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Thread: Picking too low?

  1. #1

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    Picking too low?

    Hi guys,
    just received my first Music Man - a JPXI. Stellar guitar and I would like to preserve it as much as possible, however, I feel like I might be picking too low and hitting the pickups or perhaps even the body of the guitar - is the paint prone to being scraped by a pick? How would I go about fixing my technique?

  2. #2

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    Congrats! You probably aren't hitting the pickups when you strum but you might hit the body if you are an aggressive strummer. I'd recommend relaxing and playing lighter and more mindfully. Hitting the strings hard doesn't always mean a heavier/better sound. You can always try to incorporate using your fingers or fingers+picking style to your arsenal to spice up your playing. You can also use your fingers for those Stevie Ray kind of thumps when you need them.
    Luke 3 / StingRay / Cutlass / Axis

  3. #3

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    Also, keep the tip of the guitar pick as close to your fingers and thumb as possible.

    Forum Moderator, Guitar Teacher and Guitar Tech, Folder of Underpants, Stubber of Toes.
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    Silhouette Special (2005 Buttercream Limited Edition)
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    Click here for my Music Man photo albums


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  4. #4

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    Thanks for the tips guys, I spent a few hours assessing my technique and trying to correct it at the same time, and I feel like I'm in a good place with it at the moment. In a way, it sucks that the guitar doesn't have a pickguard, so I could be more at ease with my picking style, but I'm guessing that's the price for the splendid looks. Do any of you notice wear around the picking area due to this issue, on either the pickups or the body itself, after a few years of even considerate playing? Does it diminish the looks all that much?

  5. #5

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    The polyester finish is pretty tough, it's not gonna wear through like an old strat with a nitro finish! It will develop little scratches and marks, just like a pickguard will, but it's only ever visible if you look very carefully under just the right lighting angle. Besides, once you accidentally bang the guitar off the corner of a desk, or drop a screw driver on it, or it falls of a stand, and makes a big mark in finish, you won't care.

    Remember that changing picking technique is a long process, can be many months if you already been playing for a long time. Your brain will always go back to the old way of doing things because it feels more natural, even if it is objectively worse. So settle in and persevere. You will get there eventually.
    Forum Moderator, Guitar Teacher and Guitar Tech, Folder of Underpants, Stubber of Toes.
    Irish/American in Paris

    Silhouette Special (2005 Buttercream Limited Edition)
    Cutlass HSS (2018 Roasted Special, Ivory White)

    Click here for my Music Man photo albums


    Ernie Ball Customer Service
    Music Man Customer Service

    Remember, there's a "k" in knucklehead.

  6. #6

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    Hello and congratulations for your new guitar

    If you don't play your guitar and you put it in a glass box, there will be no mark.

    If you play your guitar, your guitar will have some marks : on the frets, on the fretboard, on the bridge ...
    All my guitars have wear marks, you cannot avoid them if you play your guitar a lot.
    For instance, on my Morse, the saddles for the low E string and the A string are well worn because my hand is in contact with the bridge when I play. On my SUB, even the metal pickguard have marks where my fingers are.

    It does not mean that you do not have to improve your technique if you can !

  7. #7

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    I agree with Fbecir, marks are good. They tell a story and it shows the guitar is being used as it was intended.
    2010 Axis Super Sport BFR Bahama Blue Burst Rosewood fretboard


    You only have 12 notes, what you do with them is up to you - Edward Van Halen

  8. #8

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  9. #9

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    Wow, how long have you had the guitar for? Are these marks on the fretboard holes, or do my eyes deceive me? How deep are they?

  10. #10

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    Refret that thing!
    A S T R O F R E Q . C O M

    Axis Hardtail TransPurple #89749 (3/28/97)
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  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by wojciech View Post
    Wow, how long have you had the guitar for? Are these marks on the fretboard holes, or do my eyes deceive me? How deep are they?
    The two first picture are my 20 years old Morse.
    Yes, your eyes do not deceive you ... there are holes on the fretboard. It's quite common on old guitars.
    It is not a problem for playing.
    It happens also on ebony fretboard (I have a 32 years old ESP Horizon Custom, and it is the same story ...).
    On maple fretboard, I presume it is also the same (try to google some old telecaster pictures).

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Astrofreq View Post
    Refret that thing!
    Well, a fret file can do the trick ... one time :


    But next time, the fret will be really too low.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by fbecir View Post
    The two first picture are my 20 years old Morse.
    Yes, your eyes do not deceive you ... there are holes on the fretboard. It's quite common on old guitars.
    It is not a problem for playing.
    It happens also on ebony fretboard (I have a 32 years old ESP Horizon Custom, and it is the same story ...).
    On maple fretboard, I presume it is also the same (try to google some old telecaster pictures).
    That's crazy, I thought holes like that made the guitar unusable, but if you say so... I realize that wear will come with age and the JPXI will likely stay my main guitar for the years to come, but it's hard to accept this fact given its worth and looks... Seriously considering buying another one to stick in said glass box as an art piece and an investment : )

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by wojciech View Post
    That's crazy, I thought holes like that made the guitar unusable, but if you say so... I realize that wear will come with age and the JPXI will likely stay my main guitar for the years to come, but it's hard to accept this fact given its worth and looks... Seriously considering buying another one to stick in said glass box as an art piece and an investment : )
    My wife is a professional classical musician (viola) - Almost any pro-level classical stringed instrument, not just 18th c. ones from Cremona, put the guitars we play to shame, price-wise. My wife bought her viola new back in 2005 or so (newly built!), and it cost ten times your average EBMM instrument. And over time, the fingerboards wear down (they're all fretless, of course) and have to be re-planed or, eventually, replaced. For an instrument that's a century or two old, I imagine that the finger board has been replaced several times, seams re-glued, pegs replaced, etc.

    If you're going to play an instrument, eventually it will need to be serviced. And while I do think my guitars are works of art, more than that I think it would be a shame to just put them in a case or hang on a wall and never play.
    2018 EBMM Axis BFR in Steel Blue
    2021 EBMM Sabre BFR in Coral Blue Burst
    2020 SbMM Axis in White
    2021 SbMM Axis in Neptune Blue
    ...and some other, lesser, non-MM guitars.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by jayjayjay View Post
    My wife is a professional classical musician (viola) - Almost any pro-level classical stringed instrument, not just 18th c. ones from Cremona, put the guitars we play to shame, price-wise. My wife bought her viola new back in 2005 or so (newly built!), and it cost ten times your average EBMM instrument. And over time, the fingerboards wear down (they're all fretless, of course) and have to be re-planed or, eventually, replaced. For an instrument that's a century or two old, I imagine that the finger board has been replaced several times, seams re-glued, pegs replaced, etc.

    If you're going to play an instrument, eventually it will need to be serviced. And while I do think my guitars are works of art, more than that I think it would be a shame to just put them in a case or hang on a wall and never play.
    This.

    Very much this.

    Guitars, as any musical instrument, will wear. Some of that wear will bring it closer to it's owner and the music the owner plays. That might be called the instrument's sweet spot, at least for a while. Some time after that, the sweet spot turns into worn down and eventually unplayable, even for the owner.

    Now it is time to repair the instrument and the skill and wizardry of the chosen luthier will make all the difference: does the owner slip back into a pair of well worn in shoes or does he have to learn to walk again?

    Check out Willy Nelson's guitar "Trigger" and the work done to it, if you are ready for some rather dramatic wear and tear.
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    You can tune a bass but you can't tuna fish.

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