Discussion in 'Beginner's Q&A Forum' started by smak, May 28, 2006.

  1. smak

    smak New Member

    Hi Fellas,

    I have been a passive member of this community for quite a while. This is the first time that I am actually writing to you guys. I usually get most of the stuff in the forums;thats why didn't ever had to write. However, I have a peculiar problem while playing the guitar. I strum well with my thumb but when it comes to using a pick, i never get the hang of it.

    I have been playing the guitar for the past 3 years. Initially i liked strumming with the thumb as it gives a nice thump to the sound and used the pick(plectrum) only for playing lead. But now when I have started using a pick for strumming, I just can't seem to do it. The sound is too course and imprecise, doesn't sound like music at all. I hold the pick in the traditional way, that is in between my index finger(the side part) and thumb. I am confused with the angles at which the pick should have contact with the strings!! What angle should the pick be while strumming down and when strumming up.....i have no idea!!!!!

    I live in Saudi Arabia, and it's impossible to find people here who are in to music and guitars. So I shall be pleased to recieve any kind of assistance from you pros. Looking forward to your replies.

    Yours Truly

    Saied M. A. Khan
  2. bjr

    bjr Lady of the Evening

    Its a practice thing. You can't get it perfect in a day you know.
  3. zing

    zing Machine Head

    yeah i had th same prob - it wil take sum time 2 get used 2
    try using thin plectrums for strummin & thicker ones for lead - it wil help
  4. ambush

    ambush _RASTA_man_

    Try holding the pick at the tip i.e strum with just a few mm of the pick coming out of your finger

    It takes away some plastic sound
  5. smak

    smak New Member

    Thanks a lot for the replies. I am aware of the fact that for playing an instrument there are no easy shortcuts. I have been trying it for quite a while now.

    Thanks for the tip Ambush. I think you got exactly what was bothering me. That certainly did takle the plastic sound away.
  6. CrYpTiC_angel

    CrYpTiC_angel Rebelle!

    There is no fixed rule on how to hold plectrum and strum.
    People have different techniques.

    Usually there are two varieties:
    1. These fellows hold the lectrum with the finger tips
    2. These guys have apenchant for holding and resting plectrum on the index finger joint

    I know it soundsconfusing but check these, each has got slighly diff style of holding:

  7. CrYpTiC_angel

    CrYpTiC_angel Rebelle!

    From Wiki:

    Picks are usually grabbed with two fingers—thumb and index—and are played with pointed end facing the strings. That's the most natural way to do it. However, it's a matter of personal preference and many notable musicians use alternate grips. For example, Eddie Van Halen holds the pick between his thumb and middle finger; James Hetfield and Steve Morse hold a pick using 3 fingers—thumb, middle and index; Pat Metheny holds a pick normally, but plays using the rounded side of the plectrum. Jimmy Rodgers and Freddie King have a special kind of technique utilizing two picks at once.

    The motion of the pick against the string is also a personal choice. George Benson and Dave Mustaine, for example, hold the pick very stiffly between the thumb and index finger, locking the thumb joint and striking with the surface of the pick nearly parallel to the string, for a very positive, articulate, consistent tone. Other guitarists have developed a technique known as circle picking, where the thumb joint is bent on the downstroke, and straightened on the upstroke, causing the tip of the pick to move in a circular pattern. Circle picking can allow greater speed and fluidity. The angle of the pick against the string is also very personal and has a broad range of effects on tone and articulation. Many rock guitarists will use a flourish that involves scraping the pick along the length of a round wound string (a round wound string is a string with a coil of round wire wrapped around the outside, used for the heaviest three or four strings on a guitar; this wrapping creates a rippled surface that produces quite a distinct sound when scraped with a pick).
  8. DJnu

    DJnu New Member

    hey guys even i have the same kind of problem....when it comes to strumming with the plectrum i m not able to do it properly but when i use my thumb the strumming actually flows with the music....i have been practising for 4 months now.....and on more thing is it always necessary to use the plectrum while playin a song????......pros pls help me on this....i have been loyally following this site since i first took the guitar in my u think i should keep practising with the thumb or the plectrum???
  9. ambush

    ambush _RASTA_man_

    Practice with both

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