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E9th Pick Grips

Learning to play different grips with your picks can be a very frustrating thing to master. When we learn beginner grips we are usually seeing them as they apply to certain string groups that we use to play major triads. I took a different approach and tried to look at them in a more abstract way. What about the possibilities? I figured out how many ways my three finger and one thumb pick could play twelve strings. Some of them are wider than your fingers can reach, but I still took a look at them.

To look at all the grips I started with my picks on strings that were all adjacent and then started putting strings in between and through the process of elimination, I came up with all the possibilities.

Example #5 shows a few of the ones I use the most. They are all shown with the thumb on the tenth string. Remember to train your hand to play them across the strings. As your hands build up dexterity you'll find playing chords on your steel becomes easier.

You can practice playing grips across the strings on any neck. The thing to do is not worry about what the notes are. Concentrate on your right hand moving across the strings. You should at least know the basic grips and be able to play them across the strings. And one day you should be able to interchange them from any position and any grip.

Another way I used to learn pick grips is by giving a grip a code. If you use two finger picks you use two numbers and with three finger picks I use three numbers. How does this work? Its pretty simple. The numbers represent the number of strings between each pick. For example grip #1 has all picks on adjacent strings. This gives it a pickgrip number of (0.0). Pickgrip #2 has a number of (1.0). The first number represents the number of strings between your thumb and your first finger. The second number is the number of strings between your first finger and second finger.

I use three finger picks and one thumb picks and can play four note chords without strumming the guitar. I use the pickgrip numbers to help me remember licks and to help me find new ways to play. Once I trained my hand to move from grip to grip without fumbling, that gave my playing an advantage. I can go back to basic movements in the middle of a solo. Having that contrrol makes you comfortable and relaxed. This allows you to create.

The grips can be assigned numbers to help you understand them. The idea is to make the movements by the right hand automatic. You should be able to pick any grip on any set of strings. I see the grips starting with the thumb. The string the thumb is on is its position. Example #5 shows all of the grips in the tenth position. Remember, that you can move them across the strings.

The dexterity and coordination it takes for you to play these grips will come to you after hours of practice. There is no other way. Start slow and learn to move your picks from position to position with precision. Learning slow will allow you to put the music into your hands. As you work on the grips, remember that at the end of the journey you'll be able to produce more and more music on your steel.

Example #6 shows us using different grips. These are just basic examples to be associated with movement. Don't worry about what chord or which pedal. Just concentrate on seeing the movement in your mind and transferring that to your hand.

The wider grips are great for those big chords you like to play. The hands can play more if they know more. The best thing to do is to keep practicing. The more time you spend behind your steel, the more you will see it in your playing. You've got to put the music in your hands.