99 Ways To Pick
(24 Apr 02)
Part 2-What did I get out of this?
What was the net-effect of all that for me? Well, I felt way more in control when picking, which was a great feeling when playing certain licks. So, you might ask now "You mentioned problem No.1. Are there more problems than that one?"
Well, I figured out for myself that, although this way of holding the pick makes it easier (for me) to pick arpeggios on adjacent strings, it was a bit harder to play fast stuff involving many notes on only one string. The other method works a bit better for that, so you have to work a bit harder to play that kinda stuff with the way I do pick (which by the way is the way Steve Morse is holding his pick, too)
Try it, here are some licks for you to compare. Use your way of picking to play them, then try it with the way of holding the pick that I described above. Give it some time and get used to it for a few minutes, then compare it to the way you normally pick. All that is a matter of opinion and the results are pretty different for everyone, but you might find some interesting new ways of picking....
Here we do have four bars of exercises that you should try to play with the three-finger-to-hold-the-pick-way I told you about...
Those 4 exercises are very similar to typical Steve Morse-stuff:
-Measure 1 is similar to the clean arpeggio-break from the legendary "Tumeni Notes". Steve played this with alternate picking at a tempo of 208 bpm!!! I find this easier to play when holding the pick with three fingers and anchoring / muting with the pinkie.
I recorded a short etude using similar arpeggios, played with a clean sound and using constant alternate picking. It´s a bit slower than the "Tumeni Notes"-verse, so you´ll be able to hear exactly what´s going on. I used different arpeggios on the lower four strings, with one note per string, played with alternate picking (starting with a downstroke).
To listen to it, click HERE
Try coming up with something similar to that. Regardless of how you hold your pick, this is a cool exercise to improve your picking technique. Just like it is the case with the question "Should I use inside- or outside-picking" (Why not work on being able to use both?) you should practise playing arps like that with both alternate- and sweep-picking. It sounds different, and alternate picking might be a bit more difficult to be used here, but is rhythmically more precise and accurate....
-Measure 2 features an exercise similar to a lick Steve played in the Deep Purple-song "Cascades (I´m Not Your Lover)"...
-Measure 3 is similar to the intro of "User Friendly" (The Steve Morse Band, from the "Coast To Coast" Album)
and Measure 4 is some kind of a pedal-tone lick including a changing top-note and a chromatic passing note, similar to what Steve did at the end of his solo in "The Oz" ("Coast To Coast")
As I said, try your picking-technique with it, and compare it to the one I described. It´s up to you to decide which works better for you. But try it. And also try starting with a downstroke the first time, then starting with an upstroke...
Here are some short excerpts from the song "Atlanta Dawn" by the Eric Vandenberg Band. You can hear me playing a short, melodic arpeggio passage, and then some fast picking-licks. I played those holding the pick the way I described before (as seen in the pic). That way of holding it made it easier for me to execute the arpeggios and the fast chromatic lick in the middle...
Click this LINK to hear some short excerpts from "Atlanta Dawn"