Some Tips On Pickin'

Ok, here we are going to talk about pickin' and all sorts of things! I'll tell you some of the techniques I use, and perhaps you can learn something useful to have for yourself!

First of all, when you're using a flatpick, as I most often do, your right hand technique is most important. I reccomend to all players to try as much as they can to hold their arm still while they play! Try to use your wrist as much as possible, as it will indeed give you much better pick control. Pick control is important, because you don't want to hit that low E string when your playing a D chord, or some other thing that goes "clunk" in what your playing. Clunks bad. Control good.

The second thing in flatpicking is choosing your pick wisely. I play pretty fast, and picks made out of regular plastic will tend to heat up and flex more (and get worn out), which can throw off right hand technique. Some folks use rock hard picks to get around this...but not me, for a few reasons. I am a terrible string breaker, hence the name "String Killer" hung on me by most of my friends. And rock hard picks don't bend, so your string better. And if it dosen't....*snap*. And doing that onstage isn't good. I use "tortex" picks because I like the fact they dont tend to melt easily, and I use the Orange variety, .6mm, which isn't too thick or too thin for me. But, everyone has their own preference, so find yours! The most important thing about playing, is be comfortable. After all, this is supposed to be fun!

Now fingerpickin' is it's own animal. I've tried both ways, with fingers, and with fingerpicks, and I find either work, but... fingerpicks take a little more practice. How much do I like fingerpickin'? In 1992 I cut a tendon on my third finger, causing the end to just flop around like a dead fish. (So, ok it's a fish joke, sorry.) They did surgery, to remove my last knuckle and fuse the bone together solidly, and asked me how I wanted my finger to be shaped. Naturally I said "curve it so I can fingerpick my guitar", and I will say the Doc did a beautiful job. That's how much I love fingerpickin'. One thing to add... be careful when choosing your thumbpick. Make sure it will hang on your thumb without coming off even if you shake your hand violently. That way, in case you "hook" a string with it, you have a better chance of not losing it in the midst of that tender love ballad about fish your singing to your beloved. Also you won't have the excuse of "something fishy" going on. (Ok, ok, no more with the fish, quit carping.)

With that in mind, all you can do is practice. Before you practice. Which comes after your all done practicing. (Seeing a pattern here?) It's simple. The more you play...the better your going to be. One of the coolest things about guitar I discovered when I first started. It wont lie to you. It's going to give you back 100% of everything you put into it. Musically that is. Your still going to have to talk to people after you put it down. After practice.


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