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My pick seems to have odeas of its own...

Michael BauerMichael Bauer Chicago, ILProdigy Selmers, Busatos and more…oh my!
edited June 2008 in Gypsy Picking Posts: 1,002
Michael, I'm not sure if this is the right forum for this, but I can't figure out a better place. You mention in Gypsy Picking that losing the pick at first is not altogether a bad sign. I had that problem, but I eventually got that under control and rarely lose the pick playing single notes. However, I had my first lesson with Wrembel last weekend, and he has me doing lots of rhythm exercises which are very good, but have brought with them a new problem. As I get up to faster (for me, medium for GJ) tempos, I find the pick wants to either move around in my hand, turning sideways, etc., or just launch itself into space suddenly. This happens more and more the closer I get to 200b.p.m., which is where I am stopping now. I won't see Stephane again for two more weeks, and I'd like to get this under control before the next lesson. Is this common for rhythm players? Gripping harder doesn't seem to help and only tenses my wrist up. I have actually considered using pine tar from my baseball bats to make the picks sticky. It's quite a trick turning the pick back incrementally at 200 b.p.m. when I feel it turning sideways. The cats, in particular, like the "flying pick" episodes, and have taken to gathering around while I play hoping to pounce on my Wegen as it sails forth!

Is this common to rhythm newbies? o I need to hold the pick differently for rhythm than I do for single notes. Playing GJ rhythm at loud volumes requires some reasonably violent contact on the even beats compared to the electric guitar world I come from. That's where the problem is. Any ideas, or do I just have to ride this out?
I've never been a guitar player, but I've played one on stage.


  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 6,048
    Hi Michael,

    I know that some people have problems holding onto the pick...I guess it has to with physiology and perspiration. I've never really had a problem with I can't give detailed info how to overcome it. the obvious suggestion is to use picks with grip grooves (like the wegen) or picks that have indentations for the thumb and index finger (Dugain or John Pearse).

    good luck...I think overtime this might just work its self out.

  • Michael BauerMichael Bauer Chicago, ILProdigy Selmers, Busatos and more…oh my!
    Posts: 1,002
    Thanks, Michael. I hope time takes care of it. It did with single notes. I do use the Wegen picks and have tried the 3.5, 5 and 7 mm versions hoping it would help. So far the thinner one seems to stay put the best. Part of this is probably my age and the fact that skin gets drier and more slippery with age. I've heard that other guys lose picks as well, and am just hoping that one of them figured out a solution.

    I just ran through those exercises (4 minutes each at ever increasing tempos), and it was much better...until I got to 200...then it all fell apart. Picks flying everywhere!!!

    I still may try pine tar. Problem is, once that stuff gets on the pick, it will never come off. Doesn't come off the hand easily either...
    I've never been a guitar player, but I've played one on stage.
  • pdaiglepdaigle Montreal, QCNew
    Posts: 233
    I was havng the same problrem (I actually hit Herve Gaguenetti with my pick when it went flying during a mastercalss!) and it is sorting itself out over time (it still moves a bit but doesn't fly around as much).

    One thing that helps it to use a pick with a rounder edge (or use a common Dunlop pick and play with one of the corners instead of the tip). The rounder edge glides more smoothly over the string and doesn't 'grab' as much.

    It is really a question of how you position your right hand and attack the strings more than how tight you hold on.
  • djangologydjangology Portland, OregonModerator
    Posts: 1,005
    i dont have a problem with this either but you should use "Gorilla Snot Musicians Gripping Resin" . dont use "pine tar"! LOL
  • BluesBop HarryBluesBop Harry Mexico city, MexicoVirtuoso
    Posts: 1,379
    You can also scratch the surface of your pick with the tip of a knife(carefully please!) to make it less slippery.
  • Michael BauerMichael Bauer Chicago, ILProdigy Selmers, Busatos and more…oh my!
    Posts: 1,002
    I actually have given some thought to sanding the Wegens on the gripping surfaces. I have some picks I found that have a groove for the finger underneath as well as a dimple for the thumb. One is rosewood, which would be easy to rough up. The ebony, bone, and horn ones might be a little tougher.

    It sounds like I am not the only one to have this problem, and I have to work through it, I guess. I make it up to about 160 bpm now before it really becomes a problem, but then it gets worse each time I crank the metronome. I'm sure a big part of it is my picking technique, which is still "under development".

    Gorilla Snot, eh? I thought at first this must be Emmet Ray's favorite brand, but I see that it really exists. I'll have to hunt for it. The problem with pine tar is that it is almost impossible to get off. There's a reason baseball players wear batting gloves...

    Thanks to all for your insights and suggestions.
    I've never been a guitar player, but I've played one on stage.
  • kerouackerouac Near LuxembourgNew
    Posts: 17

    a few months ago I had the same problem. My (Dunlop Stubby) pick made 360° circles while playing rhythm.

    Then I started to use the rounded edge of the pick, like pdaigle mentioned.

    The problem is gone and I think it gives a warmer tone for rhythm, instead of using the tip.
    kerouac...formerly known as SwingOpi.
  • campfirecampfire New
    Posts: 70
    Definitely try using the more rounded edge of your pick. Here's a suggestion: Take a fairly sharp nail or punch, a light hammer, and lightly stipple or matte the flat surfaces of your pick by gently tapping the nail with the hammer over the pick. It can be as dense or sparse as you like, and as rough or smooth, too. Just don't go too close to the edges- you don't want the strings catching on the stippling.

    Hope this helps, good luck!

    Larry (my personal jazz guitar website) (my gypsy-jazz website)
  • stublastubla Prodigy Godefroy Maruejouls
    Posts: 386
    It used to happen with me as well;i think this usually happens when,ironically,you grip the pick too hard
    Lollo told me to use only as much grip as is necessary to hold the pick
    I also find the moustache picks don't slip around as much as the wegens.
    My 2 pennies
  • rob.cuellarirob.cuellari ✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 114
    hey mike,

    i'm also a student of stephanes and i too have problems keeping grip on the pick. it was a real problem for me today and i think i found a solution. if you can get some sticky tack (that blue stuff to hang posters on walls etc...comes off easily) just put some on one or both sides of the pick. it comes right off the pick, and you won't destroy your wegen. i just thought of it today as today was the worst time the pick slipping affected my playing, so i will let you know in a few days if it is a significant help!

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