Results 1 to 13 of 13

Thread: Pick position/technique

  1. #1
    Eternal Beginner Seamus B's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Leicester, UK
    Posts
    108

    Default Pick position/technique

    After a few years of casual playing I have started taking my mandolin playing seriously for the last few months. I have started lessons and attending sessions, as well as ploughing through the back catalogue of mandolessons videos.

    I have so many weaknesses that I would not know where to start (eg up down rhythm, remembering chords, etc) but one that is causing me problems recently is pick position and technique.

    Basically, I have been playing wrong for a long time, holding the pick at the tip of my finger and thumb with lots of room for wobble. I have tried to correct this, and have gone through lots of picks, but recently bought some Dunlop Primetone Small Triangle (1.5mm) picks with grip in the hope they would help. But if I play a song all the way through I feel the pick slipping, I lose my 90 degree angle and the pick starts moving towards the tips of my finger and thumb.

    I have Man-flu so I spent most of today just playing for hours (I learned My Darling Asleep!) and really made a concerted effort to improve my pick technique, but I still find myself losing my grip on it and my position goes all wrong.

    Other than practice - does anyone have any pointers?
    Last edited by Seamus B; Jan-13-2018 at 9:14pm.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Pick position/technique

    I am new and am having the same problem as well as the same picks. I drilled about 7 or8 holes in the center of one of them and it seemed to help some. I have watched videos and believe there are as many ways to hold your pick as there are players. They do become easier to hold and/or control the more you practice. Good luck.

  3. The following members say thank you to Torpedotom for this post:


  4. #3

    Default Re: Pick position/technique

    Practicing correctly is the key. Hours of wrong won’t help. Hold a loose pick is terrible advice since no one knows how loose is loose, but if the pick is drifting, hold it tighter. Practice up and down strokes keeping the pick in the same position. Probably won’t be fixed overnight but for me, that seems to work.

    Ymmv
    Play it like you mean it.

  5. The following members say thank you to Bill McCall for this post:


  6. #4
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Upstate New York
    Posts
    22,574
    Blog Entries
    51

    Default Re: Pick position/technique

    Quote Originally Posted by Seamus B View Post
    holding the pick at the tip of my finger and thumb with lots of room for wobble.

    Other than practice - does anyone have any pointers?
    Ahh yes. The Ick-A-Bug pick hold, resembling how one might pick up a dead moth.

    This might be helpful if you haven't seen it.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NmagoBQunZI
    Indulge responsibly!

    The entire staff
    funny....

  7. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to JeffD For This Useful Post:


  8. #5
    but that's just me Bertram Henze's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    0.8 pc from NGC224, upstairs
    Posts
    9,414

    Default Re: Pick position/technique

    Even with the correct pick grip (listen to Mike Marshall) there is bound to be some pick slippage.
    After unsuccessful experiments with holes in the pick, rough surfaces etc., I ended up with a twofold strategy:

    - my fingers have learned to automatically adjust pick position while playing, so I don't have to stop for correction.

    - I use rosin powder to make my fingers sticky (better than Gorilla Snot in my experience), so I need less grip force.

    This way I can play through long reel sets at maximum volume. I have had picks break on me, but never one slip away.
    the world is better off without bad ideas, good ideas are better off without the world

  9. The following members say thank you to Bertram Henze for this post:


  10. #6
    en kunnskapssøker James Miller's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Payette, Idaho
    Posts
    294

    Default Re: Pick position/technique

    I have days where my pick hand goes to sleep... fingers & thumb too.
    • Seagull S8 • Weber Y2K6 • David Hudson Bloodwood Didgeridoo (C#) •

  11. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    charlottesville, VA
    Posts
    888

    Default Re: Pick position/technique

    I'm aiming the other way, trying to loosen my grip on the pick. I get much better tone and control when I loosen up the "death grip" and let the pick "flop" just a little in my grip. Hard to explain, but I want to feel a tiny movement of the pick on each individual strike. Mike Marshall has stated that his grip is so loose that he's a notorious pick dropper.
    Mitch Russell

  12. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to onassis For This Useful Post:


  13. #8

    Default Re: Pick position/technique

    The pick will move and you need to make micro adjustments and it’s hard to do and takes practice. Accept that. Don’t obsess about how you have extra sweaty hands and drill holes and apply stickum. A regular pick will give you more feedback about the adjustments you need to make. When you can play good with a regular pick, then drill holes and add stickum if you want to. You may not want to.
    Object to this post? Find out how to ignore me here!

  14. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to JonZ For This Useful Post:


  15. #9
    Gibson F5L Gibson A5L
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    1,829
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: Pick position/technique

    Pick slip is a common experience. I have found the larger rounded triangle shape for picks works best for me. There is more to hang on to and if the is a slip there is another point in either direction. Wegan makes a pick this shape that comes supplied with holes https://www.stringsandbeyond.com/wet...SABEgI8b_D_BwE
    A few players have glued small pieces of sandpaper to their picks to make them grip better. I also have to give a nod to Blue Chip picks for some reason are fairly easy to hang on to. Also .... keep your picks clean. Any accumulation of crud will make any pick harder to keep a hold on. Lastly if you never drop your pick you are holding it too tight. Loose fingers and wrist are part of good articulation..... R/
    I love hanging out with mandolin nerds . . . . . Thanks peeps ...

  16. The following members say thank you to UsuallyPickin for this post:


  17. #10
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Kernersville, NC
    Posts
    2,260
    Blog Entries
    3

    Default Re: Pick position/technique

    Keep at it. It can take a long time to get used to a new pick grip. I thought my pick would never stop squirming around and then one day I noticed I wasn't thinking about it.

    IMO if your grip and stroke are synced on plane the pick pivots up/down in your grip but doesn't get deflected sideways. Try playing with as light a grip as possible so you can feel the position when the pick stabilizes

  18. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Mark Wilson For This Useful Post:


  19. #11
    Eternal Beginner Seamus B's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Leicester, UK
    Posts
    108

    Default Re: Pick position/technique

    Thanks everyone for your advice and tips - if anything else I am glad to hear that it is normal and that everyone has a problem with this on some level. My tutor has noted that my pick keeps slipping and he noted that this starts affecting my play, particularly in the second half of songs when I notice that my playing is less accurate and prone to error.

    I have trained my hand over the last 4 months to hold the pick at the 90-degree angle which I found very odd at first - like writing with my left hand. I have to say these JD Primetones with grip are helping enormously. I used to use shiny, slippy fender picks that would slip around like a pig in mud. These Primetones are great because the raised area is in the middle of the pick, so when it slips I notice that the grips are on the wrong spot of my thumb.

    JeffD - that video was great - Mike always is. And the dead moth analogy is great!
    Bill - that is also good advice - I'm going to play some simple songs and focus on my grip rather than the notes.

    I'm going to just keep practising and keep correcting. Like most challenges with the mandolin, it's just about putting in the time and persevering.

  20. #12
    Registered User Jill McAuley's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    San Francisco, CA or forgotten East Galway, take your pick.
    Posts
    2,601

    Default Re: Pick position/technique

    Persevere with modifying how you hold the pick - in addition to the pick moving around less if you switch to a pick grip more like the one Mike Marshall demonstrates in that video, you'll also probably experience improvement in tone as well. I find that holding the pick between the tip of thumb and forefinger doesn't give enough power when picking notes and results in them sounding on the thinner side. Also that type of pinched pick hold lends itself to creating tension in the hand/forearm.

  21. #13
    Jim1Hays
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    Loveland Colorado
    Posts
    62

    Default Re: Pick position/technique

    I finally found a solution, though radical, to my pick slippage issue. I use Golden Gate 2.0mm large and took a 1/32nd " drill and put 4 holes staggered across in 2 rows of 2 holes. Sand any residual off. They do not slip!! I still occasionally drop one but not as often as before and do not have to continuously correct for the pick rotation.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •