View Full Version : picking problem

Nov-10-2005, 1:13am
Here's the problem... when I downstroke across, say, the A string, second fret (B)... and my next note is picked on the upstroke, on the D string, 5th fret (G)... my pick, while coming back across the just plucked downstroke, bangs into the A string and I rarely strike the upstroked note on the D string cleanly.. anyone else had this problem and solved it? In order to avoid this, I'll start a passage differently, so I won't have that picking scenario come up... or I'll just alter, <simplify> the lick to avoid the problem... how 'bout you?


Nov-10-2005, 8:35am
In this type of situation I set up the metronome and and repeat the phrase, real slow, until I don't have to think about it anymore. Then I start picking up the speed.

Nov-10-2005, 8:48am
Come on, Kim, ya kin dew it!

Bob DeVellis
Nov-10-2005, 8:57am
That combination shouldn't be a huge problem by itself. Either something that precedes it is messing you up or you just need to keep working at it until it gets smooth. You can try another combination, like downstroke on both strings, but that may just be a temporary fix. The pattern you describe happens too often to be avoided completely and consistently changing pick direction for that situation will get you into trouble somewhere else sooner or later. Just keep at it. It will come with time and patience.

Peter Hackman
Nov-10-2005, 9:34am
sometimes a position shift helps

Tom C
Nov-10-2005, 9:58am
That is one of the things that make some tunes harder than others to play. Just keep practicing. -I do.

Celtic Saguaro
Nov-10-2005, 10:46am
It sounds like just a matter of getting your pick a little higher off the strings between notes. As you play, you could swing your wrist, so you are slightly swinging the pick down toward each correct string instead of it dragging across the one you just played. Like everyone else says, practice should help more than what we can tell you.

Nov-11-2005, 7:26am
That's the very same move that I trip on waaay toooo often. I screwed it up when I took up the mando a few years ago and I still screw it up now, though less than in earlier times.
Not that it helps- but I have the same problem on fiddle and guitar on the same move.
I probably get it wrong 20% of the time now....keep on pickin'

Martin Jonas
Nov-12-2005, 5:11pm
Difficult to say exactly what part of your picking action makes you hit the A string without seeing you do it. I would agree with Bob that this phrase shouldn't be that difficult by its own. I wonder whether you may have an excessively economic picking action. Economic action is fine on the fretting hand, but on the picking hand there are big advantages from having a fairly wide swing with a distinct follow-through after you hit the string. Playing up-down in time is a question of keeping a regular up down motion of the right hand going all the time, with a swing that is much wider than the distance between adjacent strings (and may indeed be wider than all strings together). On the beats when you want to hit a string, you dip down to hit the string you want, at all other times (e.g. when playing quarter notes), you have an empty upswing (or downswing if your notes are on the off-beat). Quite apart from hitting the strings cleanly and in time, having a smooth regular picking action with a good follow-through greatly improves the tone over a jerky tight picking action.


Nov-13-2005, 11:40am
Well, thanks everyone for your input. It's getting better, mainly by slowing down and working on training my brain to execute correctly... Speaking of the brain and the body's internal wiring.... try this one...

How Smart is Your Right Foot?

1. While sitting at your desk, lift your right foot off the floor and make clockwise circles.

2. Now, while doing this, draw the number "6" in the air with your right hand. Your foot will change direction.

Nov-13-2005, 6:34pm
that right foot thing is cool! i wonder what the neuro-physiologic rationale is...

anyway, re: the picking issue, glad its getting better. i suffer from this occassionally as well, and all of the suggestions above work well. position change, moving off the strings-wrist angle, and loose wrist with a slightly bigger arc. larry from ashland ma. who i met through the cafe was so kind when i had just been playing for a short while, and taught me a few things- primarily, when you need to get a good loose, comfortable stroke- pretend there is a booger on the end of your hand and you need to shake it off!=priceless!

Nov-13-2005, 9:21pm
Wow... Ira, that really works!... and we can credit Dr. Johnny Fever and his cutting edge radio show in Cinncinnati for paving the way for the rest us to enjoy freedom of speech on airwaves...!

Dan Adams
Nov-13-2005, 10:05pm
Just call it that "ole timey sound.' Lots of doublestops, pickin the passive string, etc... Dan

Nov-14-2005, 11:34am
kim- loved the show, don't get the reference, but glad if the "booger"trick worked for you.
keep on pickin!