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Deciding if a thumbpick and/or fingerpicks are right for you

A Brief Introduction
Learning decent technique on guitar is like wading through a big swamp of collective shit

I remember about two years ago, when I was looking up some information on thumbpicks and their proper technique in general, I couldn't find anything truly relevant. I was interested in learning to use one at the time but the lack of technical information left me rather apprehensive. The articles I found ranged from uncited accounts regarding tendon damage to a sunny outlook of "Keep doing it you'll get better in no time!"

I'll do my best to try and explain the exact differences in using a thumbpick compared to the bare thumb in physical technique and the possible dangers of using bad form. I'll also give a more detailed guide on how to make sure your fingerpicks fit you correctly with an emphasis on alaska piks; due to the increased variables involved in their adjustment.

Thumbpicks
[email protected]!#!#

Most picks you're going to see in a music store are made of "Delrin," a trade name given to a thermoplastic called blahblahblah (it's in the sub header) that's stiff and durable. They're also sometimes made of polycarbonate AKA riot shields fuck year; the material tends to offer more durability than anything else and has a tendency to scrape on the strings giving an apparent "picked" sound.

The obvious stiffness that these materials offer are very much noticed when you try on a thumbpick for the first time. Chances are if you're trying on generic ones you won't find something that fits comfortably. This is already essentially half the battle, finding the right size that fits your thumb. If it's too tight, you'll quickly become uncomfortable while playing for the shortest of periods. Too loose and it'll slip out of position forcing you to stop playing all the time. The majority of these picks are simply casted from general molds. Don't hesitate filing down edges or the tip to better fit your preferences and comfort. You want to achieve the greatest degree of control over the thumbpick, the better it fits you, the easier this will be.

First thing's first though, when you wield a thumbpick it should be in the same position you'd wield an average pick; the thumb itself being almost parallel to the strings. This is unlike using your bare thumb, which involves more of a 20-35 degree angle of attack to the strings. If you're just beginning in learning to use one I highly suggest you wield it exactly like a regular pick, pressed against the side of your index finger.

It shouldn't be a priority to instantly go into playing normal fingerstyle as you would likely want to, but to first familiarize your muscles to using the pick. Practice basic alternate picking, if possible, as well as the basic down strokes. This process doesn't take long at all if you've some previous picking experience of some sort, but even if not, it greatly speeds up the learning process. The introduction of the other fingers means you will no longer be able to use your index finger for support a la a regular pick, therefore, try to be as gradual and patient as possible. Don't jump into fast picking and get frustrated if you find you can't pick the bass strings as fast as you can with a bare thumb. Try to take to mind that even though you may possess good fingerstyle technique it doesn't automatically make you able to pick up a thumbpick and play exceptionally.

Remember! Just like with a regular pick, the majority of the power should originate from the wrist, the rest should be supplied by your base thumb joint while the thumb knuckle joint serves as a pilot and director to where you're picking. If you find yourself becoming sore quickly, analyze your playing carefully and correct accordingly. This method is doubly important for mastering thumbpick upstrokes.

Choosing the grade of thickness of a pick should be dependent on how you want to play. Thin thumbpicks will require less torque for faster down strokes while thick thumbpicks will remain firm and steady for pulling off upstrokes. If you find yourself barely adjusting to picking technique then I suggest starting with a Thin grade and working your way up over time.

Here's some thumb pick variants to check out:

Fred Kelly Speed Pick

Fred Kelly Jazzy Flatpick Hybrid Thing

Whatever The Fuck This Is

Fingerpicks
fapfapfap

One of my constant troubles with playing fingerstyle on a steel string was being limited by the strength and durability of my fingernails. Slowly over time I began to become gradually more frustrated with not being able to play with the power I wanted to let alone the trouble with consistent harmonics at the 5th fret. Growing nails was one of the best things I did for my growth on guitar, but over time it certainly became apparent to me how much more they were meant for nylon and not steel.

An old secret used by last generation steel string players like the late Michael Hedges was to glue slices of ping pong ball underneath the nail to give a louder more consistent sound. This added a little more durability to the nail but there aren't very many players, including myself, who'd venture to glue something under their nail. At the other end of the spectrum was the fingerpick. Used more for folk at the time, many have changed very little. Still mostly made of nickel, brass, or polywhatever, they enable a more consistent sound without the worries of breaking a nail. The cost usually being in no longer being able to quite play the same way; most traditional fingerpicks are essentially like thumbpicks, finger flesh not usually being part of the equation.

Newer fingerpicks put more emphasis on trying to grip to the nail more to give a more familiar feel. Though I think on of more popular designs seen among upcoming fingerstyle players like Antione Dufour, Ewan Dobson, or Sungha Jung is the use of fingerpicks called Alaska Piks. These are essentially a combination of, in my opinion, the best of both worlds when it comes to playability and durability. They utilize "Under the nail over the finger" construction that has a very similar look to, say, placing a piece of ping pong ball underneath the nail, whilst having a secure hold on the finger granting much personally longed for durability. There's hardly a learning curve compared to a thumbpick;if you can play, you won't have much trouble getting used to them. This is what I currently use and suggest everyone give them a try. Though there is a little finesse when it comes to setting them up and making them comfortable for your fingers.

Setting up your Alaska Piks
Directions included my ass

I couldn't find a single place on the internet that tried to help clarify and explain how to set up alaska piks, so this will be the little niche part of the article for the sake of explaining how.

The website here informs that directions come with the order but they're essentially a tiny blue paper detailing the same information on the website as quoted below:

Custom Fitting Instructions
1) aLaska Pik's TM plastic and brass picks can be manicured to precise length: (Plastic) use clippers, then file. (Brass) use file or grinder. To manicure, place pick securely "Over the finger, Under the nail," decide the length desired, then clip and file. For a side of the fingernail attack remove plastic at indicator #1.

2) To match the curvature of the user's flesh under the nail area, file on the backside of picking surface (indicator #2). This adds security. This should be done before changing length. 3) To un-stiffen pick remove all or part of the pressure band (indicator #3). For added comfort file smooth all uncomfortable edges. The brass pressure band should be bent inward. This creates tension on top of the fingernail (indicator #3).

Now that shit is a bit vague so let me do my best to explain the best way to go about it. First thing first, be sure to file any sharp edges. These things are basically cut out of molds and none are truly designed to fit perfectly without a bit of tweaking. These first few steps are solely to make it more comfortable for your finger.

Next, if it feels tight, which it probably will, don't hesitate to cut the middle of the pressure band at #3 in the picture. It'll still be firm and secure, there's no need to have it uncomfortably clamped on your finger. You can make it loser by cutting a larger segment out of the middle of the pressure band. Now chances are it'll still clamp a bit tight around the finger, feel free to expand it open to make it fit more loose. Now move on to the exhibit #2. There's a bit of an edge where your nail slides over, I suggest filing it with some sand paper so it's smooth and doesn't irritate the bottom of your nail over time.

Now a bit of an interesting part. At #1 it says to remove a piece of plastic depending on side of fingernail attack. Basically, it'll usually be the left side as shown in the picture that is snipped out if you're right handed. Grab a pencil and while wearing the pick place the according finger on string as if you were about to pluck it. Mark where the plastic touches the string with pencil with a simple line. Now take your nail clippers and press the left side of the clippers along the line to about the midpoint. Clip and it should, more or less, give you a nice right angle. File it to smooth it out and move on.

Lastly, comes the actual pick shaping. I don't suggest using clippers like the directions say, just file it down while wearing it like you would your normal nail. This part is all preference, file it to how you keep your nails. Buff it, and bam, you done punk.

GTYNP: Doom II - Running From Evil

Posted in GTYNP

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qURei6svd90

It's been quite a long time since the last GTYNP (Greatest Tabs You Never Play).

So I would like to highlight a song, that I assume everyone heard it at least once. I think I've never heard it well executed, especially the solo which is pretty long and hard to memorize.
Auriplane did a good job with this tab by adding position markers and a lot of explanations.
Running From Hell by Auriplane.

Thx for the tab Auri! [email protected]_

Tune contest 5th edition!

Wow! So the 4th contest winner is:

(drumroll)

Jit! Check out his work! http://www.youtube.com/user/Jero924

Congratulations to him!

The theme choosed by him this week is...

MEDIEVAL THEME

So put on your armor and join the warfare in the appropriate thread!
http://www.gametabs.net/forum/topic/11561

Tune contest 4th edition!

Posted in contest recording

Alright, so far these weekly contests have proved to be popular so archard and a bunch others in the community felt it wouldn't hurt to try and make them bigger!

From now on as an additional incentive the weekly winner will be featured and announced here in the frontpage, having his work/yt channel linked in the main post, along the guidelines for the next contest.

This week's theme has been selected by our previous edition's winner, Musenji!
http://www.youtube.com/user/musenji

Congratulations to him.
The theme picked by him for this week is...

Miniature sonata-style.

3 separate movements, at least 30 seconds each:

1. fast
2. slow
3. fast

All on one track, with a little space between movements.

There are no limitations on the style, though ideally the movements should transition well into each other.

Standard deal with the deadline--it is not locked! We'll see how things go.
http://www.gametabs.net/forum/topic/11433

Weekly Tune Contests

written by rex.

Gametabs tune contest!

So thanks to a brilliant bear idea, Gametabs has now the honor to welcome the

WEEKLY GAMETABS TUNE CONTEST

Its simple:
A theme and some rules are imposed, then people have to compose an original song that would nicely fit the theme. from midi to high quality wavs, things you played and recorded yourself to FL vst instruments, anything goes!
The winner gets to choose the next theme.
Simple right? So you've got no excuses for not trying it!
Everything is happening in the Projects and competitions part of the forum.
COME CHILL WITH US.

Questions?
drop a line in our irc!

irc.rizon.net
#gametabs

IRC quick mini-tutorial

Originally posted by ehrik.

Here's a quick mini tutorial on how to join IRC servers and rooms.

First you'll need a program like mIRC (Though it says it's not free, you can use it past the 30 day trial for free, this is also the most popular of the three I listed), HydraIRC (Completely Free), or Chatzilla (A firefox extension/plugin thing, free as well). There are also a ton of other IRC clients you can use such as Pidgin (Universal client that uses IMs systems like MSN AIM too) or xChat, etc, but they're all basically run the same way.

Next open whichever program you have, there should be a blank window with a line to type stuff in. It should look something like this:

http://img38.imageshack.us/i/55632218.png/

Type on the line: /server irc.rizon.net , then press Enter.

Wait for it to connect, should look something like this:
http://img85.imageshack.us/i/10228590.png/

The client will tell you when you've succesfully connected.

Now in the same window type in: /j #gametabs
http://img130.imageshack.us/i/28021844.png/

Now you're done! You should see a new window open up, that is the channel window. Start chatting away.
----------

Review of the Avid Eleven Rack and the Atomic 112 18w active guitar cabinet

Posted in gear,Reviews

This article is written by Moogiefish.

Here is my Small contribution to a great resource...

The Eleven Rack (the orange box)

The eleven rack is a product that came out last year from Digidesign now Avid. What it is, is a usb ProTools interface (plus it can be used for other DAWs at the sacrifice of some features)/reamping system and a rack preamp and effects processor. As an interface it has a mic preamp with pad and phantom power, midi in and out, a line in and out, and an unbalanced guitar input with their true Z input circut.

Where it really shines thought is as a guitar effects processor. It all starts with the true Z input which is built to simulate the input impedance of a real amp then it hits the effects and amp chain. the chain can have six effects at one time with a wah and volume pedal along with whatever effects you have in the effects loop an amp and a cabinet with a mic that is either on axis or off axis...oh and it has a tuner. So it has 16 amp models, 7 cabinet models, 7 mic models, 2 wahs, a fuzz, a distortion, a overdrive, 5 modulation effects, 2 reverbs, 2 delays, a graphic eq, a compressor, a volume pedal, and a noise gate which is a part of all of the amp models.

Navigating all of it is really simple. The amp can be accessed through two or three button pushes, and the effects can be accessed by pushing their respective button on the front panel. They really went out of their way to make everything simple to do...except programming a midi foot controller which is an evil affair.

Sound-wise it is great, the cab and mics are Impulse response models. The reverb is lush and on the spring reverb you can get that wet surf verb. Amps are very dynamic responding to your touch and the volume knob. You can control the amp and effects through the six knobs under the display.

To hear it you can plug it into an amp,pa,power amp into a cab, or a powered speaker using either the xlr or unbalanced 1/4" outs. Plus for silent enjoyment it has a headphone out on the front panel.

Now I know a while ago a did a post on the axe fx raving how great it is...and my stance on it has not changed. As a stand alone effects processor/preamp it is the stick by all others are measured in features and sound quality. The reasons why I think the eleven rack is great too and why I bought it instead of an axefx is that, one it is a lot cheaper about 1000 dollars cheaper, two it is an interface, three it comes with pro tools le, four even at its price it still has a lot of really good and usable sounds. It is like comparing apples and oranges they are different but in the end are both fruit so you just got to choose.

sound clips are to come...

Atomic Powered guitar cab (the short review)

The atomic amp/cab is a tube powered active cabinet made specifically for digital modeling systems. this particular model is their discontinued 1x12 18 watt cab, and even thought it is 18 watts it is loud.

Sound-wise it is very clean with very high head room so even at high volumes the sound of the modeler shows through. It has no volume knob on it, all volume is controlled from the digital unit so you want to turn on you preamp first check your levels then turn on the cab, which is usual tube amp, preamp/poweramp practice.

Some problems I have with it though are:
-Heavy
-Vinyl rips easy

but other than that it is a great amp.

If you have any questions feel free to ask.

- Moogiefish

Review: The Acoustic© AG30 acoustic amp.

Posted in acoustic,ag30,Amp,effects

Photobucket

I recently went to my local guitar center to test drive an amp I've been thinking about getting for a while now The Acoustic© AG30. Never did I think my guitar could sound any more beautiful until I hooked up to this amp. It was amazing the effects were so natural sounding I couldn't believe it and not only that there were 16 effects to choose from so there is a wide range of effects you can choose form to fit your style. What I also thought was cool is there isn't a paper that tells you what the effects are, the list is stamped on top of the amp for your convenience. Also for all you YouTubers here on gametabs this amp has a line out which means for about 10-15 dollars more for the extra 1/4 to 1/8 cable at radio shack you can hook up to the line in on your computer and start using Windows Movie Maker to record some audio and upload it. Overall I'm very happy with this amp there are alot more features about this amp then stated above (see below). I recommend going to your local guitar center and trying it out for yourself.

Effects: I couldn't find any information about the effects this Amp had before I went to GC so I'm going to list them here for the people who want to know.

1. Bright Hall
2. Dark Hall
3. Bright Room
4. Dark Room
5. Bright Plate
6. Dark Plate
7. Echo
8. Repeat Echo
9. Echo/Reverb 1
10. Echo/Reverb 2
11. Chorus 1
12. Chorus 2
13. Flange 1
14. Flange 2
15. Chorus/Reverb 1
16. Chorus/Reverb 2

Pros: 16 natural sounding effects w/level adjust, Line Out, 3-Band EQ w/MID frequency change, XLR and 1/4 inputs, 1/8 aux in for CD player or Mp3 players, 1/8 stero headphone jack, 30-Watts RMS, 2 channels.

Cons: Weights 44lbs/19kg

Price: 199$

For more info on the amp go here http://www.acousticamplification.com/products/ag30.cfm

Here is what the amp sounds like http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bJLixibEQ-M