Noisy strums

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Noisy strums

Postby Juliegb » Thu Jul 27, 2017 2:02 am

I've been playing the dulcimer with some friends of mine and I really enjoy it.

My problem is that when I strum, my pick hits the frets and /or fretboard and makes a clicking sound. I try strumming to the right of my dulcimer's sound holes ,but it sounds "twangy" on my IIR Blue Lion dulcimer. It's not as twangy on my Doty dulcimer.

Any advice will be appreciated!
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Re: Noisy strums

Postby KenH » Thu Jul 27, 2017 7:42 am

As you've noticed, there is a "sharpness" of sound as you get closer to the bridge; but that has nothing to do with "pick click".

Pick Click is usually caused by a combination of factors:
[list=]Holding the pick far too tightly
Holding the pick rigidly at right angles to the plane of the strings
Having too much pick stick out below below your fingers/fist[/list]

1-1-too much (3)-001.JPG

Too much pick sticking out

1-just right (2).JPG

Just the right amount of pick

If you hold the pick in a white-knuckle death grip, your hand gets tired and you can't hold it up at the proper height above the strings.

If you hold the pick at a rigid right angle, it can't flex, but instead 'snaps' across each string. If it does flex flex because you have too much pick hanging down, you get even more snap! These two factors are 90% of the click noise... Rotate your hand from the wrist such that the pick slips across the strings at a flatter angle - like this //// and this \\\\ only more shallow...

Pick click is not particularly caused by the pick striking the wood of the fretboard - that just causes a scraping/scratching sound
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Re: Noisy strums

Postby strumelia » Thu Jul 27, 2017 11:18 am

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Re: Noisy strums

Postby Juliegb » Sat Jul 29, 2017 9:24 pm

Thank you both for the good advice. I really appreciate.

Happy strumming!
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Re: Noisy strums

Postby Dusty Turtle » Sun Jul 30, 2017 5:51 pm

Good advice from Ken and Strumelia. Let me add a couple of other comments.

First, as the player above the instrument, you hear pick clack much more than listeners do, for they are at a distance from the instrument and hear more of the notes ringing out of the sound box.

Second, beginners usually start with thinner picks, but thinner picks create more pick clack. Try heavier picks with a light grip and I'll bet that pick clack is less noticeable.

Third, as Ken suggests, there is no need for a lot of the pick to stick out beyond your fingers. Similarly, you don't have to dig down into the strings to get them to vibrate. Your pick should be gliding over the top of the strings rather than getting in below them and yanking them. A softer attack on the strings should also decrease the amount of pick clack. USing the edge of the pick rather than the flat part at a right angle will also facilitate smooth picking and strumming and reduce pick clack.

Finally, some of us don't mind a bit of pick clack or the squeak of fingers sliding on strings. That is audio evidence of the tactile experience of playing an instrument instead of listening to computer-generated music.
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Re: Noisy strums

Postby joe sanguinette » Mon Jul 31, 2017 4:06 am

dusty is correct pushing a floppy pick attempting to increase volume is the most common cause of pick clack. try several stiffer picks
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