Learn To Play Guitar Efficiently - RH Techniques
Find Out How to Hold a Flat Pick and Play Efficiently
With this lessen we are going to concentrate on the correct right hand technique for playing with a pick, or as it is quite often referred to as the flatpick.
There are many minor mechanical adjustments that you can make when first learning to play the guitar.
It is imperative that you concentrate on the right adjustments early on so you do not have to break bad habits - which, unfortunately cause you to postpone the trip to your ultimate goal - playing fast and efficiently.
Learn to Play Guitar - Proper Grasp of the Flatpick
First - the correct way to grasp the flatpick:
- The pick is held firmly between the thumb and index finger of the right hand.
- Curl your index finger inward, toward the palm of your hand.
- Lay the pick over the first knuckle, pointing slightly toward the nail of your index finger.
- Place your thumb over the pick and align it with the index finger so about 1/3 of the point end of the pick is sticking out.
Learn to Play Guitar Efficiently: The Right Arm: The proper position of the right arm can vary slightly depending on the length of your arms, the body size of your guitar and your playing preferences.
Learn to Play Guitar - Proper Forearm Placement
Generally speaking, it is best to rest the underside of your forearm on the edge of the lower bout - right at the widest part, just where the top plate and the side meet.
Secondly, on an acoustic guitar with a soundhole, the proper picking location can vary slightly , depending of the tone flavor you desire. Most "sweet spots" for picking occur right around the backside of the soundhole.
Move toward the bridge and you will get a slightly more treble sound. Move slightly over the should hold and you will get more bass and a fuller sound.
When you are in the correct picking position, your hand and arm will form a nearly string line.
Do not turn or "cock" your hand downward at the wrist as this will place undue strain on your wrist joint.
A lot of players will lightly rest or "brush" the bottom pad of the palm of their hand on the bridge area for location purposes and stability.
This is OK and will not restrict free movement.
As you move from one string to another in your playing movement, your pivot point should be your forearm, where it makes contact with the guitar.
Pick the string with about 1/8" (or less) of the tip of the pick. If you use more of the pick, it will hang up on you.
Try to angle the pick about 10 degrees forward of parallel with the strings. This will keep the pick from hanging up on the strings and you will play with a slight edge of the pick.
Pick the string with minimum movement. No wasted movement here as this is one of the most critical measure to learn to play the guitar efficiently.
The less movement you use to pick a note the faster you can prepare to play the next note. This is especially true with Cross-picking, which we will cover in a later lesson.
- Anchoring the right hand firmly to the bridge or top of the guitar. This is a no no and you loose your fluid movement needed to attain speed and flexibility.
- Using too much motion when picking with the flatpick. This is very common for beginning guitar students. Work on only the minimum movement need to play the single note clearly. Naturally if you have to adjust your volume for a passage or a few notes, it will take slightly more movement to physically do this, but generally keep your pick movements minimal.
- Having your right arm angle down too severely toward the strings. If you are having problems with comfort with your right arm, try to raise the neck slightly to give you a more comfortable angle.
- Digging the pick in too deeply. Only pick with the tip of the pick. This will gain you the most speed
Learn to Play Guitar - Plant Finger On Top Style
Plant Finger Method: One alternative that you will see some flatpick guitarists use is to plant a right hand finger on the guitar top plate. This will usually be the pinky or possibly the pinky and ring finger together.
This method gives you power and control, but does restrict movement and some speed could be sacrificed. Usually this results from a guitar player having a banjo picking background, where this is the preferred style for the banjo. It is then translated to the guitar.
This isn't wrong and is used by some of the best flatpick guitarist's out there, but don't do it if you don't have to.
You will see many more of the best artists using a free-floating style as I indicated above, but just lightly brushing the bridge or bridge pins.
Learn to Play Guitar: Dan Crary Method: A few artists hold the guitar pick slightly different. Dan Crary for example, will turn the pick and play with the rounded edge rather than the pointy tip.
He gets more bass response using this method and a slightly slipperier picking method.
Learn to Play Guitar - Fingerpicking: This will be covered in an article on proper techniques used in fingerpicking with the right hand.