#1
I find that when I try to make my picking hand look like Paul Gilbert's, it ends up feeling somewhat tensed. What's the best way to adjust my picking hand to be relaxed and out of the way of the strings?
#2
Drop your hand to your side so it is free of all tension. Note how your index finger makes contact with your thumb. Slide a pick in there. Presto, your ideal grip.
My name is Tom, feel free to use it.
#3
dont copy other peoples grip!!!
its all about comfort and finding your own style.
Just do what feels natural.
The way to a girls heart is through her ribcage
#4
Quote by Prophet of Page
Drop your hand to your side so it is free of all tension. Note how your index finger makes contact with your thumb. Slide a pick in there. Presto, your ideal grip.


My index finger does not make contact with my thumb.

Quote by skwiddy

dont copy other peoples grip!!!
its all about comfort and finding your own style.
Just do what feels natural.


You're right. But that's why I was just looking at the way PG's right hand rests so that I could maybe take that into consideration and find my own relaxed hand. But it's not working so well.
Last edited by fixationdarknes at Sep 1, 2007,
#5
Stand up, arms by your side.
Relax.
Look at your right hand. Now put a pick between index and thumb.
Presto.

And don't copy grips - it just leads to trouble, as i've found out to my cost a few times.
#6
Quote by fixationdarknes
I find that when I try to make my picking hand look like Paul Gilbert's, it ends up feeling somewhat tensed. What's the best way to adjust my picking hand to be relaxed and out of the way of the strings?


What works for Paul Gilbert might not work for you. My suggestion is to take the pick, noodle around with it for a while trying different ways to grip the pick and you should come up with a style that is relaxed and efficient.
#7
Quote by Freepower
Stand up, arms by your side.
Relax.
Look at your right hand. Now put a pick between index and thumb.
Presto.

And don't copy grips - it just leads to trouble, as i've found out to my cost a few times.


Well, if I did that, my other fingers (middle, ring, pinky) would get in the way of the strings when I'm playing. My relaxed hand is quite open actually. Fingers are almost fully extended. Do you understand? Or should I record myself playing?

Quote by Stratwizard

What works for Paul Gilbert might not work for you. My suggestion is to take the pick, noodle around with it for a while trying different ways to grip the pick and you should come up with a style that is relaxed and efficient.


I've been trying, but I can't seem to find a relaxed grip that doesn't have fingers in the way of the strings. My relaxed grip isn't very close to being a fist; my fingers are pretty extended.
Last edited by fixationdarknes at Sep 3, 2007,
#8
Quote by fixationdarknes
Well, if I did that, my other fingers (middle, ring, pinky) would get in the way of the strings when I'm playing. My relaxed hand is quite open actually. Fingers are almost fully extended. Do you understand? Or should I record myself playing?


How come your fingers are in the way if they're extended when relaxed?

Anyway, i think you'll just have to do the noodle and experiment approach, sorry.
#9
Is it just me, or does Malmsteens picking hand look the most relaxed of anyones..... Sorry a little off topic i know, hes who i try and model my picking on however....
Frank Zappa's not dead. He just smells funny.
#10
Alright thanks for the input guys.

One more question: When I start to pick at my highest speeds, I'm guessing it's a bad idea to apply even more force to the guitar pick with my thumb?
#12
Yeah, there's no reason to do that really. If your pick is indeed flying away, better option would be to change the pick or somehow (for example carve it with a knife) increase the friction of the pick to gain better grip.
#13
Haha my grip is actually pretty good at this point. The combination of skate grip tape and knife carvings turns my former-slippery Jazz III pick into one hell of a gripped-out pick.

And thanks I'll try not to squeeze my pick so unnecessarily tight then, because it obviously doesn't fly out of my hands at lower speeds when I'm not squeezing it as tight.
#14
Hi fixationdarknes,

Don't worry about making your pick hand look like "someone else's". Here are the 3 things you need to watch out for when you hold the pick:

1. The pick should not move in your hand while you play
2. The pick should not be perpendicular to the string but should be slanted slightly at an angle
3. Have only a quarter of an inch of the pick in contact with the string.

If you follow the above 3 guidelines you'll be good to go.

Take care,
Mike Philippov
#15
Hey this is a problem i've been having with my playing for a while now since i've changed my playing style
A couple of months ago i switched to a floating arm style which has both improved my flexibility and accuracy, but i also had to change my picking style to get the desired effect, so whilst doing this relaxed hand which i can do, when i speed the pick will start move against the the pushback of the string as my palm isn't planted to take that - so what do i do? Grip it harder?
#17
Quote by Freepower
How come your fingers are in the way if they're extended when relaxed?

Anyway, i think you'll just have to do the noodle and experiment approach, sorry.


I added a couple of pictures so you know what I mean...





Okay, so this is my hand "fully relaxed" like it is when I hang it loosely at my side. As you can see, it's in a loose cup shape, and the tips of my fingers are sticking right into the strings. So, if I were to pick the strings, my fingers brush back and forth into the strings and that can't be good.

Doesn't that mean I have to either extend my fingers more or curl them in or back somehow like Paul Gilbert does to get them out of the way of the strings? Otherwise they stick straight into the strings, as shown in the pictures above.
Last edited by fixationdarknes at Sep 6, 2007,
#18
Quote by fixationdarknes

Doesn't that mean I have to either extend my fingers more or curl them in or back somehow like Paul Gilbert does to get them out of the way of the strings?


Yep. Seems so.
#19
Quote by Freepower
Yep. Seems so.


But I thought that causes unnecessary tension. Is there any way to bring my fingers out of the way of the strings without causing tension?

And I know you said not to copy other guitarists, but does the way PG shapes his right hand cause unnecessary tension? With those last 3 fingers lifted out of the way of the strings?
Last edited by fixationdarknes at Sep 8, 2007,
#20
^ Tilt your hand and arm back, i'll post pictures tomorrow but i play with my fingers similarly to Gilbert and manage fine, i find it causes more tension tcking them in or sticking them out
#21
Is there any way to bring my fingers out of the way of the strings without causing tension?


Float off the floor, stomach downwards - that's about it.

And I know you said not to copy other guitarists, but does the way PG shapes his right hand cause unnecessary tension? With those last 3 fingers lifted out of the way of the strings?


He's got the same problem as you. It causes necessary tension, but it's better than strumming the string with a few fingers non stop... *shrug*
#22
Quote by Freepower
Float off the floor, stomach downwards - that's about it.


Bahahaha that's a really funny idea. I should try that some time.

Quote by Freepower

He's got the same problem as you. It causes necessary tension, but it's better than strumming the string with a few fingers non stop... *shrug*


Hm, alright thanks I understand. Just out of curiosity, do you have that problem when you play? Is there anyone who's picking hand doesn't cause unnecessary tension in that way? And why is that so? Just the way their hand is?

--edit: Also, two more questions-- When guitarists ball their picking hands up into fists (like Shawn Lane did), does that help make the hand more aerodynamic when picking? Not having as much torque to work against? Or is that just overthinking and wouldn't make a significant difference at all?

And is raising your right shoulder a cause of unneccessary tension? I find that Paul Gilbert raises his shoulder.

(and sorry for bringing up PG so much; it's just that i've been trying to analyze his technique lately because of how good he is)
Last edited by fixationdarknes at Sep 12, 2007,
#23
Just out of curiosity, do you have that problem when you play? Is there anyone who's picking hand doesn't cause unnecessary tension in that way? And why is that so? Just the way their hand is?


No, i guess so, just the way their hand is.

When guitarists ball their picking hands up into fists (like Shawn Lane did), does that help make the hand more aerodynamic when picking? Not having as much torque to work against? Or is that just overthinking and wouldn't make a significant difference at all?


Don't really think it makes much difference - relaxation is more important than aerodynamicism anyhoo.

And is raising your right shoulder a cause of unneccessary tension? I find that Paul Gilbert raises his shoulder.


Well unless it's necessary to raise your shoulder ...

Anyway, watch gilbert on IR2 when he demonstrates dynamics. Watch his shoulder. Not a flicker - you got to remember, while he may raise it in a playing situation, when he PICKS, and has all the enviromentals in his favour, he doesn't.
#24
fixationdarknes

new to the site..have been reading threads on and off and decided to join, first of all thanks to you guys for your invaluable knowledge and insights etc...look forward to learning from all of you...

to address your original post...

you nailed it in that relaxation is the key to everything...not just guitar playing..but any activity, even sports etc...relaxed muscles are fast, more responsive and more consistent.

I am by no means a pro, but here is a little trick that might help...but first to confirm another post...Paul Gilbert is unique...and what works for him might not work for you..emulation is an important aspect of playing..but bio-mechanics will dictate what is best for YOU...and it may not be copying Paul's technique...

Marty Friedman has a very unorthodox picking style..but obviously it works for him..whereas if other people tried to copy his mechanics, it might lead to frustration and even Repetitve Stress Injury...

try this....

set your metronome to a comfortable tempo...
pick 16th notes at that tempo
while picking be very aware of tension in your picking arm/wrist/forearm..
ideally you want to find that 'spot' where you are feeling the least resistance and tension
if you do this chances are that you will be able to play those note for a long time before getting fatigued....

you have just found your ideal picking position/mechanic

there are also other factors, like when string crossing...

guys like VAI, Gilbert change the angle of their wrist as they cross strings

and I believe guys like Petrucci, Yngwie, MAB, maintain the wrist angle and move their entire wrist from string to string if you will

again find what works for YOU with the LEAST amount of tension..lack of tension is the key...

also be aware of tension that creeps in from anxiety ("HAVE TO NAIL THIS LICK....") ...that type of tension

couple tips on this..and they sound WEIRD:

1. regular breathing..think about what happens when you tense up...your either hold your breath or your breathing becomes erratic..which compounds the problem.

2. chew gum while you practice..yes weird...BUT do this trick: clench your teeth and jaw...what happens? your entire body goes into a state of tension..weird huh? natural physical response to stress...by chewing gum you alleviate that tension...just make sure you chew the gum in a relaxed fashion..even with the metronome if you must..or to really help your timing..chew in 8th notes while picking 16ths :-)

hope that helps!! :-)
Last edited by flyerdog at Nov 6, 2016,