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Post new topic RESHAPING YOUR FINGERPICKS...Discussion, Video
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Author Topic:  RESHAPING YOUR FINGERPICKS...Discussion, Video
Mickey Adams


From:
Bandera Texas
Post Posted 19 Sep 2017 11:54 am     Reply with quote

Over the last few weeks I have been experimenting with reshaping my picks...I dont recall ever seeing a thread on this topic....Theres a YTube video uploading now...Please post your thoughts...?
https://youtu.be/tOkuwC3pjmg
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Mike Wheeler


From:
Delaware, Ohio, USA
Post Posted 19 Sep 2017 2:00 pm     Reply with quote

I like with your pick shaping theory. I came to a similar conclusion many years ago. Pick shape is, as you point out, a critical aspect of playing.

But, what most caught my attention were the couple of sentences referring to "reverse blocking"...where you block all the strings and only allow the picked string(s) to be unblocked. I'd like to see you dig into that concept deeper in a future vid. I think everyone, especially beginners, would benefit. At least it would give them something to think about and consider.

Thanks a whole lot for all these helpful insights, Mickey.
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K Maul


From:
Mechanicville NY/Hobe Sound FL
Post Posted 19 Sep 2017 2:12 pm     Reply with quote

Interesting. I actually started doing that to my picks years and years ago and then stopped doing it. I don't know why I stopped. I'm going to start doing that again. As for the "unblocking-blocking" concept... That's how I always describe blocking to people who are seeking my advice,which rarely happens (haha).
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John Goux


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 19 Sep 2017 4:18 pm     Reply with quote

Experimenting with pick shape is a good idea, something players should do until they are satisfied.
If we could poll all the top players, and anylyze their strike angle and pick shape, we would probably find as many different approaches as the number of players polled.
J
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Todd Goad


From:
Gray, Georgia, USA
Post Posted 19 Sep 2017 5:31 pm     Reply with quote

Great video Mickey. Definitely something to think about. Should improve the striking of the strings and make any players Steel sound better once fine tuned. I, also, would like to hear more about the blocking technique in a future video. Oh by the way, a man has got to stay cool. We think better when we are comfortable.
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Mike Taylor


From:
Wetumpka, AL
Post Posted 19 Sep 2017 5:34 pm     Reply with quote

Great topic. I would like to see a before and after comparison shot. The other discussion point I would ask would be about the position of the picks on the finger? I've seen some guys play with them on the very tips and others like me shove them up to the cuticle area and then bend up to 'match' the curve of the fingertip. Not sure if it's the OCD in me, but I have a specific pick for each finger -- each curved slightly different for that particular finger.

BTW ... Thanks for all YOU do for all of US!

See you in a couple weeks with Jody

Mike...
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David Sanderson


From:
Mayfield , Kentucky, USA
Post Posted 19 Sep 2017 6:49 pm     Reshaping pick angle Reply with quote

Reshaped pick angle and made a big difference.Would also like to hear more on your style of blocking.Thanks for the tip.Keep it up
David
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Dave Magram


From:
San Jose, California, USA
Post Posted 19 Sep 2017 9:06 pm     Reply with quote

Mickey,

I quite agree that fingerpick blade angle is very important; after all, it is how your fingers actually contact the string (for most of us). Very Happy

There was a discussion of this topic last year in “Finger pick difficulties” at: http://bb.steelguitarforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=298186&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0

I posted some of my “findings” studying photos of how Paul Franklin (page 1 & 2) and Buddy Emmons (page 2) shaped their picks, tracing Bobby Black’s actual fingerpicks, and measuring the angles with a reproducible method.

-Dave
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Greg Koenig


From:
Nevada, USA
Post Posted 21 Sep 2017 7:51 am     Reply with quote

Mickey,

Excellent topic that I have not seen much discussion on other than figure it out or do what works.

I am came to playing steel after 15 years of serious classical guitar study that I have tried to apply to my steel guitar playing.

Here are some common topics in classical guitar playing many of them you hit on in your video.
Point of contact
Midrange
Follow through
Rest stroke and free stroke
Alignment and deviation at the wrist
Arch of the wrist.
Sympathetic motion and alternation

Something for steel players to think about is what finger joint they are using to play tip, middle or knuckle or a combination of all three? For me I use my knuckle joint because it uses the flexor muscles and it is the strongest of the three joints. If you use some sort of combination of joints you will be using flexor and extensor muscles that can create issues by pulling opposing muscles at the same time.

Where this gets tricky is in pick blocking and muting. Then most of my system is out the window because sound and aesthetics is more important than technique.
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 22 Sep 2017 11:45 am     Reply with quote

Greg Koenig wrote:
Alignment and deviation at the wrist .

This seems to have as much to do with the way the pick strikes the string as anything, along with the arch angle of the wrist.
("Arch angle" sounds a bit mystical, doesn't it? Cool )
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Bobby Nelson


From:
North Carolina, USA
Post Posted 22 Sep 2017 3:40 pm     Reply with quote

This topic is of great interest to me because, as a new player, My right hand is giving me the most trouble. Not being young, and in excellent health to begin with, I struggle with 2 problems: Not much feeling in my fingers; and a touch of arthritis. I say this but, I remember when I was 17 trying to play pedal steel and palm blocking was completely alien to me - it's probably what made me give it up at that time.

That being said, I understand what Greg is saying because I was taught in classical guitar as a kid but, I do not see rest strokes (the tone producing strokes in classical guitar) applying here - It has crossed my mind. I'm still having trouble with palm blocking and am going more toward pick blocking but really want to become proficient in both.

One of the first guys I started watching was Buddy Charlton who seemed to wear his on the ends of his fingers and had them sticking straight up - this did not really work for me. I have settled in on .015 Nationals and, I've bent them out so they stick out off my fingers (not curled around my fingertips as, that I kept hitting the next string up when they were like that. I suppose practice makes better (if not perfect haha). I'm looking forward to a teacher but he doesn't want to mess with me until I get the pedals - console won't do with him.
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Bob Cox


From:
Buckeye State
Post Posted 22 Sep 2017 6:11 pm     pics Reply with quote

careful loaning them to a banjo picker,
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Aaron Johnson


From:
Washington, USA
Post Posted 22 Sep 2017 6:36 pm     Reply with quote

I'm a new player and have spent hours bending picks to achieve something workable. Different picks allow for more or less veriability. Currently I'm using the Saddle Picks which have a longer and slightly more spoon shaped tip. This allows for greater flexibility in shaping in my limited experience.

Thanks for posting and for the others who have added to this. I'm still attempting to optimize for minimal movement while achieving tone and speed.
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Georg Sørtun


From:
Mandal, VA, Norway & Weeki Wachee, FL, USA
Post Posted 22 Sep 2017 7:20 pm     Reply with quote

I reshaped my picks back in -92. Took hours to get just the right tip-angle and -shape, and I needed more than a pair of pliers for the job. Since then I've only polished the tips a couple of times ... my picks are made of iron-plate and will probably last my time.
(Reshaping regular picks to my desired shape only takes minutes, but they only last for maybe an hour or two of picking before developing too rough edges for playing.)

As I started playing PSG for real back in -82, it took me about 10 years to realize why I was not as comfortable playing with picks on steel as I had been playing with picks on my 6-strings - as I had done for about 12 years before taking up PSG.
It was, and is, all about hitting the strings at the right angle, with minimal movement and controlled force, with my hand in a comfortable shape and position.

Once I had shaped the picks to suit my hand and picking style, all else fell into place and I literally had the sounds I wanted at my fingertips.

As picks are such an individual thing, how I shaped my picks and position my hand doesn't matter. What matters is that we have a choice whether to shape our hands to the picks, or to shape the picks to our hands. I suggest the latter.
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Ross Shafer


From:
Petaluma, California
Post Posted 23 Sep 2017 6:28 am     Reply with quote

"iron plate" picks? Pictures please!
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Georg Sørtun


From:
Mandal, VA, Norway & Weeki Wachee, FL, USA
Post Posted 23 Sep 2017 8:13 am     Reply with quote

Ross Shafer wrote:
"iron plate" picks? Pictures please!

Three "iron plate" picks, + one "plastic" thumbpick...

...all shaped for my hand and picking style.

I only polish the edges that make contact with the strings, so some of those darker spots are rust Very Happy
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Alan Bidmade


From:
Newcastle upon Tyne UK
Post Posted 23 Sep 2017 12:53 pm     Reply with quote

A pair of 015 picks are light enough to take any amount of tweaking. they \re light enough to re-shape with your fingers.
Once you've got what feels right for you, move up the grades, using the 015's as a template, until you're on your chosen grade. Much easier than minor adjustments with pliers, IMHO.
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Don Kuhn


From:
Poetry ,Texas, USA
Post Posted 23 Sep 2017 4:39 pm     Reply with quote

Mickey,
That was a very interesting vid and I also liked all the feed back from the folks. Thanks for sharing that on the forum and like some of the others I'd like to see some more on the blocking.
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Don Kuhn


From:
Poetry ,Texas, USA
Post Posted 23 Sep 2017 4:40 pm     Reply with quote

Mickey,
That was a very interesting vid and I also liked all the feed back from the folks. Thanks for sharing that on the forum and like some of the others I'd like to see some more on the blocking.
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 25 Sep 2017 6:31 pm     Reply with quote

Georg Sørtun wrote:
Three "iron plate" picks, + one "plastic" thumbpick...

They look like medieval weapons.
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Georg Sørtun


From:
Mandal, VA, Norway & Weeki Wachee, FL, USA
Post Posted 25 Sep 2017 9:51 pm     Reply with quote

Fred Treece wrote:
Georg Sørtun wrote:
Three "iron plate" picks, + one "plastic" thumbpick...

They look like medieval weapons.
Laughing
Well, they are seriously strong, and shaped to let me vary attacks on-the-fly to get the sound/expression I want out of those strings for each note.
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Clete Ritta


From:
San Antonio, Texas
Post Posted 25 Sep 2017 11:54 pm     Reply with quote

I just tried bending my picks and it definitely works. Thanks! Why didn't I think of this? Ive been using Dunlop .25s straight outta the box since day one and never tried this simple but highly rational explanation for why a small change in pick angle can make a huge difference in sound produced!

For guitarists the flat pick can produce many different sounds depending on how its held in the fingers and the angle of attack. With fingerpicks the tendency is to have one attack and thats it, just louder or softer. Just one "grip" that is, the way the hand naturally balls up to attack the strings.

Straightening the pick changes attack angle so the hand is in a more comfortable position while maintaining good contact with the strings.

What Zookies did to the plastic thumb pick is a similar idea (but a sideways bend). I ended up going back to regular thumb pick though. Any tips on thumb pick alteration next Mickey? Thanks again!
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John McClung


From:
Olympia WA, USA
Post Posted 26 Sep 2017 9:25 am     Reply with quote

Mickey, did you pull down the video? The link says you did, or it's no longer available. Sad
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Mike Wheeler


From:
Delaware, Ohio, USA
Post Posted 26 Sep 2017 11:39 am     Reply with quote

John, maybe Mickey's re-doing the video to include more of the info we've been asking about. I think he may have been surprised by all the response he got. eh, Mickey???
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Bill Miller


From:
Gaspe, Quebec, Canada
Post Posted 4 Oct 2017 5:17 pm     Reply with quote

I'd like to see that video again too. I think I got it ass backwards the first time. Did Mickey bend the tips back? I tried that and while it certainly gave a cleaner, crisper sound it didn't work for raking or fast picking at all. It felt like the picks were hooking slightly and reducing flow and speed. So I'm thinking he must have bent the tips slightly inward, towards the palm. I tried that and it seems to work better. Still...could have sworn he bent them backwards. Hmmm..
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