Tech Tip:Getting a Good Grip on Your Pick

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Rick Manley; San Mateo, CA


Q: I find that my picking and strumming sounds really stiff. I feel that I'm not able to build up much speed even on easy passages. I am getting very frustrated because I practice for hours on end and still have no progress; I've even considered quitting because I don't know if I will ever get it! Please give me some advice to help me solve this problem.


A: It seems that you have a common problem that can be fixed with a little practice so don't throw the towel in just yet.


You must start to focus on your grip on the pick and tension of your hand, arm, and shoulder. Many guitarists use a tight hard grip on the pick which causes hand and arm tension. You MUST hold the pick loosely and keep your entire body relaxed. Concentrate on this and practice some scales and basic strumming rhythms to start with. Don't let your body tighten up and the grip on your pick must be just enough to hold the pick.


Also breathe; another common problem is some guitarists hold their breath while playing more complicated passages and this causes your entire body to tighten up, making you sound very stiff.


Hope this helps!



Yours in Music
John McCarthy
Rock House