Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #114885  by Mr.Burns
 Mon Jun 11, 2012 6:45 pm
To me, the most important point is not even where Jerry himself played most or some of the time, it's that changing your picking position very much changes your tone.
I guess I might be alone in thinking that this was a no-brainer, but that notion seems a little surreal. I find it hard to believe that there are even first-year guitar students who don't understand this concept.

I grew up listening to the Grateful Dead's music and possessing the notion that playing like Jer was simply out of my reach. So, like a lot of other kids, I played loud, heavy music instead. I know now that I was only compensating for very bad tone. Later I played country music in bars for a few years, and after getting the feel for country, suddenly Jerry style became realistic for me. Tone came later...

My point is, varying your pick attack and position is absolutely crucial to your tone. More so with very clean tone. I was forced to learn this way before I tried to emulate Jerry. If there was an overall "sweet spot" for picking, I'm sure we would have analyzed the living shit out of it by now anyway.
 #114892  by Jon S.
 Tue Jun 12, 2012 3:55 am
Does it get lonely at the top? ;)

Obviously, we're aware from the moment we strum our first guitar, acoustic or electric, that the tone changes, sometimes dramatically, when we pick close or far away from the bridge. But it's human nature to fall into patterns, habits, and ruts in many areas of our lives, picking included. We also sometimes overlook or forget how even very small changes in some parameters can be important. This thread is for the rest of us. Peace.
 #114913  by Coldshotblues
 Tue Jun 12, 2012 3:09 pm
Very interesting topic. I'm having fun picking in different locations for new life to some old favorites. Somthing else that can get more "color and size" out of a note, try turning pick slightly in your grip and using more of the edge then the point. great for finishing a solo or creating a dynamic point in a run. :wink:
 #114998  by Mr.Burns
 Fri Jun 15, 2012 12:00 am
If I may be permitted one final reply, I would like to point out that I was agreeing with the OP. In fact, I was agreeing with every post of this thread, just as they are all in agreement with each other, because apparently that's all that's tolerated around here. I re-read the entire thread and all it seems to be is one giant agree-fest with everybody yes-manning each other right into oblivion.

Kinda seems like my comment about guitar students struck a nerve... all I meant was it's a simple concept. Like warp refraction. As simple as it gets, but overlooked by scores of learning guitarists to the point of learning it by osmosis. So once its explained to them most people say, "Duh...?"

It's not the top, here where I'm at, but I can almost see it from here. Seriously, I suck compared to just about every video I've seen on here, hard to ignore facts. But my experience taught me a few useful things. Don't pigeonhole or bookend your playing and you won't overlook something like pick position and attack. I mention these two things together because they're inseparable. I believe the two together are referred to as "right-hand technique". The simple concepts are really flying now, watch out.

I hope I don't get Koons'd for suggesting that anyone play in any way that isn't fully Jerry-approved. :hail:
 #114999  by TI4-1009
 Fri Jun 15, 2012 5:51 am
Maybe it wasn't what you said as much as the way you said it?
 #115008  by Pete B.
 Fri Jun 15, 2012 8:26 am
Mr.Burns wrote: ...Don't pigeonhole or bookend your playing... :hail:
We prefer to say something more like...
"Don't fence yourself in the lines you might have drawn..."
:roll: :-) :smile: :wink:
 #115009  by Jon S.
 Fri Jun 15, 2012 8:40 am
Mr.Burns wrote:I guess I might be alone in thinking that this was a no-brainer, but that notion seems a little surreal. I find it hard to believe that there are even first-year guitar students who don't understand this concept.
I'm going to try this again. Treat others respectfully. Don't tell anyone who takes the time to share something he was excited to rediscover and share with others - nor the others who high-five him back, if that's how you view it - that they lack both brains and the experience of a 1st year player. Not even if it's true. It's not simply a matter of coming off poorly yourself. We have some long time contributers here who are missing in action of late perhaps in response to this very thing which sadly has become more common here lately. It's easy to say, "Just don't take the negativity seriously," forgetting that as many people as do will just move to where there's sunshine. And no more "I got heat for suggesting someone play other than like Jerry," please, that has nothing to with it at all. Let's disagree without being disagreeable. For that matter, let's agree without being disagreeable. I started this thread for a simple reason, I believed it could be of value to others also to take a fresh look at an aspect of their picking technique. The responses suggest that, for some, it actually has been which makes it worthwhile.
 #115020  by Smolder
 Fri Jun 15, 2012 4:37 pm
My dad used to talk about hunting coyotes and carrying walk talkies. The reason they used them was that so often the coyote would be 3 foot from one guy, but it took a guy across the field with binoculars to see it... so he'd tell him where to look.

We all get really focused and lose track of the simple. It's also worth having someone point out how important that simple thing might be and how it might effect the outcomes.

We could all operate hear with a little more humility, but that doesn't seem to be the nature of guitar players. We could also react a bit less (he says living in Chicago... home of big chips on shoulders).

Ask, share, learn, contribute in a positive way... and do it civilly. Or, simply stay home.
 #115042  by Pete B.
 Sat Jun 16, 2012 12:46 pm
...another observation..., Once you decide where that sweet picking location is, you can still get a wide range of tonal variance by varying your pick thickness.
In addition to the Adamas 2mm Graphite requiered by law thing, I keep a set of these on hand (the .38 is like a piece of paper, I don't use it much):
 #115047  by wolftigerrosebud
 Sat Jun 16, 2012 2:42 pm
speaking of various picks, does anyone know of a thick (2mm+) graphite pick that has a tapered end on it like the dunlop jazz stubby? i love that pick shape, it has scalpel-like precision. but the plastic sounds really kind of bland compared to graphite. would love a hybrid of the two...
 #115058  by Jon S.
 Sun Jun 17, 2012 7:04 am
Could you yourself sand/file/polish the tip of a regular Adamas pick to your specs? (There are videos on YouTube on making your pics that might provide useful tips.)