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Thread: Is it necessary to keep the pick vertical to the strings?

  1. #26

    Default Re: Is it necessary to keep the pick vertical to the strings?

    [QUOTE= What the explanation omits is the concept of attack angle (a different axis of rotation) to ease picking forces, whose avoidance is often the reason for developing the slant pick attitude shown in the pics.[/QUOTE]

    Hello, Bertram, I'm afraid I don't understand what you've written in this sentence. Do you think you could try rewording this somehow? What axis of rotation are you talking about? Are you referring to a slight "twist" angle, while holding the pick vertical? I believe that would "ease picking forces" from a straight-on vertical pick, which strikes the string with the flat of the pick. The twist angle would ease-over the strings. Is that what you mean?

  2. #27
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is it necessary to keep the pick vertical to the strings?

    These discussions confuse me. A picture or diagram would be great.

    Vertical meaning perpendicular to the plane of the top of the mandolin, not pointing down to the lap or up to the sky. I think. Lets go with it anyway.

    Flat being the absence of any angle between the string course and the plane of the pick, not angled back so one is playing with the back edge of the pick, or angled forward playing with the front edge of the pick. I think. Works for discussion.

    I agree with David and others that there are great expressive opportunities in being flexible and modifying these angles, to get the tone and volume you want.

    As a default, for me, I am angled slightly forward from flat, playing on the front edge of the pick, and really close to vertical. Maybe ever so slightly off vertical down towards my lap on the down stroke, more vertical on the up. More pronounced when strumming a chord.

    My resonator has a really huge dynamic range, and by adjusting my angle away from flat I can really go from belting out a tune to whispering. Its crazy how unconsciously people respond to the schmaltz and sentimentality of it. I can be like Adele, intimately sitting right next to you one moment, and in the next telling the whole world in a voice as big as the ocean.

    (I should not be surprised. I really like Adele, and largely for her range of intimacy. And I am sure for her it is just a technique she can dial up or down at will.)
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  3. #28
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    Default Re: Is it necessary to keep the pick vertical to the strings?

    These discussions confuse me. A picture or diagram would be great.

    Vertical meaning perpendicular to the plane of the top of the mandolin, not pointing down to the lap or up to the sky. I think. Lets go with it anyway.

    Flat being the absence of any angle between the string course and the plane of the pick, not angled back so one is playing with the back edge of the pick, or angled forward playing with the front edge of the pick. I think. Works for discussion.
    Thank you. I wish there was an agreed nomenclature for these terms (like roll, pitch, and yaw). But you have describe it in a very understandable way. I think I refer to the perpendicular plane (as you do), with variances of down and up, and the parallel plane (which you refer to as flat), with variances of forward and backward. But anything works for me as long as the picture is clear.
    Bobby Bill

  4. #29
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is it necessary to keep the pick vertical to the strings?

    Quote Originally Posted by bobby bill View Post
    Thank you. I wish there was an agreed nomenclature for these terms (like roll, pitch, and yaw). .
    It took me a while to sort it out. I think many people, myself included, are visual learners, maybe even more than verbal learners. Makes it hard.

    I had to learn all my fishing knots from my brother, because I got nothing from verbal descriptions in magazines. Nowadays any particular knot has a video on line. Much different world.
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  5. #30
    but that's just me Bertram Henze's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is it necessary to keep the pick vertical to the strings?

    Quote Originally Posted by stringalong View Post
    Hello, Bertram, I'm afraid I don't understand what you've written in this sentence. Do you think you could try rewording this somehow? What axis of rotation are you talking about? Are you referring to a slight "twist" angle, while holding the pick vertical? I believe that would "ease picking forces" from a straight-on vertical pick, which strikes the string with the flat of the pick. The twist angle would ease-over the strings. Is that what you mean?
    Oh dear. 3-dimensional description without pictures.

    Ok, let's spread 3 axes z,y,x. Z is perpendicular with the mandolin top, pointing towards the audience, so to speak.
    Y is parallel with the strings, pointing towards the headstock. X is parallel with the saddle, pointing towards your feet (I trust Jeff will recognize this as a right-handed space, but it's not important for the point made).


    Now, the pick can be turned around any of those axes, for instance the photos on frets.com show a turn around the y axis. Attack angle, OTOH, is a turn around the z axis. Even a turn around the x axis is known: it's called pick slippage
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  6. #31

    Default Re: Is it necessary to keep the pick vertical to the strings?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bertram Henze View Post
    Oh dear. 3-dimensional description without pictures.

    Ok, let's spread 3 axes z,y,x. Z is perpendicular with the mandolin top, pointing towards the audience, so to speak.
    Y is parallel with the strings, pointing towards the headstock. X is parallel with the saddle, pointing towards your feet (I trust Jeff will recognize this as a right-handed space, but it's not important for the point made).


    Now, the pick can be turned around any of those axes, for instance the photos on frets.com show a turn around the y axis. Attack angle, OTOH, is a turn around the z axis. Even a turn around the x axis is known: it's called pick slippage
    Hi Bertram, yes, that's much easier to picture. However, you typed " X is parallel with the saddle" -- I think you meant Z is parallel with the saddle. Also, I looked at several diagrams of "parts of the mandolin" in google images, and there's nothing about a saddle. I don't know what that is.

  7. #32
    but that's just me Bertram Henze's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is it necessary to keep the pick vertical to the strings?

    Quote Originally Posted by stringalong View Post
    Hi Bertram, yes, that's much easier to picture. However, you typed " X is parallel with the saddle" -- I think you meant Z is parallel with the saddle. Also, I looked at several diagrams of "parts of the mandolin" in google images, and there's nothing about a saddle. I don't know what that is.
    The saddle is the lengthy edge on top of the bridge the strings go across. If you aim along that edge you look at the floor, that is the x axis.
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  8. #33

    Default Re: Is it necessary to keep the pick vertical to the strings?

    Thanks for the explanation of where the saddle is.

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