Much has been said in books, magazines, and high-priced ’90s shred lesson VHS tapes about how to play the guitar, but little attention has been given to the picking hand – that is, until recently. If you are not yet familiar with Troy Grady’s “Cracking the Code,” I encourage you to change that. “Cracking the Code” is by far the most analytic approach to understanding the mechanics of playing guitar that I have come across in my years of trying to understand this damn instrument. While Troy’s videos go into great detail about all aspects of playing, some of the biggest revelations that I have personally made have been with his attention to the picking hand.
As guitarists (electric players specifically), we can get bogged down in trying to find the right guitars, pedals, amps, strings, and even cables to yield that perfect sound. And while those all play an important role, the search can too easily overshadow the importance of your acoustic tone – how you sound without all the fancy toys. So much of that tone happens with the picking hand – the angle of approach, the type and shape of pick you use, the direction you send the strings vibrating. As a classically trained guitarist, it’s great to hear this conversation happening now more frequently among other pick players. Classical guitarists think about the exact same considerations, only with their shape, angle, and attack of their fingernails.
In one of Troy’s most recent video releases, Edge Picking, he explains in great detail how tone, volume, and smoothness can all be altered with the pick.
If you like what Troy Grady has to offer, check out his site here where you can subscribe to many hours of content from lengthy interviews with some of the world’s most respected guitarists (and mandolin players), camera shots and slow-down footage of the hands of those players, technique analysis, lessons, and more.
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