Personal update

TL;DR - Trailing edge picking is for me!

Hi everyone,

I haven’t posted anything since May and I wanted to share a development. After 2 months of experimentation, I have embraced the fact that I am a trailing edge picker.

When I started out, I naturally settled into a 3-finger trailing edge grip. I wanted to strum chords and that was the path of least resistance for my anatomy. This grip proved to be limiting when I began to pick single notes. But over the course of 20 years of inconsistent playing, I never took the time to address the issue despite mounting frustration.

Prior to cracking the code I eliminated the middle finger from my grip, and began to try and pick ‘normally’ with the pick tilted towards the neck; forming a nice straight line from the inside of the elbow joint to the tip of the thumb—this combined with a downwards pick slant. I can’t tell you how unnatural it felt. I spent so much time correcting my grip, which would shift into a trailing edge grip the second I stopped paying attention to my right hand.

Eventually I just said f**k it, I’m fighting my anatomy. So I went with what felt right: concave thumb + pick tilted towards the bridge. I also eliminated anchoring from my grip. Now I’m more accurate and consistent than ever. I feel the disparity between my fretting hand and my picking hand melting away. My pick slant direction intuitively changes depending on what I’m playing, but I find that it’s slanted up more often than not. The grip + slant produces a sharp pick attack that my ear actually favours, so that’s a bonus.

I encourage anybody who’s still trying to settle on their grip to listen to their anatomy. Like Troy said, the brain-body relationship is highly sophisticated. There are so many complex calculations that you aren’t even conscious of. There’s good reason behind what ‘feels’ natural vs what doesn’t. See what your body wants to do and then hold that up to logic.