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Old 12-01-2012, 09:31 AM   #1
duckterror
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How softly should I pick?

Hello guys! The resources here regarding perfect practice have been really helpful but there are some issues I am still unclear with.

The concepts of economy of motion and complete relaxation really make a lot of sense. According to what I understand, it should follow that when practising, your picking should be as light as possible and make as little sound as possible. For instance, if you're alternate picking on an unplugged electric guitar, the sound produced should be barely audible and your pick motion should be REALLY REALLY SMALL. If you watch rob chappers speed picking video [forbidden link] from 2:30, you'll see what kind of pick attack I'm talking about.

However, freepower mentions in the technique sticky that "In everything you practice you want to make your motions as small as possible and as relaxed as possible (providing it sounds good! There’s no point practicing incredibly small wimpy sounding picking motions – all you’ll end up with is wimpy sounding blur-fast picking).". This has kinda confused me because, yes, picking in the feather-light manner I've described will produce some really soft "wimpy" sounds. But plugging the guitar into an amp and cranking up volume and distortion will make these sounds so much louder! To add to my confusion, the guitarists I've seen on youtube don't seem to pick in the aforementioned feather-light manner

Hence I'm not too sure what's the pick attack required for perfect practice. I'd be really grateful if someone could clarify.

Thanks a lot and rock hard!
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Old 12-01-2012, 11:17 AM   #2
Equivoke
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Even with distortion picking lighter will not sound the same as picking more aggressively. You can pick extremely hard and still be relaxed and in complete control. In deciding how hard to pick, it really just depends on the sound you want to make.
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Old 12-01-2012, 11:51 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Equivoke
Even with distortion picking lighter will not sound the same as picking more aggressively. You can pick extremely hard and still be relaxed and in complete control. In deciding how hard to pick, it really just depends on the sound you want to make.


This, entirely this.

Note that you can have small motions, and still pick hard. You can pick using the very tip of your pick, and still pick hard. It's all about the sound you want to make. You kinda want to pick somewhere in between incredibly hard and incredibly lightly, as that'll give you the most dynamic range for when you do really want to thwack it or brush it.
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Old 12-01-2012, 04:03 PM   #4
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^ +1 to entirely what sound you want. Practice whatever sounds you want to create, perfect practice applies to getting the right sound with the minimum of effort, not just using the minimum of effort.
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Old 12-02-2012, 03:59 AM   #5
duckterror
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Thanks guys! This has really cleared things up a lot. (=
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Old 12-02-2012, 04:57 AM   #6
Facecut
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Quote:
Originally Posted by duckterror
Hello guys! The resources here regarding perfect practice have been really helpful but there are some issues I am still unclear with.

The concepts of economy of motion and complete relaxation really make a lot of sense. According to what I understand, it should follow that when practising, your picking should be as light as possible and make as little sound as possible. For instance, if you're alternate picking on an unplugged electric guitar, the sound produced should be barely audible and your pick motion should be REALLY REALLY SMALL. If you watch rob chappers speed picking video [forbidden link] from 2:30, you'll see what kind of pick attack I'm talking about.

However, freepower mentions in the technique sticky that "In everything you practice you want to make your motions as small as possible and as relaxed as possible (providing it sounds good! There’s no point practicing incredibly small wimpy sounding picking motions – all you’ll end up with is wimpy sounding blur-fast picking).". This has kinda confused me because, yes, picking in the feather-light manner I've described will produce some really soft "wimpy" sounds. But plugging the guitar into an amp and cranking up volume and distortion will make these sounds so much louder! To add to my confusion, the guitarists I've seen on youtube don't seem to pick in the aforementioned feather-light manner

Hence I'm not too sure what's the pick attack required for perfect practice. I'd be really grateful if someone could clarify.

Thanks a lot and rock hard!


When a teenager starts practicing all he´ll usually care about is speed so he will preach the featherlight picking everywhere and all the time. He will reduce much of the unnecessary motion and force and on top of that some of the necessary motion resulting in the flood of whimpy sounding youtube clips. Eventually he will grow up and start caring about tone and phrasing and realize that not small motion is the answer but good and measured motion.

The compression by high gain/distortion can´t mask weak articulation entirely. On the other hand less gain leaves more room for articulation, therefore most grown ups don´t stick with their teenager gain levels.
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