Yep, I’m back and with a bloodthirsty vengeance. This subject is CRUCIAL. In fact, being able to correctly pick is the “do-or-die” ability of being a proficient player. If you can’t pick CORRECTLY and WELL, you are half the player you are supposed to be, and you will NEVER be the COMPLETE, WELL ROUNDED player you could be and SHOULD BE.
Now, I’ve gone off on so many dip-shits on the Internet that I may as well talk about picking too. There are many, many variations to picking. But just a couple that are the most proficient. And, after all, if you’re going to put in the hours, days, weeks, months and in some cases years to do something, it’s pure logic you should do it the best and most proficient way possible. And, with comfort, endurance and longevity in mind.
There is a guitarist who made the following statement coming up that I found really fucking funny and I can’t argue against his comment. This guitarist who is very, very good, said this then later retracted it. So, because he retracted it, he may have realized he shouldn’t have said it. So, I won’t tell his name but I will repeat his comment which was about Paul Gilbert. I paraphrase,
” Paul Gilbert isn’t doing anything that a trained monkey with arthritis and a metronome couldn’t do.”
This comment is one of the funniest fuckin’ things I’ve heard in many years. Paul has come up with some neat and fun shapes, and I like some of the stuff he’s done quite a bit. But, most of it if not all of it are very simple things done very fast.
Paul Gilbert has showed you how to play his stuff. He’s done the exact same things, “concepts” in great detail for well over 20 years. And, you blind and deaf mutherfuckers still haven’t learned. So, I doubt my contribution will put much of a dent in things, but, what the fuck.
The Problem: Not doing what I’m telling you.
The Fix: Doing what I’m telling you.
Rather than going into all the bad habits and poor techniques, I’m going to just cut to the correct things to do.
For the visual portion of this lesson, watch any of Paul’s instructionals. Ignore his left hand completely. Watch his right hand only. His right hand is completely relaxed. His shoulders are level. Meaning he doesn’t have his right shoulder raised up by his ear (except when he’s sitting down with the guitar on his right leg then it’s raised slightly). For the most part he doesn’t bend his thumb while picking. I say, don’t bend your thumb for any reason. You’re resting the heel of your palm the portion where your little finger (the blade of your little finger) is connected on the bridge, just in front of the saddles.
When you are sitting down to play, have your guitar on your left leg. NOT your right. Having it on your left leg puts the guitar in a neutral and center position. And, is the most ergonomic and easy position to be in and to be in for a long period of time. Your thumb is straight with a very small part of the pick sticking down and out from the side of your thumb. You’re resting on the strings slightly in front of the bridge and also resting the upper part of your forearm by your elbow on the edge of the guitar body. Choose which way you’re most comfortable holding the pick in the direction it’s going to slice the string. You only have two choices. It’s a diagonal angle, left on top down to the right, or right on top to down on the left. Again, that’s how you’re holding the pick with only one of those two directions. Close your hand. Keep your fingers curled in a little like making a fist but looser. Don’t flex your arms when playing. If you do, relax and focus on the loose, relaxed wrist movement.
Unsynchronized picking is when there is no control in your picking and some notes get picked 2 or 3 times, some picked once, and some may not get picked at all. There is no coordination or precision of any kind and it’s just a mess. Remember, you’re not fooling anyone with this shit.
The key visual is watching Gilbert. And, only use the bridge (rear) pickup and a metronome. Speed comes naturally from doing the same thing over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over and a fairly slow speed with the metronome and making small incremental increases over some time.
That’s about it. Don’t anchor any fingers anywhere on the guitar body. Don’t have your fingers sticking straight out either. And, stop making things harder than they really aren’t. Watch his vids. He’s showing you how to do it. I think that’s it. But, I may add or do some refining to this “Picking” section so be aware. After all, I’m NOT getting paid for this!!
Crappy All Mighty.
Episode 1 Pickup Abusers