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  1. #1

    Playing with a pick troubles

    I have no guitar theory under my belt but play by ear and as a pianist I'm able to decode most anything by ear due to understanding harmonic structure relatively well. The trouble is I approach guitar in a very blocked chord manner ala George Shearing and playing with a plectrum involves skipping strings in a clumsy manner that makes it very difficult for me to time changes effectively. I really like the tone I get when playing lead lines with a pick and I want to get the same tone when playing chordal passages but the fingerings I come up with seem more or less impossible to play in time. When playing fingerstyle the the changes flow fine. I don't think my progressions are exotic or over-reaching. Dodging open strings to strike the fretted strings is the problem. Do I alter my pick technique and practice or find alternate fingerings that allow for better use with a pick?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    North Coast Pennsylvania
    Posts
    2,783
    There is no need to dodge the open strings. Left hand muting of the not-needed-at-this-time strings is the answer. Allow the left-hand fingers that are holding down the fretted notes to touch the to-be-muted strings. Sometimes a slight tilt of the fretting hand is needed, at others a slightly off-center fingering will suffice. No need for string skipping. I hope this helps.
    Best regards, k

  3. #3
    That doesn't seem to be very effective, for me at least. I've tried muting. Seems to me that from watching vids of accomplisher players that there is SOME skipping going on and in most cases quite a bit of melodic single note picking peppered in between strummed chordal moments. Just can't get comfortable alternating both.

  4. #4
    Play it fingerstyle, mute with left hand, or break up chords rhythmically to skip strings. Those are the basics I'm aware of.

    There are some really fantastic players who CHOOSE from among these compromises. You can't have everything. Maybe there's some other option I'm unaware of, but it begins to sound like a magical unicorn type requirement.

  5. #5
    Have you tried to approach these chords with hybrid picking?

    Also many players get very proficient at „storing“ the pick in their palm or between two fingers or in their index finger and picking with the remaining fingers. I guess it takes a lot of practice to gain confidence with that technique. Guys like Brian Setzer are really good at it and it seems like he seemlessly switches back and forth. Eric Johnson is another one.

  6. #6
    Know your Drop chords and you will strum without problems.

  7. #7
    Hybrid might be the ticket...

    Not familiar with Drop chords??

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    New Jersey, USA
    Posts
    2,707
    Drop chords (lots of lessons online)

    Also, stuff like this where the 5th string is muted by another fretting finger, and the top string is simply not played:

    A7: 5x565x or 9x798x (root in bass, 3rd in bass, respectively)
    AMaj7: 5x665x or 9x799x
    Am7: 5x555x or 8x798x
    Current favorites: '16 Gibson L-5 WesMo, '07 Forshage Orion

  9. #9
    If I understand the problem, here are solutions that I have seen.

    Stash the pick in your palm when you want to fingerpick. Some players are magicians at this.

    Use pick and fingers. This is probably the most common.

    Use a thumbpick that's shaped so that it is usable as a flatpick.

    Attach the pick to your index finger with a piece of wire. Some use a garbage bag tie. Usually they punch a hole in the middle of the pick. Then, it just hangs out of the way until you need it.

    Mute the unwanted strings with your left hand fingers by leaning over them just enough that you touch them and keep them from vibrating.

    There's a device that I saw marketed a few years ago that attaches to your thumb and, switchblade-like, pushes a pick forward when you need it.

    Put the pick in your mouth until you need it.

    Here's one I don't recall seeing, and I don't know why not. Have some kind of pick holder on the face of the guitar and stick the pick in it when you don't want to use it.

    I have tried most of these. What I end up doing depends on the song. If I know I'm going to need fingerpicking until a solo, I just put the pick down on my music stand or amp and pick it up when I have to solo. If I have to go back and forth, I'll use pick and three fingers. If I'm not thinking, I still put the pick in my mouth sometimes. I know it looks a little goofy, but it's fast.

  10. #10
    Guess it's gonna come down to practice. I bought thumbpicks recently, thinking that might be a good solution. It was awkward, of course, but it allowed me to have the freedom to play chord patterns that I've gotten comfortable with. I looked at drop chords and found a site that outlined inversions that I will experiment with and try to add to my arsenal. Thanks for the advice, guys.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Baja Baja Oklahoma
    Posts
    2,370
    I recently bought a crossover pick with the intention of learning hybrid picking, and I think I like it. Ron Eschete uses one, as do a few people here. It's completely usable as a flatpick when you need that, but it stays on your thumb for fingerpicking, and it's the most comfortable fingerpick I've found. I can't use most I've tried because they squeeze my thumb and cause pain after a short time. This one uses neoprene, and can be adjusted for any fit you like. It comes with two picks, both thinner than I really like, but the 1mm pick is usable. You can also use any flat pick of your choice.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Brazil
    Posts
    37

    GUSTAVO ASSIS-BRASIL Hybrid Picking Lines and Licks

    Quote Originally Posted by sgosnell View Post
    I recently bought a crossover pick with the intention of learning hybrid picking, and I think I like it. Ron Eschete uses one, as do a few people here. It's completely usable as a flatpick when you need that, but it stays on your thumb for fingerpicking, and it's the most comfortable fingerpick I've found. I can't use most I've tried because they squeeze my thumb and cause pain after a short time. This one uses neoprene, and can be adjusted for any fit you like. It comes with two picks, both thinner than I really like, but the 1mm pick is usable. You can also use any flat pick of your choice.
    There's a great hybrid picker called Gustavo Assis Brasil, he wrote 3 books about it. It's very good stuff, maybe you could check it out

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98ln5x1aAxs

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Greenacres, FL
    Posts
    11,697
    Quote Originally Posted by sgosnell View Post
    I recently bought a crossover pick with the intention of learning hybrid picking, and I think I like it. Ron Eschete uses one, as do a few people here. .
    I'm enjoying mine. Using it as a thumb pick is a nice bonus but what I love most about it is that it keeps the pick in one place. (I never drop picks but I've always had trouble with them "turning around" while I'm playing, resulting in grave inconsistencies in my playing.)
    “Love is not blind; that is the last thing that it is. Love is bound; and the more it is bound the less it is blind.”
    -- G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Mystic CT
    Posts
    1,502
    Pick Buddy: small suction cup and slot for one pick, works great.
    Gustav Assis-Brazil: great books, especially the first one

  15. #15
    I left out one solution.

    Ricardo Vogt, a great player, used a long index fingernail as a pick.

    That was a few years ago. I don't know if he still does.

    Ricardo played with Esperanza Spaulding for a while.

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