pick hits top of guitar on downstroke

edited February 2010 in Gypsy Picking Posts: 25
Great books, Michael!
I believe I may have an issue, and I'm trying to figure it out.
I thought i've had my entire right arm/wrist/hand/fingers/pick in the proper positions,
but when downstroking the high E at (near) 45degree angle with a wide follow through as suggested, my pick hits the body of the guitar. Is this unnatural? So, even though my pick is angled down, should i not be picking down...i.e. should the movement of the pick still be parallel to the body of the guitar? perhaps my positioning is incorrect, and I may to change, so as not to build on bad habits...
I've also found that if I really "choke up" on the pick, where the inside of my first joint of my thumb is literally in the indentation on the wegen, i seem to have more control of that with lead playing, but it feels pretty unnatural for rythym playing.
However, with chocking up on the pick, it ends up straightening my wrist out to where i don't have that 30degree broken wrist thing happening.
I have a feeling I'll be sending over some pics soon.
Any feedback is greatly appreciated.


  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 6,154
    Hi Jeremy,

    What kind of guitar are you using? Guitars that have little top arch/neck angle (like the Gitane DG-255) will restrict your follow through because the strings are a lot closer to the top. Less of a problem on guitars with more neck angle like Favinos, etc.

    If you let your fingers graze the top while you're playing then they will act like a shock absorber and should keep your pick from hitting the top.

    Good Luck!

  • Posts: 25
    well i'm playing a dell arte sweet chorus.
    i'm grazing my knuckles on the strings a bit as well as on the top of the guitar....
    is it unheard of to be hitting the guitar with the pick?
  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 6,154
    I believe the Sweet Chorus has a pretty shallow neck angle which would exacerbate this problem.

    Anyway, you should be able to train your hand to avoid hitting the top....just takes practice.

  • Posts: 25
    will do.
    thanks a bunch.
  • cantzoncantzon Jeju Do, South KoreaNew
    Posts: 90
    I see quite a number of guitars with pick wear on the lower portion of the guitar. And there's also that thing... "a pickguard" on most acoustics. Having said that, I've never really understood how players manage to hit their picks there. I don't come anywhere close. If I let someone use my guitar and they did that I'd never let them play it gain.

    Anyway, check out the photos of some of the older gypsy guitars here at Djangobooks. You'll see some pick wear/damage.
  • Posts: 25
    That's actually a good point. Wille Nelson's guitar comes to mind....
    I have a lot of guitars, and don't ever hit the body with the pick on any others besides my (ironically) most expensive one, the dell arte, but I think that's because my hand/picking is different than when i sit down for the GJ stuff. The angle of the pick almost seems conducive to hitting the guitar every now and again...I'm just trying to make sure I'm not doing it wrong...
    Thanks for the input!
  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 6,154
    Most "pick wear" on Gypsy guitars is not actually caused by the pick, but rather by the fingers of the right hand rubbing against the top.
  • Posts: 25
    yea, i just thought of that after i posted. I develop a "dirty spot" on my guitar in that area.
    so i guess i'm back to square one with this..
  • perhpas more of an arched wrist and wrist roll so you are strumming in pretty much the same plane as the strings.
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • BluesBop HarryBluesBop Harry Mexico city, MexicoVirtuoso
    Posts: 1,379
    This used to happen a lot to me in the beginning...
    It went away on it's own over time, switching to a thinner pick helped. If you don't anchor your extra fingers on the top and/or if you pick really hard it's more likely to happen.
    I've seen, and heard, a lot of players hitting the top, I was proud of a couple of pick-dents Andreas Oberg made on my Gitane when he played it at a jam in a Djangofest.
    Not everyone's pick goes that far but if you look closely on the tops of some guitars you can clearly see the dents a pick makes along with the "dirty spot" caused by the brushing of the fingers.
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