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Electric Country Guitar Lessons: Holding The Pick

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This page contains a transcription of a video lesson from Country Guitar with Guthrie Trapp. This is only a preview of what you get when you take Electric Country Guitar Lessons at ArtistWorks. The transcription is only one of the valuable tools we provide our online members. Sign up today for unlimited access to all lessons, plus submit videos to your teacher for personal feedback on your playing.

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[MUSIC]
Okay, in the previous lesson we
talked about right hand position.
And we even played along together and
hit the high E string and got that going.
So now, if that felt awkward in any way,
I wanna talk to you about
the way I hold the pick.
And some different techniques that you can
use for different sounds with this, and
what I prefer.
Basically, I'm using a medium pick.
And what I like is a pick that
has the nice rounded edges.
You can tell with some picks they have
a hard edge on the way they press them.
And to me that sounds harsh and
is undesirable.
So what I like is a nice, like a Fender
style pick with a nice smooth edge on it.
And most people hold the pick with
the pointed edge down like this.
But I learned a long time ago that if you
hold the pick with the soft edge out,
where you're striking the string with the
soft edge, it produces a much warmer tone.
And I really like that, so
that's how I hold the pick,
with this edge striking the string.
And you wanna hold the pick in
a way like almost like you're
holding an insect without killing it.
You're wanting to hold it tight
enough to where it doesn't fall
out of your hand obviously, but
loose enough to where you're not stiff or
really squeezing too hard.
And really,
one word I can think of that I'll
keep repeating myself through all
these lessons is gonna be to relax.
And this should feel really natural and
super relaxed.
And like I was saying,
I mean you just wanna hold this in
a way to where it's comfortable.
I take my, if I had to describe it,
I take my hand,
lay the pick on the first finger and then
just close your thumb right down on it.
Then I like to let about that much,
if you can see this,
about that much pick sticking out.
You don't wanna whole lot or
you're gonna get
a real pick noise sound like
[MUSIC].
You don't want that, you wanna nice
[MUSIC]
a nice even tone.
You don't wanna hear,
the pick is just to activate the string,
to get the sound happening,
you don't wanna hear the pick noise.
So in my opinion,
that's the right way to hold the pick.
I mean, it's just a relaxed feel.
But tight enough to wear obviously,
the pick doesn't fall out to your hands.
And as we progress into these lessons,
there's certain times that you'll feel
if you're digging into the string.
Your right hand will naturally,
the tension will increase on the pick.
If you're playing harder,
this will naturally,
you'll squeeze a little bit more.
But most of the time it's
just a super relaxed feel.
I wanna talk about striking
the string as well.
When I strike the string,
I'm thinking of this soft edge,
is almost like the fingernail and
the meat of my finger plucking the string.
So, like what I was saying
earlier about the rounded edge,
it produces a really nice tone.
So this is what this sounds like when you
strike the string
[MUSIC].
Versus if you use the point
[MUSIC].
That's a lot brighter and to me
the rounded edge sounds a lot better.
So when you strike the string,
[MUSIC]
you wanna pull the tone, in a way,
out of this guitar.
So, you don't wanna hit
the string too hard or
you're gonna get this effect
[MUSIC].
It's just gonna sound bad.
So, you wanna pull the tone out.
You're just gonna,
you wanna strike the string in a way
[MUSIC]
to where it almost rolls off the edge of
this pick.
And that's to me,
gives you this nice sound
[MUSIC].
It's just a nice even, warm tone.
And that even works with when
we progress into these lessons,
we'll go to different pickups.
And it'll have the same effect, so
that's the way I like to hold the pick.
[MUSIC]