Keeping this thread alive; journalling my progress as I feel this an interesting and somewhat unique issue. Frustrating, yes. Rewarding as well though. Thanks in advance to the poor suckers who slog through this. My condolences if you are experiencing the same thing.
This week I realized two things, 1) I am still trapping my pickstrokes. 2) I am EXTREMELY heavy handed when I pick. It’s pretty amazing actually how much force is being exerted! (@Tom_Gilroy you will be proud to know that I can shatter a string at will now! hahaha)
Here’s the thing about trapped pickstrokes, and please someone correct me if I am wrong but as far as I can tell there are but a few options if one is going to accept that as a component of one’s playing style. String hop out of the strings. Swipe out of the strings (Smash through the wall! Brute force!). One can sweep (I can do that). One can legato (I do that also). And one can hybrid pick (I also do that). Here’;s the important thing - while I am capable of making music with the ability I have, I really want to figure this out! I mean, I take time to be creative and play actual music every day so it’s not just a technique grind - but I want to figure this out! lol
I’ll share a video shortly, just for reference and to stir the hornets nest, get a dialogue going on trapped playing, both good and bad. I’d like to learn more about it and maybe understand my own playing a bit better.
Anyways. Here’s my theory; I am thinking that the inward pressure into the guitar body that I am applying is a big part of the issue I am having if not the root cause. I believe that this is something I am applying subconsciously all the time, and due to this that often when I “think” I am doing my motion correctly, I may be but that inward body pressure is adding an extra level of difficulty. I can really notice I am adding that inward pressure when the going gets rough (faster tempo) and I am convinced THAT is what is hampering my tempos and escape ability.
Plunging that pick in to the guitar body under the strings, and it’s any type of pick really, is forcing me to exert extra pressure to escape the string after the stroke, and then that constant inward pressure that Ii think is always ther (habitual) keeps my hand spring-loaded almost so that the instant I begin an upstroke, that pressure I am applying makes that pickstroke (which should just escape) dive back down in between the strings.
Now, both @tommo and @troy gave me “homework” that really centered around getting those pickstrokes to feel smooth and easy; no garage spikes and while tempos are indeed going up it is a LOT of work, and it results in a very snappy sound that is prone to hopping and swiping. In adjusting the variables I have at my disposal I noticed the same constant; trapped. Swiping, and hopping. Elbow = trapped wrist = trapped Rotation = trapped Fingers = trapped. Leading edge or trailing edge grip = trapped, Pistol or pad grip = trapped, Supinated or pronated = trapped.
So I messed around with something completely new last night, used a pick on the round side. And gee, guess what? Still trapped BUT the strokes kind of use the strings as a guideline and I was able to deduce that this trapped thing, in my situation needs to be solved so here’s what I am doing.
- Still focus on my Herring motion.
- Lots of play, stop and reset to see if i can identify when I am applying pressure - all the while try to maintain balance.
- Pick Depth. I know it shouldn’t really be much of a factor, but I think to me it’s a symptom (pick depth) of applying pressure. I am a pretty big guy, tough as nails so I think that developing that sensitivity to how much force I exert is something that’s important.
- Hops. I string hop and I don’t even know I do it until i hit a tempo where it falls apart. A key thing is to identify just exactly WHAT the hop feeling is. This should be easy; literally my default picking feeling I would suspect!
- Swipes. When hopping stops working, I swipe. Sometimes it’s a swipe that I didn’t notice, but now i am quite aware of it. It’s a great tool in a pinch, but for now I don’t want it - it’s in the way at the tempos I am at, and should not be necessary.
- Force. Exert less force dang it!! I am killing the strings! I think the force I am exerting on the strings is a subconscious kind of compensation so as to achieve higher tempos
Any thoughts on this are welcome. Also, to anyone reading the thread for heaven’s sakes read Troy and Tommo’s instructions clearly. lol Don’t be dense like me… (Of course I didn’t have CTC way back then but still)