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How do I best hold my picking hand?


OmniShift
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I've been playing for a while now, but I sometimes come across a problem with my picking hand. I play with a closed hand and the pick between my thumb and the joint of my index finger. When I play intensely like that, though, I strum the outer side of the joints of my index en middle finger over the strings, which after an hour or so becomes red or the skin gets loose. At this point I obviously decide I've played enough, but I would like to prevent this problem.

 

So I would like suggestions on what I could best do about this. Should I try to change the shape of my picking hand, hold my pick differently, simply practice a lot with holding my hand further away from the strings, or something else?

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Well if it hurts it cant be right. Have you tried to play like giving the OK sign? Thats usually the most common strumming hand position.

 

Edit: you can let your pinky finger lightly touch/anchor on the mounting rim of the bridge pickup. If a song gets faster you let the pinky go from the bridge pickup.

 

It depends a lot on what type song you play, based on that you adapt to it.

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I agree.  For me, the "OK" hand formation works the best.  I know RS recommends a "loose fist" but everybody is different.

 

I make the "OK" with my thumb and index, and leave the rest of my hand open and loose.  It helps for playing fast progressions with power chords because you can anchor your hand by putting your pinkie (and sometimes ring) finger on the body of the guitar just under the strings.

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I had this problem too when I started playing, I'm picking with a closed hand too. In my case though the problems went away with my skin around the knuckles hardening from playing, much like the skin on the tips of the fretting fingers at start. I guess it took about 4 months for it to feel completely ok playing.

 

The "ok" shape always felt too loose for me, so I stuck with the closed hand and got used to it.

 

But of course, if you feel like you're not getting used to it at all and it feels really bad you might want to look at your technique.

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If your knuckles are hitting the string, then you're coming in at the wrong angle. Your hand/arm should be parallel to the strings, the pick should be perpendicular - there shouldn't any contact with your hand to the strings (other than palm muting). Also, playing at the wrong angle can make a huge difference in tone -- check it out for yourself. Try picking at various angles. Perpendicular will give you the richest, fullest sound.

 

Check your shoulder and elbow alignment, the problem is probably starting from there. Also: are you playing standing or sitting? What kind of guitar? Maybe you're wearing it too low -- try raising it up a little (you can lower it down again later).

 

An open hand serves as a counterweight while you're playing -- it'll actually help you build speed and rhythm, not to mention it makes it easier to anchor with your pinky when you need to.

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For as far as I can tell, my hand comes in pretty much parallel to the strings. I hold my pick deliberately at different angles for different parts. For example with tremolo's, I hold my pick at a big angle which makes it easier to keep the rhythm. Basically, the faster the same string has to be picked, the higher the angle. I always play sitting and use a Tanglewood TSB 62 strato.

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