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Speed: Picks vs. No Picks

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Speed: Picks vs. No Picks

Postby 5stringpreacher » Mon Jul 10, 2017 10:53 pm

Anybody else able to pick much faster when they take their picks off?
I pick, therefore I grin.
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Re: Speed: Picks vs. No Picks

Postby mreisz » Tue Jul 11, 2017 2:29 pm

In my short stint at playing banjo (a month or so) that was decidedly the case with me.
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Re: Speed: Picks vs. No Picks

Postby markrocka » Tue Jul 11, 2017 11:33 pm

Definitely the opposite for me. I can't imagine playin Foggy Mountain Breakdown anywhere near 165bpm without picks.

What kind of picks do you use?
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Re: Speed: Picks vs. No Picks

Postby 5stringpreacher » Wed Jul 12, 2017 1:10 am

The ones from the store... :)
I pick, therefore I grin.
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Re: Speed: Picks vs. No Picks

Postby markrocka » Wed Jul 12, 2017 8:47 am

Ha! Well those are the same ones I use. :)
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Re: Speed: Picks vs. No Picks

Postby bluenote23 » Wed Jul 12, 2017 11:33 am

I find that bare fingers drag and catch on the strings where the picks slide and glide over them so for me, I cannot play as fast without picks.

Even after fours years, it is still easier to play accurately without picks (something for me to work on) but to play really fast figures, picks are a must for me.
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Re: Speed: Picks vs. No Picks

Postby Harv » Mon Jul 17, 2017 9:33 am

I never had luck with metal picks. Don't like the way they fit, don't like the scratchy noise I get from the strings.
Anyway, the alternative I've found is the Alaska pick for three fingers and a Fred Kelly speed pick for the thumb.

I've been delighted with this system for the last 15 years. The Alaska pick requires about 1/8th inch of fingernail for the pick to work correctly.
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Re: Speed: Picks vs. No Picks

Postby Banjocopilot » Fri Aug 18, 2017 12:55 am

When video tapes first came out, I focused on Old Time, two and three finger playing without picks. Michael Seegar's three volume set is a great example. I had a banjo around for decades before cassette and video tapes really "brought home" studies of the best players. I could play "bluegrass tunes" that sounded close, especially to friends who didn't know the difference. I started Scrugg's using the "Murphy Method" about twelve years ago. I made great progress due to Murphy's outstanding teaching in stages. In reading books, interviews of the major players were clear; in discouraging practicing without picks. I can play "Earl's Breakdown" at tempo with picks. Not so without them. The flesh just won't come off the string clean; it will drag somewhere. To get up to tempo; with good rhythm on a challenging piece, requires picks. If I'm "under the weather", say in a smaller room, I'll play without picks; it makes for easier jamming with a friend. At an outside jam, I'll always use picks. Folk's preference about which metal picks are "best" fill pages of a forum; slanted sevens, no USA etc.To sum; especially in the early times of playing, the use of picks will benefit you the most. I see in another forum the questions of who makes both finger and thumb picks. I suggest learning to form the picks to your hand, and only spending for the higher priced ones after finding out how well you keep track of the two and three dollar picks! {A Bluechip JD Crowe is my favorite. At $45.00, it's kept in a small wood box, zippered into my jeans.}
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