Pick Depth Solutions

How did you players go about correcting too much pick depth for 2WPS?
And no I do not want to buy the new Floyd Rose Speed guitar lol

I use very little pick depth.

For me, shallow depth is ensured by my picking grips having natural depth gauges and using small picks (Dunlop Jazz IIIs).

Hmm it is harder for me to use small picks, but that could just be the material of the specific pick i dont like. I use the Jazz IIIs sometimes to mix it up but i always go back to my andy james dunlop Flows (the black ones) and theyre also bigger.

With your picking grip, do you show less pick? Or cover more of the pick?

I wrote about my picking methods in this post, which demonstrates my grips:

I made video overviews of each method. A playlist is found here:

EDIT: I should also mention that Jazz IIIs are available in pretty much every material a pick could be made from. I think the Andy James Flows are Ultex?

Oh cool stuff. Just saw your video for the trailing edge mode. Funnily enough, this was the first mode I naturally learned to get through 3NPS stuff. I even tried to adapt it to 2NPS pentatonic stuff to some success. Idk why I abandoned it, but Ive brought it back now because it is easy for me to execute. However, when I do trailing edge, I think I hold the pick differently. For me it’s the pad of the thumb and the side of my index finger (adjacent to the nail). Would love to see a video where you execute trailing edge for 2NPS or EJ stuff (I think you mentioned that in your video).

Anyways these are the Andy James picks I use and yes they are Ultex.

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Lot’s of different options for standard sized Jazz IIIs in Ultex.

Standard Ultex:


John Petrucci Primetones:

2.0mm Ultex

Honestly, I hate the sound of the 2.0mm Ultex Jazz III, but I like all of the others well enough.

oh cool thanks for the options. But I do like my andy james picks and I can choke up on them quite well.

How do you know “too much pick” is actually a problem for you? In all the Technique Critique posts we’ve seen here, I really can’t recall any where using too much pick on the string turned out to be the problem. My memory may be selective so feel free to correct me. But at the least, if we have seen this problem, it’s not super common.

Also, the thing with “choking up” doesn’t seem logical to me. Whatever level of choke you use, there has to be some gap between the fingers and the strings otherwise they’d constantly be scraping. Even players that use a “small-ish” amount of pick, like Andy Wood, still have an air gap that they have to memorize. Whether that gap is big or little, I’m not sure why that would matter.

No matter what, you always end up at a point where you have to learn by feel how to hit the string with the right attack every time. If there wasn’t a way to do this, players like Carl Miner or Chris Thile wouldn’t be able to play with that much pick sticking out.

As far as I can tell, the attack is simply a thing you learn to gauge just by the feel of resistance the pick has when it hits the string. There may be some other aspect that helps the memorization, like some other part of the guitar or bridge that people touch. Or there may be more than one way to to do this. It may simply be that having any part of the hand or arm touching the guitar at all is enough reference to learn the correct attack over time.

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It it also worth noting that @carranoj25’s picking is already great, so probably he is already doing the right thing pick-depth-wise :slight_smile:

EDIT: this is what I’m talkin’ about :wink:

Hey @Troy, I dont think my concern is too much or too little pick. Youre right in the sense that I generally go by feel for that. Im really speaking specifically to how deep the pick travels below or above the string pre/post attack. And hypothetically, if one found their picking depth to be too much, how would one hypothetically fix it?

thanks for the shout out!

If you’re talking about literal pick depth like the new Floyd Rose guitar is designed to correct, there actually is a product out there you can attach to any standard guitar to get the same effect. It’s called a RunBar and it predates the Floyd Rose guitar by years. I ordered one and experimented with it for a while. Johnny Hiland endorsed them for a while so you can see some videos of him using it and it’s a cool concept.

If you are actually talking about having too much “wind up” for lack of a better term off the top of my head, Troy Grady has demonstrated that some elite level players such as Eric Johnson and Steve Morse sometimes actually use a HUGE amount of “wind up” and still are able to play at high speeds without it being an issue. Obviously with DWPS this is really just seen before the downstroke because the maximum distance the pick can travel afterwards is fairly limited because it will make contact with the next string in the typical “rest stroke” sense.

yeah i was referring to literal pick depth haha

Well you may want to check out the RunBar- it doesn’t require any permanent changes to your guitar and they have different versions depending on if you are going to put it on a strat or les Paul or arch top or whatever. The inventor of it has some videos online and some tutorials on how to get the most out of it, including using an ink pen or the back of a cigarette lighter to demonstrate certain picking techniques. Interesting stuff!

Not sure what you mean by this — do you mean after you hit the string the pick keeps going? Why is that a problem? If you watch any of my rest stroke playing, then you’ve seen how my pick goes way past the string I’m playing, and well below the string height, causing a large portion of it to rest against the next string. That’s the way it’s supposed to work. This is one of the reasons I find the Floyd Rose Speed Guide to be so disruptive. It really interferes with what I feel a comfortable range of rest stroke motion should feel like. I’ve told Floyd this, so this is no secret. He’s a wonderful guy and also a great player. I just think this particular adaptation, as well as other similar ideas like the RunBarr sometimes get in the way of fluid motion.

In short, unless you can point to something specific, I’m not sure this is a problem. If @Tommo says your playing looks good, then it’s good!

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So then would you agree with the idea that when performing rest strokes at higher tempos, the player should add more pick depth? This seems to work for me. When rest stroking at moderate tempos, it feels like I have the option of using either minimal or maximal pick depth. When I speed up, if feels like if I keep the pick depth minimal, the distance the pick travels must also be minimal. Whereas, if I speed up and maintain the rest strokes, I have to add pick depth. What do you think of this assessment:

What do you mean by pick depth? The amount of pick that hits the string? Because just looking at our Pickslanting Primer footage, I don’t do that. The fast scale examples all use very little pick on the string, even though a lot of pick is generally exposed in my grip in those clips.

If you mean whether you perform a rest stroke at all, that’s optional. Gypsy players do it because they want to hit the string hard enough to create a snappy sound. But this isn’t always true either — Joscho Stephan has a very light touch when he wants to.

Also keep in mind that when you see styles where rest strokes happen a lot, they’re usually single escape styles like Gypsy picking. Even players like Andy Wood will occasionally rest stroke on upstrokes when he’s playing single escape phrases, like the Paul Gilbert “sixes” pattern, which is a DSX phrase (i.e. trapped upstrokes that sometimes rest). But when Andy plays mixed escape lines with 1-, 2-, and 3nps you don’t see rest strokes as much. Just here and there if he happens to hit a particular note a little harder.

So there is no rule about doing rest strokes and you don’t really have to do them at all if you don’t want to. Personally I don’t think about it.

Thought I’d give my 2 cents. Still trying to understand exactly what you mean.

Let’s consider a downstroke with DWPS. Are you saying that, after the downstroke, the pick is buried too far below the strings, such that coming out of there for 2WPS is inefficient?

If that’s the case, how about less pick slant? Or, if you really don’t have much pick slant, how about less wrist flexion?

Also, have you tried a pick that is less pointy? For example, a Jazz I or II?

can always practice picking on the fret board. Gives nice tone too.

Though as said, pick depth is rarely an issue, infact being able to dig in to the strings is really useful. I would recommend instead of even thinking of pick depth, think of holding the pick as loosely and lightly as you can. Once you get a feel of a really relaxed pick grip the sticking issue of pick depth goes away.

I’m a little confused about this.

It seems to me that is entirely possible to me to have zero air gap between my fingers and the strings I’m not playing. Maintaining light contact with the side of the thumb on the lower strings, or with the fingers on the high strings provides string dampening which tracks with the picking movement. I don’t notice any scraping.

Like here, the side of Marshall’s thumb is often touching against the string below the strings he’s playing. I don’t notice scraping.

I’m assuming “pick depth” means how far below the plane of the strings the tip of the pick is at the point of the pick stroke. The thing the stylus pick was designed to help minimize. The variable that determines arc radius in the Steve Morse golf club and flamingos calculation. You often call it the amount of pick on the string.

To me, when I do this, it feel like my contact with the surrounding strings gives me a damping mechanic which tracks automatically with string changes and which provides a tactile depth gauge.