pick lament

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pick lament

Postby billkilpatrick » Mon Dec 15, 2008 11:52 pm

... or spoiled for choice.

been about three years since i realized that the mandolin was "my" instrument. in that time i've tried several picks - got a little box filled with them ... big ones, little ones, some i've made myself ... thick ones, thin ones ... differently shaped ones of varying composition ... all of which work "ok" for a time but none of which are completely satisfactory, every single time.

i've tried settling on one or other and soldiering on - no matter what (plinkity-plink, plunkety-plunk) - but i always find myself sorting through the box at some point or other in search of a replacement.

slipping is the main problem (revolving between my thumb and forefinger so that the point of the pick gradually gives way to the broader part - the shank - of the pick.)

arrrgh ... what to do?!?
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Postby MattHutchinson » Tue Dec 16, 2008 10:23 am

I had exactly the same problem with picks about a year ago, they'd always slip round in my hand. I managed to sort it out by working a bit more on my grip and it hardly ever happens now. At the time several people gave me their tips which included sticking a little circle of sandpaper to the pick to stop slippage.

Matt
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Re: pick lament

Postby PseudoCelt » Tue Dec 16, 2008 12:52 pm

billkilpatrick wrote:...slipping is the main problem (revolving between my thumb and forefinger so that the point of the pick gradually gives way to the broader part - the shank - of the pick.)

I agree with Matt that grip has a lot to do with it. One of the advantages of the "power grip" for me is that it seems to hold the pick in place better with less effort. I think that the angle of the pick as you strike the strings may also have an effect, although if your grip is good, you should be able to vary the angle of the pick without a problem. I used to have a lot of trouble with the pick rotating, but not so much now. I occasionally have problems if my hands get cold or if my skin is very dry.

I've never settled on one single pick for everything. I tend to use a Wegen M150 with my main mandolin (Shippey) and my bouzouki (Fylde), but the Wegen never sounded very good, IMO, on flattop mandolins or with light strings. They seem to suit a slightly thinner pick, usually a 1.14mm Delrin or Gator. I also sometimes use different picks for different music. A more pointy pick sounds a bit more "classical" than a rounded pick.

Patrick
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Postby Dave Hanson » Tue Dec 16, 2008 1:25 pm

I use a rounded off Dunlop Ultex 1.5mm for all my playing now, I do like Bill Monroe used to do, moisten the thumb and forefinger slightly, no slippage.


Can you explain ' power grip ' Pseudocelt ?

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Postby PseudoCelt » Tue Dec 16, 2008 2:05 pm

By the "power grip", I just mean what many would say is the "correct" pick grip - holding the pick between the thumb and the side of the index finger, with the hand in a loose fist and the majority of the picking motion coming from the wrist. You can play with your hand relaxed to the point of barely holding the pick and it seems to stay put (most of the time). A small amount of pressure from the thumb reduces the amount that the pick is deflected by the strings and gives a bit more volume, if necessary.

Why it has become known as the "power grip", I don't know. It did seem to improve both tone and volume and made playing with a thicker pick a bit easier, in my experience.

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Postby billkilpatrick » Tue Dec 16, 2008 4:42 pm

i think photos demonstrating the power grip are available at mandolin.cafe.

concentrating on the grip - relaxed but not too much so - is the way to go, thanks.

i'm not wild about bluegrass but it irks me that i can't play like that - a flurry of barking, metallic, rapid-fire notes.
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Postby Ray(T) » Tue Dec 16, 2008 5:56 pm

The way you've described the "power grip" sounds like the way all the old guitar playing tutors from the 60's used to tell you how to do it. It never worked for me and I've never seen anyone who uses it. I've always thought that its a case of experimenting to see what works best for you.

The best picks for grip? I always used the Dunlop nylon ones on guitar. They never wore out or broke like plastic ones and they tended to stay in your hand. I also used them for mandolin but in recent years I wanted a better sound and tried the Fender heavy celluloid ones. I did tend to loose grip on them at first but keeping them in place is just something you get used to. Nowadays, I use them all the time for both guitar and mandolin. I've tried others - most recently Dawg picks - but find they kill the sound.

Some people in the states swear by a product called Gorilla Snot but I've never seen it for sale on this side of the pond. Not surprising really - somebody would probably try to ban it!
Ray
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Postby southcoastsounds » Thu Jan 22, 2009 10:04 pm

My teacher taught me to use the power grip for playing classical. it gives a great variety of sounds, as the pick can be squeezed by applying pressure from the thumb joint. Rather than hitting the string harder to adjust volume, you can vary the thumb pressure to provide a more solid attack on the string when required.

I use this technique in my videos at http://www.youtube.com/user/southcoastsounds

hope it helps! Tom
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Pick Choice

Postby MarkG » Thu Jun 14, 2012 1:36 pm

I've tried every kind of pick in the world, I swear. For a long long time I kept coming right back to the Martin heavies that I use for guitar. They were OK because I was used to them but I do... ummmm... perspire when playing and with a mandolin I found I needed something that wouldn't wander out of my hand.

Then someone showed me a Wegen Bluegrass pick. Problem solved.
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