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Thread: Would I be better off switching to a lighter string for speed picking?

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    Default Would I be better off switching to a lighter string for speed picking?

    I'm currently using .010s on my Strat and a heavy pick. Problem is I often get hung up on the string (especially on an upstroke). Because a thick pick won't flex it's easy to get hung up. I was wondering if I might be better off moving to .009s. Just wondering if switching to a string that has a smaller diameter will somewhat alleviate the problem. This is for speed picking of course. Yngwie style.

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    Nerdy Nerd jon the art guy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Would I be better off switching to a lighter string for speed picking?

    What pic are you using?
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    Default Re: Would I be better off switching to a lighter string for speed picking?

    Dunlop Jazz III. Both the red ones and the yellow ones. They don't have a measurement on them but they are thick.

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    Default Re: Would I be better off switching to a lighter string for speed picking?

    Another thing I was thinking is maybe some kind of hybrid set. I don't have too much difficulty picking the treble strings so maybe I could stick with .010-.013-.017 but go to a smaller bass string like .024-.032-.042.

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    Nerdy Nerd jon the art guy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Would I be better off switching to a lighter string for speed picking?

    I dunno, I don't think you'll get a lot of ease out of switching strings; best to either work on your picking technique or deburring your picks. Sounds like a problem I had which is attacking the pick with a hard grip and having the pick tip aim up a little bit towards you.

    1) loosen your grip a little. You might be pulling your pointer finger in too tight, curling the pick under.
    2) reaim your wrist a little. Pull your small fingers up off the body to get the pick aiming perpendicular to the strings.
    3) deburr your picks. Use the smoothest emery board you can to buff the pick tip to get rid of that casting line. Maybe rub the edge on a candle. You'll need to clean your strings too if you do this.

    When I started relaxing, I started picking really fast. I would really not suggest changing string gauge for this. If anything, go for half-round strings (which will dull your sound a bit but will get way faster on speed picking)
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    Nerdy Nerd jon the art guy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Would I be better off switching to a lighter string for speed picking?

    main reason why I wouldn't do the string thing is that you'll be needing that setup again. What a pain.
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    Mojo's Minions ItsaBass's Avatar
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    Default Re: Would I be better off switching to a lighter string for speed picking?

    That will make it worse. Thin strings will be all over the place, and the difference in stiffness between your pick and your strings will be further exacerbated. I'd go to a thinner pick first.

    That said, it's really all about technique, not technical specifications. Practice will likely cure your issues without having to change a thing.
    Last edited by ItsaBass; 08-16-2014 at 02:03 PM.
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    Mojo's Minions beaubrummels's Avatar
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    Default Re: Would I be better off switching to a lighter string for speed picking?

    Use a thinner pick, or turn the pick and use the roundest edge of the pick so it slides off the string easier back and forth. Or try turning the pick at 45 degrees of attack (or anything not 90 degrees) to the string so it slides off the string easier.

    Don't go lighter strings if you are used to those because then the string itself will be flexing and flubbing with the tremolo pick work and give you more problems, as well as not sound quite on pitch.

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    Super Toneologist EDX's Avatar
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    Default Re: Would I be better off switching to a lighter string for speed picking?

    it should be the technique, look if your picks are still sharp, and also try the three fingers grip, it will correct the angle and made you take advantage of the shape and small size of the jazz iii
    Last edited by EDX; 08-16-2014 at 09:56 PM.

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    watch where you point that sword Phantasmagoria's Avatar
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    Default Re: Would I be better off switching to a lighter string for speed picking?

    Jazz III's are awesome for picking fast. I personally love the trans-yellow ULTEX ones. You'll need to angle them downwards a bit till they meet the strings at an ( at least) 45° angle. If the pick is flat/parallel to your strings it will cause you to struggle. I use both .9's & .10's on my guitars and it makes little to no difference.. I also use very thick picks (Big Stubby 3mm's) on occasion (the thicker the better). You should maybe give the Stubby's a go as well (get the 3mm ones) they glide over strings like nothing else...and proper angling is redundant because of the way they're shaped/tapered, but I do find them a lot better for lead than for rhythm playing (attack's too smooth).
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    Default Re: Would I be better off switching to a lighter string for speed picking?

    When I want to (try to) play super fast lead stuff, I like paper thin picks with huge strings. But I mostly play heavy rhythm stuff, so I like huge picks and huge strings.

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    Alnico 6/8 Chickenwings's Avatar
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    Default Re: Would I be better off switching to a lighter string for speed picking?

    Quote Originally Posted by 357mag View Post
    I'm currently using .010s on my Strat and a heavy pick. Problem is I often get hung up on the string (especially on an upstroke). Because a thick pick won't flex it's easy to get hung up. I was wondering if I might be better off moving to .009s. Just wondering if switching to a string that has a smaller diameter will somewhat alleviate the problem. This is for speed picking of course. Yngwie style.
    you need to look at your grip rather than any of the things like string gauge. Look closely at the angle of the pick is identical when it is doing both upstrokes and downstrokes. Heavy picks are good. The heavier they are, the more you will hone your technique. The less flex they have, the more you are able to feel the resistance as it moves over the string and the more you will develop sensitivity and the movement of the pick between your finger and thumb. Imagine the tip of the pick "slicing" across the string and gliding over it rather than having it bulldozing the string. When you think of the diamater of a string, an effective pick stroke can be less than a millimter of movement. The string does not get set in motion until the pick leaves the string, so you can also concentrate on only using the very tip of the pick. That is all you need to set the string in motion - especially if you play with high gain. Concentrate on keeping relaxed as you play 16th notes using a metronome. you can work on this two ways and they are both complementary. the first way is to keep your metronome speed slow enough that you can keep up a constant, uninterrupted flow of alternate picking while you are doing scales and arpeggios. The second is to set the metronome faster and play short bursts of fast alternate picking. Even if you can only do short 4 note bursts, you can still concentrate on keeping relaxed as you do it, then slowly increase the length of the bursts so that they become 6 or 8 notes long...and longer.
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    Super Toneologist J E C's Avatar
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    Default Re: Would I be better off switching to a lighter string for speed picking?

    I use Jazz III picks. The black Ultex 2.0. I have very little of the picks tip exposed, about 3/32" to 1/8" and hold the pick so that the flat sides (the surfaces that you hold it by) are angled at around 35 to 40 degrees to the strings, with the the line that runs from the tip through the back/top of the pick at a 90 degree angle to the strings. This way the edges of the pick that strike the string, contact the string in the same way on the up and down stroke. It allows me to have very good control over the pick and its dynamics with the strings by how firmly or loosely I grip it.
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    Major General GAS aleclee's Avatar
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    Default Re: Would I be better off switching to a lighter string for speed picking?

    Lighter strings won't make a difference. The two things that I've tried that actually worked were
    1. Angling the pick so it's not parallel to the string.
    2. V-Picks


    I wasn't a huge fan of the change in tone for #1 but really like V-Picks.
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    The Drama Dude CTN's Avatar
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    Default Re: Would I be better off switching to a lighter string for speed picking?

    jazz 3's are fine for fast picking on 10s.

    just adjust your technique so you are picking more precisely with the very tip instead of with the body of the pick.

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