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Old 02-19-2013, 07:23 PM   #1
Badaudio
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Join Date: Jan 2013
Thumb locking from picking technique

Hello everyone,

I'd like to start off by saying that guitar is not my main instrument. I did take guitar lessons in my early teens, and would play guitar every now and then to accompany my singing, however all I knew were simple chords and poor fingering technique. I would also never use a pick, just fingers to strum up and down.

Anyway, recently I decided to start proper playing and improving on guitar after the purchase of a new electric, mainly to be able to use it for songwriting and recording, with some live performances in mind too too.
I "restarted" every detail I knew about playing guitar, now paying careful attention to perpendicular fingering, keeping my thumb behind the neck and avoiding to touch the guitar with my palm when placing my fingers on the fretboard. I just thought it would be ideal to lay a stable foundation from the beginning. I also started using picks. (0.73 mm) I alternate pick.

I've decided to take simple scales at slow paces, and slowly but surely I've noticed my technique developing well. I can perform just as well standing. Its a huge relief, and I feel happy, but I'm realistic with my expectations this time around. I know that speed will come in time, as long as I do things the right way, slowly. Either way I enjoy my practice sessions, and time passes by fast. Usually I do about an hour a day, though I don't pay much attention to time. Few days ago I was at my peak of practice, things were coming so smoothly. Anyway, I skipped a day of practice yesterday cause I was out of town, and came back to it today.

I took things step by step again, warmed up but I encountered an issue that I had a few days back for a short period which I ignored initially. Its to do with my picking thumb "Locking" in the joint whilst playing. The way I hold my pick right now is very comfortable and helps me not miss any strings, however today after stopping my playing during practice I noticed that for a short moment my thumb was locked into the joint and needed a certain degree of force to snap back out into a bent-position. (Pics attached of how I hold my pick. note: I only hold it with my thumb and index, leaving the others to hang comfortably)

Is this a normal issue related to weak thumb muscle perhaps? Or is this due to holding my pick incorrectly, and possibly dangerous in the long run. I just thought it would be best to ask you all here as you probably know best.

Also: I do not use any type of anchoring, and hold my pick firmly when going slow, though release slightly it when playing a bit faster.

I had to stop practice cause during this time my fingers decided to give up on me (I'm fine with this, I can accept that there are bad days of practice every now and then, and that rest is necessary)

Sorry for the long post, and thanks in advance for your replies!
Attached Images
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File Type: jpg IMG_0235.jpg (38.8 KB, 45 views)

Last edited by Badaudio : 02-19-2013 at 07:34 PM.
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Old 02-19-2013, 09:53 PM   #2
Junior#1
Is SouTaicho Yamamoto-san
 
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
My thumb hurts just looking at that. Bend your thumb forward, instead of back. You'll get a better angle on the string with the pick, and it should be more comfortable. Maybe not initially, but soon.
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Junior's usually at least a little terse, but he knows his stuff. I've always read his posts in a grouchy grandfather voice, a grouchy grandfather with a huge stiffy for alternate picking.
Besides that, he's right this time. As usual.
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Old 02-19-2013, 11:00 PM   #3
Badaudio
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Thanks man
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Old 02-20-2013, 12:28 AM   #4
sw4l
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what i was taught was to curl your index finger and lay the pick on it and then clasp it with your thumb at your first joint in your index finger that is how i hold my pick, i dont know if its the proper way to explain it though.
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Old 02-21-2013, 11:06 PM   #5
Badaudio
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I've tried the standard picking technique but it seems to add tension to my right leg for some reason. I can't seem to relax as much with my body as I did with the previous picking technique.

http://www.jazzguitar.be/forum/play...ing-method.html

Turns out what I have is hitchhikers thumb. The thing is it doesnt hurt when I play that way, after some time (1 hour) it just locks in and needs to be lightly-snapped back to normal (just using force from the thumb itself.) Its not painful at all, just slightly weird.

Any thoughts?
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Old 02-21-2013, 11:58 PM   #6
Junior#1
Is SouTaicho Yamamoto-san
 
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
It may not hurt right now, but I can see it becoming a huge problem later.

If you're tensing up your right leg (which really doesn't make any sense, but whatever), just learn to relax it. You're just bending your thumb. It should have much effect, if any, on the rest of your body.

You're not the only guitarist who has the hitch-hiker's thumb. My advice is still to change your technique, but the choice is up to you. If you don't want to change, then don't. But I can't think of anything else that might help keep your thumb from locking up.
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Originally Posted by Geldin
Junior's usually at least a little terse, but he knows his stuff. I've always read his posts in a grouchy grandfather voice, a grouchy grandfather with a huge stiffy for alternate picking.
Besides that, he's right this time. As usual.
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Old 02-22-2013, 12:16 AM   #7
Badaudio
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Alright thanks man, will do !
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