Pick or no pick?

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Thu Mar 01, 2012 11:06 am
by ForgottenLegacy • 5 Posts

For the last five years I've primarily played acoustic, finger picking. A few months ago I picked up an electric, and have been using a pick. I've doing some of the lessons, and the metronome exercises I can pick faster with my thumb than a pick. Should I just forget about the pick?

Also, I am self taught, and have never taken a formal lesson in my life. I've been ripping through the practice exercises a few hours a day, but I notice a burning pain on the top of my wrist. My fingers and hand are strong, but keeping my wrist bent with the thumb behind the neck is bringing on the pain. Will this pain go away? I notice it's only after I play, the next morning there is no lasting pain.

Last edited Thu Mar 01, 2012 11:09 am | Scroll up


RE: Pick or no pick?

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Thu Mar 01, 2012 2:52 pm
by tplu7234 • 39 Posts

It is better to have as many styles and techniques as possible rather than sticking to one method. It will make you a more versatile player, there are things you can do with a pick that you can not do with your fingers and vice versa. It will probably feel like you are starting guitar again when using a pick but stick with it and you will see its value.

As for your pain, I can not be sure whether that is serious or not. I believe only you would know how much is too much, so the best advice I can give is take extreme caution. Last thing you want is an overuse injury, it can and will stop you from playing guitar from an extended period (maybe forever if you are not careful). If I play for 5-6 hours I do get tired but I have never had a 'burning' pain.

I do notice you said that you keep your wrist 'bent'. If you look up the classical seating position and watch Pebber's videos you will notice only a very slight bend in his wrist, most of the time it is flat. This seating position protects the left hand wrist, the right arm shoulder and your general posture. If you are self taught you might be taking a few short cuts or you may be unaware as to what is good/bad/dangerous guitar technique. Are you using the correct seating position? Ask your teacher about it in lessons.

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RE: Pick or no pick?

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Thu Mar 01, 2012 7:52 pm
by ForgottenLegacy • 5 Posts

I appreciate the reply. I don't have a teacher to ask, but I've tried holding the guitar in various positions. I once had tendonitis in my right elbow, and the pain in my wrist is totally different, however it is a different part of the body. I have a short pinkie, and I think i've been taking it too far as in, finger tips not pads. When I get to the low e/a string, my wrist is bent when using my pinkie. I think I'm just too determined to use the tip of my finger just under the nail, nowhere near the pad. I normally practice at least 4hours a day, and the pain didn't show up until about the 3rd hour, when I was really ripping through the chromatic/ladder exercises. Being self taught, I've always played with my thumb wherever it was comfortable, so I guess you can call that a shortcut. I am mostly a blues/classic rock player so usually its towards the top or over the top, but I'm seeing the benfit of the classical position. I truly beleive it will make me a more versitile player.

As for the pick, I will persevere. I notice a definite improvement from before, and I will work hard on it. And I thank you Pebber for sharing your knowledge with the world.

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RE: Pick or no pick?

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Thu Mar 01, 2012 8:25 pm
by tplu7234 • 39 Posts

Not sure if you realise, but I am not Pebber Brown...just someone who posts on the forum.

If you are doing the chromatic scale (or any scale for that matter) use the classical position. By the sounds of things you are doing most of these exercises with your guitar on your right leg, keep that up and you will put yourself in a lot of pain. Your practice needs to be done with the best technique possible, so get a stool for your left leg or a guitar strap and get that guitar neck up. You have had tendonitis before, is that guitar related? Anyway you will know very well the pain and trouble that can cause, if that happens to your wrist then you know it will be a massive issue, so try not to bend the wrist when playing guitar.

I think we all have short pinkies so we need to compensate by giving ourselves the best seating position so all of our fingers are able to reach the fretboard. I play rock and blues music myself, but when it comes to practice (scales in particular) I always practice using the best seating position possible. It is not just to avoid injury, but to develop our technique. If you only use 2-3 fingers you will not develop the others, you want your pinky to be up to scratch with the rest.

The thumb is also extremely important. It must be in the middle of the neck, if you play all 4 fingers across 4 adjacent frets then your thumb should basically be in line with your second/middle finger. Again, I know that rock/blues players have that habit of resting it up on top of the neck but remember what I said about using all the fingers evenly. If your thumb is in the middle of the neck then you will be able to stretch your fingers much further than you would with any other thumb position, and that gives you the best opportunity to develop all our fingers, especially the weak pinky. If you are practicing, put your thumb in the middle of the neck.

Pebber has a huge amount of videos on picking technique, just spool through his youtube channel and you will find them.

Also, you said you were doing 'lessons' in your first post? Did you mean 'exercises'? I thought that by 'lessons' you meant you had a teacher, so on to my next piece of advice: get yourself a good teacher. Even 10x30 minute lessons with a classical guitar teacher will change your playing, they will show you proper technique. It will be up to you to be honest with yourself and keep at it but a quality teacher will put you on the right track.

So then, the main points:

- Classical seating position
- Thumb in the middle of the neck
- Get a teacher

Hope this helps.

Last edited Thu Mar 01, 2012 8:27 pm | Scroll up


RE: Pick or no pick?

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Thu Mar 01, 2012 9:02 pm
by ForgottenLegacy • 5 Posts

I know you are not Pebber. By lessons, I'm talking about Pebbers youtube vids, mostly the multi part daily practice one. I know classical seating position, tomorrow I will spend my entire practice in that position and see if it helps. I'm not going to get a teacher as I cannot afford one, which is pretty much the reason I study Pebbers vids. I mentioned in my original post that i've never had a proper guitar lesson, I basically made up my own practice routines. Not being able to afford lessons is pathetic, I know, and I'm nearly 30, but I have gotten pretty far on my own so far. My left hand and fingers are strong, I've been playing acoustic for the past 5 years, and it just beefed up my left hand. I just got bored of playing acoustic and put it down, I did have an electric before that though. Stamina is not a problem, my technique is what needs work, especially my right hand with picking ect. But also left hand/finger position. My fingers didn't hurt after 4 hours, my wrist did.

The injury to my left elbow (tendonitis) was not guitar related. I do appreciate the advise though, thank you.

Last edited Thu Mar 01, 2012 9:03 pm | Scroll up


RE: Pick or no pick?

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Thu Mar 01, 2012 10:12 pm
by pebberbrown • 926 Posts

The pain! OWWWW!!!! No good man!!! What you have to do is practice in front of a mirror and tilt the neck up like Randy Rhoads so you can get the classical form without the "swan" wrist! The swan wrist will give you carpal tunnel syndrome and can also give you tendonitis - all of that can be avoided by FLATTENING out the wrist as much as possible. The advice left here by all the guys is very good and accurate! This is why I have a FORUM and no longer private email (I wouldnt be able to respond for days and days anyway to a priovate email and this way all the guys can jump in and get you going much faster). Thanks GUYS!


Last edited Thu Mar 01, 2012 10:13 pm | Scroll up


RE: Pick or no pick?

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Thu Mar 01, 2012 10:57 pm
by tplu7234 • 39 Posts


Sorry about the misunderstanding, but do not be let down if you cannot afford a teacher. There are other resources like the internet and books which help massively, when you are not playing just read away. But like I said, even a handful of lessons with an experienced teacher will help you technique wise, just keep that in mind for down the track.

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RE: Pick or no pick?

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Fri Mar 02, 2012 8:03 am
by ForgottenLegacy • 5 Posts

Ok today I will practice in front of the mirror. Thank you for the advice.

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RE: Pick or no pick?

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Sat Mar 03, 2012 8:20 pm
by ForgottenLegacy • 5 Posts

Classical seating position seems to be helping, as well as looking in the mirror to see when my wrist was swan shaped. Thanks.

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