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Dobro Lessons: Pick Blocking

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Here's a lesson that's gonna demonstrate
a really important part of my playing and
it's pick blocking and so.
I actually, didn't really know what this
was until maybe five years ago,
but had been doing it and once I sort of
realized that I was doing it,
I sort of started to analyze this
technique, look a little bit more deeply
in to it, and realized how really
important it is for clean playing.
So what pick blocking is, is using your
right hand picks to mute strings
that you're not playing or that you don't
want to be ringing out.
So, the idea would be you would play a
note [SOUND] with the thumb, and
then just bring the thumb back onto that
string to mute it.
[SOUND] So I might,
you don't have to do that.
You can let everything ring, but if you
want clean playing, especially
single note playing, you wanna be able to
do this pick blocking technique.
So a good exercise to sort of practice
this is doing a roll,
like a forward and a reverse roll, using
the pick blocking.
So you're gonna play a note with your
thumb [SOUND] and
then place the thumb back down on the note
to mute it, and then you're gonna play
a note with your index finger [SOUND], and
then mute it with the same finger.
[SOUND] And really what I do is, when I
play this note,
[SOUND] I mute with the thumb at the same
time [SOUND] that I pluck the next note,
so that there's no noise.
So the moment I play a note,
the last finger goes down and mutes the
string before
so I play the high string and
the moment I play the second string
[SOUND], I mute the high string.
So the left hand just stays there.
It doesn't have to move.
You don't have to do anything special with
the bar.
All the muting gets done with the right
So you can hear, I'm playing a lotta
notes, but
there's not any notes ringing out that I
don't want to be ringing out.
So, it's a great way to really get con,
total control over what people are
hearing, and
what sound is coming out of the instrument
So it, it's not just great for rolls, but
in any kind of single note playing
So if I were to do that like there
you can as soon as I hit the second
string, I mute the top string.
If I go down to the third string,
I've got I've got the first and second
strings both muted.
you can practice it that way with maybe
even a couple chords.
And so this is always going on in my
playing and, and you don't wanna focus so
much on it that it's messing your playing
But just kinda keep it in mind, and you
can do some practice exercises for it.
Like I say, doing this roll is a good one.
But, this pick blocking technique is
really essential to getting a clean
So that's all using the pick blocking.
Now again it's something you don't want to
focus too
much on because if you're not already
doing pick blocking
it can be a little bit cumbersome to be
trying to focus on this all the time.
Just sort of keep it in mind and a lot of
times it, you'll sort of absorb
this kind of by osmosis, just if you think
about it before you begin to play and
maybe in just, you know, five or ten
minute intervals just say,
okay remember to play cleanly, try to pick
block, and
it'll probably come naturally along with
doing some of these exercises.
So what I’m gonna do is coming up I've got
a tune that's gonna demonstrate some of
these pick blocking techniques so you can
see it in action.