Improving My Scalpel Picking Grip

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Mon May 30, 2011 4:36 pm
by ScalpelStudent • 9 Posts

Hey everybody.

I'm having a bit of a problem practicing scalpel picking for long, uninterrupted periods of time. It seems that I constantly have to re-grip the pick, especially when my hands start to sweat.

Should I let my thumb's pad hang more over the pick for a tighter grip? Or perhaps maybe more towards the front of the thumbs pad? When I grip the pick with the front pad of the thumb it seems that I lose grip quite fast.


*I can take a video as well if it would help*

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RE: Improving My Scalpel Picking Grip

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Mon May 30, 2011 5:41 pm
by ScalpelStudent • 9 Posts

Forgot to mention, the picks I use currently are the Dava jazz pick's, I have the medium and small. Lately I switch around to see which I can get a better grip with, which at the moment are the medium's.

Last edited Mon May 30, 2011 5:42 pm | Scroll up


RE: Improving My Scalpel Picking Grip

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Tue May 31, 2011 9:24 am
by Debilius • 96 Posts

I had the same problem for an longer period of time, not just with scalpel approach, but for picking in general. Actually, picking
grip and muting method I'm using now is exact result of sweat between my fingers, and digging more into the strings than it
was needed, and getting sick and tired of re-gripping as it looked like my hand is chewing, between the phrases, like it's a
camel or some lama while eating with their mouth from side to side. I blamed smooth surface of some very cool picks to be the
main reason of being slippery, and after of bunch sand and whatever surface picks I've tried(of which Ibanez sand Grip Wizard
I liked the most)I actually like those with smooth surface better. I haven't try Dava yet, maybe I change my mind, who knows.

A term "tighter" you used while mentioning pick grip is very contradictory, while at the same time very true for different things. Actually,
the pick grip should be quite loose, and at the same time quite "tight" or better to say secured between the fingers. For the first
step, It's good news that we don't have to get strabismus here by reading anatomical terms considering joints of the thumb and index
finger, while we can speak totally childish, since both fingers have lines inside, that are just like perfect to describe alignment of
the pick with those lines. I like to look at those lines as markers where to put a pick in as a starting point, just for description
where maybe to put pick between the fingers at start, and not to take those lines as granted and suffer from it if you look at it as
the most serious rule on the planet.

Simplest to describe would be to put the right side of pick, the upper curved part, to sit into the first line of your thumb, and the
upper left curved part of pick to sit into the upper part of the first line of your index finger. Keep in mind this is a description
of a picking grip for standard picks, similar to Ibanez Heavy , Planet Waves Heavy, Dunlop Standard... Depending on how long your
fingers are, actually in this specific case how long the first joint of your thumb is, relates how much of your thumb's pad will hang
over the pick. You can experiment with sliding the pick more or less "into" the thumb with more or less thumb pad hanging over the side
of the pick, since in scalpel picking, the side of the pick that is set in thumb line(between first 2 joints of thumb)at starting point
of pick gripping may vary due to flicking thumb motion. Than, you make it sure the tip of the pick is not protruding very much from a
grip as it gives you more playing control in general since it lowers your tendency to dig deep into the strings. In my case, the
protruding of the tip of the pick relates with a distance between the 6th string and neck on the 7th fret, which allows playing with the
same accuracy with picks different in size(for example "Ibanez Heavy" and "Dunlop JazzIII"), and since everybody's guitar string action
is different, amount of pick tip protruding in relation to the distance between the string and neck may vary too.

After that, you may try angle degrees of the pick regarding the alignment of the pick and strings, looking at the angles of the tip of
the pick from a first person view, from above.
First angle degree(45% angle) is quite known to everybody these days, since every shred guy teach this type of tilted pick grip as some
über method for ultimate speed and while bunch of guitar players(including me) who strive for a more cleaner definition of tone would
probably say "cello my ass", on Pablo Gilberto's "cello" sound of scratching, Pebber described it best and the simplest in his video
on picking technique, something like if you look at your (guitar)neck as 12 o'clock, the angle of the pick is on 1 o'clock. With similar
style of explanation style I'll try to describe other angle I'm using by looking at the clock and imagining the line between 9 and 3
o'clock. As the clock is taken from a wall and put on the table, for example. That would be parallel to the strings on a guitar as seen
from above. And then, let's say you angle the tip of pick towards the headstock. On 7 o'clock, or maybe between 7 and 8 o'clock.
Regarding the pick grip, alignment of the pick and base of the thumbnail looks like the left side(line) of the pick is almost parallel
to the line of base of your thumb nail.

Also, you may try a specific unwanted noise muting approach on lower strings, where you use just your thumb(and the thumb base where
needed)as a muting device of all strings lower than string you're playing on. And even the idea is actually not resting the thumb on the
strings with so much pressure, but touching strings lightly, this can be very beneficial for your picking technique in general, since it
guides you to pick much precisely. Could be tricky for playing on a 6th string(if you don't have a 7 string guitar)since you must play
by muscle memory "from air", or you can even expand your technique if distance between the strings and guitar body ain't too high, and
"rest" the base of the thumb on a guitar body, while playing on a 6th string. In general, by using this type of muting of lower
strings(while your lower base of palm is not touching a guitar)your technique can be as effective as picking above the bridge pickup, as
picking above the neck pickup, as picking above middle pickup or picking above the neck if you feel like it. Using this approach you can
lower the base of your palm on the strings on the bridge, and get palm muted sound when you like it, with great mobility, since you're
not using the base of palm for resting, and get stuck while muting. To see, and feel this approach, you could for example "rest" lightly
your thumb on E, A and D string, and do a tremolo on G 3rd string. You may try to move it around a little doing scale sequences and see
and feel how much this muting approach suits your picking style.

There you have it man. I hope it helps a bit.

Last edited Tue May 31, 2011 9:31 am | Scroll up


RE: Improving My Scalpel Picking Grip

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Tue May 31, 2011 2:45 pm
by ScalpelStudent • 9 Posts

Thanks for the thorough response. I feel it might be hard to convey how exactly I hold as not only am I a lefty, but I also have Randy Rhoads size hands, but let me take a try.

I find it most comfortable to have the pick towards the middle of the thumbs pad, and also the middle of the last bone of my finger, exactly where a pencil would rest on my hand. Angle-wise I pick at an 11 o'clock (using clock theory, haha) angle, which would be 1 o'clock if I was a right handed person. My hand is also floating but not too high I try to keep it as close as possible while still floating.

String noise hasn't been so much of a problem on the thicker strings. Its the 1st (E) and 2nd (B) that I notice unwanted string noise, but I ask people how it sounds and they say it doesn't sound much different than normal picking noise. To me it's annoying as hell, but it's getting better everyday. It's not to the extent of the string noise youd get holding it at a 3 to 4 o'clock (or for a lefty 9 to 10 o' clock) but it still is something that can bother me quite a bit.

Well, back to practicing!

Last edited Tue May 31, 2011 2:46 pm | Scroll up


RE: Improving My Scalpel Picking Grip

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Tue May 31, 2011 8:06 pm
by walleyedave • 37 Posts

Everybodys pick moves out of position,,,,dont over analyze it, its not a big deal. You lose yer grip,,,you get it back,,,life goes on!

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RE: Improving My Scalpel Picking Grip

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Thu Jun 02, 2011 9:07 pm
by ScalpelStudent • 9 Posts

^^^^^^ Just trying to make sure i'm on the right track. I want to correct bad technique ASAP, you know? But of course I understand my grip shouldn't be over-analyzed, as everyone is a little different.

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RE: Improving My Scalpel Picking Grip

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Sat Jun 04, 2011 12:03 am
by tplu7234 • 39 Posts

i also have the same problem, no matter what my grip the pick slides around. at the moment i use jim dunlop picks (they have a grated surface that allows for a better grip). the biggest issue for me is moving between rhythm/strumming and picking. my pick is flat when strumming, trying to move back to a tighter grip for just normal picking is hazardous (particularly with sweaty hands).

outside technique, can anyone recommend other picks i could try out to improve my grip?

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RE: Improving My Scalpel Picking Grip

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Sat Jun 04, 2011 4:06 am
by Debilius • 96 Posts

ScalpelStudent, If I understand correctly from your description of your picking grip, it's similar to mine partially in case if I was
using a smaller pick(Jazz III for example).

Since you compared your pick grip to holding a pen(pen theory man!) so I did a little observation of how I hold a pen, and if I would
copy my pen grip and translate it to pick grip, it would be quite similar to Shawn Lane's grip, since I hold the pen with pad of my
thumb, and pad of my index finger, and support it with the side of the first joint of my middle finger which actually secures the pen
pretty much, and it would secure the pick very much as pick sits right into the line between first and second joint of index finger.
It would be similar to Shawn's grip if it's without use of the middle finger as a support, but not reversed angle grip as his, where
it would actually be 1 o'clock for left handed, and 11 o' clock for right handed person, but it would be more similar to Steve Morse
grip if you add a support with a pad of the middle finger as he does, or with the first joint of the middle finger.

Many guitar players finds very useful to them to translate their writing technique into their picking style. Especially because almost
everyone is using scalpel motion while writing. But I think you're not very thrilled to experiment with pick grip that much. But you
can always experiment with finger tension on the pick, or to try different textured picks, picks different in size, shape and
material, and you even can get that gym chalk powder to lower the sweating and get the grip thing in control(just joking on this one).

Pen grip, or school eraser grip, or whatever you want to call it works fine for Steve Morse, but as he prefers to do it that
way, and as I described to you what works for me, you'll probably find your way what works for you by self awareness through the
practice, by observing other player's technique, and by incorporating from others if someone is willing to share their experience
with you to experience it in your own way if you think it could improve your picking.

BTW, that muting approach... my description of that actually wasn't for muting lower strings noise, even it serves for that too, but
because it can improve your picking drastically as it also can serve as prevention of digging deep into the strings with pick while
playing. Back in a day, I've heard of the STYLUS PICK... and it claimed that's the most effective speed picking method ever developed,
and the main idea of that "device" was that maximum alternate picking speed is achieved when playing from the very tip of the pick, to
no more than the first .125" (about 1/8"). And it claimed it was specially designed to help correct the natural tendency to "dig down"
with the pick. And as it probably could really help someone to develop that muscle memory by using that pick, I was never into
gadgets(sorry guys at Stylus pick crew), so I wanted to figure out for myself how to get the similar result, by using regular pick. So
I took that thumb "rest" string noise muting approach(accompanied with less protruding pick tip grip), which actually serves for two
different things at same time. Muting unwanted low strings noise, and picking more precisely.

Not to forget, as you've mentioned higher strings noise, for muting higher strings I suggest use of partially pressing strings you don't
want to ring out, with index finger of your fretting hand. I believe everybody would tell you the same.

One question... how much of other aspects of picking technique are involved besides your scalpel motion in your picking technique?
How much of Sarod is in there? How much pure down-up wrist and forearm motions? Could it be that you are trying to cover everything you
play mostly by moving the pick just by thumb and index finger, which would probably require very large hands and low variety of musical
ideas, and along with that if the tip of the pick is protruding out much, it actually can result with much frequent out of control grip.

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RE: Improving My Scalpel Picking Grip

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Sat Jun 04, 2011 4:12 am
by Debilius • 96 Posts

Walleyedave, I agree someone shouldn't over-analyze his technique too much through time, since it would mean lack of effort
involved into practice in exchange with eternal search for the magic bullet, and there's no magic bullet. Only things that are universal and suits to everyone, things that suits to a minor group of people who are willing to spend greater time and effort into not so smart approach due to lack of self awareness or due to stubbornness or whatever the reason might be, and things that suits to only one type of people, you guess why. It would be great if everybody could have a patience to observe their technique from all angles possible(or for this thread' sake their grip particularly), and try to describe it as best as possible as much it can be ridiculously simple. It could be of great help to someone to find what is comfortable for him, to decide what to use, and move further from technique dilemma forward on playing actual music.

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RE: Improving My Scalpel Picking Grip

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Sat Jun 04, 2011 4:18 am
by Debilius • 96 Posts

Tplu7234, For moving from strumming grip to single note playing grip, could it be that issue exist due to pick grip change, due
to pick angle change, and due to picking style change in general? As I'm writing this, I am actually observing my rhythm-solo transfer and as I can notice, I never change my pick grip, or angle of the pick while moving from rhythm to solo, or from solo to rhythm. It works fine, as long as I'm not digging too deep into the strings while strumming. It's type of a little exaggerated wrist/elbow motion, where your pick hits every string in a strum with almost the same amount of energy with nearly same percent of the tip of the pick on multiple strings like it becomes one surface, on which you're "drawing" lines up and down, with your pick while strumming. Why not to give it a try and use the same pick grip(and pick angle)you use for solo, and try to translate that into your strumming?

Why flatting the angle for strums at first place? Could it be due to dunlop pick you're using and you're going for the tone? I never use dunlop picks of any type, except Jazz III, because the tip of that pick never produced the tone I desired. If you like that scratchy sound of Paul Gilbert, fine... even if you do, do you prefer that sound while strumming? I prefer more pointy picks where I actually can hear the notes above the click of the pick(which at some extent is other lower ingredient of the picking sound I like, as long as it's presence is not above the the tone, and if it's clean).

Regarding the picks with different grip surfaces that are made for grip improvement, I can't be of much help, because I prefer smooth
surface picks, but I'm sure there are many guys here that could recommend to you some cool picks of that type they're using.

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RE: Improving My Scalpel Picking Grip

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Thu Jun 16, 2011 3:51 pm
by walleyedave • 37 Posts

I think that anyone interested in improving their picking tecnique should probably try holding the pick in Many different ways, and not worry about one specific grip,,,,,my point was that everyones pick will go out of place,,,and learning how to move your pick while playing(especially live) will benefit alot more than trying to learn one certain grip that would keep you from losing pick control.

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RE: Improving My Scalpel Picking Grip

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Tue Jun 21, 2011 3:05 pm
by FRaKh • 320 Posts

Do you use lotion??
I used to mess up and forget about not applying everyday lotion to my hands or just to wash before I pick.
Kind of a little thing that can be overlooked and can produce crappy results.
Just a thought......

“A World Without String Is Chaos”

Randolf Smuntz

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RE: Improving My Scalpel Picking Grip

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Sun Jun 26, 2011 12:19 am
by pebberbrown • 867 Posts

The fundamental tone generation of a string requires some kind of catalyst. To create a tone on a violin or cello or bass, it has evolved over 6 centuries to basically two methods - using a BOW or plucking the string with the finger. Other instruments that use strings create the tone by plucking the string with little hooks (as in a Harpsichord) or by hitting the string with a little hammer (as in a Piano). Some Asian instruments use a device that "scrapes" the string to generate a tone. The guitar has been played for 500 years in its semi-current form and using the bare fingers to pluck or brush across the string has been the agreed upon consensus. The introduction of the pick is only a more recent development on the guitar (less than 100 years) and so therefore no general consensus has been agreed upon as the best method by which all other methods are less efficient. However, stringed instruments have existed for centuries and milleniums and the regions that have produced extremely powerful and fast successions of melodic notes using stringed instruments have been in India with the Sarod and Sitar and also in Turkey with the Saz and the Oud, the latter of which evokes a strong similarity to the guitar. So therefore with the inculcation of the pick in to modern acoustic (and electric guitar) within the last century, many ideas and techniques have been created and adopted, some scientifically derived through patient years of practice, observation and study while others more haphazardly stumbled upon or by one person "showing" their particular method or technique to another person either without any knowledge or scientific study behind it or sometime with some years of dedicated practice and belief. So picking the string on the guitar has remained an always contentious hot topic of extreme debate due to the vast array of different styles and methods used. However, if one becomes more serious about what they are doing one obviously digs deeper into research on their own and eventually the Oud and The Sarod surface as being wellsprings of thousands of years of perfected technique for a stringed instrument. By studying the Sarod style and the Oud style and adapting these thousand year old techniques to your electric guitar you can safelty rest assured you will be in the realm of total efficiency and perfection of skills. Anything added onto these techniques, such as muting, are strictly subjective as to how you appraoch it as there is no agreed upon consensus that has exists as it has on other instruments such as piano, cello, violin and the Oud and Sarod.

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RE: Improving My Scalpel Picking Grip

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Fri Jul 08, 2011 6:54 pm
by Debilius • 96 Posts

Great post Pebber, I love historical element in everything regarding guitar, and especially regarding guitar technique, since guitar playing with the pick tradition really is that short even it has been planted into other instruments tradition that really can assure us that is the right method to approach our stringed instrument played similar way . But who could ever tell us we don't influence further evolution of the technique by adding different elements to it.

Ok, if Hendrix was alive, he would probably say: "You guys are too much... the pick is just a tool, just like your fretting fingers... feel it, and it should guide you by itself to a path when to use it, and when emotion evokes from your fingers..." Who knows what would Robert Johnson say... probably the same as Jeff Beck said: "Throw that pick away, and play like a man!" What would Steve Morse say on his almost extincted use of feminine triple finger grip by which he produces musical ideas untouchable to most of nowadays players, do we miss something using just two fingers for a grip? What would say Shawn Lane on his inverted pick angle... could it be that pick should imitate classical fingerpicking angle to be the most efficient... what would say Paul Gilbert on his totally retarded thumb angling of the pick, is that the right grip reserved for large handed basketball player-size players... would Buckethead say the same thing, since it looks exactly the same in his case like it's Gilbert himself behind the mask, and they are both "skyscrapers"... what would John Scofield and Greg Howe say since they both said that their picking sucks? Would Frank Gambale say that his piking is the most efficient? What would say Scott Henderson for his "string picking the pick" approach? And what about Alan Holdsworth and Brett Garsed... after all, what would say Al DiMeola and John McLaughlin... how all this can fit into tradition and improved approach?

And what all of these guys who are remarkable in their guitar playing, have in common...
...subjective approach, of course.

Did these guys lock themselves into some tradition as religion? Nope.

Did all of these guys adapted their technique to appearance of so popular distortion effect? Yes.

Did traditional plectrum played(middle east)stringed instruments had distortion? Nope.

Did some of traditional plectrum played(middle east)stringed instruments have been double stringed? Yes.

Could it be that some of the technique motions evolved to serve for the more efficient playing of double stringed instruments only? Yes.

Could it be that technique that is most efficient on double stringed instrument is less efficient on a single stringed instrument unless you're strumming chords or double stops? Yes.

Could it be that the most efficient technique of non distorted instrument how ever long it's tradition could go back in times of ancient "alien transfer of knowledge" is less efficient on a modern distorted instrument without adaptation? Yes.

Just watched Bela Lugosi from Ed Wood's movie as saying: "Pull the string!"

And I would say: "Mute the string!"(above)

Actually, the manifesto of the thumb touching the strings amount easily can relate to amount of how much of alternate or economy picking situations is involved in playing of most of players mentioned above. It seems that guys that are more alternate oriented use thumb base with caution, and more economy oriented guys use more of the thumb finger flesh. But every guy, alternate or economy player, uses thumb "rest" muting when descends "pure" sweeps since it's natural motion of the hand for executing that type of motions. For me, incorporating thumb on the strings above whenever it's possible works greatly even using alternate picking, which I use mostly for scale sequence type of playing(without skipping any degree of the sequence). It's very accurate, and it doesn't conflict much with Sarod(rotation)motion much as palm base anchor on the bridge.(Strings are more elastic at some point, more than bridge, or hand on bridge)

I'm not preaching anything new here, but why not to suggest to fellow musicians to experiment and see what fits to their perception, style and needs. Using everything good known from the past, and adding new stuff that improve the old approach. All of it could be some sort of agreement for the guitar picking technique in future, our own tradition, if DJs and electronic music don't take over it all.

Anyway, I watch at my hand motions as rotation from an elbow(sarod, opening a dooeknob, key locking) as my primary motion, karate chop motion as secondary, chicken dance head with wrist(oscillation, bounce picking) as tertiary, and lama chewing(scalpel, circle picking) as quaternary motion.

It's all cool, no matter of the order of the motions someone put importance of it for himself, as much as it can be the most efficient approach for that someone. Experimenting and finding "correct" way for the individual is the key.

...(quote of Bela Lugosi from Ed Wood's movie also)..."Beware, take care..."

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RE: Improving My Scalpel Picking Grip

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Fri Jul 15, 2011 2:35 am
by pebberbrown • 867 Posts

Could it be that some of the technique motions evolved to serve for the more efficient playing of double stringed instruments only? Yes.
** NO! **

Could it be that technique that is most efficient on double stringed instrument is less efficient on a single stringed instrument unless you're strumming chords or double stops? Yes.

Could it be that the most efficient technique of non distorted instrument how ever long it's tradition could go back in times of ancient "alien transfer of knowledge" is less efficient on a modern distorted instrument without adaptation? Yes.
**** OUT OF CONTEXT AND WRONG!!!!!!!!! ******

I Suggest you post some videos up and show us all what an EXPERT you are and boldly imply. Come on - lets see you take a solo dude - put your money where your mouth is. You talk a lot of shit but can you fuckin play anything at all? LETS SEE.

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RE: Improving My Scalpel Picking Grip

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Sat Jul 16, 2011 6:05 pm
by ScalpelStudent • 9 Posts

First of all i'd like to say that my scapel picking grip has improved 100% since I have practice this for a month straight, 12 hours a day.
The pick is no longer slipping and my hand is becoming extremely comfortable with scalpel and sarod. I am still practicing this for a couple months more AT LEAST, but I can say I am happy with the results so far.

Thanks for everyone's input. And thanks for replying on my thread, Pebber. That was pretty cool, regardless of the smackdown that has become of it, lol.

The trick is exactly what someone said on this thread, DON'T OVER THINK IT. Okay, back to practicing!

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RE: Improving My Scalpel Picking Grip

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Wed Jul 27, 2011 11:52 am
by Debilius • 96 Posts

NO, NO and NO.. and YES, YES and YES Pebber....

Logical brain vs. emotional brain, depends which part dominates while observing certain thing. My point is not that technique used on sarod and oud cannot be translated on guitar, totally contrary, the sarod/oud approach really IS the best way, since rotation motion is the most flexible and most natural to almost everyone... one can try a little of "air-guitar" to check most natural motion for him, but it has to be adapted at certain amount to serve the purpose of task needed to be accomplished, being it clean single note playing or muted playing or something else. Of course, the amount of adaptation is relative to what is situation you're in. You know this of course. More the strings involved to be picked simultaneously, the wider the motion(and more similar to sarod/oud picking technique). Less the notes picked at the same time, less the movement involved. Oud player would certainly use wider motion to play a tremolo, for example, on a double stringed oud, and guitar player would shrink his technique to serve for single string, in similar situation of playing tremolo, but on one string.

Even you said in one of your videos, if I remember correctly, that everybody, even Petrucci is trying to shrink his technique...

By dragging this out of context, for example, someone could say that this means that Petrucci's strumming motion is of exact wideness like his picking motion used for single note playing, which of course couldn't be the case in a million years... or someone could say that this means he is now using thinner pick than 3, 2 or 1.5mm to shrink micro movements by shrinking the thickness of the pick, which could be some food for thought, but better to leave that one out... or someone could say that this means that Petrucci have lost much of his weight in the gym attempting to get his hands skinny like Gilbert's and by doing so gets less meat and bone to gravitate too much, haha...

With above bullshitting aside, shrinking the technique probably should mean escaping covering of unwanted space with unnecessary motions that could cripple our effectiveness by waste of motion. Shrinking the technique would probably relate to popular term "economy of motion", or Rusty Cooley's simplified "keeping everything close".

Muting of ambient noise of "sympathetic" strings that are not being played would probably mean escaping parts of ancient techniques that haven't contained that approach for reason of not needing it.

If one would observe Di Meola particularly, he uses what one might call "the pure sarod" motion when he strum chords and double stops mostly. Otherwise he uses combination of wrist up and down motion(translation, as some people like to call that motion) and rotation from forearm that is almost invisible, and flicking the thumb(scalpel) in his style is so elusive whatever he plays, even when he is using cross-picking(double-down, up), contrary to Tony Rice,for example, who overemphasizes scalpel while doing that type of stuff . For DiMeola, we could say it's sarod in disguise, or we couldn't? He anchors his hand on the bridge with the pinky side of palm base which is most popular anchor among "floating hand" guitar players for reference point. And while it's not looking like sarod/oud technique very much if any, while he's doing single string solo, it looks like sarod/oud very much while he's strumming(normally, while doing this, he escapes his palm-bridge connection). In other words, he adapted the technique for single note playing, probably having hand stability on his mind, I don't know, and uses more free hand for strumming that looks very much like sarod/oud, if he was ever thinking about sarod/oud technique as model for his picking style.

Anyways, the "ancient" technique on sarod and oud and what not "ancient" stringed instrument played with pick, "java", "risha" or similar is great... but in it's original shape(which pretty much isn't that much original like centuries ago since different people improved it adapting it to an instrument of their use.. technique evolved, of course) it can't accomplish a modern task which would be muting the unwanted noise of open strings produced and amplified by compression of dynamics of instrument, or distortion, which is by itself also a compression of some sort. I would like to see sarod or oud player on distorted sound instrument very much, just to LMAO like I did when my classical guitar buddy took my guitar and tried to play some Villa-Lobos, and everything ranged out like guitar got diarrhea... untill his logical part of brain made him to add muting to his technique with his thumb to choke the unwanted noise of strings above the melody, to play some single note stuff, and turning distortion completely off visibly upset to clean tone at the end, since classical guitar polyphony melodies sounds shitty when distorted. It reminded me of one flamenco guy on some guitar documentary(in which McLaughlin talked about tapping!) who took electric guitar for the first time... and snapped the shit out of strings, while he could tame it with softer approach if he could adapt his technique.

Regarding the unwanted noise solution that includes zero artifitial noise reduction, without adapting the "ancient" techniques(that are also the result of adapting in their own way to be the most efficient relative to instrument being played)... without adapting it to the guitar involving simultaneous muting of unwanted sounds around the melodic idea, muting the sounds that are not the result of intention, there is no "noise free" playing - clean playing. But, who gives a shit, someone might say, if that same someone rationalize side noises as an excuse for his/hers "raw style" of playing preference(actually being lazy for serious practice)and using the band(if he/she plays in the band) or mega-delay, or wah-wah as cover-up for these side-noises. Or some other one, who might follow the "ancient" technique blindly, and not adapt it by any means.. and even religion is different now, from religion centuries ago..

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RE: Improving My Scalpel Picking Grip

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Wed Jul 27, 2011 11:56 am
by Debilius • 96 Posts

The approach I've described before in this topic is an approach which is a result of longer period of time of observing other players and experimenting with different styles of picking grip, motions, and anchoring/non anchoring, hand hold etc... and adding to it stuff that works better than other stuff I've filtered out that worked less good for me, and I wanted to share it with others, if anyone is willing to give it a shot. Besides muting the unwanted noise, it turned out as the most precise approach for me, since it's a very little of warm up enough to get it going with the picking hand(the amount of pick tip being used for playing(digging amount)is every time the same for same stuff you've been playing yesterday, for example), and it allows more of rotation for me than palm base-bridge connection, and since the base of the palm is lifted up from the bridge, it helps to me to avoid bumping into high tuning parts of floyd-rose tremolo system with palm base while picking, or hitting a volume knob with fingers while doing the same, and therefore helps avoiding "tiger claw fist" that produces more tension, and since palm base is not connected(glued) to the bridge it allows to pick at almost the same precision and effectiveness being it positioned between bridge and middle pickup, or between middle and neck pickup, and even above middle pickup(if it's not set too high of course), and even with picking hand over the neck, on 17th fret for example(if you like that sound).. and if you need muted style a la DiMeola, it's just simple lowering the palm base down on the bridge, and I can play even with palm on the bridge and not muting, by moving hand a little back.. and it's very cool for holding a tremolo bar(if you need it somewhere in between of your phrase) while picking and not affecting the pitch.

Actually, I've found article on the web by Tom Hess, in which besides other aspects of muting that some of it I don't use, he mentions thumb muting also:


Regarding the suggestion to do a video you would like to see of myself taking the solo Pebber, I'll have to repeat what I've already said on thread about directional picking. I don't have the damn camera of any type to acomplish any footage. Actually, I was about to shoot some of my ideas awhile ago to share with Hudsontoronto who is also a member of this forum, but the shitty webcam I got from my bro won't work and I'm into financial shit right now so I can't afford even a new pack of strings for myself... I could goof around by thanking you for calling me an expert, but I'm not an expert, nor a guitar teacher... I'm just a guy who's into guitar very much and anything I write here is my trying to explain my approach to playing on a non-native language which is very hard way of explaining things for me having on my mind by which I could come across like some bragging smart ass guitar guru wannabe, but it's actually for purpose if someone could get some good idea from reading some of my stuff. If I'm jerk because of that, or because I have different style of picking than others here and have it described here because it works for me, so be it... call me jerk then. And for god's sake, anybody... don't even bother to try whatever I've described on this forum, if it seems illogical to you. Play it from the heart, even if it's not cool for someone else, but pretty convincing logical for you, play it that way because you want to play that way, and not because someone tells you to do so.

I'm very aware that any my attempt to verbalize anything regarding guitar playing in this forum can be very dangerous if not correctly interpreted, or if it gets filtered out of context, or if it not have a sidenotes to cover every one possible interpretation could get many different interpretations... and it's very attractive for others to shit it up, since no one is willing to even try to describe their approach that way, in details, probably because of awareness of possible negative interpretation and fear of flaming. But who gives a damn. Pebber, feel free to think of me of being the worst and the most sucking guitar player if you want... I'm pretty much convinced that even if I could do a video for this forum(probably a video that should been made to try to impress people here), one could very much likely filter out stuff to describe my playing in negative way and then, what's the point. But I'll get the damn camera, not to shoot "impress me"video, but for stuff I think would be cool to share with people in audio-visual format(if anyone could enjoy sausage-fingers guitar playing videos, he he), since written format is very hard for some people to follow, probably because of watching too much movies, and reading zero books.. who knows. Anyways, until video, I'll do something different for you Pebber, that I think you'll be very glad of it. Actually, I like very much when you comment my posts, even when you bring out stuff I wrote and you find it negative which make me thinking what I could have been describe using wrong phrases or put it totally wrong, and gets me thinking everything else that is not mentioned as negative is actually considered as positive. As much as I like that, I would like very much to see answers to questions addressed particularly to you on this forum.

Keep up the good work...

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RE: Improving My Scalpel Picking Grip

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Wed Jul 27, 2011 12:32 pm
by Debilius • 96 Posts

Way to go ScalpelStudent! I love when someone's practice pay off... that means you really put your intent, patience, persistence into given task and the result is inevitable.

Sorry for going off subject a little by dragging light away from scalpel technique onto muting of unwanted noise, but that was for not for purpose to discuss muting as you might notice but for purpose if it could sound like good idea to you to give it a shot, since it improved my picking alot. But it doesn't mean, if something fit into somebody's style perfectly, that it would be comfortable for everyone.

And yes, overthinking while practicing could produce totally different results from these you're working on, technically-wise... as much as not thinking at all and being distracted with whatever else while practicing. Actually, observing your playing if you're doing it right while playing will keep you safe.

So, did you find the pick that meets your needs/style the best? Is it thin, medium or thick... c'mon man, share some of your experiences from your practicing sessions... do you use different tone settings, distortion, clean, bluesy OD, completely unplugged, on acoustic etc... or you're practicing it in clean tone only etc... what lick/sequence you find the more adequate for scalpel emphasize over sarod, and what lick/sequence more adequate for sarod over scalpel etc... I'm curious how is it working for you.

Again, way to go man, keep mega-practice and keep the good news coming.

Last edited Wed Jul 27, 2011 12:34 pm | Scroll up

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