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KI4PRK - Posted - 11/05/2008:  10:01:40

Hey all: I'm new to the FPHO but I've spent my fair share of time on the banjo hangout. I'm pretty new to flatpicking, but I (think) I can play rhythm and I play 5 or 10 crosspicking breaks... I don't love nobody, cincinnati rag, jeruselem ridge, etc.

I've heard some people mention that flatpicking has a lot of pulloffs and hammerons. I almost never use them, occasionally slides. It's just up and down. I only go up the neck for Jeruselem ridge. Is this a pre-rice style?

Also, how should I hold my right hand? I pick about 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches from the bridge, I don't brace my hand but I do brace my arm against the guitar. All I have is some cheap crap classical guitar (I didn't choose it... it was my dad's) with a steel-reenforced neck strung with medium gauge steel string... when I pick a friends flattop, I don't brace my arm (I've heard that's a bad idea). Is there anything I should change?

Thanks all! 73, Brennen KI4PRK age 14

73, Brennen KI4PRK age 14

Blue Yodelin''

Chadtheguru - Posted - 11/05/2008:  10:27:10

I pick right at the bridge end of the sound hole. As far as whether to anchor your hand, the topic has been debated ad nauseum. Just do whatever's comfortable. Some say anchoring a finger inhibits speed, but of course, that is unfounded as many, many speedy pickers anchor a finger or something.

Hammer-ons and pull-offs are a matter of taste. For me and I'm sure many others, it is a matter of convenience. One less pick stroke each. Enhancing the sound of your break is a bonus. : )

What you should work on: rhythm with chord transitioning runs. Also/especially the G-run.

Fretmentor - Posted - 11/08/2008:  17:01:32

Brennen -

You don't mention whether or not you are a banjo student as well. Left hand technique such as using Hammer ons and pull-offs are common for banjo, mandolin adn guitar. I recommend you pay attention to learning how to play them.

Regarding how to use your picking hand, the previous poster is correct that the issue is debatable. As a teacher, I recommend that my students gently rest their pinky on the pick guard. Unlike the banjo, you do not have to anchor the pinky. However, touching the pinky to the pick guard of the guitar allows the student to accurately play each string. It also is useful for developing a steady rhythm. Some may say that speed is diminished. I suggest you check out videos of players like Tony Rice, Doc Watson, Chet Atkins and Tommy Emmanuel. Study how they use their picking hand.

All the best and good luck.


terrapin - Posted - 11/19/2008:  10:57:40

I usually rest my hand lightly right on top of the end pins on my bridge. There is definitely a sound difference because of it but I personally like it. There are a million ways to do it. Sometimes I try to play like Tony Rice in this video:

I like the way he does it because it seems like a much better and healthy angle for the wrist. My arm rests more on top of the guitar than on the end like his does and some days it makes my wrist ache a little(considering usually after 4 or so hours).

I remember when I was learning all the position stuff and how to hold the pick was really frustrating because it was hard to be consistent. Just hang in there and it will start to click before you even notice.

martinboy - Posted - 11/20/2008:  06:55:56

I brace when playing lead and don't when doing rhythm
it seems to give me more of a powerful sound that way.

terrapin - Posted - 11/20/2008:  12:17:05

Ya, that's what I do too. My arm is on the soundboard when I strum. Is there anyone out there that pulls their arm away from the soundboard? I know if you did there would be an increase in volume but it feels a little odd to me.

Flatpicker - Posted - 11/21/2008:  08:27:37

During a complicated lick, I'll place my pinky on the guitar. As far as where to pick, the bridge end of the sound hole it what I use a lot. But I do change where I play for different kinds of songs.


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