Picking. Grinning Is Optional

We covered the basics of picking earlier in the week. Now we move on to really getting that pick to make great sounds on the guitar.

There’s a trick to picking. That trick is to hold the pick between your thumb and index finger as close to the tip as you can. There should still be a little pick sticking out, but not so much that it gets caught in the strings. Getting the pick caught in the strings will cause one of three possible results:

  1. It will slow you down, because it takes longer to get the pick from one note to the next.
  2. The pick will suddenly fly out of your hand and embed itself in the wall across the room.
  3. The pick dragging across the strings will cause a very unpleasant scraping sound.

These are not the results we’re looking for. The tip of the pick should ideally just glance the string. If you are holding your pick correctly, this shouldn’t be a problem. But if you’re not, well…ya know…
To start off, we’re going to use only down strokes of the pick. That means we’re going to move the pick toward the floor. We have been starting on the first string for almost everything we’ve done so far, but for this, we’ll start on the sixth string (the big, heavy one.)

Start by resting the pick gently on top (the actual physical top of the string) of the string and let it slide gently toward the floor. Let the pick follow through and rest on the fifth string. Do this over and over. And over. And then do it a couple more times.

Try this with all the other strings. You won’t, of course, be able to rest the pick on anything after picking the first string, but that’s OK – don’t worry about it just yet. After you feel like you’ve conquered all the strings, go back to the sixth.

This time, try picking the sixth string without resting on the fifth. Ideally, you want to try for a shorter and shorter stroke until the pick just barely glances across the string. Just like the last time, carry this through to the rest of the strings.

Just to round out the down picking, we’re going to try moving from string to string.
This was a short one, but one of the most important. So, make sure you take a lot of time perfecting your picking.

Play in the Key of YOU!

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