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Thread: pick angle

  1. #16
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    Can we just get the angle right? So we’re all talking about the same thing?


    The angle is 90deg, not 180.


    180deg is a straight line. If the pick were at 180deg. to the strings, then it would be laying flat on the strings! Specifically, the pick is used perpendicular to the strings, that’s 90deg.


    Paul Gilbert is only talking about a small angular change of about 10deg away from the perpendicular.


    I’m afraid I couldn’t understand JoeyDhalia’s post.

    Ian.

  2. #17
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    I am usually fascinated by threads like this even though I don't post on them. I understand most of my posts come across as mocking anyone who drills down into the depths of pick angling advice, so I try to not be trollish (even though that is never my point or purpose).

    This thread had me wondering, though, because I have never in 30 years paid any attention to my picking angle.

    So I made myself do it last night. As I expected, some notes I wanted involved sliding half the damned pick at a steep angle off the string, and most involved 90 degree strikes. It was all determined by the sound I was wanting.

    Once or twice I noticed that I would play 16'ths with all downstrokes at a heavy angle just for the thick sound. Curious, I tried to see how fast I could do that sort of thing, and was amused when my hand automatically reverted to up-down, and the faster I got the less of an angle I used. Eventually, it was 90 degrees at max speed. I'd lose the thick, sloppy sound I was after at the price of faster play. Also, muting mechanics involuntarily kicked in, adding to the staccato.

    After discovering what we all already knew and expected, I became curious again why people would be so keen on studying this angling piece. If after years of playing, one automatically does it to get the sound they seek, could one not tutor a neophyte in the phenomenon in order to hasten learning? That is, why should a student have to wait for experience when they are lucky enough to be involved in tutelage?

    So now I am divided on the importance of teaching it. The importance of it happening is a no-contest. Like, it will happen whether you want it or not. Experienced players simply do it. Part of the physics behind it all. But then, tutoring it might indeed hasten things.

    I will come down on the side of dropping it from any curriculum, though. It strikes me that too much time spent on the physical mechanics (when it is inevitably going to be subsumed anyway) can make one forget why they play in the first place.
    "If a child learns which is jay and which is sparrow, he'll no longer see birds nor hear them sing."

  3. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by phantom
    Joey,
    there is not a single person in here that wants to use downstrokes exclusively for their entire life!!!
    If my teacher would try to teach me only downstrokes i would slap him as well.. just like i would slap you if you would try to teach me only alternate picking.

    Take in account that there are situations where downstrokes work better.
    Maybe not for you.
    We can live with that fact, so should you.

    Well I was only going by the video that dude posted..He wanted to know whats wrong with his picking..I said it's a bad habbit..In the end..it will bite him in the ars..

    It will also make me sound even faster..lol

    So Pick Away..

    But keep in mind what alternating picking really is?

    up and down strokes...So I am saying do both...lol

    JoeyDahlia

  4. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Crossroads
    Can we just get the angle right? So we’re all talking about the same thing?


    The angle is 90deg, not 180.


    180deg is a straight line. If the pick were at 180deg. to the strings, then it would be laying flat on the strings! Specifically, the pick is used perpendicular to the strings, that’s 90deg.


    Paul Gilbert is only talking about a small angular change of about 10deg away from the perpendicular.


    I’m afraid I couldn’t understand JoeyDhalia’s post.

    Ian.
    Well I did quit school...in 11th Grade

    Hold the pick flat with each string....

    e>--<pick
    a>--<pick
    d>--<pick
    g>--<pick
    b>--<pick
    e>--<pick

    some people would say this is 180 degrees not 90...


    JoeyDahlia

  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by joeydahlia
    some people would say this is 180 degrees not 90...
    Well then they be completely wrong lol!

    Ian.

  6. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Crossroads
    Well then they be completely wrong lol!

    Ian.
    hahahaha!!!

    What's funny is your right...lol

    I should of stayed in school...lol

    JoeyDahlia

  7. #22
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    .

    Ian.

  8. #23
    Registered User SeattleRuss's Avatar
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    ..................

  9. #24
    Ibreathe Music Advisor EricV's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crossroads

    Paul Gilbert is only talking about a small angular change of about 10deg away from the perpendicular.
    Ian.
    Depends on the time frame we´re talking about. I have seen him angle it at way more extreme angles than that., Thats what Iw as trying to hint at... sometimes it just feels natural to change something like that, or the size, type or gauge of pick or the strings or whatever... my point was that there is no definite answer regarding all that, just opinions and some things to experiment with.
    Eric

  10. #25
    Ibreathe Music Advisor EricV's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blutwulf
    So now I am divided on the importance of teaching it. The importance of it happening is a no-contest. Like, it will happen whether you want it or not. Experienced players simply do it. Part of the physics behind it all. But then, tutoring it might indeed hasten things.

    I will come down on the side of dropping it from any curriculum, though. It strikes me that too much time spent on the physical mechanics (when it is inevitably going to be subsumed anyway) can make one forget why they play in the first place.
    Actually, thats a great thing to think about. Because I sometimes am confused by some of those discussions myself. I usually try to always add something like "Try it for yourself...there´s no "right" or "wrong" answer...it depends...try and see what works for you" and all that.
    Cuz thats kinda like the most important thing I wanna give away as advice. However, I do know that that´s not always a satisfying answer to everyone, and thats understandable., After all, especially the internet has made it easier to easily get an overload of opinions, suggestions, "secret tricks", and all that.
    And I think at a certain point of the development as a player, a lot of people go through that.
    I often am amazed that people ask about the very slightest detail... pick gauges, pick shape, string gauges, pick angles, exact details of picking motion etc.
    Then again, considering the way it is on the internet, I guess its kind of like "Why not?"
    The problem comes up when there´s TOO much information, too many different replies, too many people going "Listen, THIS is how you do it, period!" (I always shied away from expressing things that way)
    When I do teach that stuff, it´s actually to encourage people to at least TRY. Sure, they will probably get into that themselves, hopefully, but to implant the thought that it MIGHT be useful to look into it might either help them to get into it right then, or inspire them to do so later on.
    And I know it works... its questionable whether it should actually be left up to the student to find out stuff themselves, but recently a student of mine (quite experienced, quite a few years of playing) said "Man, I would have never thought of looking at those details, and it seems like only a little thing, but it totally helped me to improve my technique there"
    Might not be like that with every student, but I figure "Sure its even cooler if they find out some things themselves, but what is teaching for then, we could just leave it ALL to themselves"

    I dunno why there are so many questions and discussions about it....maybe its because people are a bit disappointed about their progress, or are looking for a shortcut, hoping there are some "secrets" that, once told to them, will result in quantum leaps. (This is NOT directed at the thread-starter, I am talking in general).
    Same at workshops: it seems as if the reply "You pick something to work on and then practice, practice, practice" is not satisfying, as if they´re waiting for me to go "OK, here´s the little secret".
    Or, thinking along those lines: if one DOES invest a lot of time, he or she of course wants to be sure he´s on the right track. UNLEARNING something you have gotten used to and later figure out doesnt work as well (I know, sometimes the right path is found by just playing and practicing) takes like twice the effort, so some people might wanna be absolutely sure they have everything right before they get into hardcore work... and some of them never really get started.
    Weird, I know, but those are some of my theories regarding that.
    I don´t go into those kinda details with a lot of my students, but those that seem to be interested or working on stuff that they might be useful for, I suggest stuff, and I often dont mind answering detailed questions... but I usually tend to point out that its important to find out what works best for yourself... and to try stuff
    Wayyy too long answer, as usual =)
    Just some thoughts, I guess
    Eric

  11. #26
    Understood...

    to each his own...

    But this video

    link deleted by moderator

    Recorded at only 2 freaking years playing guitar...It's alternation..all ups and downs...

    50/50 .....

    So this thing about only downs is false...!

    I did this song at 10 months playing guitar in the late 80's

    there is noway to play this fast using only downs....

    link deleted by moderator


    Alternate... I did....lol

    JoeyDahlia
    Last edited by phantom; 04-03-2007 at 03:09 PM.

  12. #27
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    Same at workshops: it seems as if the reply "You pick something to work on and then practice, practice, practice" is not satisfying, as if they´re waiting for me to go "OK, here´s the little secret".
    hehe

    Next time start with, "Ok, here's the little secret," and when everyone starts leaning forward in anticipation say, "You pick something to work on and then practice, practice, practice."

    Lately that seems to be the answer that's coming from a lot of the ibreathe authors (phantom, eric, etc.) - even more than in the past, I think. I think it's great... it's so easy to hope the answer will be, "No, you don't have to do it that way - that's a lot of work." But I guess it never is and most of us probably need to hear that once in a while. Still, the harder it is, when you *do* put the work in and finally master it, you'll be a lot better than you would if you kept going from one easy thing to another.

    About the pick angle thing... I've tried to model a lot of my picking technique on Paul Gilbert, to the point of looking at tiny videos in youtube to see how he held a pick and stuff like that. I'm not really angling it as extreme as he does sometimes though... I think he's actually changed the amount of angle over the years, or else he just does it a little differently every time he plays. Because on the first Intense Rock video, he doesn't really seem to angle it too much, at least I don't think so. But I've seen other videos where it's at some crazy angle. It also seems like he uses the thumb to angle it more when he's on the lower strings than when he's playing high notes, maybe because the hand is at a different angle in the different positions. Still, I've tried the more extreme angle and it doesn't really sound the way I like and my thumb just doesn't want to stay that way. So it really isn't for me, but I wouldn't have known that if I didn't try it. I do angle it a little bit though.

    Is it really possible to play extremely quickly without any angle at all? I don't think it's so much that angling the pick gives less resistance that makes it so popular. I think that it gives a more *consistent* resistance. What I mean is, if you dig in a little more than usual with no angle to your pick, whether on purpose or accidentally, you have a *lot* more resistance than you would if you did the same thing with the pick angled.

    I'm also in the weird position of using economy picking for most things, which seems to present different problems than strict alternate picking. Since it also seems to be a less common technique, less people write about it and have exercises directly targeted towards the problems inherent in it. It's kind of frustrating. Still, there are a lot of things I like about the technique - for me, it solves a lot of the problems that annoyed me about strict alternate picking. So I guess that's another example of looking at different ways of doing things and finding the ones that work for you.

  13. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by EricV
    I have seen him angle it at way more extreme angles than that., Thats what Iw as trying to hint at...
    Hi Eric – yep, I wasn’t disagreeing about PG & I probably should have been clearer about that - I just fished that “10deg” fig. out of the air, really just trying to clear up the idea of 180deg (which is commonly quoted, but impossible lol).


    But I recall you posting that clip of PG (YouTube) and I’ve since recommended several times that guys have a look at that, because I think PG explains it well, & apart from the angle he also has a rather unusual way of holding the pick … imho it’s worth guys checking that out.


    Ian.

  14. #29
    Ibreathe Music Advisor EricV's Avatar
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    Ian

    I didnt mean to argue with you either, I just wanted to point out that that´s another thing that might change over the years, just like choice of picks and all that. And of course, 180 degrees isnt possible. I guess in this case, people kinda knew what was meant with the degrees, even though the numbers werent that realistic.
    What do you consider unusual about the way PG holds the pick? Do you mean the closed, "floating" hand or the fact he often bends his thumb to increase the angle (another detail he pointed out in one of those workshop-vids)

    Syan, I will try the "here´s the secret... PRACTICE" thing next time, but then again, that might sound as if I am making fun of people, kinda teasing them.
    Yes, we do often point out that the main thing is to settle for soemthing (like a picking style, type of pick or whatever), stick to that and then work on it. Maybe that kindas of advice comes up more often because we have discussed many technical details many times already, or maybe it´s because of a certain attitude among some people to keep on asking and discussing the smallest detail, to the point where you get the feeling that that person NEVER ever actually TRIES something for himself.
    As I said, thats not unusual these days, after all we have the internet and thats a great resource to get input, opinions, advice etc. But... sometimes its like "Whats the perfect picking style for me?" So you try to describe different approaches, but also point out that it´s ultimately not a "black or white" type thing, and that one should experiment and see what feels natural.
    And then someone else comes in and says "Dude, you HAVE to do this, thats the only way". The guy who asked says "OK, gonna try it" and comes back like a DAY later and goes "Nah, doesnt work", reads the next post and goes "K, I am gonna try THAT then" etc.
    And I guess if someone then says "Take your TIME, it can take a looong time to change something, or to try out a certain technical detail to see whether it works for you", of course thats not something that might sound encouraging.
    No one likes to waste time, and as I said above, I understand that you wanna be sure you´re on the right path before you start working, but often I get the feel the "start working" part never really happens because there are so many questions and so many "Ok, then I am gonna try that first".
    At some point, I compared it to building a house. If you build your house you want it to look great, to be useable and not fall down soon. Or to avoid stuff like a staircase in the attic that leads nowhere.
    Now, some people are able to figure out how to build that house themselves. They might look at other houses and see "KK, so it´s done kinda like this", and then try, and just see what comes up. They might take longer and occasionally end up having to change something again. But in the end they often manage to end up with a great place.
    Now imagine someone who wants to be absolutely sure he knows exactly how to do every little detail. Everything. I mean, sure, most of us would want to know how to get started, or what to avoid in any case. Like "Make sure you have a good foundation" etc..
    But building a house (just like developing your technique and a style) usually is quite an elaborate, long process, and there´s always something that comes up which requires sme improvising or some "OK, lets see what I can do now"
    But the point it that you should get started at some point. And it often seems as if quite a few people prefer to get stuck asking about all kinds of details about building that house, changing the building-plans drastically on a daily base, reading a load of books about architecture which are not related (imaine someone going "OK, I wanted this house to be a drywall one, but hey, here it says brickwalls are better, so its all gonna be brickwalls... or no, lemme build it concrete-style etc." (Apologies if I didnt use the right terms, I am not in the house-building business =))
    Know what I mean? Instead of finding some imaginable shortcut, you never even really get started. And thats one of the things why we often say "well, just work on it, practice, try it out, find what works for YOU"
    Because at some point its important to start and get working. Gather some basic info you need, but not so much that you cant decide anymore, and if something comes up, try to figure it out yourself sometimes. Thats one thing I ALWAYS tell my students... "OK, I am here to help you with your playing, give you advice or directions etc. But it also depends on your OWN observations. If there´s a problem coming up, try to find a solution yourself, too. Observe yourself, listen to yourself and try to find out what needs work and how to work on it." =)
    Another way too long post, sorry for rambling. And once again, this is NOT directed at the original poster... guess we kinda went off-topic =)
    Eric

  15. #30
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    Hi Eric - yes, I meant the way he’s actually holding the pick on that YouTube clip … instead of using the tip of the index finger he’s actually using the side-edge of his index finger … to me that’s very unusual. And then he also bends the last joint of his thumb against the side of his index finger, which is perhaps slightly less unusual (& I think he says he does that mainly to stop the pick slipping).


    I think the usual way to grip the pick is just as if you were writing with a slim pen, ie with the pick simply held between tip of the thumb & tip of the index finger … I guess you could call that the simplest & most obvious grip. I tried PG’s method but found it very awkward …. I just use the “pen-grip”, and I angle the pick a little.


    But I totally agree about guys constantly changing & adjusting these things … I think most of us are continually experimenting & trying to find better ways to do things and ways to overcome various problems. I know that when I try to pick fast, my main problem is not how to hold the pick or whether to float the arm or pick from the wrist etc., but for me the problem is missing some pick strokes & lapsing into playing some of the notes with legato (bad mistake! ), and also getting out of sequence on the alternating up-down, ie often when I think the lick sounds wrong it’s because I’ve unintentionally played two upstrokes in a row (or else as I say, played some of the notes with a pull-off instead of picking them).


    Ian.

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