Runbarr for picking speed and accuracy?


Has anyone heard of or used the RUNBARR? It is a rectangular object that goes between the pickups below the strings. It is supposed to train you to use minimal or consistent pick depth when you play. According to the manufacturers, this will also help make your playing “lightning fast”.

They talk about the runbarr at the 8 min mark on this video.


Very interesting! Does not look that good though…

Erm… or you could just hold the pick a bit shorter… ?

That might work, Im’ not sure either way.

I am also trying out some SUPER thick picks. I purchased some 5mm picks and It does seem to help. I look at it from the perspective that because the pick is soooooo huge it cuts down on the space between strings, therefore making it easier to contact. These pics were recommended by John Taylor, the world record holder for picking. He has been featured on CTC.

Anybody else have any input on this?

This “choking up” mindset has existed for a long time and I have always thought it was totally illogical. Leaving the tiniest amount of pick material sticking out of your grip doesn’t really change anything. No matter what, if you use too much pick attack or too little, bad things happen in terms of difficulty of playing correctly, tone, smoothness of attack, unintended finger/string contact, and so on. You always have to learn that by feel, no matter how much “grip” you use or don’t use.

If anything, using the biggest possible grip, especially if it’s a pad-side grip where you do thumb pad against the side of the index like most people demonstrate when they talk about this, just forces you to use wrist deviation or elbow motion as your primary picking motion, to keep your fingers and knuckles from scraping. There goes your Gypsy jazz career.

Not a knock on you! Apologies for the rant. I just think this is one of those classic misinformation things from that past that can cause more harm than good.


Thanks for the clarification Troy! Do you have any insight into the “Runbarr” I referenced above? I know that Claus Levin has talked quite a bit about consistency in terms of pick depth when actuating the strings. I’d love to hear what you think about this and the use of THICK picks (5mm and above).

I also appriciate the fact that you personally answer most if not all of our questions. That is considerable dedication.


Brandon J. Roth

Have you had any experience with this? I’m curious why you say that? I would love to hear your input!



Haven’t used it, can’t comment on it. Are you supposed to leave this on, like a saw guide, or just use it to learn what proper pick attack feels like?

In general, I will simply reiterate that learning to use and maintain consistent pick attack is one of the core things we all do in picking technique, and it’s done by memorizing what it feels like. It’s hard learn balance when the training wheels do it for you. If you want to learn to ride without them, you have to take them off. If you want to stay on three wheels, that’s cool too. They’re just two different activities.


No experience with it. I find it just does not look that good on a guitar.

Thanks for your input Troy!

My understanding is that it stays on until you are trained, just like training wheels.

Thanks for your input Troy!

i use Styluspick,totally different item,same function,anyone else?

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I have used the SIKPIC which according to my understanding is regarded as a stylus pick. In addition I just sawitched to a 5mm pick. It seems to work the same as the sikpic. I just strated using it, buit I think it is helping .

The Stylus pick, as I understand it, was designed to actually make it hard to play if you used more than the tiniest amount of pick on the string. The ridge on the pick was supposed to grab the string and stick, to telegraph that you were using “too much pick”. In other words, this was more of a training wheels type device. You’re supposed to use this to learn “tiny pick depth”. At least that’s how the instruction manual read to me.

From the Hiland video, it appears that he’s saying you intentionally contact the Runbarr device with the pick and slide along it. This way you don’t have to manage your pick depth manually. In other words, he’s implying it’s not training wheels, it’s a thing you actually attach permanently because it makes sweep type playing easier. I could be interpreting that wrong but that’s the impression I’m getting from the clip.

The Sik Pik I can say for certain is intended for everyday use. It’s supposed to give you more edge picking. In reality if the amount of edge picking you already use is what you’re shooting for, then all this is going to do is screw that up. However if you are most comfortable in a position that does not have much edge picking, and you want more without changing your hand position, then this can do that. They offer the pick in various degree increments that you need to match up to your hand position to arrive at the desired degree of edge picking.

Unfortunately, the SikPIk is no longer available, as the creator/manufacturer of the SikPik , Frank Whetstine, passed away about a year ago.

I was pretty intrigued by this product and was doing some research there. From what I can see, the actual site that sells them pitches it more as a training type device that is designed to be very easy to remove. In one of the makers YouTube comments, he said that it can be attached/removed so quickly that you could try a lick with it on and then again with it off. But straight after I read that I went to the Johnny Hiland video and was surprised to see that he seems to use it in a completely different way. I clicked on the buy section to see the price and was expecting it to be some super overpriced $200 nonsense gadget or something but the price is closer to $20. If it can clean up my sweeps or speed up my picking I am pretty tempted to give it a shot. (Although I can’t lie - all those years of watching MacGyver as a child must have stayed with me - I have been looking around the house to see if I can find anything to make a home made version :rofl:)

For whatever it’s worth, I don’t think there’s much reason to buy a stylus pick. Not that controlling pick depth isn’t important, it absolutely is, but there is an easy DIY alternative which is cheaper and better.

It’s really very simple. Take a style of pick that you like. Cut or file notches into the edge at a depth of your choosing. If you attempt to pick deeper than the depth you’ve cut, the string will snag in the notch.


What I lack in guitar skill, I make up in cheapness! :joy: I know this is a piece of junk, but it is just a test of the concept to try and see if I would like to purchase the actual product. I joined 4 carpenters’ pencils with masking tape, made the surface smooth with more layers, and then wrapped MORE tape around the ends to build the whole up to a good height. I will test it and see how I get on!


Ok, I have tried this for a few hours and actually think I will buy the product - I quite like the feel of using this! My crazy brain is thinking more about this product now. I wonder if it would be cool/neater to incorporate the design into a guitar with a ‘three humbucker’ layout. You could have a middle ‘humbucker’ with no wires or polepieces. It could instead be a flat-surfaced, screw-mounted blank that could be raised and lowered like a standard pickup. I wonder if something like that might give the same feel but also blend in with the look of a guitar a little more?

Aha! This was the thread I was looking for! I knew you guys all knew about the runbarr! I guess the FR guitar is kind of like that too eh? Cool creation kanzen!

I tend to use the excess pick to help with dynamics. You can’t really pull the string far for a louder sound if you’ve not got a lot of pick to grab the string.

And the pick having a lot of contact and sliding up the string before releasing is one of the only things keeping the guitar from sounding like a digital souless machine.

Having the absolute perfect pick depth for more speed is probably one of the worst things you can do if you care about tone and character.