Pick Practice

I know, two posts in one night! This is a quickie though, guys. I was sitting here practicing working with a pick and it dawned on me, ‘hey, you know, in between all the posts about poetry, and photos, and the recent festival, I don’t think I’ve actually posted that I’m making progress on manipulating a pick.

Mind, it’s nothing to write home about just yet, but I’m finally holding it the normal way without it turning around on me, or dropping it, or you know, using the cats for accidental target practice. (Kidding, I was never THAT bad off!)

This is one of those classic cases where people can tell you over and over again how to go about it, just exactly what your hand needs to do, but you’re inevitably going to THINK you’re doing exactly what all the lessons say, until you ACTUALLY do it, and then you realize, in some difficult to quantify way, you totally haven’t been doing it according the the lessons at all, since just the tiniest shift is a whole different ballgame.

In my case, I think my first clumsy instincts where to:

  1. Hold the pick at a right angle to the strings. It didn’t matter how many times I read that it wasn’t right, or how many times I thought I corrected myself. My hand inevitably fell back to this straight attack once I got rolling, and that would cause the pick to catch on the strings. So I would start off right, but bungle it after a few strums.
  2. Keep my wrist dead straight. Really, the twisting movement of the wrist is…hm…I’m not quite sure how to describe it other than to say that if you can imagine yourself playing air violin, it seems to be a bit like that, that swaying motion. I still have to think about it to remember to kind of…swing it. This seems to help maintain the proper pick angle without ending up looking like I’m trying to chop wood.

Here’s where it gets funny, because when I play without a pick, #2 is sort of instinctive, but the second I also have to hold something, I would get so fixated on the holding part that things go awry.

And, what’s also funny is I know I’ve pointed out both of these things before, but knowing them with my head, and knowing them with my hands, are not quite the same thing. My hands are starting to catch on, though, as long as I continue to drill it for a few minutes a day.

Granted, my pick skills still need gobs of work, and I’m still significantly slower and clumsier with one than without, but I have been practicing, and things are coming along.

(BTW, yes, I am totally in my pajamas. And, no, I don’t care.)

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