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FDP Forum / The Chop Shop / Using the Round & Flat Section of Picks Instead of Pointed



Mar 11th, 2017 08:18 AM   Edit   Profile  

Big confession here and how it has improved my playing. I started playing again on a regular/daily basis in 2006 after a 10 year break and have not bought any picks in the last 10 years; always grab a handfull of the medium red picks from GC.

I used to pick in the 70's and 80's with the pointed edge of my picks and over the last 10 years I have gravitated naturally (no contrived effort)to using the flat end of the pick to strum chords and the round edge (just slightly exposed from my thumb like a penny of nickle)for lead work. The pick shifts naturally from flat to round when I play over the last 10 years and I am not aware of the switch; it just happens in my fingers automatically.

Here is the result; the chords are softer and perhaps because the flat edge of the pick brushes across several strings at one time and gives the chords an almost acoustic sounding quality (I play strats mostly and pick/play chords closer to the neck); I like that full tone for chords.

But in terms of lead playing, the "natural" result has been incredible. My speed has increased (I play better now than I did 30 years ago)in terms of my lead work and as the result of having the rounded edge just past the thumb, my thumb basically moves down and up the strings like as if I was sweep picking (and I do) with the thumb, part of the thumb is also resting on the strings along with the pick edge at all times, and I attack the strings pretty hard as a result.

The lead notes sound very sharp and almost sound like I am plucking the notes this way, I have more control with each note in a series,and I can now do stuff like Gilmour, Hendrix, and Ray Vaughn/Mayer pretty much sounding very close to what they do with a very heavy pick attack on each note.

I am a pick only player, don't use the other fingers, and it is the equivalent of having a thumb pick I suppose but this has resulted in a great improvement in my tone, picking speed, and playing overall and it just happened naturally. I should have been doing this 30 years ago.

Just wondering about any similar experiences for other players who might not use their picks with the pointed edge; that end of the pick always stays pointed at my palm.



Mar 11th, 2017 08:37 AM   Edit   Profile  

And I forgot to mention, now that I just picked up the guitar after the first entry,that the result is also very easy palm muting for any given note or passage as well. My whole palm and thumb, with the edge of the pick just sticking out, basically rests in a straight line (palm, thumb, pick edge) across the strings when I play and the change from rounded edge for leads to flat edge for chords is basically a forward pivot of the thumb........Sounds/feels like I finally cracked the code............

(This message was last edited by celius at 10:40 AM, Mar 11th, 2017)


LA-la-land, CA

Insert clever comment here
Mar 17th, 2017 05:53 PM   Edit   Profile  

You might like these then:

Round picks


U.S. - Virginia

Mar 17th, 2017 08:26 PM   Edit   Profile  

I use some tortex that still have a point but are certainly more round than your standard picks. I've grown to like it as I don't get caught by the strings as much.

Contributing Member


stigg "Geezer, and still lov'in it"!
Mar 22nd, 2017 09:47 AM   Edit   Profile  

Dunlop 207 Jazztones. They roll off the string and make no clack:0)

Dunlop 207 jazztones

Contributing Member

juneau ak.

If you must smoke, please smoke salmon!
Mar 30th, 2017 08:04 PM   Edit   Profile  

I (almost) never use the pointy end of the pick myself for the same results that you have mentioned, I just never really thought much about why I ended up doing this. I like Dunlop nylon .88's BTW

FDP Data Goon

We all want

our time in hell
Mar 30th, 2017 11:58 PM   Edit   Profile  

2mm picks don't care what part I use!


Richmond, VA

Apr 4th, 2017 01:43 AM   Edit   Profile  

I always use the rounded shoulder of the pick, never the pointed end. I like the Jim Dunlop picks that have a kind of "grip" area of slightly raised bumps that help you maintain your grip; you can kind of rake this area across a string or strings and it adds something in the way of texture to your note(s). I find it easier to trill or tremelo pick with the rounded edge too.

Benson Fan

Los Angeles, CA USA

Apr 4th, 2017 09:29 PM   Edit   Profile  

Coincidentally, there's a series of videos called "Cracking the Code" (and some others) that promote using a rounder/thicker pick and using a picking angle that is more perpendicular than parallel to the strings. The idea is that it is more efficient especially when switching strings during leads, because the pick doesn't get "trapped" between the strings as much. That's also George Benson's style- he actually holds the pick at an angle and uses the "right side" of the pick (instead of the "left side"). There are videos you can watch that demonstrate that, too.

Cracking The Code

(This message was last edited by Benson Fan at 02:18 AM, Apr 8th, 2017)



May 13th, 2017 09:16 PM   Edit   Profile  

You do realise that you don't have to stick to the same technique all the time, right?

I'm constantly rotating the the pick to get the edge that I want for that particular note at that moment.



Jun 11th, 2017 07:01 PM   Edit   Profile  

I rotate my Fender Medium all the time to get different tones. One claimed that is how Duane Allman got his tone, playing on the round side of the pick instead of the point.


Southwest Florida

Alone in my principles
Jun 12th, 2017 02:34 PM   Edit   Profile  

I believe SRV used the round edges, as well.

FDP Forum / The Chop Shop / Using the Round & Flat Section of Picks Instead of Pointed

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