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Post new topic Right Hand: Am I building bad habits?
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Author Topic:  Right Hand: Am I building bad habits?
Ashley Hayes


From:
North Carolina, USA
Post  Posted 29 Jun 2019 5:55 pm    
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I'm a total newby to the steel, pushed here by my PSG player quitting the band. I've always loved the sound of non-pedal playing on the old western swing stuff and beyond and I figure I can do both tele work and console if there are no pedals. Anywho,,,,

I've been hybrid picking a telecaster for years and upon taking up the steel I can't seem to break myself of using my ring finger to do rolls and high note picking. Just from viewing other players I can tell this is non canonical. Should I stop now and try to develop a more standard style of playing or carry on and do what "feels" right???
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Rick Abbott


From:
Indiana, USA
Post  Posted 29 Jun 2019 6:14 pm    
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Junior Brown hybrid picks his tele and steel. I say do your own thing.

There are good reasons to learn "traditional" right hand technique, but even in that realm there are differences from player to player.

Learning specific grips, that is, sets of strings to grab simultaneously, is important. Different tunings demand different grips to get the harmonies right. You'll want to decide on a tuning and then find some info on how it works, or where chords and scales lay within it.

Any idea what you are actually wanting to use a steel for musically? That might help decide your tuning. C6, E13, A6 or a few others are common, but they all have advantages or drawbacks for one thing or another.
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Ashley Hayes


From:
North Carolina, USA
Post  Posted 29 Jun 2019 6:58 pm    
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Well Junior certainly puts me in good company! I've got some cool pics of his blonde Git-steel from the green room from a few years back if folks would like to see them here.

I do worry about inadvertently learning my grips wrong. Working things out on an ol National double neck six string I just picked up with C6 on the bottom and A6 on the top. I'm most interested in A6 right now. I feel like I've figured out the basic major and minor pockets but I'm a theory dummy and a meat fist and I tend to throw in a forth string too often...

I've also been watching Speedy West videos obsessively for weeks. THATS what I'm going for!!
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Bill McCloskey


Post  Posted 29 Jun 2019 7:35 pm    
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I play almost everything with 3 fingers and a thumb. I play the eharp tuning which sort of requires a 4 finger approach.
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Ian Rae


From:
Redditch, England
Post  Posted 29 Jun 2019 10:46 pm    
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I don't know whether this is relevant, but on pedal steel I have always used three finger picks and a thumb pick. I find this useful not only on the top strings but for certain grips on the lower ones too, and I've found nothing in the Bible says you can't.

What is strange is that although I use the third finger quite rarely, if I take the pick off and try to play with just two I find it more or less impossible!
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Gene Tani


From:
The Pacific NW,
Post  Posted 29 Jun 2019 11:10 pm    
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You mean flatpicking hybrid? If it sounds good, it's good.

But I've tried it and flatpick and soft pads of the fingers sounds funny to me, pick and fingernails sounds fine.
A compressor pedal evens things out.
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Ashley Hayes


From:
North Carolina, USA
Post  Posted 30 Jun 2019 6:18 am    
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Gene Tani wrote:
You mean flatpicking hybrid?


I hybrid flatpick the boring old guitar but I do concede that a thumb pick is preferable for the steel. I just meant that as a result of years of hybrid picking I'm most inclined to pull stings with my middle and ring fingers.

I've also always hated finger picks but given how sore my digits are this morning after 7hrs of practice yesterday I may give them another go. Shocked
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Joachim Kettner


From:
Germany
Post  Posted 1 Jul 2019 2:17 am    
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James Burton and Roger McGuinn use a flatpick and two picks. They didn't from the beginning where they used their fingernails. Maybe they became brittle over the years.
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John Spaulding


From:
Wisconsin, USA
Post  Posted 1 Jul 2019 5:40 am    
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Sid Hudson used a flatpick and fingerpicks, a holdover from his standard 6-string guitar technique. Sid Hudson
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Joe Major


From:
Florida, USA
Post  Posted 1 Jul 2019 6:29 am     Thumb and fingerpicks
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I'd recommend that you switch to a thumb and 2 finger picks along with all the other techniques you have to learn. "In for a penny, in for a pound," as the English say. Granted it's awkward and frustating, but it's the method that works the best for the most people. With enough practice you'll forget all about the picks,and have a complete palette of right hand options. You might move to 3 fingerpicks, but that's just too much hardware to start with. Elderly Instruments has a huge selection of picks. Dunlop large plastic thumbpicks work for me, with the blade filed down to my ideal length, and the band sized to fit with hot water. I use Dunlop 0.0225" brass fingerpicks. They are easy you mold to the shape of your fingers, and can be worn loose and comfortable. They're cheap, too. I'm done (don't know what got into me).
Joe
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Ian Rae


From:
Redditch, England
Post  Posted 1 Jul 2019 9:33 am    
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Joe has unearthed a piece of general wisdom, which is look round the restaurant and see what everyone else is ordering.

Most people use a thumb pick and two finger picks. You don't need to know why.

Yes, it's awkward at first, but then so is driving a car. I shall refrain from other examples Smile
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