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  #1  
Old 10-07-2017, 09:29 PM
tbzbbt tbzbbt is offline
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Default Good at fingerstyle, hopeless at pick and strum

Ive been playing for a number of years and developed good skills at fingerstyle, at the expense of a completely undeveloped right-hand technique with a pick for strumming and melody.

Most of the online lessons I have looked at either assume minimal musical knowledge and are a bit tedious; or focus on fast economy picking and shredding.

Can anyone suggest appropriate excercises and practice more in tune with acoutic playing with a pick?

Thanks
tbzbbt
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  #2  
Old 10-08-2017, 12:40 AM
Guitar Slim II Guitar Slim II is offline
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It sounds like you've already looked into the exercises and rejected them. I agree, forget the exercises.

Just play more stuff with the pick. if you've already looked at the method books, you at least have the general general idea of how to hold the pick and position/move the hand.

Now, you've just got to practice it. for single notes: scales, if you're into them, or just jam and play lead. The more you do it, the more natural it will become.

I don't know how you're approaching this, but I began as a fingerstyle player also, and when I started using a pick, I found myself just naturally avoiding basic strumming, and instead arpegiating and breaking up the chords. Essentially, making it sound more "fingerstyle". This is a natural musical approach for a fingerpicker, but if your challenge is physical or technical, it might not be realistic to try just yet.

Also, consider checking in with a teacher. A live pair of eyes and hands might enlighten you in a single lesson.
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Old 10-08-2017, 12:53 AM
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TBman TBman is offline
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I'm a finger style guy but I used to be a flat picker.
Use a medium Fender pick for flat picking. Use a thin pick for strumming (initially).

Just take any scale and go up and back down. Alternate down/up strokes. Hold the pick perpendicular to your thumb. For fast runs I used to bridge my hand, for slower things where I wanted more tone I would float my hand and flat pick (this was harder for me initially).

Practice.

Be relentless.

Nothing good comes easy. A good song to learn first would be Neil Young's "Needle and the Damage Done"


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Old 10-08-2017, 06:36 AM
srick srick is offline
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Have you checked out the "Flatpick Essentials" (Dan Miller) series from flatpick.com?

Flatpick Essentials does a lot with short runs and picking exercises. For me, it helped both my flatpicking and fingerstyle technique. I still go back to it when I want to brush up on technique - the book is paced well and the exercises short and sweet.

I am in somewhat of the same boat, however, I cannot claim for a minute that my playing is where I want it to be.

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Old 10-08-2017, 02:57 PM
Guitar Slim II Guitar Slim II is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TBman View Post

Practice.

Be relentless.

Nothing good comes easy. A good song to learn first would be Neil Young's "Needle and the Damage Done"


Neil was the first guy I gravitated to when I started flatpicking. For exactly that reason, he plays a lot of arpeggios and counterpoint using a pick.
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Old 10-08-2017, 03:13 PM
tonyo tonyo is offline
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I'm on the same transition. And making good progress. The justin guitar lesson on the easy version of ed sheeran's photograph as well as focusing on the major scale with a plectrum has given me hope that I'll be able to mix up my playing with a pick, particularly given how quiet my fingerstyle is in a jam.

The needle and damage done video up above is great, thanks for that.
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Old 10-08-2017, 03:49 PM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is offline
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Boom Chick, Boom Chick. Start with a repeated down strum on a chord, say G - then slowly change it to hit the root bass string (1) then on (2) strum the two or three highest strings.

Work at it until you can get a basic boom chick rhythm going.

It's the most useful rhythm for a song you can have.
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Old 10-08-2017, 03:54 PM
HHP HHP is offline
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Why not just adapt the technique you know to the sound you want? Rhythm guitar was often played with a thumbpick and one finger ala Lester Flatt. Wayne Henderson uses a fingerstyle technique that is almost indistinguishable from a flatpick.
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  #9  
Old 10-08-2017, 04:04 PM
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All the previous replies are good and I'm sure you'll get some more. But I'll share what I've been working on and I think has been working...

1) Economy of pick motion. Not economy picking- that's different. When I pick a string I only want my pick to go only so far as it needs to to get the string to vibrate. Sometimes I will practice by picking so that the pick starts on one side of the string and ends on the other, even trying to stop the vibration on the opposite of the attack side. This leads to tremolo picking where I continuously do up/down strokes with a minimal motion, but with dead even timing on 16th notes going gradually faster until it is very fast. The moment it is no longer timed or ringing evenly I slow down. Minimizing the motion of the stroke also makes it easier for muscle memory to know where each string sits. Being undisciplined in the stroke makes it harder for the right hand to know where the 6 individual strings are. It doesn't make it easy- just easIER.

2) The Left hand may require some adjustment. In my case I'm working on a modification of the notion of KFD (keep fingers down). An easier way to understand it is to try to get the fingers of the left hand to the string(s) well ahead of the time to pick. For example, if I'm doing a 4 note descending chromatic run on one string, if possible all 4 fingers go down together lifting each as necessary but the other fingers are already in place. But in practice it is rare that 4 fingers go down on one string at one. But its often two and sometimes three. If I have to cross strings I will try to reach early, sometimes reaching with one finger while fretting/picking another at the same time. It's tricky, but even if not yet mastered, it keeps my left hand ahead of the picking sequence. It is a total departure from my previous habit of thinking one note/one finger. The timing of the note execution is now up to the right hand as the left hand won't be lagging as it used to when trying to pick fast.

3) Go slow, be unrelentingly accurate. Practicing slowly but absolutely precisely will train the timing of the fingers in such a way that when it's time to go fast you'll be able to.

4) Use a metronome often, if not always when practicing these things. It will keep your timing honest and give you an measurement of progress as you can see that things that you used to play at 80bpm can now be played well at 120bpm.

I've not fully mastered what I've proposed here, but I've significantly improved in speed, accuracy and control of sound and musical expression. I can now play more relaxed and les frenetic when I have to play fast (assuming I'm practiced).
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Old 10-08-2017, 06:41 PM
1neeto 1neeto is offline
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Being primarily an electric player, Iím very dependent on the pick. Tried practicing fingerstyle, but I guess I havenít dedicated enough time to it.
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Old 10-09-2017, 03:11 PM
tbzbbt tbzbbt is offline
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Thanks for the advice so far!

I've started with strumming 8th-note patterns and will progress to more complex country style note-and-strum combinations and chord changes. Once I feel comfortable with this maybe I'll up the tempo and try and get familiar with some 16th note playing, but I'd rather take it slow.

In parallel with that I'm looking at picking and especially the string skipping exercises. For example a chromatic left-hand four-finger up down sequence repeated on strings 1,6 then 2,5 then 3,4.

This is proving to be a great exercise and I've made a lot of progress in just a few hours. It made me realise that in my electric guitar days when I was younger, my blues soloing with a pick was predominantly playing two-notes per string noodling from one adjacent string to another (because I didnt have the accuracy to skip to other strings).

As I'm pretty familiar with scale shapes _across_ the neck, this was quite an eyeopener for me as such string-skipping exercises allow me to break free from the cliches. I'm really excited about this.

tbzbbt
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Old 10-10-2017, 01:03 AM
Guitar Slim II Guitar Slim II is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tbzbbt View Post
a chromatic left-hand four-finger up down sequence repeated on strings 1,6 then 2,5 then 3,4.
Really? Just to learn how to use a pick? Don't waste your time on finger sequencing exercises -- especially if you're not even concentrating on the fretting hand. Chromatic, non-musical, physical exercises like the above are best for targeting very specific issues, not general proficiency, IMO.

Try these instead:

EDIT: "Behind Blue Eyes" -- an excellent string-skipping exercise!
or "Proud Mary" -- 8th-note strums on the upbeat

"Rocky Raccoon" (bass+strum)
"House of the Rising Sun" (broken-chord/arpeggio)
"Norwegian Wood" (melody+strum);
the aforementioned "Needle and the Damage Done" etc etc etc.

So much great music out there. Find tunes that focus on things you want to develop, and work on them. Break them down, practice slow, use the metronome. You can turn your own repertoire into exercises that are far more effective than any chromatic finger-sequencing routine...IMO...

Last edited by Guitar Slim II; 10-11-2017 at 02:46 AM.
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Old 10-10-2017, 01:09 AM
Guitar Slim II Guitar Slim II is offline
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Double post, sorry.

Last edited by Guitar Slim II; 10-10-2017 at 01:06 PM.
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Old 10-10-2017, 10:18 PM
1neeto 1neeto is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tbzbbt View Post
Thanks for the advice so far!



I've started with strumming 8th-note patterns and will progress to more complex country style note-and-strum combinations and chord changes. Once I feel comfortable with this maybe I'll up the tempo and try and get familiar with some 16th note playing, but I'd rather take it slow.



In parallel with that I'm looking at picking and especially the string skipping exercises. For example a chromatic left-hand four-finger up down sequence repeated on strings 1,6 then 2,5 then 3,4.



This is proving to be a great exercise and I've made a lot of progress in just a few hours. It made me realise that in my electric guitar days when I was younger, my blues soloing with a pick was predominantly playing two-notes per string noodling from one adjacent string to another (because I didnt have the accuracy to skip to other strings).



As I'm pretty familiar with scale shapes _across_ the neck, this was quite an eyeopener for me as such string-skipping exercises allow me to break free from the cliches. I'm really excited about this.



tbzbbt

I think concentrating on 1/4 and 1/8 strumming in time will take care of 90% of the songs out there. Save the 16th note sorcery after youíre completely comfortable with 1/4 and 1/8 note patterns. [emoji4]
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Old 10-12-2017, 02:37 PM
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I just started using the pick more and more. No real exercises. Just start using it and start with the fundamentals (Down strums, Down up strum, counting to 4 until you are sick of it) and build from there. Its all about getting comfortable with it.
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