#1
Recently I have sorta become obsessed with the amount of force I use to pick.
I keep reading I should be holding the pick just hard enough so it doesnt fall out.
When I apply this I notice I pick quite a bit lighter than before. Should I only be picking hard enough to make the notes sound clear? Or should I keep a decent amount of attack on the strings? I have noticed I can pick much faster and cleaner with a lighter attack, but it sounds a bit better with more attack ,but not as clean so I'm a bit confused. What do you guys think about this?
#2
I pick as hard as I need to for the music to sound the way I want it to.

Dynamic control is a massively underrated skill.
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#3
i'll change however much attack i'm using depending on the genre, song, part of the song (like, i'll pick harder in an upbeat section, lighter in a breakdown section) it all depends on what suits the moment and whatever's comfortable to you
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#4
Well you pick as hard you need to depending on the prosody or the phrasing of the line of notes you're playing, but generally, my grip on the pick itself is pretty light. Then again, I use tiny Dunlop Jazz III picks, which really don't require the sort of death grip the heavier tortex sort of picks do. Just let it happen intuitively, thats what I did.
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#6
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr


Dynamic control is a massively underrated skill.


I think you are dead right, I had never given it a thought until recently, (although I am very noob still).

I don't suppose there are exercizes to help dynamic control? Kinda seems like it would be something you feel more than you can train?
#7
Depends on what sound I am going for.
Dynamic is really a good thing to have in your playing, develop it early on.
#8
You can always turn your amp up too if you prefer to hold it lightly.

As I said in a different post, James Hetfield uses his index and middle finger (and thumb) to hold the pick and says this gives him greater control and picking power from it. But admits it's not a conventional way to hold it.

I usually have to hold mine pretty tightly when alternate picking if I am using a really thin pick, for control. However, I don't think my aim is ever to really pick the strings hard. It's just really slows me down if I do this. Like I said, I can always turn up my volume on the amp if I really want it to blast a note.

Just me though and i'm no expert.
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#9
Depends on what picks I'm using.
Thick Picks = Hard Picking
Thin Picks = Light Picking

The types of picks I use vary depending on the songs I play. Thick picks for fast stuff played in the B G E strings and thin picks for stuff in the higher strings (Metal, Paul Gilbert stuff.). I almost never use medium picks (0.60 - 0.7 range) probably because they never come in Jazz sizes. I never use normal sized picks because I have small hands.
#11
Thanks for the tips guys. I was overthinking it, and convincing myself that there should be a consistent amount of attack no matter what.
#12
Not problem, just make sure you stop if you start getting nostrilflesh underneath your fingernails.
#13
Quote by cooper1965
I think you are dead right, I had never given it a thought until recently, (although I am very noob still).

I don't suppose there are exercizes to help dynamic control? Kinda seems like it would be something you feel more than you can train?


Really anything you would normally run but keeping the focus on being able to control the dynamics at any point but this is a good video anyway: http://youtu.be/ROYgceF8LrI
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#14
Quote by psykopoo
Well you pick as hard you need to depending on the prosody or the phrasing of the line of notes you're playing, but generally, my grip on the pick itself is pretty light. Then again, I use tiny Dunlop Jazz III picks, which really don't require the sort of death grip the heavier tortex sort of picks do. Just let it happen intuitively, thats what I did.

Uh... no. If you had a death grip on your Tortex picks that's your fault, not the pick's.
#16
You can actually pick very very hard without gripping the pick too tightly. I pick harder than pretty much everyone and barely hold on to the pick at all...

And as for exercises to train dynamics, two good things are -

Work on gradually going loud > soft and vice versa.
Work on creating sharp, accurate accents
#17
Well I spent alot of time doing the loud-soft-loud thing. Then I started to realize I was already using the technique somewhat in the stuff I play, just not at the right times . I am starting to really be aware of it now. Thanks for the vid and tips again, you guys always know your stuff.
#18
With gain on, i play with hardly any dynamics. Clean i play with more dynamics because my amp responds to dynamics very hard.
#19
Quote by smokeysteve22
With gain on, i play with hardly any dynamics. Clean i play with more dynamics because my amp responds to dynamics very hard.


You missing out on a lot of tonal options then. Either that or you need a more responsive amp.
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#20
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
You missing out on a lot of tonal options then. Either that or you need a more responsive amp.


Of course but in a recording environment I honestly dont see much of a point to it when everything will be compressed in the mix anyway.

Although im talking about rhythm playing and not so much lead playing. If i was playing a solo for instance i would add dynamic character to it.

Oh and my amp is very responsive.
Last edited by smokeysteve22 at Apr 10, 2011,
#21
Quote by smokeysteve22
Of course but in a recording environment I honestly dont see much of a point to it when everything will be compressed in the mix anyway.

Although im talking about rhythm playing and not so much lead playing. If i was playing a solo for instance i would add dynamic character to it.

Oh and my amp is very responsive.


>Sig says Valveking

... No it isn't.

And anyway, under gain it doesn't vary the actual dynamics as much as the amount of gain and the actual tone of what you're doing.
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#22
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
>Sig says Valveking

... No it isn't.
.


Sorry but Yes it is. (for me anyway)

The clean channel on my valveking is very responsive to the dynamics of my playing, hence the reason i use a small amount of compression.
Last edited by smokeysteve22 at Apr 10, 2011,
#23
Quote by smokeysteve22
Sorry but Yes it is. (for me anyway)

The clean channel on my valveking is very responsive to the dynamics of my playing, hence the reason i use a small amount of compression.


If you've got a clean channel that isn't responsive there's something wrong with your amp, even a spider 3's clean channel responds to dynamics, I'm talking gain sounds here.

You don't know what responsive is until you've played something like a Cornford MK50II, those things are insane.
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

Quote by Master Foo
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#24
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
If you've got a clean channel that isn't responsive there's something wrong with your amp, even a spider 3's clean channel responds to dynamics, I'm talking gain sounds here.

You don't know what responsive is until you've played something like a Cornford MK50II, those things are insane.


I see, then yeah the Valvekings lead is not very responsive, like you said.
#25
Quote by cooper1965
Recently I have sorta become obsessed with the amount of force I use to pick.
I keep reading I should be holding the pick just hard enough so it doesnt fall out.
When I apply this I notice I pick quite a bit lighter than before. Should I only be picking hard enough to make the notes sound clear? Or should I keep a decent amount of attack on the strings? I have noticed I can pick much faster and cleaner with a lighter attack, but it sounds a bit better with more attack ,but not as clean so I'm a bit confused. What do you guys think about this?


I am heaving the same issue, and have been switching picks constantly, because with a lighter pick (.70 tortex) it makes an almost quacking sound (dont know if anybody knows what i am talking about) when i pick hard, i dont know if i have to much attack on the pick. Then i switch to a heavier pick, and i seem to lose my ability to pick as fast. This is a constant battle for me and i cannot come up with a good solution. I have the same questions as you, and definetly want to see peoples response,
#26
I've never been able to work well with heavier picks. Too much resistance.

In general, when it comes to playing faster, I tend to pick single notes a bit lighter to reduce the resistance. But I think you can experiment. There's no single way to pick that's correct for every piece.
#27
First thing that came to my mind when i saw the title,was that Paul Gilbert video.

BTW what is that effect called,when you pick softly it is clean,and when you pick harder distortion comes in?

I saw it somewhere,thought it was cool...

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#28
i pick rather hard most of the time

i play metal, and i have the opinion that for normal rythm playing dynamics aren't needed as long as its hard enough

for solos its a totally different story of course, although with the distortion the volume doesn't change, the character of the notes is diffenrent, and you can overdo it with picking hard
#29
My picking strength is determined by how I'm trying to play.
Rythm I variate quite a bit.
On lead it's completely different. Hard picking gives an effect to your playing. Listen to the solo in Tom Sawyer by Rush. Alex picks pretty damned hard in that solo.
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#30
Quote by BOLX2IT
I am heaving the same issue, and have been switching picks constantly, because with a lighter pick (.70 tortex) it makes an almost quacking sound (dont know if anybody knows what i am talking about) when i pick hard, i dont know if i have to much attack on the pick. Then i switch to a heavier pick, and i seem to lose my ability to pick as fast. This is a constant battle for me and i cannot come up with a good solution. I have the same questions as you, and definetly want to see peoples response,


I thought I was the only one. I started my first year of playing with dunlop red only.
The last 6 months or so I have been using a (generic slightly thicker)black more so than red. I can not play palm muted thicker strings anywhere near as well with the black , as I can with the red, just feels like alot of resistence. On the other hand, I can't sweet pick very clean with the red, the notes just don't hit hard,. So I feel exactly what your saying, I kinda chalked it up to inexperience, then I started thinking -well maybe I'm not picking hard enough, wich led to my original post. Just out of curiosity, how long have you played?
Maybe all if this is just do to my lack of experience?? I am constantly struggling with this pick issue as well.
Last edited by cooper1965 at Apr 11, 2011,
#31
Quote by cooper1965
I thought I was the only one. I started my first year of playing with dunlop red only.
The last 6 months or so I have been using a (generic slightly thicker)black more so than red. I can not play palm muted thicker strings anywhere near as well with the black , as I can with the red, just feels like alot of resistence. On the other hand, I can't sweet pick very clean with the red, the notes just don't hit hard,. So I feel exactly what your saying, I kinda chalked it up to inexperience, then I started thinking -well maybe I'm not picking hard enough, wich led to my original post. Just out of curiosity, how long have you played?
Maybe all if this is just do to my lack of experience?? I am constantly struggling with this pick issue as well.


I have been playing for 6 years, and it is driving me nuts. I have tried adjusting pick angle becoming more parallel with the string, curling my hand in so my hand is more over the top of the string. When i do these things i lose my ability to pick really fast, plus my clairty goes out the window. The same hand techniques apply when learning to finger pick. I am trying to break the habit, but it is super hard to re-train your hand after so long. This is the problem of being self-taught for the first 4 years, my guitar teacher pointed these things out, especially the quacking sound produced by the pick
#32
Depends on what sound I'm trying to get.

For instance, I have a riff where I accentuate the notes that play at the same time the drums hit, I pick those harder than the others in order to make it sound more intensive.
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#33
I am also self taught, but with only 18 months or so under my belt. Luckily this site and the members here are the shit, and have really helped me out. I tend to create more of an angle away form being horizontal with the strings when picking fast runs, but that is probably wrong as well. I am starting to think a pick change may help me alot, idk. I feel the frustration.....
#34
Quote by Nightfyre
Uh... no. If you had a death grip on your Tortex picks that's your fault, not the pick's.


You're wrong. Remember anything from physics class? The Jazz III picks are about 1/3 shorter than regular full sized picks. Now, if you consider the distance between your grip and the string, it will naturally tend to be greater on full sized picks, unless you consciously make the decision to choke it really close to the tip (of course, the problem with this is that the excess protruding from behind the pick will cause a bit of an imbalance). The principal of moments dictates that the greater the distance between applied force and pivot (which, in this case is your thumb and finger) the less effort required to move the object (in this case, the pick). This means that the greater the distance between your grip and the pick, the more difficult its going to be to maintain a steady grip on the pick when you hit the string.

SO STFU.
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#35
When I'm doing scale runs or fast stuff, I use as little force as possible. If I'm riffing out a face melting progression, I'll use additional force.
: )
#36
Quote by psykopoo
You're wrong. Remember anything from physics class? The Jazz III picks are about 1/3 shorter than regular full sized picks. Now, if you consider the distance between your grip and the string, it will naturally tend to be greater on full sized picks, unless you consciously make the decision to choke it really close to the tip (of course, the problem with this is that the excess protruding from behind the pick will cause a bit of an imbalance). The principal of moments dictates that the greater the distance between applied force and pivot (which, in this case is your thumb and finger) the less effort required to move the object (in this case, the pick). This means that the greater the distance between your grip and the pick, the more difficult its going to be to maintain a steady grip on the pick when you hit the string.

SO STFU.

I never stated there was absolutely no difference in grip strength required to keep the respective picks in place. I merely stated that full size picks do not require a death grip. I made no attempt to quantify any difference in grip strength or prove/disprove its existence. Simmer down.
Last edited by Nightfyre at Apr 23, 2011,
#37
Well...in that case its all cool =p. By death grip I just meant that the picks require a firmer hold. But inflections don't translate so well to text.
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