#1
Well recently my attention has been drawn to my picking technique, especially how I hold the pick and strum chords. I have never been concerned about this as I have never encountered any problems related to either of these - but then I noticed that nearly all my favourite guitarist hold their picks with the thumb and index finger.

I've always held my picks with my thumb and middle finger OR thumb and index and middle fingers.

Now my question related to holding a pick: Will how you hold your pick actually affect your ability to play in any way? I play acoustic guitar most often (so I dont need to 'shred'), but is proper picking technique important to shred (if I ever have the desire to learn how to shred, I might as well start learnign proper picking technique) or any other things?

Secondly, while playing guitar I strum most often - and I strum from the elbow most often and I know you're supposed to strum from the wrist but so far doing so has never hindered my playing ability. I often use a combination of strumming from the wrist and from my elbow, but I feel that strumming from the wrist is less comfortable. Will this affect my playing negatively?


I know that most people will say 'do what is comfortable to you,' or somethign similar but I really do wish to increase my ability to play so learning the 'proper' way will probably be best in the long run.

Thank in advance for any and all advice given.
#2
your picking technique really is integral if you want any form of speed in your playing.

strumming from the elbow shouldnt harm your playing as much but you get better control from the wrist
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#3
strumming from the elbow can cause you some arm problems after a few years, pain not being able to move it well ect...
#4
My friend does the same thing and I can tell you right now that you probably don't notice it so much but strumming from the elbow really detracts from the flow of your playing. This creates a very mechanical sounding style which seems very awkward to me (both physically and aurally). You probably want to try and get the wrist into the strum for benefit of flow. The picking on the other hand, while integral, is not necessarily 'wrong'. While I don't know how you manage to do anything with a pick between your index and middle finger there are a number of guitarists who, sometimes often, use their thumb and middle fingers to shred (Eddie Van Halen actually does this occasionally).
#5
Quote by mattvl
My friend does the same thing and I can tell you right now that you probably don't notice it so much but strumming from the elbow really detracts from the flow of your playing. This creates a very mechanical sounding style which seems very awkward to me (both physically and aurally). You probably want to try and get the wrist into the strum for benefit of flow. The picking on the other hand, while integral, is not necessarily 'wrong'. While I don't know how you manage to do anything with a pick between your index and middle finger there are a number of guitarists who, sometimes often, use their thumb and middle fingers to shred (Eddie Van Halen actually does this occasionally).


Not index and middle finger did I actually say that? I thought I said thumb, index and middle fingers.

I find I can play from my wrist when Im picking notes individually, but when I strum I tend to rely on my wrist and elbow.

Thanks for the replies so far.
#6
well, strumming at the elbow is fine.

for a while.

see, when you play a song, say a sad love song, you want feeling in it. your arm moves more like a metronome from the elbow, giving you a very mechanical, unemotional feel. (i think someone has said this already, but i give a strong second to the statement.) playing from your wrist gives you more control, letting you skip strings, play faster (and easier, once you get it down), and generally do a less noob-sounding song.

if you just want to strum, playing rhythm in the background, do what you want with the pick. if you want to build any appreciable speed, you need to use your thumb/index finger/maybe middle. rest your pinkie somewhere and go with your hand/wrist. dont ever use your elbow to go fast, as this may not hurt, but you will hurt it in the long run.

it all depends on your playing style, though. if you want to shred, be technical. if you want to do soft, slow things, then you have more flexibility in your technique.
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#7
i usually strum from the wrist because, as said, it is less mechanical sounding. But when i play lines and solo, i usually go from the elbow

i dunno why, it's just the way i do things
#8
Eddie Van Halen played Thumb and Middle finger, so I don't think that will affect your speed that much.
#9
Pick hold: I hold my picks loose and one of my friends ask how I pick fast with it so lose *he holds it just the tip showing* and I tell him, "holding it loose helps me switch from string to string, and I can aprego pick better, but that's just me. So that proves that however you feel comfortable with you pick, is the right way.

Strumming: I don't think strumming with your elbow will really slow you down or effect you much, I play with both my wrist and elbows, when I'm strummin chords/powerchords I'll use my elbow *some reason makes it cleaner* and when I play lead picking I use my wrist because it allows me to manouver around alot faster.

I play metal I.E iron maiden, children of bodom- and I can play up to scale with my techneques, so go with what you've felt more comfortable with. keep rockin. !,,!,
#10
Thanks for all the responses.

It seems to me that general consensus is that playing from the elbow is bad in the long run. I think I actually do polay from the wrist for the most part (as playing all day today I have noticed that I only strum from my elbow when actually strumming).

However, I'm not sure I understand how playing from your elbow makes a song 'mechanical'. If your elbow acts like a metronome isnt't that a good thing in a way?

Again, thanks for all the responses.