View Full Version : holding the pick

Lawrence Molloy
Oct-28-2005, 9:05am
hello, could anyone give me a description of how to hold a pick correctly, also do you hold it firmly or lightly ? at the minute i think i'm holding it all wrong and am getting a pretty dull sound with no volume.thanks for help.

Celtic Saguaro
Oct-28-2005, 10:28am
There are a number of good ways to hold a pick. #The easiest to describe is this: make a fist; point your thumb straight up; lay the pick on your index finger with a little of the point hanging over the edge toward you; put your thumb down even with the edge of your index finger. Holding firmly or loosely really doesn't matter all that much. You may get more volume if you hold firmly, but I find if I hold the pick too tightly I tense up my wrist which causes all kinds of problems. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

Oct-28-2005, 10:45am
In my humble experience, holding the pick loosely makes a huge difference in the sound and speed. But YMMV. Using countoured picks like John Pearse's "sarod (http://www.janetdavismusic.com/sarod.html)" picks or the F1 (http://www.f1pick.com/) may help find the "right" finger position and holding it loosely, because they remove some of the fear-of-dropping-the-pick.

Oct-28-2005, 2:49pm
And [I have experienced] a rather sore knuckle, on the index finger from continued gripping too tightly.
herco xH thumb/flatpick(blade like a flatpick, with a thumb loop) has helped in recovery time, when this was noticed.

Oct-28-2005, 4:49pm
Food For Thought (http://www.johnmcgann.com/techtips.html)

Oct-29-2005, 1:11am
I remember the was a video clip of Dan Beimborn showing this, was very helpful......sure someone has a link to it


Oct-29-2005, 1:26am
This picture of Mike Compton holding the pick was on the Cafe some time back. It took me two months of torture breaking my guitar pickin' grip to duplicate this and develop proper tone. After a year I have full confidence in the grip and a smooth tremolo with pick flicking back and forth like on a hinge.

Peter Hackman
Oct-29-2005, 7:19am
This picture of Mike Compton holding the pick was on the Cafe some time back. It took me two months of torture breaking my guitar pickin' grip to duplicate this and develop proper tone. After a year I have full confidence in the grip and a smooth tremolo with pick flicking back and forth like on a hinge.
Just curious: did your *guitar* playing improve
as a result of this change? Speaking for myself
I'm not really aware of any important difference in
the way I hold a pick on either instrument. I might
hit the strings at slightly different angles,
but I'm not sure. I just play.

Celtic Saguaro
Oct-29-2005, 11:28am
Yep, that picture is what I described above. It's not the only possibility, but most books will show something very similar.

Lawrence Molloy
Oct-29-2005, 12:08pm
thanks very much for replys,its amazing the difference in sound and volume, that a simple thing like holding the pick correctly can have, its going to take a lot of practice for this to feel comfortable though, thanks again all.

Oct-29-2005, 12:20pm
Cool. The Compton picture shows the grip i use too. I think of it as making an "X" with my thumb and first finger.

Milan Christi
Oct-29-2005, 12:29pm
I've been playng for two years and I'm just starting to 'get it.' I had a lot of bad habits that I brought over from my guitar playing so it's still something I have to think about while I'm playing. I record a lot of my practice sessions and the difference in tone is dramatic. My guitar playing is improving, too. That's a nice side effect!

Mike Bunting
Oct-29-2005, 1:13pm
I hold it in the usual position as described here and in order to train myself to avoid the splayed fingers syndrome, I would hold another pick (or whatever) in the loosely formed fist in my right hand. It was quite effortless and did the job. I discovered it one day by comparing several different picks and holding the unused ones in my picking hand. FWIW

Oct-29-2005, 2:13pm
Sweet Pete
I played guitar for 15 years before finding mandolin and very little since. The new grip did take some getting use to in order to play my four string electric schwab, but even it seems natural now. The new grip lets me play faster and have that soft to soaring tremolo that I have so admired in others. I just couldn't get get the pick loose enough and still in control holding it between thumb and index finger tips.

Nov-20-2005, 8:12pm
Should you hold the pick the same for choping and picking

Nov-20-2005, 9:43pm
You want to be able to quickly and effortlessly change from picking to choping and back. You don't want to take the time to change the grip on the pick.

Nov-20-2005, 10:39pm
Thanks that what i was thinking but wanted to make sure. Thanks

uncle ken
Nov-21-2005, 1:02am
Here's the other side of that picture.

uncle ken
Nov-21-2005, 1:04am
Dave Apollon.

Nov-30-2005, 1:18am
Food For Thought (http://www.johnmcgann.com/techtips.html)

The "karate chop" comment on your page just solved a problem I've been struggling with of late. I've been holding my pick correctly, but my hand was slightly more parallel to the strings. That slight angulation of my right hand into the treble side has improved my picking clarity and strength of upstrokes--and the speed has picked up immediately. I always thought I'd dampen the strings too much picking like Sam Bush (who plants) but its actually better, for reasons yet to explore. Thanks a bunch!


Dec-03-2005, 11:31am
Just finished watching Chris Thile's Essential Techniques for Mandolin. In it, he said the pick should be held as loosely as possible so as its in danger of falling out of your hand. I thought the DVD did an excellent job of presenting the basics of left hand and right hand technique along with exercises that will develop your abilities. Of course, you might end up sounding like Chris, and who would want that. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif Right after Chris' video, I also watched Sam Bush' DVD.The Sam Bush Mandolin Method. Sam explains his technique, which is different from Chris'. However, he mentioned his technique was a result of making modifications to acommodate a problem associated with breaking his right hand. Not too shabby a player considering he's handicapped. I'd like to play like either of them, but I think I'll go with Chris' method, because I don't want to have to break my hand to play like Sam. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif