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  #16  
Old 08-22-2018, 02:26 PM
DesertTwang DesertTwang is offline
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I have studied flatpicking intensely for years, following Bryan Sutton's Flatpicking Guitar School on artistworks. I have also taken various workshops and summer camps, studying flatpicking technique with various instructors, including Steve Kaufman, Dan Miller, Tim May and Dan Crary.

While all of them may have subtle differences in their technique, they all agree on one thing: The flatpicking motion is to be effortless, without straining or locking any of the involved joints.

Bryan explains it best, in my opinion, by liking the picking arm to a pendulum that acts like a steadily pumping "flatpicking engine:" all parts, from the shoulder all the way to the hand, work together in an organic, relaxed fashion. Forearm rotation definitely is a part of that, as well as rotating the wrist, and ever so slight movements with your elbow.

Based on Bryan's teachings, to which I fully subscribe, there is not one part of the upper body that is not involved in some way, however small, in creating what he calls "flow and tone." Rather than consciously focusing on executing very defined movement with isolated parts of the picking arm, Bryan advocates a more holistic and organic approach that when done correctly, allows the whole body to be completely relaxed even when picking fast lead lines and generating a full tone.

One of my favorite examples of his philosophy is this: He says something like, Hold your pick like you hold a key. And just like you don't consciously think about how exactly you hold and turn the key when you open the door, rather than focusing consciously on how you grip the pick and move it, shift your focus to the objective of your movements — that is, opening the door = producing full, round tone while being fully relaxed.

Bryan also plays with an open hand, with his middle, ring and pinky fingers brushing the strings, but I have found that doesn't seem to work for me as well. I usually close my hand, but I am careful not to clench it.

The biggest no-no, according to Bryan, is planting your pinky or your wrist anywhere. There always should be an angle (however slight) between the guitar top and your picking hand; the two should never be parallel. That for me was the hardest part. I had always planted my wrist on the bridge as it gave me much more control over the pick compared to the more floating hand position. It took me about two years to unlearn that habit, but boy, what an improvement in terms of tone, relaxation and control.
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  #17  
Old 08-23-2018, 11:25 AM
BFD BFD is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DesertTwang View Post
I have studied flatpicking intensely for years, following Bryan Sutton's Flatpicking Guitar School on artistworks...Based on Bryan's teachings, to which I fully subscribe
Ditto & ditto . . . I'll let Bryan explain it:

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  #18  
Old 08-23-2018, 02:08 PM
simpl man simpl man is offline
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Here's a 3rd for subscribing to Bryan Sutton's technique, though it's not set in stone. He also encourages your own individual approach so long as it doesn't introduce unwanted tension or interfere with the big picture of what your trying to accomplish.
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