The Pickslanting Primer, Now With 100% More Grip!


That’s awesome. Marty’s ES-345 is from the future, and his pick grip is from some other dimension!


Huh. Fry, that’s actually not all THAT different than the way I hold the pick, too - same pointner finger orientation with the pick braced against the side of a curled finger, but maybe a hair less thumb angle (maybe 60 instead of 90 degrees). I’m at work so this is off memory, but I do recall previously noticing that I tend to work the angle of the thumb joint a little bit while playing, though I haven’t really put the time it to see if there’s anything systematic about the way I do it, and if it’s something that’s evolved due to a specific playing situation.

Tangental aside - that’s the thing that probably gets to me the most about this site. I’m naturally a pretty analytical guy, I’m a financial analyst by trade, am pretty curious, and once a question gets my attention I’ll spend a LOT of time getting to the bottom of it. At the same time, I also love guitar, and spend a lot of time practicing. Yet, there are so many things about the guitar - something I care greatly about being good at - that I’ve literally just never put any serious thought into figuring out. Like, I’ve always suspected there must be something I’m doing wrong with my picking because it’d always been such a struggle for me, but somehow I never actually sat down and tried to reason through what the challenges were. And, even having watched Troy do just that, and even after correctly identifying this little wind-up mechanic in my motion that struck me as weird only to be told this is textbook two-way pickslanting, and all these other little breakthroughs like that (and seriously, my picking has improved more in the last year than in the prior five, probably), I cann still find myself noticing something unusual I’m doing, noting it… And then just leaving it at that, and spending exactly zero time trying to figure out why I was doing it, lol.

Man. I guess it’s probably because I tend to do a lot of improvising and for me guitar is a NON-analytic escape from a very analytic day job… But I gotta get a lot more structured about this stuff, lol. I’m just shooting myself in the foot.

Thumb angle change while picking - follow-up from the Grip thread

I’m down with that, and that is ultimate the goal here — to make the information as simple and accessible as we can, so that the guitar experience can be mostly non-analytical, the way it was when we all first started. That’s the way playing feels best to me, honestly, and that’s also the way learning works best — when it happens stealthily over time to where you don’t really notice.

I wouldn’t feel too guilty about getting structured or disciplined. Most things that people do are fine, and don’t need to be changed, specifically. It’s more about knowing why they work and making sure the stuff you’re trying to play fits that.


While this is of course all true (not just the part I quoted above), this seems like an opportunity where a little bit of research and structured thinking - you know, my usual problem solving approach, haha - would reap some pretty major dividends.

Eh, the important thing is to still have a sense of humor about it, at the end of the day. :slight_smile:


I want to add my bit about using a full bend in the thumb as a pick grip.

I’ve been trying this for about 15 months with both wrist and forearm rotation movements.

For forearm rotation I typically hold the butt of the pick against the pad of my palm which meets the index finger and use a pronounced amount of twist, and for slanting I use a down slant on the higher strings which increases in down slant as I go towards the lower strings. The plectrum is held at its front and in the middle.

For wrist movement my grip is much more upright and I choose whether to use a slight up and down slant or a slight down slant for both escapes. My grip is at the top and middle of the plectrum.

I’ve recently been trying out the difference between leading edge and trailing edge, and roughly I am using a leading edge if I start on a down stroke and trailing edge if I’m beginning on an up stroke for both movements, and on a three note per string pattern with an inside change I’ll change my edge picking at the turnaround which gives an accent to the run which I can’t get if I stay with one side of the pick.

I’m not using a full thumb bend at all times and I can play using an Eric Johnson jazz plectrum so I don’t always need to tuck my hand up as much as typically I do with a standard sized plectrum, but that was very useful at the start of my quicker alternate picking to get some stability in the plectrum when I was getting it snarled up in the strings.