Trying to play too quietly

Has anyone else started watching the videos and realised they might just be doing it all wrong. In the videos it’s very clear that people hold the pick quite firmly and push the pick through the string.

I think in an effort to be quiet in the house (and a lack of confidence) I’m not attacking the notes hard enough, leading to a loose grip on the pick and the pick flopping about rather than pushing through the string. Is it just me?

I find that even when I do hold the pick firmly, some picking techniques tend to be quieter than others. Edge picking can be a factor as well, and I find for any picking technique, the closer I am to “no edge picking” (i.e. pick attack is nearly completely flat against the string), the louder and brighter the attack.

What can be frustrating is that with around 30 degrees of edge picking, some techniques are still plenty loud, and others are soft/muted. I think this has to do with how much the hand and arm are “enforcing” the depth of the pickstroke versus letting the string force the hand to rise away from the strings slightly as the pick crosses the string.

My brightest/loudest technique is an elbow-driven DSX motion with the base of the thumb pressed against the guitar face and nearly zero edge picking. The pressure of between the guitar face and the base of the thumb ensures there’s a “buffer” reservoir of downward pressure that prevents the resistance of the string from moving the pick upward.

But it can sometimes just a be a finicky matter of dialing in just the right pick angle/orientation/grip for a technique. The recent pickslanting primer updates have some good material about this in the sections on reverse-dart-thrower wrist motion.

Another thing for me is that attack can seem adequate on an unplugged electric, then be revealed to be too weak once you plug in. So as I experiment with techniques, I make a point of “checking in” on my plugged-in sound more often now. Even that can be done reasonably quietly with headphones (though obviously if your circumstances mean even the acoustic noise can be too much, e.g. napping baby in the same room, that won’t help).

For me my best playing is when I’m very relaxed with my picking, ofcourse go harder for expression. But as far as I’ve learned being light on the pick and strings is really where all the skill is, or speed and control.

But I guess like everything even tho we’re all human there is so much variation in our bodies and minds.
Being light really works for me. And I’ve found that with just about every skill I’ve ever learned, once you begin to master the skill your application of force becomes far more finessed and accurate, flowing along. Rather than grinding it out.

I’m not really qualified to remark here, but I recall that Rusty Cooley aims for the top-half of the string, so when he pushes through it, the displacement is going to be really small. I have not heard him unplugged, but it sounds like he probably isn’t that loud (?) given the relatively modest amounts of energy that he will be dumping in per stroke. I’m not sure how firm his grip on the pick is, but I’ll bet it’s strong (given how quickly he moves).

I am suspecting that the right hand needs a strong grip, the left hand should be relatively relaxed, and the pick penetration depth has to be carefully controlled, along with the degree of edge picking. The more flexible a pick, the more tolerance to variation in penetration depth. But don’t take any of this seriously, it is just my current conclusion, subject to change.

I have been having some success with a thinner pick