View Full Version : holding your pick

Feb-14-2004, 11:38am
I have the Jack Tottle book shows bending the index finger holding the pick at the first joint of it. Went to a workshop 2 weeks ago teacher there who is a profesional also teaches to hold pick at the end similar to a guitar pick? My question can they both be right Do you play Tottles way for Tremalo and the other for chops, etc. Took me 3 months to undo holding pick like a guitar pick now its ok? how do you hold yours & who taught you? I cant see getting a good tremalo holding at the ends? But then dont get as much volume Tottles way. Confused ??

John Flynn
Feb-14-2004, 12:01pm
Don't get too uptight about it. The big picture is that there is no right or wrong way, period. There are just techniques and preferences. For every instructor who gets dogmatic about one way to hold a pick, I will show you a great player who does it differently. Now, if you have decided for yourself that you want to sound like your instructor, that's a different story. There may be a right or wrong way to "play like him."

I pretty much use the same grip Tottle shows, I hold it as loosely as I can consistent with holding on to it and use a "brushing" motion. That was reinforced my Mike Compton at his workshop. I think it works much better for tremlo and rhythm playing, especially with heavier picks, which will give you a mellower tone. It does seem to diminish volume a little, but you can get a lot of the volume back with practice. If you have heard Mike, you know he can get volume when he wants it! That technique is great for reducing hand tension also. Less tension means faster playing, fewer injuries and more endurance.

On the other hand, my current instuctor, Curtis Buckhannon, uses thin picks, grips them tightly and really "slaps" the strings with them. He gets a much different sound, but it is great in its own right! I have dabbled with his picking technique and I see the wisdom in it, but have not yet adopted it.

I think that you get to a point where you know what works for you and you feel strongly enough about it that you can say to anyone, including an instructor, "Well the way you do it is interesting. Here's the way I do it." Also, I think a really versitile player can use different techniques to get different sounds and effects. You are in charge of your playing. It's all good!

Feb-14-2004, 1:11pm
I think I do it like Tottle, but like with most things, there is no set way to do it, you will have to try what works best for you. Different instructors teach differently and different pickers do differently. Try to hold it as Tottle and see how that works for you, and try hold it as you used to before and see which way is the best. If you find a way that makes you able to play with control over the pick and that creates a good sound from the strings, then that's the way you should do it. Then I'm not sure if there is one way that works better for chops and one that works better for single string picking, I haven't thought about that. You will notice. Just do what works for you.

Coy Wylie
Feb-14-2004, 3:03pm
The hardest thing for me after all the years of guitar-playing is learning to keep my little finger off the top. I still struggle to not rest the heel of my hand of the bridge area. However, I have finally got comfortable with a slightly closed hand and a curled index finger.