Holding a pick, am I doing it wrong?

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UngulateUngulate Frets: 3
edited May 23 in Technique
I was a decent classical guitar player as a teenager, then like so many of us began picking out pop songs on the guitar, message in a bottle, etc.

Decades later I now have my first electric guitar, and I've just noticed I hold a pick cradled between my thumb and first and 2nd fingertips.

Watching videos and other players this seems to be a bit unusual. I switched to thumb & side of index finger, like in the video posted here somewhere on pick technique....and I have gone backwards 2 months, tone has also changed, for the worse.

Should I persevere, is there any drawback with what I'm currently doing? I feel I'm slowly progressing as I am, struggling with string muting, but I don't reckon that's pick related, any view folks?
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Comments

  • bencowling81bencowling81 Frets: 304
    edited May 23
    It is possible that because of your classical training you are arching your wrist away from the body of the guitar, which is the only way I think I could make your two finger and thumb pick holding technique work. That might also explain why you are struggling with muting. Try flattening the wrist towards the body of the guitar, which may make the thumb and side finger pick hold more ergonomic. 

    I think it is worth persevering. If you use index and middle to hold the pick you limit options for hybrid picking, for which your classical training will have given you a head start.
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  • UngulateUngulate Frets: 3
    Makes sense, I struggle getting the right hand close to the bridge, prob cos it's arched so high, will keep working on the conventional pick holding then, cheers.
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  • octatonicoctatonic Frets: 30352
    Make video.
    Me look.
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  • mendymendy Frets: 171
    edited August 10
     B)
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  • UngulateUngulate Frets: 3
    Will try a video 2moro, thanks Octatonic, I reckon bencowling is on the right track, appreciate your offer, thanks!
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  • guitarmanglerguitarmangler Frets: 387
    So you’re holding it like you’re holding a pen/pencil? Is it akin to George Benson/Eddie van halen/Marty Friedman hand position? 
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  • mendymendy Frets: 171
    edited July 28
     B)
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  • UngulateUngulate Frets: 3
    So you’re holding it like you’re holding a pen/pencil? Is it akin to George Benson/Eddie van halen/Marty Friedman hand position? 
    Yep, bit like a pencil, switching to "normal" grip has made things sloppy & lost 25% of my speed, but I reckon I need to change it now, otherwise I'm going to be unable to effectively mute with the right hand.

     Only been learning electric for 5 months or so, not too late to make the change, imagine how much better a player I'll be....... =)
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  • ronnybronnyb Frets: 1391
    I've been playing over 40 years and just can't play with a pick. I play mainly finger style and when strumming just use the side of my thumb. I've tried many times to use a pick and have said to myself many times i'm not going to use my thumb or fingers till i get it but always give up and revert to normal. I probably have a similar style to Knopfler (but not a quarter as good) 
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  • neilgneilg Frets: 53
    It sounds like you might be holding the pick the same way that Paul Gilbert does, from watching his lesson videos I've actually switched to it myself with no issues.

    You can see it right at the start of this video.


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  • MusicwolfMusicwolf Frets: 2198
    Without seeing a pic / vid it's hard to be certain but, from your description, I'd say that you are holding your pick the same way that I did for about 40 years (yes, my fingers did get tired).  I had a couple of Dugain Picks which are carved for conventional grip and they never felt right.

    During 2020 I realised that it was my picking, rather than my left hand, that was restricting my playing speed so I switched.  Very strange at first and many times I thought that I'd give up and stick with what I'd always done but at some point it fell into place and now it feels completely natural, so you can change.
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  • Danny1969Danny1969 Frets: 6870
    I alternate between using first and 2nd finger to hold the pick, a lot of players do I think. Especially on tapping parts. 

    I actually teach hybrid picking from the get go to students who are learning to use a pick  .... seems to make more sense to learn it as one then learn to alt pick properly and then add hybrid picking
    www.2020studios.co.uk 
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  • TheBigDipperTheBigDipper Frets: 2587
    I have a similar background to the OP and hold a pick the same way for much of the time. My right hand floats above the strings (no damping) and I have an arched wrist. It's great for funky rhythm playing. Altering the amount of pressure I apply to my pick grip has an impact on the sounds I get. I'm generally using a classical left hand position, too, so fretting with much more of the fingertip than most players, I suspect. I only drop my hands onto the strings to damp or mute if I specifically need to. Most of the time I don't feel I have a problem with muting or damping because my classical technique avoids starting unwanted strings from vibrating in the first place. And, no, I'm not a high gain player, which probably helps. 

    But different sounds need different approaches, so I'll go "thumb over" with the left hand if I need to, and I'll drop the right wrist onto the bridge to mute strings if I need to. It's hard for me to do a country-picking bassline on an acoustic if I don't flatten my right wrist and use the side of my right thumb instead of the tip to play the notes, for example. 

    I'm sure I'd play the guitar differently if I'd had a teacher when I converted to electric, but I've been doing this for a long time and what I do works for me. It might be limiting for certain things. It is - equally - just as liberating for others. And now it's just the way I play and that's that!  :)
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  • joeWjoeW Frets: 118
    @Ungulate I think I had the same approach when switching from classical. I spent years switching between a typical side of index finger flat wrist and George Benson arched wrist and pick ‘flipped’ at right angle to strings. Now I practise using both methods and don’t try to limit myself to one ‘proper’ technique. Troy Grady has a mountain on info that’s worth watching on you tube 
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  • axisusaxisus Frets: 20546
    Can't be as weird as Marty Friedman and it works for him
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  • UngulateUngulate Frets: 3
    Think I'm getting there now, with a more conventional grip, base of thumb is now flatter  and edge of wrist on the bridge.

    Still getting used to it, few more hours of practice & it may begin to feel "normal" thanks guys for all the comments & advice
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  • chotu495chotu495 Frets: 322
    Just realised i’ve been holding the pick wrong too. Seems i’m in the George Benson / EvH camp.

    But i can palm mute.

    Will try this new-fangled thumb and index only thing and see how it goes  :)

    Will this begin to explain why i’m still a terrible guitar player?
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  • WBT2079WBT2079 Frets: 4
    What I want to know is how do you stop the pick moving through your grip. I have always played finger style / strumming as I just don’t seem to be able to master a pick. Doesn’t matter how hard I grip it, it always move through my fingers as I am playing and gets dropped.
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  • guitarmanglerguitarmangler Frets: 387
    So, conventional wisdom is to hold the pick ‘knife and fork’ style with the tip of the pick sticking out 90 degrees from your thumb. But, the amount of amazing players who don’t do this is massive. Benson, Friedman, Van Halen,  Gambale, Ola England these are just off the top of my head. Misha Mansoor from Periphery has recently changed his pick grip from the ‘wrong’ way to the ‘correct’ way. 
    The only person who seems to have an issue is Steve Morse who had developed arthritis in his picking hand wrist/elbow. But that’s after a lifetime of seriously fast picking ! 

    I don’t think it really matters how you hold a pick. My grip starts off with one way and will change to a more James Hetfield version depending on what song I’m playing  
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  • guitarmanglerguitarmangler Frets: 387
    WBT2079 said:
    What I want to know is how do you stop the pick moving through your grip. I have always played finger style / strumming as I just don’t seem to be able to master a pick. Doesn’t matter how hard I grip it, it always move through my fingers as I am playing and gets dropped.
    Mine moves constantly. I don’t grip hard at all, usually. For chug chug metal stuff maybe, but I’m mostly alternating how hard I hit the string and how hard I hold it for different sounds or speeds.

    In regards to dropping them, that’s good . It shows you’re not holding on to it too tightly . That’s why they call the picks, as you’re always picking them up off the floor!
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