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pick's gauge describes how thick, or stiff it will be. Some
pick manufacturers actually measure the thicknesses and stamp
these numbers expressed in millimetres on the pick itself. Other
companies just say “Extra Heavy", “Heavy”,
"Medium", and "Thin". For beginners, thin
pick are the easiest to wrangle, because they more flexible
and after very little resistance when striking the strings.
Medium picks are very popular, because they're stiff enough
to allow you to really dig in, but flexible enough for light
strumming. Heavy-gauge picks can seem unwieldy at firs but provide
the fastest and mast accurate response. Most pros prefer heavy-gauge
picks, because there are plenty of exceptions.
You play virtually all rhythm (chord-based accompaniment) and
lead (single note melodies) using the same pick position: by
holding the pick - or plectrum (the old-fashioned term) - between
the thumb and index finger. So the correct way to hold a pick
is with just the tip sticking out sideways from the thumb.
you're strumming rhythm, use wrist and elbow motion. The more
vigorous the strum, the more elbow action you must apply. If
you're playing lead, use the more economical wrist motion. Learn
to keep your wrist and hand relaxed while maintaining a tight
grip on the pick. And plan on dropping your pick a lot for the
first few weeks until you get used to playing with it.
When you run out of picks and are desperate like you have to
go onstage in two seconds and you have no picks knowing that
a quarter is extra heavy and a matchbook cover is thin is helpful.
And any rock guitarist worth her salt has some amusing "war
story" about how she was reduced to scouring the broom
closet of a club in search of a bleach bottle to cut up for
an emergency pick.
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