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  #1  
Old 08-20-2018, 10:30 PM
GuitarFundi GuitarFundi is offline
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Default Flat picking: wrist or fingers?

Trying to get my flat picking better. I play with an open hand vs. closed hand. I have noticed that most flat pickers either all the time or when going fast switch to the closed hand. I asked about this before, but just noticed something new. When I flat pick with an open hand my thumb/index fingers are moving a lot to get the pick to be precise on the strings and I notice closed hand pickers appear to not use finger movement at all and it is all in the wrist and the closed hand is very rigid. Is this accurate? Is fast accurate flat picking really mostly wrist?
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Old 08-20-2018, 11:48 PM
Mandobart Mandobart is offline
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Yes. Wrist. Using only thumb/fingers to move the pick is slower and produces much less volume. Also avoid picking from the elbow. Also slow and will cause fatigue. Everyone can point to a great picker with terrible technique. The thing to remember is we're not them, and copying their poor technique only hurts our playing.
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Old 08-21-2018, 03:48 AM
HHP HHP is offline
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More wrist than anything. To make it work, you need to grip the pick solidly by having the thumb lock down the pick on your curled index finger. With that grip, the remaining 3 fingers can be slightly or fully curled
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Old 08-21-2018, 05:47 AM
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KDepew KDepew is offline
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I think it is mostly in the wrist. And a good grip...
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Old 08-21-2018, 08:53 AM
jwing jwing is offline
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Starting today, commit to playing with a closed hand. It may seem clumsy/inaccurate for a few weeks, but you will gain several benefits. BTW, closed hand does not mean clenched fist.

Also, while you don't want your forearm to be the main driver of your pick, you do want to avoid keeping your elbow rigidly locked. Do not plant your forearm or wrist on the guitar.

In addition to abducting and adducting, you should also be pronating and supinating your wrist.

I think that your observation that flatpickers do "not use finger movement at all and it is all in the wrist and the closed hand is very rigid" is inaccurate. Try to avoid rigidity in thought or action when playing guitar. Youtube has thousands of videos of people playing with rigidity, and you can clearly hear the detrimental effect that has on their music.
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Old 08-21-2018, 11:50 AM
SunnyDee SunnyDee is offline
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Just curious. When you say it's in the wrist, are you guys actually bending the wrist or are you rotating the forearm?
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Old 08-21-2018, 11:59 AM
HHP HHP is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SunnyDee View Post
Just curious. When you say it's in the wrist, are you guys actually bending the wrist or are you rotating the forearm?
You wouldn't rotate the forearm. The power is coming from the wrist moving vertical, perpendicular to the strings. The forearm only moves to position the wrist or, sometimes, to add extra power to the stroke in which case it is hinging up and down from the elbow.
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Old 08-21-2018, 12:08 PM
SunnyDee SunnyDee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HHP View Post
You wouldn't rotate the forearm. The power is coming from the wrist moving vertical, perpendicular to the strings. The forearm only moves to position the wrist or, sometimes, to add extra power to the stroke in which case it is hinging up and down from the elbow.
That's interesting. I don't really flat pick, but I definitely strum with my fingers by rotating my arm.

This guy talks about rotating the arm as an option. I can imagine it would be good for people who have any wrist problems.
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Last edited by SunnyDee; 08-21-2018 at 12:58 PM.
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  #9  
Old 08-21-2018, 12:14 PM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is offline
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Each person develops his/her own playing styole after a while and what it right for one isn't necessarily right for all, BUT - this little video I made a while about this may help :

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  #10  
Old 08-21-2018, 01:07 PM
jwing jwing is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HHP View Post
You wouldn't rotate the forearm. The power is coming from the wrist moving vertical, perpendicular to the strings. The forearm only moves to position the wrist or, sometimes, to add extra power to the stroke in which case it is hinging up and down from the elbow.
This is what works for me:
Pronate the forearm, slightly, on strumming upstrokes. This changes the timbre of the upstroke and creates a pulse within the music. Very important in most musc; essential in bluegrass. Also pronate at the end of a powerful down-strum in which the aim is to not hit strings 1 or 2.

Supinate the forearm, slightly, for some downstroke techniques such as double-down-up and sweeping. Supinate more drastically for palm muting.

This wrist/forearm rotation is combined with slight finger movement that is subconscious. Not moving your fingers for the minute adjustments is akin to flat-picking a melody from your elbow with a rigid wrist: it forces muscles to perform functions for which they are too big. Just like other tasks in life, it's all about using the right tool for the job.

Last edited by jwing; 08-21-2018 at 01:17 PM.
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  #11  
Old 08-21-2018, 01:24 PM
jwing jwing is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SunnyDee View Post
Just curious. When you say it's in the wrist, are you guys actually bending the wrist or are you rotating the forearm?
Google "wrist abduct/adduct". Look at the videos and/or diagrams. Repeat for "forearm pronate/supinate".

FYI, anytime that you come across a word or phrase that is unfamiliar, you can highlight it, right click, and choose "Search."
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Old 08-21-2018, 01:30 PM
SunnyDee SunnyDee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwing View Post
Google "wrist abduct/adduct". Look at the videos and/or diagrams. Repeat for "forearm pronate/supinate".

FYI, anytime that you come across a word or phrase that is unfamiliar, you can highlight it, right click, and choose "Search."

Ah, I see why you say this now. I do know the words. I just didn't see your post. Some people are saying they just move the wrist, and I was responding to that. Good tip about the right click, though. I didn't know that.
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  #13  
Old 08-21-2018, 02:33 PM
mr. beaumont mr. beaumont is offline
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I was a move the fingers guy for years, got quite good at it...big mistake...eventually you top out on speed and fatigue sets in quickly.

Wrist is where it's at...also, do NOT grip the pick too firmly, just tight enough so it doesn't go flying across the room. You want to keep that hand as relaxed as possible and let the weight of the hand do the work whenever possible...

Don't be like me! I'm currently relearning things after 27 years of bad habits...yuck.
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  #14  
Old 08-21-2018, 05:37 PM
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Combo platter. Whatever motion pivot point serves best.
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  #15  
Old 08-22-2018, 06:12 AM
jwing jwing is offline
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So, now that you have some opinions from the forumites, why not study the masters?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kMGwH5As72g

My favorite flatpicker, David Grier:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Bb7v33D3iE

No, this is my favorite flatpicker, Molly Tuttle:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=awFeDMNiKX4

Those are all from a guy named Troy Grady, who has over 100 similar videos on Youtube.
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