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Thread: How to hold the pick

  1. #26

    Default Re: How to hold the pick

    Quote Originally Posted by T.D.Nydn View Post
    I agree with David above. I mean,think about what your hand has to look like in order to NOT hold the pick with thumb and forefinger tip,it would have to look like a gorilla's hand,,my opinion has been that people that use the 3 finger grip are usually self taught...
    So folks who taught me were self-taught. No surprise there. I sit corrected. But I wouldn't be able to get a good, stable grip without using my middle finger.

    Anyhow, it begs the question. I wasn't trying to teach folks how to hold a guitar pick. I was trying to find out how mando players do it, because I've read here in the cafe that it's different.

    Glad Mark G. learned to hold guitar picks the way I did. It means I'm not all alone in pick-grip perfidy.

  2. #27

    Default Re: How to hold the pick

    Quote Originally Posted by gtani7 View Post
    Here's a good one to watch, Bush, McCoury, Joliff, Skehan, Hoffman: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hTJJdlswFPE
    I had not seen that one before, and it's a great survey of pick grips. I think it's best to ignore Sam Bush's grip, and he might say the same. I suspect that most of them would say, 'follow the Jake Jolliff path if you're starting from scratch' (but I could be wrong about that)

    There's some good and related info in this recent thread on the Floating Right Hand.
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  3. #28
    Mandolin Friendly Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to hold the pick

    Quote Originally Posted by T.D.Nydn View Post
    I agree with David above. I mean,think about what your hand has to look like in order to NOT hold the pick with thumb and forefinger tip,it would have to look like a gorilla's hand,,my opinion has been that people that use the 3 finger grip are usually self taught...


    OK, I confess my hands probably look like gorilla hands, but it has nothing to do with the way I hold a pick. It's because I have gorilla hands.
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  4. #29
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    Default Re: How to hold the pick

    Yes, I get it. As a self taught guitar for 20 years before mandolin and much of the pick holding stuff sounded like hooey to me at first. The grip was largely the same but the motion is pretty different. Smaller arc, no bending to speak of, double course of strings. But slowly came to realize how important it was as teachers suggested: try this, and it was obviously better, at least when they did it. But it took a while to get used to thicker (and more expensive) picks, better grips, less "clutching", more movement of all parts or the arm, and losing the dreaded pinky plant because anything I have to think about to do makes it harder to do. After getting frustrated a few times I focused on making the best sound possible, now being aware of the nuance, and oddly I started doing all those "recommended" things more naturally, a bit a time.

    Oddly all these changes seeped back into my guitar playing. Thicker pick, looser grip, more concentration on playing through the strings rather than across the top, and it's improved my guitar playing in much the same way. I realized I "self taught" myself some really bad habits that were even harder to relearn.

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  6. #30

    Default Re: How to hold the pick

    Quote Originally Posted by OlDanTucker View Post
    . . . I realized I "self taught" myself some really bad habits that were even harder to relearn.
    Amen to that! The rubber-band trick is really getting me there.

    Been trying different picks, too. Amazing how much the pick decides your mando's tone! For now, I think I'm settling in on Dunlop's Dawg.

    At least one prominent player does bend occasionally: blues exemplar Rich DelGrosso. Not often, but you can't play blues - even on mando - without throwing in a little eighth-note cry every now and then.

  7. #31
    Registered User Al Trujillo's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to hold the pick

    (Fair warning: I didn't read all the posts).....does anyone else use their middle finger to add additional support / force to the pick?

    I hold my pick the traditional way with the thumb and index finger but I've become comfortable using the middle finger more and more, especially with my tremolo's.

  8. #32

    Default Re: How to hold the pick

    I've been playing bass for all my life. When I play bass with a pick, I have more of a loose "pencil grip" where I use my thumb against both my index and middle fingers.
    Mainly because I then can use my long fingers more when hopping between strings and not move my hand as much.
    Nowadays when I practice mandolin a lot I have tried changing the grip to a more firm thumb-index (like the illustrations)
    And there's a noticeable improvement in tone and volume. It also makes it easier to nail those fast Irish triplet...
    But I feel I have to put some serious number of hours of just practicing that, because my timing sucks when I hold the pick that way.

    I haven't decided if it's worth it... I'll give it a try when I have some time to myself. (Practicing timing must be the worst thing for others to listen to)

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  10. #33

    Default Re: How to hold the pick

    Ive been trying the Marshall method having played guitar for years using a pencil style grip. Do I 'Have to' use it on the guitar as well?

  11. #34

    Default Re: How to hold the pick

    Quote Originally Posted by Al Trujillo View Post
    (Fair warning: I didn't read all the posts).....does anyone else use their middle finger to add additional support / force to the pick?

    I hold my pick the traditional way with the thumb and index finger but I've become comfortable using the middle finger more and more, especially with my tremolo's.
    Ow! You sure didn't! Right at the start I got creamed for thinking a guitar pick is held with thumb and first two fingers. (I've only been doing it that way for 49 years.)

    Someone else chimed in, though, to say he was taught to do it the same way.

    Anyhow, apparently no one uses the middle finger to hold a mando pick. So I've been putting a rubber band around my middle and ring fingers and pinky to unlearn my very ingrained guitar habit.

    Apparently a mando pick is held more loosely than a guitar, so maybe the strength of the middle finger defeats that.

    Dunno, though. Still figuring it out. All the advice above has helped.

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  13. #35

    Default Re: How to hold the pick

    Quote Originally Posted by Fergus Lester View Post
    Ive been trying the Marshall method having played guitar for years using a pencil style grip. Do I 'Have to' use it on the guitar as well?
    Yay! Yet another guitarist who grips like a pencil! That makes at least five of us. In the immortal words of Sting, "I'm not alone in being alone!"

    My belief at this point: pencil-style on guitar (ain't broke, don't fix it), Marshall-style on mando.

    As I mentioned above, I've been putting a rubber band around the other three fingers, and it keeps me from reverting to pencil-gripping. I'll keep using one until I don't have to anymore.

  14. #36

    Default Re: How to hold the pick

    it does work well on mandolin though I have to do a bit of relearning to get used to it. Might try it on guitar too

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    Default Re: How to hold the pick

    I'm a self-taught pencil-gripper on both guitar and mandolin. Trying to change on both but it's hard!

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  18. #38
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    Default Re: How to hold the pick

    Drew Emmit uses the pencil grip on mandolin and it works well for him.

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  20. #39
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    Default Re: How to hold the pick

    Someone needs to design a pick much like a thumb pick that will slip over your index finger and then all you would have to do is just place your thumb on top of it to insure that it wouldn`t fall off or slip....Come on you inventers out there, show your stuff...

    Willie

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  22. #40
    Mandolin Friendly Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to hold the pick

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Bernstein View Post
    My belief at this point: pencil-style on guitar (ain't broke, don't fix it), Marshall-style on mando.
    Interesting approach Charlie, hope it works for you. What happened to me is that I focused on mandolin practice for the past 2+ years and only really played guitar in public; I kind of quit learning any new stuff on guitar and mostly did finger picking in public. What I found is that after a year or so of using the new pick grip on mandolin, it automatically transferred to my guitar playing. I tried reverting to the pencil grip a month ago, just to make a video showing how I used to do it, and I found that the pencil grip is now as awkward to me as it was to re-train myself to the other way!

    Quote Originally Posted by Willie Poole View Post
    Someone needs to design a pick much like a thumb pick that will slip over your index finger and then all you would have to do is just place your thumb on top of it to insure that it wouldn`t fall off or slip....Come on you inventers out there, show your stuff...
    Genius

    But on second thought, I have to say that I kind of like allowing the pick to "move around" a bit once I got used to controlling it. You can change the tone a bit by rotating a pick ya know.
    Last edited by Mark Gunter; Oct-13-2017 at 11:37am. Reason: second thoughts
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  24. #41
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    Default Re: How to hold the pick

    I can't imagine bending my wrist like the picture, I keep my wrist straight, and think it is more accurate and effective.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  26. #42
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    Default Re: How to hold the pick

    Quote Originally Posted by Willie Poole View Post
    Someone needs to design a pick much like a thumb pick that will slip over your index finger and then all you would have to do is just place your thumb on top of it to insure that it wouldn`t fall off or slip
    They already have a wide variety of thumb picks; none of them offer quite as much fine control as a pointed, stiff flatpick.




    and many others

    This comes closest:



    Frankly I'm amazed that such a basic technical part of playing mandolin, flat picked guitar, tenor banjo, etc. - that is, just holding the pick - is so difficult an issue.

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  28. #43
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    Default Re: How to hold the pick

    I have heard the finger tip and thumb tip way of holding a pick called the ick-a-bug technique, because it resembles how one would pick up a dead moth.
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  30. #44
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    Default Re: How to hold the pick

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidKOS View Post
    Frankly I'm amazed that such a basic technical part of playing mandolin, flat picked guitar, tenor banjo, etc. - that is, just holding the pick - is so difficult an issue.
    The sum of complexity of tool and usage seems to be a constant. The skills of neolithic people must have been better than anything we can do today, and the pick is not too far away from a chip of flintstone.
    the world is better off without bad ideas, good ideas are better off without the world

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  32. #45

    Default Re: How to hold the pick

    Quote Originally Posted by doublestoptremolo View Post
    I'm a self-taught pencil-gripper on both guitar and mandolin. Trying to change on both but it's hard!
    As I mentioned, I've been putting a rubber band around my last three fingers. It puts me right in the Mike Marshall-prescribed mode.

    It's like training wheels.

  33. #46

    Default Re: How to hold the pick

    Quote Originally Posted by Stevo75 View Post
    Drew Emmit uses the pencil grip on mandolin and it works well for him.

    Well, dang! NOW wuddoo I do?

    =O.

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    Default Re: How to hold the pick

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Bernstein View Post
    Well, dang! NOW wuddoo I do?

    =O.
    Follow Mike Marshall’s and Chris Thile’s advice. :-)

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  36. #48
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    Default Re: How to hold the pick


  37. #49
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    Default Re: How to hold the pick

    Quote Originally Posted by Stevo75 View Post
    Pay attention to how relaxed his hold is at about 2:05 in. He makes it look simple, which is as it should be.

    No one ever mentions the tiny muscles between the thumb and first finger that are used for fine control and follow-through.

  38. #50

    Default Re: How to hold the pick

    Quote Originally Posted by Stevo75 View Post
    Follow Mike Marshall’s and Chris Thile’s advice. :-)
    Yup. It's too late to turn back now! (In immortal the words of the Cornelius Brothers and Sister Rose.)

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