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  #1  
Old 01-24-2019, 10:30 AM
Tnfiddler Tnfiddler is offline
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Default To brace or not to brace

After 13 years of playing rhythm, I just started down the flatpicking highway! I'm really liking it so far and I'm starting out on fiddle tunes tabs. My question is this. I've always let my middle, ring and pinkie finger on my pick hand hang down while I'm playing and I've seen several flatpicking lesson videos and they recommend not to do this. They say to make a fist with your pick hand and hold the pick that way. I'm working hard on doing that, but it's way different. They said letting your fingers hang down is called bracing, even though I don't really use them to brace on the top of the guitar. What is the preferred, or shall I say, the best or most efficient way to hold your pick when flatpicking?
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Old 01-24-2019, 10:38 AM
Monsoon1 Monsoon1 is offline
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As it happens, I brace with my pinky. It let's me do a much better job of picking, but not as good of a job at strumming. And fwiw, I don't brace for finger picking.
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Old 01-24-2019, 10:41 AM
D41Fan D41Fan is offline
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I try to follow Molly Tuttles approach.. She doesn't let her fingers hang down but not everyone can do that.. It depends what most is comfortable for you.
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Old 01-24-2019, 10:42 AM
Glennwillow Glennwillow is offline
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I guess I do this bracing thing when holding a flat pick. I have never been comfortable making a fist while holding a flat pick. Some people seem to be able to do it naturally, but making a fist does not work well with me. I want to control how close my pick is to the strings and making a fist takes up room between the pick and the strings. I dislike where my pick ends up over the strings when making a fist.

I wouldn't argue about what is correct, but plenty of good players use a flat pick without making a fist.

- Glenn
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Old 01-24-2019, 10:50 AM
Moocheng Moocheng is offline
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fingers hang down, as primarily a finger picker I like the option to use hybrid when flat picking
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Old 01-24-2019, 10:55 AM
Tnfiddler Tnfiddler is offline
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I'm struggling with the whole fist thing. It just seems weird to me!
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Old 01-24-2019, 10:56 AM
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packmule packmule is offline
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Billy Strings holds the pick with a more open hand vs. a fist:

https://youtu.be/OQv81UrNe7g
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Old 01-24-2019, 11:44 AM
Tnfiddler Tnfiddler is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by packmule View Post
Billy Strings holds the pick with a more open hand vs. a fist:

https://youtu.be/OQv81UrNe7g
He's one of the best IMO and seems to be bracing with his pinkie finger when doing his flatpicking runs.
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Old 01-24-2019, 11:51 AM
AndrewG AndrewG is offline
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Just because someone on youtube picks like that there's no reason to struggle to emulate. Play whichever way feels most comfortable. I brace my pinky when flatpicking.
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Old 01-24-2019, 11:55 AM
Tnfiddler Tnfiddler is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndrewG View Post
Just because someone on youtube picks like that there's no reason to struggle to emulate. Play whichever way feels most comfortable. I brace my pinky when flatpicking.
I've been watching the Lessons with Marcel channel as he really puts out some GREAT bluegrass flatpicking lessons. He recommends it for speed, but it doesn't feel natural to me. I'll continue to watch his lessons for the tablature and such, but play how I've played since the beginning and it'll be what it is.
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  #11  
Old 01-25-2019, 01:25 AM
ancient tones ancient tones is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tnfiddler View Post
I've been watching the Lessons with Marcel channel as he really puts out some GREAT bluegrass flatpicking lessons. He recommends it for speed, but it doesn't feel natural to me. I'll continue to watch his lessons for the tablature and such, but play how I've played since the beginning and it'll be what it is.
I would say try the more unnatural techniques that feel awkward at first. As one teacher told me "you will need the extra efficiency that this tecnique will give you when you learn to play faster." Many times in a fast tune I revert to doing whatever I can.

I play in a few jams. A slower jam is ideal for using strict technique on both hands as well as practicing runs and fills and bass note selection.
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Old 02-12-2019, 11:48 AM
Grun'n Grun'n is offline
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I'm a few weeks late to this. I see no shame in bracing.
as far holding the pick goes..I often like holding it at a slightly upward angle instead of a downward angle. so if your looking down at your picking hand the right side of your pick strikes the string on a downward pick and the left side on an upward pick.opposite of what iv always been told and read but it helped my timing and tone and it just feels right for me...could be steering you wrong but just something else to consider while your experimenting with your flat picking. have fun finding what works best for you
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Old 02-12-2019, 01:40 PM
BFD BFD is offline
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There's plenty to learn from Youtube. What's the point of education anyway? Check out some of the masters & see what you can assimilate.
Bryan
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oWaWxcW6x8I
Norman
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-IsfrOitaE8
Tony
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9JFgC3Ub10E
Doc
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31Smake_dLU
Courtney
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qwn8e3d9OKU
Molly
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzeKM_lyQI4
Billy
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-IGfhpp8zuo
Critter
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jAJ3muuplbE
- Plenty more where these came from...
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Old 02-12-2019, 03:33 PM
Denny B Denny B is offline
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I've only been playing about as long as I've been on this forum, and one of the first things I found I had to let go of was my idea that there was only one right way to play...

Every flat picker I enjoy listening to and watching plays differently, and they all get the job done...

I kept an open mind, tried about every style of grip and hand position I observed, and it didn't take long to settle in to what works for me...and while I admire a lot of talented players, I sure don't worry that I don't pick like "so and so"... hey, just a few years ago, I couldn't even pick like "me"...
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Last edited by Denny B; 02-12-2019 at 08:29 PM. Reason: typo
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