I’ve been binge watching all the videos here and wow if they aren’t super informative. However, I’ve not been able to connect the dots after playing for about 20 years. Most of my ‘breakthroughs’ could probably be correlated arm/hand position, edge picking and pickslanting, although I’ve never had terms for this in the past.
I design robotic systems for a living, and our particular designs rely on a certain amount of what we call slop in the gear trains, which basically amounts to how much the target device can move while at a given location. For many designs, you want everything as tight as possible, to maximize precision of movement. We rely on some slop so if the target misses its target, it can still perform its work. This is a complicated subject in our field, because it relies on backlash characteristics and mechanical deformations, but it got me thinking…
I’ve noticed in some of the videos on this site that players often leave some pick exposed past the end of the thumb. For my tenure, my thumb has always protruded past the pick, which is nice because it keeps the pick very stable. However, it has a tendency to drag against the string and activate additional muscles when using wrist or forearm motion.
For grins, I decided to try altering my pick grip such that the pick was protruding past my thumb, and immediately felt a difference. All my motions felt much smoother, and I did feel like I could play faster on my go to material (at least marginally). As a bonus, the timbre was acoustically much poppier and had better legato. It feels like the pick has more tendency to get out of the way of the string, as opposed to the string getting out of the way of the pick.
My guess is that pick grip, thickness, and how tightly you hold the pick could all effect a certain amount of ‘slop’ that could have a dramatic impact on guitar tone and feel. If nothing else, it adds another dimension of things to try. It may also correlate to beginner players doing well on the tremolo test, since they probably aren’t holding a pick for dear life after dropping them on stage. Just a thought anyhow.