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Picking technique (holding the pick and anchoring)

Tyler Saltmarsh

New Student
Nov 11, 2019
3
0
Hey everyone!
So I’ve been playing guitar for a while and can play most everything that I want until Things get really fast. I feel Like it’s a problem with my right hand not being able to move fast enough. I have Always naturally held the pick similarly to how Syn holds his now, but when I want to play something fast, I have To change how I hold it or it honestly can’t keep up or be accurate. I know It’s one of those things that “whatever works, just go with it,” but I want To find a technique that works for rhythm and for leads, sweeps, economy, etc. for example, I’m trying to learn Syn’s solo from rock am ring in 2006 and really struggle with the 2 string “shred” portions of the solo (1:36-1:44 in the vid) bc the way I hold The pick doesn’t let me be super accurate or fast at all. Any advice? Or is it just something I’ll have to sit down with a metronome and hammer out with the way I currently Hold it?
 

Richard O'connor

Free Bird Player
Nov 11, 2019
359
10
30
Birmingham, England.
22
I changed the way I hold my pick once I joined this school. I used to hold it with my index and thumb fingers, pinching it almost. This has definitely been a double edged sword for me. Immediately I found my sweeping and economy picking improve. But I found that my alternate picking and rhythm suffered beyond belief. So now I have to change the way I hold my pick depending on what I’m doing. If you really want to hold the pick the way syn does then don’t expect it to come over night. It’s something that’s going to take a lot of time to get used to. Slowing things right down to basics. My rhythm hand is awful holding it the correct way. I feel like I’ve gone right back to the begging, but I No it will improve over time. I’d just sit with a metronome and start slow. Annoying I know but it will work.
 

Tyler Saltmarsh

New Student
Nov 11, 2019
3
0
Yeah that’s kinda what I figured, but I’m glad I’m not alone, I’m the same way! If I pinch it, I play Lead well but my rhythm sucks and if I hold It like I do Normally, my rhythms is great and my lead sucks. Guess it’ll just take time to build up some stamina with the way I normally Hold it, I just Don’t get how Syn and Papa can play so fast like that!
 

Jak Angelescu

Guitarist for Unknown🎸 Mother of Dragons🐉
Staff member
Legend
  • Sep 24, 2019
    2,903
    4,333
    34
    Kansas City, MO
    23
    To be honest, there is no exact pick way that will work for every single thing you wanna do. Depending on what you’re doing,you might want to choke up on the pick a little bit to where there is not as much sticking out. If it helps, I have to have a little bit more pick showing when I play acoustic strumming chords, but when I go to play fast sixlets like on the solo for scream, I have to use less pick and choke up on it a little bit. I actually am getting ready to post up a video about I discovery I made when doing the fast sweeps in the hail to the king solo and it helped me perform the sweeps faster and more accurately. Maybe it’ll help you. To be honest, there is a big difference between doing 6 string sweeps and a two string shred section. I would strongly encourage you to look at how much of the pick you’re actually using and whether or not you’re making large movements with your wrist, using your finger muscles, or tensing up your shoulder. I have responded to another person about the anatomy of what goes on when you start picking faster. My singer as a massage therapist and it really helped me understand why a lot of people have trouble picking faster. If I can find the thread I will copy and paste my answer from it and maybe it’ll help you understand why you’re having problems. Another thing I’d like to mention, is that working with a metronome is not everything. Sometimes you need to let everything go and try to play it faster and feel out what’s going on without trying to pay attention to being on time. Every single one of my revelations of overcoming an obstacle did not come from playing with a metronome, but just feeling it out, slowing it down on my own and working through the kinks at my own pace and focusing on it. Then after I realized what I was doing, I would practice with a metronome. I hope this helps!🤗
     

    Tyler Saltmarsh

    New Student
    Nov 11, 2019
    3
    0
    Thanks Jak, that would be awesome! I actially thought about that because I feel like my movement is really fluid When I usually Play, but When I speed up, my whole arm tenses up and it comes from my shoulder, which I dont Think is good haha. I’ll give that a shot though!
     

    Jak Angelescu

    Guitarist for Unknown🎸 Mother of Dragons🐉
    Staff member
    Legend
  • Sep 24, 2019
    2,903
    4,333
    34
    Kansas City, MO
    23
    Here you go, my dear friend! This is the response I put on someone’s riff video in regards to increasing speed for downpicking…
    “Okay, bear with me here as this response may seem weird. But I hope it helps. My singer is a massage therapist, and so she knows anatomy pretty damn well. She’s also well-versed with muscle reactions and how the muscles work in synergy with each other. Downpicking is, by nature, not a natural body motion. Therefor, it’s very easy to develop pain and tension in the bicep, shoulder, and eventually leading into wrist pain. The reason why this is, is our shoulders and biceps are comprised of many more complicated larger muscles than our wrists are. Although the wrist is built to be so flexible that with it’s countless amounts of bones and small muscles that we’re able to PRODUCE a downpicking-like motion at rapid speeds, doing it against any type of TENSION (ie strings while holding a pick) is very unnatural. Because the muscles in the wrists are far weaker than those in the biceps and shoulders, those larger muscles compensate, overwork, and it causes tension and pain eventually in the wrist because THOSE muscles are NOT meant to move that fast and rapid. Does that make sense? In a nutshell, you’re wrist muscles do not know how to engage properly to handle that sort of work, therefor, your larger muscles that DO know how to engage, do all the work. My advice to you would be to do a lot of stretching, exercises, wrist strengthening, and do your downpicking exercises SOOOOO slow to make sure all your larger muscles are relaxed. They will naturally try to engage, but you have to retrain your muscles to rest and the proper ones to act. I hope this helps to some sort of way. I know it was lengthy, but I couldn’t help it lol!”
     
    Synner Endless Summer Collection

    Jak Angelescu

    Guitarist for Unknown🎸 Mother of Dragons🐉
    Staff member
    Legend
  • Sep 24, 2019
    2,903
    4,333
    34
    Kansas City, MO
    23
    Okay buddy, sorry it took so long to upload! But in this first section I explain my picking technique and muscle technique with sweeping. It may help. Hopefully you get something from it!