Thanks for the quick response.
Your video gives me an idea. I see that you often, perhaps unconsciously, switch to a thumb/index grip when you play chords. I’ve been trying to avoid switching grips because it slows me down. But maybe it’s necessary for the reasons I explain below, and the key is not to avoid the grip change, but to get comfortable enough with it for it to become seamless.
My new motion is USX, and the downward pick slant is pretty extreme:. The bottom of my wrist is almost perpendicular to the guitar top, and the pick slant is at least 45 degrees. The motion differs from yours in the video, which looks to me like DSX. (Your also grip differs from mine. I use either the side or the tip of my middle finger to grip the pick; you use more of the pad. Both of us use the index finger to stabilize the edge of the pick.) Unlike the George Benson grip, in which the upper flat of the pick points toward the right shoulder, my pick is turned in the opposite direction, so that the lower flat of the pick is slightly toward the guitar jack, turned just enough so that it doesn’t catch on the upstroke. (I’ll change the angle of attack depending on the sound I want.)
The reason I’m evolving this new technique is that it maximizes the extension/flexion component of the motion. The sideways component (toward the thumb, then toward the pinky) tends to slip into string-hopping. Whether because I’ve done so much string-hoping over 50+ years, or because of encroaching arthritis, or both, this sideways motion hurts, and is slower than it once was. Further, the pain is distracting. The docs tell me that there’s an arthritis component, but that short of surgery to remove a bone, there’s nothing I can do to cure it. Flexion/extension lets me avoid both the repetitive stress and any bone-on-bone rubbing inherent in the sideways wrist motion.
The range of motion inherent to extension/flexion also makes it easy to skip multiple strings in the middle of a quick passage. (Quick, at least, for me. I’m not as fast as you.) Surprisingly, I can do this string skip in both directions, because the USX lets me fly toward heavier strings, while the extreme pick slant lets me glide to the lighter ones.
When I try to do what looks to me like your DSX motion with the three-finger grip, I have to bend my wrist back, and this makes flexion/extension almost impossible and maximizes the sideways component, with attendant pain and distraction.
But, as I use more of the USX extension/flexion motion, I’m finding that when I do pick sideways, it hurts less than when sideways picking was my main approach. This leads me to hope that what I have is more a recoverable repetitive-stress injury than just incurable arthritis, and that maybe I can eventually re-incorporate more of the sideways motion into my picking.
The extreme pick slant is not yet natural to me. I have to consciously put my hand and arm into that position, and then warm up for awhile. As I do, it gradually becomes comfortable, and then I don’t want to go back to the less slanted position.
Unfortunately, the new technique makes multi-string tremolo, and quick R&B chord-flick patterns, harder. It’s also much harder to use a whammy bar because my pinky and ring fingers are buried between the three-finger grip and the guitar. And hybrid picking is impossible because the middle finger that I once used for it is now holding the pick.
But, as I said at the outset, your video gives me an idea. I’ve been trying to avoid changing grips and techniques in the middle of a song because it slows me down. But maybe it’s necessary, and the key is not to avoid the grip change, but to embrace it. Maybe step 1 is to get comfortable enough with my new technique so that it feels natural and does not sneak back into sideways string-hopping; and step 2 is to gradually recover some ability to pick sideways in order to do the techniques described above, while it grows instinctive to shift grips as needed.
Make sense? Any thoughts?