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Author Topic: Holding/playing with a pick  (Read 1920 times)

Tom

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Holding/playing with a pick
« on: April 09, 2018, 07:00:24 PM »
I must admit that I've always had the toughest time holding a pick while playing a guitar or banjo. I tend to use my fingernails (as I do on ukulele), which doesn't give anywhere near the volume on the larger instruments. I've resolved to fix this problem by practicing, slowly at first, then hopefully increasing speed. I've watched countless You Tube videos, all with different suggestions. Anyone have a special/magic tip? TIA.
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SeilerBird

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Re: Holding/playing with a pick
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2018, 07:22:25 PM »
I don't have any suggestions because I have been using a pick for over 50 years. It is just the way I have always played except for a little finger picking and classical stuff. I tried to play the uke with my fingers but I did not like it so I have been using a pick ever since then. Most beginners use a pick that is way too thin. Much better control with a stiff pick (gotta be careful typing that) and hold it so that only about a quarter of an inch is sticking out between the thumb and index finger.
I would like to apologize to anyone I have not yet offended. Please be patient and I will get to you shortly.
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8Muddypaws

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Re: Holding/playing with a pick
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2018, 10:41:34 PM »
I use a pick when I need to.  I prefer thin to medium ones because they make a little bit less noise than thicker ones.  (Better be careful with that statement too!)

Some of my jazz buds make their own.  They take a normal thumb pick and grind down the point and glue a normal light to medium pick to it.  It kind of ends up looking like these, but the actual pick portion is shorter and more rounded.
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Tom

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Re: Holding/playing with a pick
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2018, 10:44:30 PM »
One of the guitar players in our uke band makes (cuts) his picks out of old credit cards. I may need to glue a pick to my forefinger/thumb  :(
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8Muddypaws

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Re: Holding/playing with a pick
« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2018, 10:56:39 PM »
Look up 'Gorilla Snot'.  I haven't used it but folks who tend to drop picks swear on it.
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Tom

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Re: Holding/playing with a pick
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2018, 10:58:18 PM »
Thanks Russ. Looks like just what I need.
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8Muddypaws

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Re: Holding/playing with a pick
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2018, 11:22:44 PM »
Practice.  Time in the woodshed.  That's the most important part.
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Tom

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Re: Holding/playing with a pick
« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2018, 12:05:48 AM »
I'm trying  ;D
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SeilerBird

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Re: Holding/playing with a pick
« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2018, 04:16:08 AM »
Well since everyone is showing off their picks I will too. I have one drawer of my guitar parts cabinet that I dedicate just to picks. I have a box of 100 that is opened up. They come in all thicknesses, but I almost always use very heavy. I bought a collection of Beatles picks that I still have a few of. Each one of the Beatles is featured with a line drawing of their head. The last time I was in a group I had a 144 custom picks made that had 'Sierra Express - Tom Seiler' printed on each one. I used to give them away to everyone I met while I was in the band. Kinda like business cards. I don't have any of them left. I forget how much they cost but it was not very much. Now you can buy them with your own photo on the pick.

https://www.personalizationmall.com/Guitar-Picks-c190.lp?fitemid=49447&did=312183&wordid=49447&utm_source=GoogleBase&utm_medium=cpc&gclid=CjwKCAjwwbHWBRBWEiwAMIV7E14YNvkFHPcHKbZ5UM4fUPD-z3-x01GigL_Neu3DpvJsDkPyoGkPmxoCzg4QAvD_BwE

https://www.amazon.com/Planet-Waves-Beatles-Signature-Peppers/dp/B003AJVKDO/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?ie=UTF8&qid=1523351445&sr=8-1-spons&keywords=beatles+guitar+picks&psc=1

My favorite picks that I have not bought yet (I don't really need any right now) is the Van Gogh picks collection:

https://www.amazon.com/Vincent-Guitar-Complete-Guitarist-Celluloid/dp/B01D21K4F4/ref=sr_1_11?s=musical-instruments&ie=UTF8&qid=1523351497&sr=1-11&keywords=custom+guitar+picks
I would like to apologize to anyone I have not yet offended. Please be patient and I will get to you shortly.
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Tom

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Re: Holding/playing with a pick
« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2018, 06:10:54 AM »
The last time we played for an elementary school, one of the guitar players tossed a couple of hundred picks into the audience (actually, tossed them in the air so they "rained down"). I thought that was a neat take-away for the kids. Unfortunately, not all the kids got a pick, and he was asked not to do that for the second group of kids.
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SeilerBird

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Re: Holding/playing with a pick
« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2018, 06:30:31 AM »
The last time we played for an elementary school, one of the guitar players tossed a couple of hundred picks into the audience (actually, tossed them in the air so they "rained down"). I thought that was a neat take-away for the kids. Unfortunately, not all the kids got a pick, and he was asked not to do that for the second group of kids.
I went to a G3 concert ten years ago (Vai, Satriani and Malmsteen) and Yngwie loved to throw picks into the audience. I was in the front row and he threw one my way. I missed it and got down on my hands and knees looking for it on the floor. While I was searching it dawned on me I was a 55 year old man grovelling for a guitar pick on the floor at a rock concert. I was proud. Never did find the pick. :-[
I would like to apologize to anyone I have not yet offended. Please be patient and I will get to you shortly.
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SeilerBird

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Re: Holding/playing with a pick
« Reply #11 on: April 10, 2018, 07:27:04 AM »
I should mention my guitar parts cabinet. I bought a small three drawer cabinet at Walmart for under $10 and I keep all my guitar related stuff in it. I used to keep most of the stuff in my guitar case but now that I have so many cases I needed a central spot to keep everything. One drawer has cleaning cloths and cleaning spray, one has picks and parts and the top drawer has my Rogue guitar tool kit. I bought it many years ago and love it. I looked online and cannot find it for sale any more. It has a winder, small screwdrivers, many Allen wrenches, side cutters and I also keep very fine sandpaper for repairing the bridge when a string breaks (most all strings break because of a burr on the bridge). When a string breaks I do a light sanding job on the bridge and never again will it break a string there. I haven't broken a string in many years but I am prepared.

I also bought a five pack of guitar pick holders and put an assortment of picks in each one and then I put one in each case.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01N3OWDV3/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1
I would like to apologize to anyone I have not yet offended. Please be patient and I will get to you shortly.
Favorite 2017 shots:
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Tom

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Re: Holding/playing with a pick
« Reply #12 on: April 10, 2018, 09:39:59 AM »
I've tried using thumb picks, and they seem to work OK for picking, but not for strumming. Wish I'd learned to do this stuff when I was a kid.
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SeilerBird

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Re: Holding/playing with a pick
« Reply #13 on: April 10, 2018, 10:29:43 AM »
I tried thumb picks once. And I hated it. It is why I never tried banjo.
I would like to apologize to anyone I have not yet offended. Please be patient and I will get to you shortly.
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Markap12013

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Re: Holding/playing with a pick
« Reply #14 on: April 10, 2018, 10:29:51 AM »
I use relatively small Eric Johnson picks (red) which have raised lettering on both sides - gives me a good grip on them
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SeilerBird

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Re: Holding/playing with a pick
« Reply #15 on: April 10, 2018, 10:32:40 AM »
Eric is an incredible guitar player, nice choice. :))
I would like to apologize to anyone I have not yet offended. Please be patient and I will get to you shortly.
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Tom

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Re: Holding/playing with a pick
« Reply #16 on: April 10, 2018, 10:55:14 AM »
Amazon has Eric Johnson picks, but says they're (Jim) Dunlop  ???
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SeilerBird

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Re: Holding/playing with a pick
« Reply #17 on: April 10, 2018, 10:57:19 AM »
Dunlop is the manufacturer.
I would like to apologize to anyone I have not yet offended. Please be patient and I will get to you shortly.
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kdbgoat

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Re: Holding/playing with a pick
« Reply #18 on: April 10, 2018, 11:22:02 AM »
Lots of info on the 'net about choosing and using a pick. Essentially, what works fine for one may not be so good for another. A trip to the music store with your instrument(s) may be in order. Just start trying different picks to see what works for you.
I know you believe you understand what you think I said,
But I am not sure you realize what you heard is not what I meant

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Tom

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Re: Holding/playing with a pick
« Reply #19 on: April 10, 2018, 11:36:28 AM »
Quote
A trip to the music store ... may be in order.

That's always dangerous to my wallet  ;D
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SeilerBird

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Re: Holding/playing with a pick
« Reply #20 on: April 10, 2018, 11:40:27 AM »
That's always dangerous to my wallet  ;D
Pretend it is an RV show and leave your wallet at home. :D
I would like to apologize to anyone I have not yet offended. Please be patient and I will get to you shortly.
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kdbgoat

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Re: Holding/playing with a pick
« Reply #21 on: April 10, 2018, 11:41:36 AM »
Pretend it is an RV show and leave your wallet at home. :D

ROFL!
I know you believe you understand what you think I said,
But I am not sure you realize what you heard is not what I meant

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SeilerBird

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Re: Holding/playing with a pick
« Reply #22 on: April 10, 2018, 11:43:08 AM »
These might be just the ticket for you Tom. They have a thick textured holding area and a thinner picking area. Also made by Dunlop.

https://www.amazon.com/Dunlop-449P-73-Max-Grip-Standard-Players/dp/B003B01QSG/ref=sr_1_23?ie=UTF8&qid=1523378496&sr=8-23&keywords=picks
I would like to apologize to anyone I have not yet offended. Please be patient and I will get to you shortly.
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Tom

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Re: Holding/playing with a pick
« Reply #23 on: April 10, 2018, 05:48:29 PM »
Thanks Tom, they look like the right thing. Better than the "rubber grip" ones I ordered earlier today.
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SeilerBird

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Re: Holding/playing with a pick
« Reply #24 on: April 10, 2018, 05:57:28 PM »
Thanks Tom, they look like the right thing. Better than the "rubber grip" ones I ordered earlier today.
You are welcome, I hope they work for you. Picks are cheap so you can buy a bunch and try them out.
I would like to apologize to anyone I have not yet offended. Please be patient and I will get to you shortly.
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Tom

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Re: Holding/playing with a pick
« Reply #25 on: April 10, 2018, 07:05:40 PM »
I ordered several different kinds and thicknesses. I talked to a guitarist friend today who suggested I get the thinnest/most flexible picks to learn. He described it as "a brush painting the strings", which made sense to me.
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SeilerBird

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Re: Holding/playing with a pick
« Reply #26 on: April 10, 2018, 07:21:44 PM »
I don't like the thin ones because they throw off my timing. However many guitarists love thin picks.
I would like to apologize to anyone I have not yet offended. Please be patient and I will get to you shortly.
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Tom

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Re: Holding/playing with a pick
« Reply #27 on: April 12, 2018, 08:19:41 PM »
Quote from: SeilerBird
I don't like the thin ones because they throw off my timing.

I can see how that could happen. Today I received two kinds of thin/flexible picks that I ordered; One has bumps/dimples in the holding area, and the other has rubber 'boots'. They both seem to work for me. These should get me going, and I can increase thickness as I get more practice.
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muskoka guy

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Re: Holding/playing with a pick
« Reply #28 on: April 13, 2018, 09:32:02 AM »
Im with Seiler on the hard picks. Soft picks for me, tend to react much too slowly. They are more suited to strumming than picking. I used to use the vinyl "grippy", with the raised ribs. They help a lot for holding on to, but create kind of a slapping sound if played too hard. I have changed to hard plastic in recent years. There is a fellow locally where I live in Ontario that make picks out of turtle shells. I have never tried them, but apparently they are very expensive and sought after by the professional players. I play quite a bit of finger picking as well. I also have tried the finger picks in the past, with very little success. I hold my pick at a 90 degree angle to my thumb. It takes a bit of practice, but once you get on to it, it increases your picking speed quite a bit.

Tom

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Re: Holding/playing with a pick
« Reply #29 on: April 13, 2018, 09:51:16 AM »
Thanks. I'm primarily strumming, so the soft picks work for me to learn to hold/use a pick on guitar. I can see that they'd be an issue for picking, and expect to 'graduate' to harder picks with practice.
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Tom

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Re: Holding/playing with a pick
« Reply #30 on: April 23, 2018, 05:23:44 PM »
I couldn't bring myself to using the snot stuff  :( Various brands/styles/thicknesses of picks have been arriving in the mail, and the Dunlop Max-Grip picks win hands down grip-wise.
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8Muddypaws

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Re: Holding/playing with a pick
« Reply #31 on: April 23, 2018, 07:15:42 PM »
I bought a dozen 'medium' picks a couple of years ago.  I still have most of them.  I loaned out a couple that were never returned.  I use picks so seldom there's little chance I'll need to buy more any time soon.

I mostly grow my own picks.  I use 'Healthy Hoof' (from Amazon) on them to make them stronger and less likely to split.  The darn stuff works! 
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Tom

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Re: Holding/playing with a pick
« Reply #32 on: April 23, 2018, 07:56:00 PM »
Russ, I'm starting to think you're a bit of a joker; All this snot and hoof stuff  ;D
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kdbgoat

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Re: Holding/playing with a pick
« Reply #33 on: April 23, 2018, 08:04:39 PM »
Gorilla snot is yellow weather stripping cement, and he uses the Healthy Hoof (real stuff) on his finger nails to make them stronger so he can use them rather than finger picks.
I know you believe you understand what you think I said,
But I am not sure you realize what you heard is not what I meant

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8Muddypaws

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Re: Holding/playing with a pick
« Reply #34 on: April 24, 2018, 07:43:03 PM »
I can be a bit of a jokester indeed.  But kdbgoat nailed it.  Sort of. 

Gorilla Snot (for guitarists and drummers) is REAL!  https://www.amazon.com/Gorilla-Snot-Original-Drumstick-Guitar/dp/B0002GL5S8/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1524615415&sr=8-6&keywords=Gorilla+Snot

Healthy Hoof :  https://www.amazon.com/Gena-Healthy-Hoof-Cream-Ounce/dp/B0006Q00ZI/ref=sr_1_1_a_it?s=musical-instruments&ie=UTF8&qid=1524616878&sr=8-1&keywords=Healthy+hoof  (Read the reviews!)

I haven't even started on nose grease for guitarists yet.

 ;D ;D ;D

Retired computer professional
Musician, songwriter,  mediocre guitar player.
2006 Bounder 34H, 2008 CR-V Toad