campfire type stuff and I didn't know any.

Since then, I've gone back to the basics and worked on chords and chord changes. I've gotten a few songs under my belt where I can play through them in time, but for some reason I cannot do it with a pick. Strumming with the side of my thumb seems OK, the strokes sound even and it even sounds good when I play it back after recording. As soon as I grab a pick though, I'm all over the place, strings keep ringing when they shouldn't, and it just sounds bad, clangy, uneven volume, and just rough.

I know I can strum with my fingers and that many do so but would love to hear thoughts on why I'm struggling with this. I've tried thin and medium picks. I seem to start out OK but a few chords in chaos ensues.


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(@liontable)
Estimable Member
Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 146
27/04/2010 9:11 am  

You're probably using too much force. First of all you make sure only the tip of your pick touches the strings, if it's too deep between them your sound will be horrible. You also move your pick fast, but without power. Hold it as relaxed in your hand as possible, without falling out. You shouldn't apply pressure unless the song specifically requires it. Try swinging your arm fast but without putting any strength in, that's what you should be doing with your pick.


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(@ricochet)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 7850
27/04/2010 12:54 pm  

It's also easier with a thin pick. They don't work well for picking single strings.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


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(@connelly73)
Active Member
Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 5
27/04/2010 9:10 pm  

You probably just need to get used to it. You say that it starts out OK so try and think what you do at the start. Try not to consentrate too hard and relax your strumming hand. It will come with practice like most things new when you play guitar. A thin pick is OK as suggested but not to soft as it will also give a thin/weak sound. A medium pick sitting between thumb and index finger but not gripped to tightly.

Good Luck


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(@joehempel)
Noble Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 2419
28/04/2010 3:27 am  

I couldn't do it for a very long time, and I blamed it on pick gauge, strings, guitar, everything but me.

But after some focused practice I began to hear the difference in the pick and my fingers, and used less force to strum and that made it sound alot better.

I also had a hard time keeping the pick in my fingers...I dropped it in the sound hole so many times it's ridiculous LOL.

In Space, no one can hear me sing!


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(@caltone)
New Member
Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 2
29/04/2010 12:58 am  

Thanks for the replies and tips. I've thought a lot about what everyone said and paid more attention to what's happening. It is just going to be a matter of time and dedicated practice... I know I am using too much force once I get going and the death grip I have on the pick probably isn't helping either :lol: They are a pain to get out of there aren't they Joe :)


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(@dd61500)
Active Member
Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 8
30/04/2010 11:45 am  

I'm curious as to just what advantage is gained by using a pick. I'm in the same boat; I picked up the guitar a year ago and also sound terrible using a pick. I know that I could probably adjust to using one with practice, but I'd like to know why I should. I realize that if I were to do any Dick Dale style playing I wouldn't have any fingers left, :lol: but I'm pretty sure that I'm not headed in that direction. Which aspects of playing are made easier by using a pick? Do you get a better tone or greater accuracy?

Diana

Gott weiβ ich will kein Engel sein


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 Ande
(@ande)
Honorable Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 659
02/05/2010 1:01 am  

Advantages of using a pick?

Depends a LOT on what you play. At the newbie stage, I'd start by saying that you're better off learning as many techniques as you can, then you can choose what works best for your personal style. If you never learn to do it, though, you can't choose.

Personally, rock and metal are my main area, and there are a lot of things you need a pick for in the classics.

I use picks a lot less with accoustic, but find that for some songs, I get a better combination of volume and clarity for less effort. BUt it depends a LOT on what you're playing...

Best,
Ande


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(@connelly73)
Active Member
Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 5
02/05/2010 9:55 pm  

I'm curious as to just what advantage is gained by using a pick. I'm in the same boat; I picked up the guitar a year ago and also sound terrible using a pick. I know that I could probably adjust to using one with practice, but I'd like to know why I should. I realize that if I were to do any Richard Dale style playing I wouldn't have any fingers left, :lol: but I'm pretty sure that I'm not headed in that direction. Which aspects of playing are made easier by using a pick? Do you get a better tone or greater accuracy?

Diana

Good point just look at Mark Knophler. He never uses a pick so if you can do without you don't need to learn. :)


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(@redneckrocker)
Estimable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 174
20/05/2010 2:36 am  

I find it a lot easier using a pick on songs where it is not just strumming. Songs that are mostly strumming with some fills and small bass lines. I keep time better and have a more consistent volume using a pick than without.

~Mike the Redneck Rocker."The only two things in life that make it worth living are guitars that tune good and firm feeling women" - Waylon


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(@rparker)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 5497
20/05/2010 1:05 pm  

I use a pick all the time. Must be the water on your side of town. :P

Seriously, for me, it was just what I started with. I'm in the boat filled with people who can't play without one. Well, aside from some noodling. I guess it's partially a lot about what we started with?

Roy"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


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(@blueline)
Noble Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 1705
25/05/2010 1:53 am  

You know what? I WISH I had not strated by using a pic. Finger picking is not one of my strong suits. Actually...I suck at it. :oops: But like anything else, the more time you put into practicing, the better. If i really wanted to become better at finger style, I would invest the time in practicing. I would imagine the same would be true for learning how to use a pic well!

Teamwork- A few harmless flakes working together can unleash an avalanche of destruction.


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(@corbind)
Noble Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 1746
05/06/2010 2:37 pm  

It's also easier with a thin pick. They don't work well for picking single strings.
+1 on that

"Nothing...can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts."


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(@bkangel)
Estimable Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 118
26/06/2010 7:08 am  

I'm trying to learn to strum properly. My natural inclination was fingerpicking, but I want to be able to sing and play, so need to learn to play with a pic. My teacher gets me to look at my *right* hand when I play, because even though I instinctively look at my left, I don't really need to with simple pieces, and after a while to play with my eyes closed. We put so much attention on what our left hand does, but good picking needs the right as well :? It is helping me, slowly. :roll:

What I lack in talent and natural ability, I will have to make up with stubborness.


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(@inths)
Eminent Member
Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 20
13/07/2010 7:07 am  

Caltone, you are not alone. I too have trouble using a pick. I've tried and tried and tried to use a pick but after about one minute I loose patience, chuck the stupid thing over my shoulder (when I don't drop it in the sound hole) and carry on with the thumb.
I find bass strum style the most annoying with a pick. When using the thumb, I can find any string instinctively whereas with a pick I'm totally lost.
I bought a guitar magazine recently that had a DVD for beginners. The presenter recommended using the side of the pick to attack the strings.... does anybody else play like that?


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