Flatpicking problem

Guitar Tricks Forum > Technique and Style > Flatpicking problem

snpfarm

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Joined: 07/16/21

Posts: 35

I have small hands which equals short fingers....all of which I guess would have nothing to do with flatpicking but here's my problem. While picking a melody or a lead on an acoustic Ive seen folks kinda rest their middle finger, ring finger and pinky on the pickgaurd while plucking the strings. I do that as well and it feels comfortable but my issue is that I end up muting the strings with the bottom part of my hand (portion under my pinky). Not everytime but enough to tick me off..lol. Hope that makes sense. Ive tried keeping my fingers curled up and off the pickgaurd but that really doesnt feel natural. Any thoughts?

This trying to get my left hand and right hand to work together is driving me crazy!

#1

I have small hands which equals short fingers....all of which I guess would have nothing to do with flatpicking but here's my problem. While picking a melody or a lead on an acoustic Ive seen folks kinda rest their middle finger, ring finger and pinky on the pickgaurd while plucking the strings. I do that as well and it feels comfortable but my issue is that I end up muting the strings with the bottom part of my hand (portion under my pinky). Not everytime but enough to tick me off..lol. Hope that makes sense. Ive tried keeping my fingers curled up and off the pickgaurd but that really doesnt feel natural. Any thoughts?

This trying to get my left hand and right hand to work together is driving me crazy!

ChristopherSchlegel

Guitar Tricks Instructor

Joined: 08/09/05

Posts: 7308

Originally Posted by: snpfarm
While picking a melody or a lead on an acoustic Ive seen folks kinda rest there middle finger, ring finger and pinky on the pickgaurd while plucking the strings.

I've seen players do that. But I also have small hands so I typically anchor my arm on the body of the guitar & my picking hand side of my palm on the bridge (& strings when more muting is required). It gives me wider range of motion along with more control with my playing style which is mostly getting across the plane of the strings from my wrist.

Have you tried that?

Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

Christopher Schlegel Lesson Directory

#2

Originally Posted by: snpfarm
While picking a melody or a lead on an acoustic Ive seen folks kinda rest there middle finger, ring finger and pinky on the pickgaurd while plucking the strings.

I've seen players do that. But I also have small hands so I typically anchor my arm on the body of the guitar & my picking hand side of my palm on the bridge (& strings when more muting is required). It gives me wider range of motion along with more control with my playing style which is mostly getting across the plane of the strings from my wrist.

Have you tried that?

Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

Christopher Schlegel Lesson Directory

snpfarm

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Joined: 07/16/21

Posts: 35

Originally Posted by: ChristopherSchlegel
Originally Posted by: snpfarm
While picking a melody or a lead on an acoustic Ive seen folks kinda rest there middle finger, ring finger and pinky on the pickgaurd while plucking the strings.

.... I typically anchor my arm on the body of the guitar & my picking hand side of my palm on the bridge...

Have you tried that?

No, but I will.

This trying to get my left hand and right hand to work together is driving me crazy!

#3

Originally Posted by: ChristopherSchlegel
Originally Posted by: snpfarm
While picking a melody or a lead on an acoustic Ive seen folks kinda rest there middle finger, ring finger and pinky on the pickgaurd while plucking the strings.

.... I typically anchor my arm on the body of the guitar & my picking hand side of my palm on the bridge...

Have you tried that?

No, but I will.

This trying to get my left hand and right hand to work together is driving me crazy!

snpfarm

Full Access

Joined: 07/16/21

Posts: 35

Originally Posted by: snpfarm
Originally Posted by: ChristopherSchlegel
Originally Posted by: snpfarm
While picking a melody or a lead on an acoustic Ive seen folks kinda rest there middle finger, ring finger and pinky on the pickgaurd while plucking the strings.

.... I typically anchor my arm on the body of the guitar & my picking hand side of my palm on the bridge...

Have you tried that?

No, but I will.

Ok Chris I gave it a shot and it worked. It'll take some getting used to but I can do that. I do have a question or concern. Isn't it better to hit the strings over the sound hole to get the best sound? When I placed my palm on the bridge as you suggested I'm hitting the strings behind the sound hole...giving it a little twangy sound....not sure if thats a good description...its a different sound nonetheless.

This trying to get my left hand and right hand to work together is driving me crazy!

#4

Originally Posted by: snpfarm
Originally Posted by: ChristopherSchlegel
Originally Posted by: snpfarm
While picking a melody or a lead on an acoustic Ive seen folks kinda rest there middle finger, ring finger and pinky on the pickgaurd while plucking the strings.

.... I typically anchor my arm on the body of the guitar & my picking hand side of my palm on the bridge...

Have you tried that?

No, but I will.

Ok Chris I gave it a shot and it worked. It'll take some getting used to but I can do that. I do have a question or concern. Isn't it better to hit the strings over the sound hole to get the best sound? When I placed my palm on the bridge as you suggested I'm hitting the strings behind the sound hole...giving it a little twangy sound....not sure if thats a good description...its a different sound nonetheless.

This trying to get my left hand and right hand to work together is driving me crazy!

ChristopherSchlegel

Guitar Tricks Instructor

Joined: 08/09/05

Posts: 7308

Originally Posted by: snpfarm
I gave it a shot and it worked. It'll take some getting used to but I can do that. I do have a question or concern.

Good deal!

Originally Posted by: snpfarm
Isn't it better to hit the strings over the sound hole to get the best sound?

It depends on what kind of timbre you want. Playing closer to the bridge does produce more treble & less bass (twangy). When I want more bass or to play notes on the lower strings I move my hand a bit off the bridge to rest on the body of the guitar above the bass strings. So my arm is still anchored on the guitar body.

And I've worked on technique enough so that I can play accurately with my hand freely strumming over any area of the strings.

Keep working on it! Hope that helps!

Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

Christopher Schlegel Lesson Directory

#5

Originally Posted by: snpfarm
I gave it a shot and it worked. It'll take some getting used to but I can do that. I do have a question or concern.

Good deal!

Originally Posted by: snpfarm
Isn't it better to hit the strings over the sound hole to get the best sound?

It depends on what kind of timbre you want. Playing closer to the bridge does produce more treble & less bass (twangy). When I want more bass or to play notes on the lower strings I move my hand a bit off the bridge to rest on the body of the guitar above the bass strings. So my arm is still anchored on the guitar body.

And I've worked on technique enough so that I can play accurately with my hand freely strumming over any area of the strings.

Keep working on it! Hope that helps!

Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

Christopher Schlegel Lesson Directory

artempav1603

Registered User

Joined: 10/11/21

Posts: 1

The plectrum of choice was called a "flat pick" or "straight pick." They devised the "flatpick" term in order to distinguish their technique from "fingerstyle" players who used finger picks, thumb picks, or bare fingers to pick the guitar's strings.

SkylightPaycard

#6

The plectrum of choice was called a "flat pick" or "straight pick." They devised the "flatpick" term in order to distinguish their technique from "fingerstyle" players who used finger picks, thumb picks, or bare fingers to pick the guitar's strings.

SkylightPaycard

DraconusJLM

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Joined: 06/21/21

Posts: 132

I mostly hit the strings somewhere between the bridge and sound hole when playing acoustic guitar, mainly because I prefer the sound.

I also tend to rest my pinky on the scratch plate if flatpicking, but never when strumming chords.

I suspect trying to play directly over the sound hole might have been one of the main causes of your initial problem.

There's a lot to learn to play 'properly' when starting, and then you'll be able to have lots of fun finding interesting ways to bend, or even break, the 'rules' to get the results you're aiming for.

Six strings, but only four fingers. Twelve simi-tones, but only eight notes to an octive. Part of me thinks mathematicians should steer well clear of guitars.....

#7

I mostly hit the strings somewhere between the bridge and sound hole when playing acoustic guitar, mainly because I prefer the sound.

I also tend to rest my pinky on the scratch plate if flatpicking, but never when strumming chords.

I suspect trying to play directly over the sound hole might have been one of the main causes of your initial problem.

There's a lot to learn to play 'properly' when starting, and then you'll be able to have lots of fun finding interesting ways to bend, or even break, the 'rules' to get the results you're aiming for.

Six strings, but only four fingers. Twelve simi-tones, but only eight notes to an octive. Part of me thinks mathematicians should steer well clear of guitars.....

snpfarm

Full Access

Joined: 07/16/21

Posts: 35

Originally Posted by: DraconusJLM

There's a lot to learn to play 'properly' when starting, and then you'll be able to have lots of fun finding interesting ways to bend, or even break, the 'rules' to get the results you're aiming for.

DraconusJLM,

Thanks for the info. I've been playing off and on since I was a teen and Im 56 now. Ive decided no more "off" instead it will be all "on". Ive learned a lot over the years. Unfortunetly a lot of what I learned, I learned it wrong. Now I'm trying to do it right!

This trying to get my left hand and right hand to work together is driving me crazy!

#8

Originally Posted by: DraconusJLM

There's a lot to learn to play 'properly' when starting, and then you'll be able to have lots of fun finding interesting ways to bend, or even break, the 'rules' to get the results you're aiming for.

DraconusJLM,

Thanks for the info. I've been playing off and on since I was a teen and Im 56 now. Ive decided no more "off" instead it will be all "on". Ive learned a lot over the years. Unfortunetly a lot of what I learned, I learned it wrong. Now I'm trying to do it right!

This trying to get my left hand and right hand to work together is driving me crazy!

DraconusJLM

Full Access

Joined: 06/21/21

Posts: 132

Originally Posted by: snpfarm
Originally Posted by: DraconusJLM

There's a lot to learn to play 'properly' when starting, and then you'll be able to have lots of fun finding interesting ways to bend, or even break, the 'rules' to get the results you're aiming for.

DraconusJLM,

Thanks for the info. I've been playing off and on since I was a teen and Im 56 now. Ive decided no more "off" instead it will be all "on". Ive learned a lot over the years. Unfortunetly a lot of what I learned, I learned it wrong. Now I'm trying to do it right!

Been there, done that.... I was amazed how many bad habits I had picked up over the years (and how much effort it takes to break them). I sometimes envy beginners in this age of internet video tuition.

I was thinking more along the lines of rules such as keeping your first finger joint at close to 90 degrees from the fretboard to avoid muting adjacent strings... Except when breaking this 'rule' to purposely mute them to give a more interesting voicing.

Six strings, but only four fingers. Twelve simi-tones, but only eight notes to an octive. Part of me thinks mathematicians should steer well clear of guitars.....

#9

Originally Posted by: snpfarm
Originally Posted by: DraconusJLM

There's a lot to learn to play 'properly' when starting, and then you'll be able to have lots of fun finding interesting ways to bend, or even break, the 'rules' to get the results you're aiming for.

DraconusJLM,

Thanks for the info. I've been playing off and on since I was a teen and Im 56 now. Ive decided no more "off" instead it will be all "on". Ive learned a lot over the years. Unfortunetly a lot of what I learned, I learned it wrong. Now I'm trying to do it right!

Been there, done that.... I was amazed how many bad habits I had picked up over the years (and how much effort it takes to break them). I sometimes envy beginners in this age of internet video tuition.

I was thinking more along the lines of rules such as keeping your first finger joint at close to 90 degrees from the fretboard to avoid muting adjacent strings... Except when breaking this 'rule' to purposely mute them to give a more interesting voicing.

Six strings, but only four fingers. Twelve simi-tones, but only eight notes to an octive. Part of me thinks mathematicians should steer well clear of guitars.....