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Thread: Pic Position

  1. #1
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    Default Pic Position

    Stubs Here
    Just a beginner have most all two, three, four and bared finger cords down and playable. Working on picking melodies. My problem is I have a locked index finger mid knuckle which does not allow me to curl that finger enough to hold the pic as suggested.
    A question I have is how important is this position of the pic in picking the melodies?
    Thanks for your reply.
    Now if I can learn enough songs and get brave enough to go Jam a little.

  2. #2
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pic Position

    It's possible to hold pick between thumb and forefinger without bending the index finger much, and it's also possible to extend the index finger, and hold the pick between thumb and curled middle finger.

    The standard finger position is probably the best overall, but many many musicians have adopted alternative positions, either due to physical limitations, or just because "that's the way they learned to do it."

    I'd find the most effective position to accommodate your stiff index finger, and stick with it until it seems comfortable. Good luck.
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Pic Position

    I think the curled first finger is the best and easiest way to hold and control your pic. That is assuneing you can. What is really amassing about musicians is the way they overcome physical handicaps and make great music. For goodness sake don't give up because you finger won't bend and don't think that you can only go so far. As I've said before look at Barry Abernathy. Everybody but him knows you can't play a banjo, exspecially professionally, with a hand like his. He don't know that so he goes ahead and does it.

  4. #4
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pic Position

    I once injured my index finger. I held the pick thumb and curved middle finger, exactly as I would with the index finger. I just held the index finger up and out of the way.
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  5. #5
    Down the road I go Trav'linmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pic Position

    Stubs, I have a very similar issue. My middle finger is pinned together and does not bend much. If I hold a pick as the experts discuss then my middle finger hits the strings long before the pick ever gets close. I had to modify how I hold the pick and of course, it's not ideal, however I have learned to compensate for the change and no longer consider it a liability. As Allen and Mandoplumb said, find something that works for you ,and sounds good.

    By the way, join the newbies group and see what we are up to.

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  7. #6

    Default Re: Pic Position

    The short answer is yes it matters. The long answer is it depends. Here listen to this guy:

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  9. #7
    Just fixing to Start
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    Default Re: Pic Position

    Thank you for the replys, very helpful and encouraging.
    I'll press on with my quest, when holding the pick is a natural relaxed position I'm picking frailty well as a slow speed
    So only time and practice will develop the results.

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  11. #8
    Registered User Bill Snyder's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pic Position

    Why are you holding a picture while you play?
    Bill Snyder

  12. #9
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    Default Re: Pic Position

    Look at how John Skehan, 2nd from right, holds his pick with straight fingers, I've seen others do this but can't remember who: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hTJJdlswFPE
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  13. #10
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    Default Re: Pic Position

    Drew Emmitt from Leftover Salmon plays with straight fingers too.

  14. #11

    Default Re: Pic Position

    Caterina does it differently than Chris decrees, but she's no slouch at playing Bach either.

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  16. #12

    Default Re: Pic Position

    I read in another forum post about Avi Avital's unusual pick grip. You can read/see more about it here: http://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/sh...=1#post1244672

    To quote Ken_P from that forum: "Normal pick grip, more or less, is you hold the pick between the pad of your thumb and the side of your index finger, and the edge strikes the string horizontally, with some coming at it from more or less of an angle. For Avi, he holds the pick between the tip of his thumb and the pad of his index finger, so that it strikes the string almost vertically."

    I'm sure it would take some practice, but this one would probably allow you to keep the index finger fairly straight. Sounds like Avi also can use a much lighter (and cheaper!) pick than usual because of his pick grip.

    Hope you find an approach that works for you!

  17. #13
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    Default Re: Pic Position

    So just for a little encouragement I took a trip up to Nashville and ended up at Caters.
    I'm sure with a good shampoo the drool will come out of the carpet. Stared at the six Loar's long enough they actually came and asked if they could help me. I did get to play some top notch mandolins and I can tell my on-600!will need a little help in the setup department. I did find that a larger pick helps offset some of the finger issue. I am going to try a prime tone before jumping into a more expensive set of Wiggins or ??? . I want to see over the next two week how this works then I'll decide what to do next. But I thank everyone for the advice and encouragement.

  18. #14
    Registered User Hendrik Ahrend's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pic Position

    Stubs, watch my friend Paul picking with both straight index and middle finger; has worked fine for over the past 40+ years: www.youtube.com/watch?v=-EZwL9rVrRw

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