When you try to play with more pick angle I get that scratchy sound on wound strings. Esspeically on my acustic bass. How to combine the speed of angle picking and have the nice sound of flatpicking? Technique-wise, without cahnging picks and strings. I’d liike to play fast with flatpiking but I don’t know If it’s really possible tbh.
You can likely reduce edge picking scratching sounds with a thicker pick (with rounder edges) or with wrapped strings like Elixr.
A lighter touch goes a long way. The less pick traveling through the string, the less noise, less resistance, less effort.
The Floyd Rose Speed Guide guitars illustrate this.
Another oddity in this regard is runbarr.com/ Johnny Hiland has endorsed them. To be fair…Johnny Hiland has endorsed a LOT of things.
Still….the dude rips.
It can be as simple as choking up on your existing pick, or a combination of pick selection and grip.
If you haven’t tried it, I would suggest trailing edge picking. I experiment with it on guitar from time to time, but totally sold on it for bass. Here’s the thread in which I play bass with it:
Great question. There is a specific way this is accomplished:
Use less edge picking on the lower strings. Most players do this somewhat automatically by bending the wrist to place the pick slightly flatter when playing on the lower strings.
Use a pick material that abrades. A worn pick has a flat spot which exactly matches the lower strings, and is much less scratchy than a fresh pick. A pick with material that is hard and does not abrade very much, like Ultex, will remain scratchy on the low strings.
Here’s the test of the smooth vs worn material on a celluloid pick. The difference is dramatic:
The slightly flatter edge picking angle + the worn material will allow you to have the smoothness of edge picking without the harsh sound. I think this is how most players accomplish this.
I’d never heard of the runbarr but I’m intrigued by it. (Btw, would it work on an acoustic guitar???)
Went to the site and wanted to email a question but the contact link didn’t work.
Does anyone know if this place is still in business???
Contacted George Pittaway.
He told me Johnny Hiland is a partner in RunBarr, not just an endorser.
Johnny Hiland, RunBarr
I’m going to get one of these. What the heck? I believe in taking chances. ;o)
Ah, a few more things that one can do to not scratch:
- Use half-wound or flat-wound strings
(although those will change tone to some degree).
Finally, I looked at a string and tried to count how many windings there are, and it seems to be around 32 windings per cm. So if there is a “sharp” edge that is around 1/3 of a mm or smaller, that will definitely scratch. So rounding off sharp pick edges will probably also help a lot, but something like a 2mm Flow is smooth enough that it just doesn’t have any “sharp” edges. Too bad the Flow doesn’t have a sharp edge on the top for scraping the strings (like this Jazz III).
I use flatwounds on my electrics. Have since I got an archtop years ago and pursued jazz. (Narrator: “He never caught it.”) I hate the sound of squeaking strings. Flatwounds suit me. And they last a long time. (Though they cost more.)
Paul Gilbert seems to like the scratch.