So, I think maybe I've been using TOO much edge-picking...?

This is going to be the least-helpful video I’ve ever posted, so I apologize - was struggliong to get a good angle, filmed it in my living room with the amp in the other room for better light, and then for some reason the slow-mo didn’t “stick” when I uploaded it to youtube s the dark film from the high framerate ended up being all for nothing. :rofl: So, there IS video at the bottom of this, but it sucks and you should probably ignore it.

But, I think I’ve been using TOO much edge picking. My “relaxed” picking position is probably a pick about 30-40 degrees angled against the strings. And I’ve always found my picking kinda… uneven. Fast trem-picked runs aren’t terribly smooth, I seem to have more forceful downstrokes than upstrokes, and when I start playing more complex lines than just holding a note, patterns across a couple strings, the picking itself feels kinda uneven.

So, I don’t even remember how or why this happened, but wiithin the last couple days for some reason one day I found myself playing with a way smaller angle, comparing now probably less than 10-15 degrees, and it made a major improvement in the “evenness” of my picking. I guess holding the same hand position, but going from a relaxed thumb to a slight hitchkiker’s thumb… I can try to take pictures, I guess, since the video here is worthless. :rofl:

This has got me wodnering - how much edge-picking does everone here use? Does a smaller amount seem to translate to greater smoothness for you all, as well? If it makes a difference I use reasonably thick picks, this was a Dunlop Flow 1.0 Tortex.

1 Like

I find the same thing - there is a point where edge-picking creates the smoothness (and in turn increases speed capability), but there is only a small range of ‘useful’ edge-picking where smoothness is concerned and more I edge-pick the more it interferes with my picking motion. I couldn’t say what degree of edge-picking I use as I have tried to stop looking at my picking hand when experimenting- I find myself trying to make my picking hand look a certain way rather than going by feel. I think that the amount of edge-picking can vary from string to string depending on what playing mechanic one employs, so striving for a static amount of edge picking may not be as possible or needed. The best I can answer is “just enough” and get a feel of what the useable boundaries are.

Not a very helpful reply - apologies! You are aware of something being not quite right, just keep this awareness and you will probably find that you fall back into using less edge-picking as easily as you fell out of doing it!

Short answer: No, I don’t find that decreasing edge picking angle increases smoothness.

Long answer:

1 Like

PAG adjusts edge picking to modulate his tone, so it should be dialed in with one’s ears. Only a tiny bit is required for speed, particularly with a Dunlop Flow (what I use).

That’s interesting, @Tom_Gilroy - your reverse edge picking position is a fair amount more pronounced than even my (non-reversed) default one. Yet, I’m still kinda curious abotu this, because I absolutely do get an evener alternate picking attack when I moderate the angle somewhat. Maybe it relates to picking mechanic somehow and some mechanics allow greater angle than others? Maybe in the process on changing my angle, I’m also changing something ELSE tat’s improving my technique…? Who knows.

@kgk - Gilbert? I do find I need a little more on the lower strings than the high to prevent my pick from getting caught, for whatever that’s worth.

to me it sounded like the pick was getting hung up on some of the sequence so maybe adjust it a little at a time. I have found I have gone from medium edge maybe say 45 degrees leading edge to almost shawn lane perpendicular edge picking and it seems to smooth out more.

I think you’re underestimating just how BAD my picking technique was when I showed up here, lol. This is a pretty substantial improvement, and a flatter pick angle seems to help that further for some reason.

I have not really had a lot of success with the Flow picks. I find them to be too smooth and slip too easily over the strings.

I like them, but I like the Tortex versions more - they don’t have the rounded edges, so you get the size and shape of a Flow, but the feel of a jazz-sized Tortex, which is what I was using previously.

Instead of creating a new topic, I thought I’d just bump this one seen as it’s the same discovery I made yesterday.

While working on my picking technique, I got into the habit of trying to add more edge picking. I use an extended finger grip which I think offers less edge picking by default than the pad side trigger grips.

I practice with distortion most of the time and when I played clean, I noticed how bad I sounded. Extremely weak articulation and my upstrokes were sounding like the pick was catching under the string.

So I experimented with trying the same grip but not adding edge picking by wrapping the thumb and articulation increased significantly meaning I didn’t have to use much force when picking. I’m using the forearm/wrist blend motion.

So seems I was likely misjudging what 45 degrees actually looks like from my perspective and should have gone by sound and feel.

The problem is by no mean fixed yet. I have to get used to this angle, or lack of angle so the pick doesn’t spin out of place.

I also notice that as I descend, I need to add some edge picking for the lower strings by wrapping the thumb slightly, but not by much.

I was legit having a meltdown yesterday over this :joy:, I still kinda am, it seems I have a tendency to made a balls of all my techniques and make them worse the more I work on them :joy:

1 Like

It’s always good to have a look in the mirror from time to time to see how things look from the outside perspective. I have discovered in the past that I used quite a steep degree of edge picking that way more so than I really needed. one thing about edge picking though, to me it’s obvious when you use too much because you may get something that slides over the strings too easily, and this gives a really indistinct attack-mostly just scratch. That’s when you know you are using too much. You still want to feel some impact when you hit the strings, just not so much that you feel you are getting caught in them them.


i think part of the issue for me has been at various times I’ve used VERY heavy picks, with VERY heavy strings, so I’ve gravitated to a relatively aggressive angle just to help the pick glide. These days I’m playing 10s on 6 and 7 string guitars wth ultex picks in the 0.88-1.0 range, which is still a fairly “stiff” setup, but between being a touch more forgiving and having gotten profficient enough at picking tat I actually do it a fair amount instead of Legato ALL The Things!, it’s less of an issue.

I’m still not picking exactly parallel though - I’d probably update my estimates in the original, just checking in a mirror, to probably about 45* “not thinking about it,” to maybe inside 30* to consciously trying to use a flatter angle which seems to be a bit smoother.

I’ve also been playing a lot with fairly low gain lately - singlecoils and humbuckers into a Mark–V in IV mode with the gain at noon - which is probably helping to even out my picking, and is certainly helping me to even out my fretting hand smoothness, which might be something worth trying here too.

1 Like

I misunderstand part of your post, do you mean to say you are around 30 degrees now or 45?

I didn’t practice today because my head was melted haha, but will be experimenting with less edge picking tomorrow

I’d say that historically I’ve been close to 45 degrees - guitar at a close to 40 degree angle, pick at a slightly negative angle with respect to the floor- and when I try to flatten that out to guitar at same angle, pick at flat slightly positive angle, it SEEMS to work smoother for me, though it could totally be placebo too of course.

1 Like

It seems that somewhat less than 45 degrees works better for me too. I’m trying not to think about it too much and just feel it out. Still a bit of experimenting to do with it

After today’s practice, I actually do think I need about 45 degrees for smoothness at speed.

I think I was likely using more than 45 degrees and the upstrokes were getting a bit caught because of this.

I also need to adjust my grip as I descend to keep smoothness.

Some work needed to consistently find the right angle by feel.

Interesting topic! I hadn’t analyzed this in a while, but it’s looking like 60° for me, up to 75°?

1 Like

Interesting! I guess this varies a lot more than I had realised. Would you have that as a default or find you add more as the speed goes up?

@jptk I would say it’s default, if anything it might flatten out a bit with speed?

1 Like

Very possibly! Mine increases a little with speed, so far anyway, I still have some experimenting to do with this so will see how it ends up soon