I’ve been practicing picking and researching about different picking concepts. Here are some thoughts I’ve had about it so far (an incomplete list):
The kind of pick technique you choose is for:
4) Efficiency (or not)
5) Relaxation (or not)
It depends on:
1) Guitar Style
2) Acoustic vs. Electric Guitar
3) Clean vs. Overdriven vs. Distorted vs. heavily effected guitar tone
4) Touch (do you pick hard or pick gently)
Some elements that can change the tone and technique:
1) Edge Picking (and the exact angle)
2) Pick Slanting
3) String Hopping (whether it occurs or not)
4) Your choice of pick
a) Pick Material
b) Pick Size
c) Pick Gauge
d) Pick Shape
e) Pick Colour
5) Alternate Picking
6) Sweep Picking/Economy Picking/Consecutive Picking
7) Picking position
8) Floating vs. anchored vs. different points of contact
9) Caring about string noise and sympathetic string resonance and muting (or not)
The way I see it is that you should examine the kind of sound you’re going for and then see how others have done it successfully.
Then, by analyzing what your guitar heroes have done, you may find what can work for your own technique. There’s not a single correct way to do it, instead there are many different possibilities. What you can do is to experiment and see what works for you. Decide what sound or tone that you’re going for and really zoom into the details that make that sound possible. A lot of it will be actual physical technique (how you play) and another part will be getting the right gear to enable you to get the sound.
Be careful not to get obsessed about the gear part as you can just keep buying stuff and not actually practicing.
Also, be careful not to forget the gear that will help you get closer to the sound you’re after. If you want to shred, get the right kind of solidbody electric guitar. If you want to play jazz, get some kind of hollowbody or semi hollow guitar if needed. For me, my favourite guitar for jazz is my nylon string Takamine EN60c – I just love how it sounds.
It’s all about finding a balance. In the end, always remember that practice and studying how you create the sound is what will make you sound better. Keep working at it. Good luck!
Now, I’d love to hear from you!
- How did you learn to pick on guitar?
- What are your biggest discoveries that helped you to pick better?
- What’s your biggest problems when practicing picking?
Leave your answer in the comments below. Remember to share as much detail as possible so that we can all learn from one another. Your insight may help another guitarist someone from across the world.
Thank you for reading and for hanging out here. Be back again soon!
A version of this post was originally published on Facebook here on March 22 2016, 11:14am.