up slanting Thumb scraping

Hello Troy;

First off I have solved the issues with streaming the lessons, thank you; I am a veteran gtr player, high honor Berklee graduate, have a record out with some of the most coveted NYC players including M. Stern featured in one of ur CTC episodes and have taken a couple of on line courses to keep up with new techniques and advances, CTC floors them all, total genius in breaking down the mechanichs and finally solve picking issues that plagued my playing for decades, the best money I’ve spent EVER!

I do have one question that wasn’t able to answer from the lessons and is the following:

When upslanting does the side of your thumb scrape the strings below (musically, physically would be above) or is it completely free? It’s hard to tell from the clips, thanks for making me a better player already and I’ve just joined, looking forward to improve and burn with ur lessons.

Antonio Penn

I’d like to bump this question. I’ve been working on some DSX and whether on clean channel or gain I occasionally notice the underside of my pick hand thumb scraping on the low E string. It’s annoying. Setup for this is side angle pad grip and a lightly pronated forearm. Once I’m aware of it I can adjust ever so slightly by either creating a little space between my thumb and bass strings, or just ever so slightly back off the pronation, and get rid of the scraping sound. Do others on here notice this? @tommo I know you’re one of our resident experts in DSX and I am pretty certain I’ve noticed pronation in some of your playing. Any tips for us?

EDIT: I just fact checked myself. @tommo you’re indeed in a posture that could get ‘scrapey’ sounding here:

That clip is acoustic and I’d imagine the scraping isn’t real audible. If you played with the exact same right hand form on electric…do you hear scraping??? Thanks in advance for any insight!

In my typical USX form, I deliberately touch the lower strings with the side of my thumb and my opponens for dampening purposes.

My form is very similar to Marshall Harrison’s form, visible here:

I don’t notice any “scraping” sound when I play this way. Maybe if I were just moving my hand without playing notes, but there’s definitely no scraping sound while playing. There’s also no movement along the length of the strings to create a mild pick scratch type noise.

I just tested this quickly and observed the same! I think with gain (and the resulting compression) the scraping sound gets buried by the much louder ringing notes (it may also have to do with the fact that I pick those notes quite hard!).

I also tried different pickups and the “scraping” is definitely louder with the bridge pickup - I almost always use the neck so that probably helps as well. Plus, I tend to favour darker tones and I think the scraping is a high frequency thing.

This is me playing with more or less that form, in the context of a (very amateur-ish :smiley: ) mix:

1 Like

I don’t even notice scraping when I’m playing legato, where I’m either picking very lightly or not at all.

This might be part of it too, I don’t know. If I’m playing on the bridge pickup I roll my tone control down to 4 or 5. It sounds really shrill to all the way up.

Sometimes, when I’m playing with my trailing edge grip and playing as fast as I possibly can, the contact point on the thumb will “bounce” on the lower strings, and it can cause a little noise. It only happens when I’m switching between USX and DSX or vice-versa and only when picking over the bridge pickup, because there’s no complementary dampening with the opponens or base of the palm. Even then, it’s not very noticeable clean and totally covered by the compression effects of gain as long as I keep playing.

Thanks @tommo and @Tom_Gilroy for your thorough responses. I’ll experiment with some different amp settings and guitars. I’ll admit trying it again after reading your posts and not noticing it as much as I did the other day. Maybe I’m just easily influenced :slight_smile: I feel like I actually heard it more on a clean channel setting. I don’t use any compression on my clean channel and even my overdrive channel doesn’t have that much gain. I’m also pretty heavy handed with my picking hand but I’ve been trying to back off of that lately as I’ve noticed pick depth is hindering my speed. In trying to correct that I think I’ve been picking lightly to work on smoothing. So who knows, maybe I had just the right recipe of no compression, a bright tone, bridge pickup selected, and not playing the strings hard enough to get enough scrape that it was bugging me. If I ever can recreate it, I’ll try to document it.

@Antonio_Penn, anything to add? Do the examples posted answer your question about the thumb scraping? Reading your original post again I think I misinterpreted and you were talking more about the position than any audible side effects of the contact of the thumb while picking with an upward slant.