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Thread: Pick slipping out of position

  1. #1
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    Pick slipping out of position

    how do you prevent your pick from slipping out of position?

    I'm using a Dunlop Big Stubby 2.0 mm plastic pick. I tried using a Dunlop tortex, but they slip even more!

    What do you guys recommend I do?

    here's a picture of how bad my pick slips while picking:

    http://img58.imageshack.us/img58/9032/pickangle8ew.jpg

  2. #2
    Registered User Shredmaniac's Avatar
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    That happened to me a lot back when I started to play funk (the pick would even fly off my hand sometimes, which is NOT good when you are onstage ^^). Learning a different picking technique (in this case, switching from, say, alternate picking to "pendulum" strumming 16th notes) causes a change in your pick grip, and you have to get used to it. After a while the pick won't slip anymore.

    Did you recently change your picking position?

    If not, this problem also occurs with a few students of mine, and after a while the problem disappears. As I said it is just a matter of getting to know your pick position better.

    Just so you know, my hands tend to get sweaty when I play (even more so onstage), and I don't have pick problems anymore. Except when my cat gets crazy and decides to jump at my hand to take it off. Now that's a problem.

    Hope this helps !

    Pierre

  3. #3
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    well I've been using the same pick for over 2 years and been playing in nearly the same picking position for that long too. It just gets outta position for some reason and it frustrated me.

  4. #4
    Registered User Shredmaniac's Avatar
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    You could try relaxing your grip. If you squeeze it too hard with a lot of tension between your index and thumb, or whatever fingers you hold the pick with (not to mention the fact that you must be thinking about the pick all the time while playing ^^), it can cause problems and affect your tone. Just relax your hand, arm, shoulder, and keep your attention focused on what you play. I'm pretty sure this will fix the problem. Might take a while though. As I said I've been there, and it IS frustrating. I have a firm grip, but I don't hold the pick like I want to strangle it.

    Take a look at how much of the pick you insert between the strings. This could also be a solution. For instance, if you hold the pick on its very end and insert 75% of the plastic surface to pick, it WILL fly away. Could you post a picture of your hand holding the pick?

    On a final note, I hope you haven't been using the same pick for two years, but the same model. If that is not the case you might consider buying a new one. I never used Stubbys, but I've seen a lot of them in my students' hands, and they have a tendency to wear out in a very annoying way. The plastic gets all dented and the attack is preceded by a very aggressive "Crrrr..." caused by the dents being dragged along the strings. Again, it could help you to start over with a fresh one.

    Last thing : does the pick slip out when you pick single notes ? Strum chords on an acoustic guitar? Play funky rythm guitar parts from the wrist? All of the above?

    Well that's a lot more than I ever meant to type about picks, but I hope it helps you refining your definition of pick slipping

    Take Care,

    Pierre
    Last edited by Shredmaniac; 06-28-2006 at 07:57 AM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shredmaniac
    You could try relaxing your grip. If you squeeze it too hard with a lot of tension between your index and thumb, or whatever fingers you hold the pick with (not to mention the fact that you must be thinking about the pick all the time while playing ^^), it can cause problems and affect your tone. Just relax your hand, arm, shoulder, and keep your attention focused on what you play. I'm pretty sure this will fix the problem. Might take a while though. As I said I've been there, and it IS frustrating. I have a firm grip, but I don't hold the pick like I want to strangle it.

    Take a look at how much of the pick you insert between the strings. This could also be a solution. For instance, if you hold the pick on its very end and insert 75% of the plastic surface to pick, it WILL fly away. Could you post a picture of your hand holding the pick?

    On a final note, I hope you haven't been using the same pick for two years, but the same model. If that is not the case you might consider buying a new one. I never used Stubbys, but I've seen a lot of them in my students' hands, and they have a tendency to wear out in a very annoying way. The plastic gets all dented and the attack is preceded by a very aggressive "Crrrr..." caused by the dents being dragged along the strings. Again, it could help you to start over with a fresh one.

    Last thing : does the pick slip out when you pick single notes ? Strum chords on an acoustic guitar? Play funky rythm guitar parts from the wrist? All of the above?

    Well that's a lot more than I ever meant to type about picks, but I hope it helps you refining your definition of pick slipping

    Take Care,

    Pierre
    I don't really hold my pick by strangling it. I'm usually relaxed, it's only when it starts slipping out of position that I get frustrated. I usually pick with the tip of the pick, sometimes it does cave in a little, and that frustrated me also. I do think about it a lot now, and I'm sure that hurts lol. Oh and my pick never falls out of my hand, it just slips out of position and angles itself.

    I've been using the same one for 2 years I think haha. I'll see if I can get a new one.

    It happens when I play single notes, while alternate picking.

  6. #6
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    You might want to change the way the pick is laterally anchored - it'll help to have it pushing up against the first joints of your first two fingers. It may also help to file away a groove along one or both sides so that it fits your finger more snugly. If neither of these work try having two fingers and a thumb on the pick - works for some, give it some time.

    Two years may be a little long for any pick (I can't even keep those stubby picks the way I want them for an hour, they get too scratchy) so try that, try the Jazz III XL (I think that's what it's called - same tip style as the Stubby but a quieter and more grip-friendly material), try sharpening the 2mm Gator Grips... just go to the pick box and fill up a shopping bag. Don't hesitate to use a file on them if they don't have the right shape; you just want to get a good material and thickness at the store and then make it *your* pick as needed - if you can hold on to a Stubby for two years you should have no problem making that fifteen minutes of shaving worth it.

    Rock On,
    The Jeffinator

  7. #7
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    I've been having the same problem...

    I've been playing all of my life, but until recently, I was using very flexible "Medium" picks... the very small Jazz ones.

    I stepped away from wood shedding for a while, and I just started back again--attempting to refine my picking technique.

    I got rid of the medium picks and I've been trying different Heavy picks. I settled on the Purple Dunlop Jazz Picks...

    The problem is, the pick keeps slipping or falling... I've been going through the Paul Gilbert Intense Rock excercises---when I'm doing upstrokes, it' not uncommon for the pick to totally slip right out of my hand.

    Please tell me that this is only temporary... What is it? Are my thumb and index finger not strong enough yet, or what is causing this?

  8. #8
    Registered User drum's Avatar
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    I can't really help with technique, I'm far from knowledgeable, but I sometimes get this problem too but it's usually from me sweating when I'm playing live. One thing that helped me quite a lot was once I'd found a comfortable pick position, I got a sharp knife and sliced like a crosshatch (#) diagonally across the center of the pick. The extra little bit of friction helped a lot and also gave me the confidence that the pick wasn't going to slip and whatever makes you comfortable and confident when playing is what's right I suppose.
    Last edited by drum; 07-04-2006 at 04:11 AM.

  9. #9
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    One thing I've done is heat picks and then bend them with two pairs of needlenose pliers - not a good idea with Jazz IIIs, but it's the only way I can use those bloody Fender heavies that I find all over the place (along with a good sharpening and filing) and most 'normal' sized picks work fine. As for Jazz IIIs, you could try cutting all hell out of the sides of it in irregular patterns (I do parallelograms usually, but that's only because I'm obsessive-compulsive - you could even go at it with a drill) as this will give more irregular surface to grip. This isn't too easy with the purple (tortex) ones, I'd almost recommend finding a drill and drilling holes the whole way through - if it works like it should, you have more grip on the pick, if not you can at the very least use dental floss to tie it to your hands (doesn't work if you want to throw picks into a screaming crowd at a big concert, but if that were the case you wouldn't worry about dropping them if you had enough) or use those holes to nail the pick to a piece of wood/workbench/deck/small child (no, not the last one, they said that's a nono) and it'll be held down enough for safe use of a serrated blade or a razor that you don't mind killing. I've been told that using a less-than-sharp razor with 3 or more blades works by finding the right angle between sideways (parallel to blades) and into the blade, but I haven't shaven in a while so that whole bunch of equipment isn't in sight and I haven't been able to try it.

    Might also want to try changing the pressure you're putting on your pick and the way it's being applied (if you have the fingers 'squished' out or pointing right into each other, slipping will happen naturally and there aren't too many ways out of that). Personally, I use the Jazz IIIs, I have my index and thumb pointing 90* away from each other (also with the thumb against the side of the index finger) and the pick is secured between the farthest joint in my thumb and the side of that joint on my index finger, and I've learned to pick and apply tension on the pick in a way that basically pushes the pick right into the spot where I'm trying to keep it. It may also help to hold a pick, anchor your hand on a desk, and just start rubbing side to side, utilizing scratches, indentations, and wood grains to change the type of resistance you're facing, as this will allow you to constantly have some sort of reactive pressure and help you find the 'right spot' more quickly than you would if you were just picking a string.

    Rock On,
    The Jeffinator

  10. #10
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    Slick picks is the only way to prevent pick slipping and much more. Visit slick picks.ca for more info and you can donate via kickstarter to secure your own slick picks. This really needs to be tried to understand its potential. It's new. So new that only prototypes are available.

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