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 No pick attack 
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Viking Kong
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Joined: Sun Nov 19, 2006 2:10 am
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Post No pick attack
Hi guys,

I know I don't contibute often to that part of the forum, but most of the time I feel like I can't compete with the guitar beasts that hang around here, so I'll stick to what I do best : asking questions.

I'd like to play my electric guitar, with no pick attack or as little pick attack as possible, almost like playing a synth.

Anyone got advice on the best way to do it ?

I know some ways : using fingers instead of a pick helps, softer picks, volume swells...

But is there a really handy tool, compressor perhaps ? Any other advice ?

Thanks a lot !

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Fri Apr 12, 2013 11:02 am
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Dr. X
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Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2011 5:20 pm
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Location: Ireland
Post Re: No pick attack
I'm pretty sure theres pedals that swell the volume from zero as you pick. That should work. I know I had a zoom pedal that did that a few years ago.


Fri Apr 12, 2013 11:53 am
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God Of The Sun
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Joined: Mon Jul 10, 2006 10:49 am
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Location: london baby
Post Re: No pick attack
yeah, it depends what you want as an end result. An auto fade will sound like violining, it's very obvious and is useless when playing fast. You'll get a better result with an ebow, but that is only good for long notes.

Hammer on a string from nowhere and see if that's what you're after, if so you need to learn to reduce your attack. For that the stylus pick is a good thing to practice with.

The reality is though, you're never going to completely eliminate your attack because you need something to make the string vibrate!

The closest I've seen on guitar to that synthy sound is Marshall

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JslLRgpNhhc#t=0m27s

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Fri Apr 12, 2013 12:32 pm
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Godzilla
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Joined: Thu Jan 06, 2005 6:46 pm
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Post Re: No pick attack
Maybe this is not what your question is about, but talking about pick attack, I´d suggest having a look at this

http://youtu.be/P8F9-rnMhNs

And another way of using just fingers

http://youtu.be/pvkS5Io8Xd0

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Fri Apr 12, 2013 4:01 pm
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Motorman
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Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2009 7:10 pm
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Location: Morgantown, WV
Post Re: No pick attack
Just listen to Starless by King Crimson and cry because youll never get that tone.

Seriously.

Fripp is a different kind of person.


Fri Apr 12, 2013 8:50 pm
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Viking Kong
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Location: France
Post Re: No pick attack
Thanks for the advice dudes.

When I get home next week, I'll try out using a combination of finger picking, compression, and legato playing.

As of now, I downloaded a virtual synth and programmed the playing, just to test what it sounds like with this method.

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Fri Apr 12, 2013 11:24 pm
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Viking Kong

Joined: Mon Jan 03, 2005 3:20 am
Posts: 6727
Post Re: No pick attack
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJF5zB7YcXc

It almost sounds like you're after the Holdsworth sound. He has that super light pick attack, sometimes none because he also uses his fingers, and that really smooth synth/horn-like quality to his tone. I know he's not well loved on these forums but check the video out, once without watching the video, and once watching it.


Some tips...
You could roll down your tone knob a little bit if the attack is too strong on the bridge pickup. This works especially well for strats. On humbuckies it might get a little muddy, but just use your better judgement on how much to roll off.

As far as using different kinds of picks? I'd experiment. I'd go for a pick that has a really smooth round edge with a really smooth material. A thin pick will give you more snap and slice, while a fatter pick will give you a more robust and fat attack. Those Black Ice picks come to mind when talking about smooth material with a rounder edge (if you like the jazz III shape but hate the texture/tone). Adjust how hard you're picking as well, if you're getting too much attack, pick lighter. Also, the more flat/parallel you pick to the string, the less of a slicing/chipping sound you'll get, and more of a fat initial attack.

As for tone, if you have an aggressive sounding distortion/guitar, there's not much you can do to change that character other than what's already been said. Some guitars are just not conducive to certain types of playing, and neither are some amps (Laney's come to mind) and pedals. That being said however, HB guitars are easier to achieve the compressed, synth like tone. As for overdrive, you might have to experiment with some nice pedals.

Also, not sure if you'd want to take the time to do this, but economy picking nets you a much smoother sound than alternate picking.


Fri Apr 19, 2013 3:22 am
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Viking Kong
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Posts: 5299
Location: France
Post Re: No pick attack
Refried Bean wrote:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJF5zB7YcXc

It almost sounds like you're after the Holdsworth sound. He has that super light pick attack, sometimes none because he also uses his fingers, and that really smooth synth/horn-like quality to his tone. I know he's not well loved on these forums but check the video out, once without watching the video, and once watching it.


Some tips...
You could roll down your tone knob a little bit if the attack is too strong on the bridge pickup. This works especially well for strats. On humbuckies it might get a little muddy, but just use your better judgement on how much to roll off.

As far as using different kinds of picks? I'd experiment. I'd go for a pick that has a really smooth round edge with a really smooth material. A thin pick will give you more snap and slice, while a fatter pick will give you a more robust and fat attack. Those Black Ice picks come to mind when talking about smooth material with a rounder edge (if you like the jazz III shape but hate the texture/tone). Adjust how hard you're picking as well, if you're getting too much attack, pick lighter. Also, the more flat/parallel you pick to the string, the less of a slicing/chipping sound you'll get, and more of a fat initial attack.

As for tone, if you have an aggressive sounding distortion/guitar, there's not much you can do to change that character other than what's already been said. Some guitars are just not conducive to certain types of playing, and neither are some amps (Laney's come to mind) and pedals. That being said however, HB guitars are easier to achieve the compressed, synth like tone. As for overdrive, you might have to experiment with some nice pedals.

Also, not sure if you'd want to take the time to do this, but economy picking nets you a much smoother sound than alternate picking.


Thanks for the advice Bean !

I'll test it out, starting with the easiest things to experiment, and then working into details.

I need that kind of tone for a single use in a music project, I'm not particularly into that type of tone, so I won't be investing to much money in equipment like a brand new guitar or amp for that, I'll try to work with what I have, though I might consider using a pedal or device that I could use for other purposes later.

I'll let you guys know how it turned out !

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Fri Apr 19, 2013 2:46 pm
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Viking Kong
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Joined: Sun Sep 10, 2006 4:39 pm
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Location: Los Angeles, CA
Post Re: No pick attack
Refried Bean wrote:
It almost sounds like you're after the Holdsworth sound. He has that super light pick attack, sometimes none because he also uses his fingers, and that really smooth synth/horn-like quality to his tone. I know he's not well loved on these forums but check the video out



Dude, a couple of weeks ago I was literally 10 feet away from Allan just hanging out watching him soundcheck… and then shortly after watching him perform! I don't do twitter, but during that I really wish I did because I would have been tweeting like a motherfucker with “HOLY SHIT I’M 10 FEET AWAY FROM ALLAN FUCKING HOLDSWORTH WATCHING HIM WARM UP!!!” It was absolutely amazing and very surreal. :shock:

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Fri Apr 19, 2013 3:23 pm
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Viking Kong
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Joined: Tue Jul 27, 2004 10:00 pm
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Location: Denver, CO.
Post Re: No pick attack
Refried Bean wrote:
I know he's not well loved on these forums

Ha ha. Are you referring to what I THINK you're referring to?

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Fri Jun 21, 2013 12:45 am
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Viking Kong
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Joined: Mon Nov 18, 2002 6:40 am
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Location: Across The Universe
Post Re: No pick attack
2 words: "Richie FUCKING Kotzen"............nuff said.....


Fri Jun 21, 2013 10:50 pm
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