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guitar pick wallpaper

How to choose a guitar pick (Beginner)

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How to choose a guitar pick?

guitar pick wallpaper

Pick the right pick! How, though?

With guitar picks, the plethora of options out there presents a challenge for beginners wanting to pick the right pick. How to choose a guitar pick is a topic that goes on forever. Guitar picks vary in shapes and thickness and are made with different materials. The latter depends more on personal preference, but the shape and thickness depends on

Get the right shape!

Guitar pick shape

Various shapes of guitar picks

The image above shows only 8 of the commonly seen shapes, there are crazier designs out there. For now, we will explain the reasons behind these 8 shapes. By the end of this article, you should know how to choose the guitar pick for your daily practice!

Standard

best guitar pick

The standard shape is one of the most popular choices, so you can expect to find a large range of quality picks of this shape in music stores. This is an all-rounder design that allows you to excel in both strumming and picking. It fits well in any hand size too. Standard-shape pick prices range from $0 to $5 for each pick. If you are a beginner, we highly recommend you start with this design.

Teardrop

The teardrop is designed with precision in mind. People who are able to use these often complement it for allowing them to get closer to the strings, feeling the strings better. However, teardrop picks are not for everyone. They are rather small and require a certain level of skill to control. So if you are looking at these, you should already have a good amount of experience with the standard pick.

Jazz

The Jazz pick is probably the best solution to those who want the angle of the standard pick, but in a smaller size. While the standard pick is branded as a one-size-fits-all pick, that is never quite the case. In this case, most people actually prefer the jazz pick after they are done exploring the standard pick. But just like the teardrop design, we recommend all beginners to stick to the standard for a start.

Pointy

While jazz picks may be the most right-sized, it may not have the best in terms of angle. The picking angle of the Jazz pick is very much the same as the Standard. For people who wish their pick can glide pass the string effortlessly, Pointy is the best solution. Pointy is pretty much the sharper version of the Jazz. Paul Gilbert commonly use such design and is also commonly known for his speed and precision!

Pentagon

I know, that isn’t how a Pentagon should look like. This design is between the Jazz and the Teardrop.  The chopped off ends allows the pick size to be smaller but at the same time offering the picking angle similar to the Jazz. If you are looking for a Jazz pick with a smaller surface area, this might be it. Besides, it looks funky and cool!

Triangle and Equilateral Triangle

shamisen

Img: Wow-j.com

The triangle and equilateral triangle picks are for those with huge hand size. They offer a thicker tone due to the amount of mass on the pick and also allows for you to pick on all corners. This means, there isn’t a moment you will panic on stage because you are holding the pick in the wrong position. On top of being a big pick, Triangle pick reminds us of the Japanese Traditional instrument Shamisen (三味線). Though not entirely the same but you can see the similarity between the pick used for the Shamisen and this Triangle pick.

Sharkfin

The Sharkfin was branded as a multi-purpose guitar pick. It is a combination of Teardrop, Standard and the Sharkfin. The top right corner offers the small picking angle like the Teardrop. The bottom offers the picking angle like the Standard. The Sharkfin side is perhaps the smartest pick design ever. By strumming the guitar strings with the multiple ridges, you can attain a tone that sounds similar to the Chorus effect or 12-string guitar! That is because the pick design allows the string to be strum a couple of times in just 1 stroke! There are brands out there that offer Sharkfins made with various thicknesses on the different corners too!

Thickness, just how thick is right?

Thick and Thin guitar pick

IMG: V-Picks.com

Guitar pick comes in a huge variety of thickness and they all serve a specific purpose. There is no right or wrong with which thickness you choose. However, there are some general guidelines to the thickness. We will divide them into 4 categories, Thin, Medium, Thick, and Ultra. Let’s dive in!

 

 

Thin Picks

Thin picks are suitable for strumming away on the acoustic guitar. They have a high level of flexibility and helps to reduce all the harshness when you strum hard across the strings. The tone produced is also rather thin but there is specific case where pro-guitarist actually want that tone in their song. Take a look at the ever-popular Wonderwall, the tone is unmistakably achieved by strumming with a rather thin pick! It is almost impossible to get that tone otherwise! We recommend all beginners to get this thickness first and master the art of using a guitar pick.

Medium Picks

Medium picks offer the best of both worlds between strumming and picking. The thickness still allows for some flexibility and hardness when picking individual notes. This thickness is by far the most popular with most Acoustic guitar players that do picking and strumming in their songs. Electric guitar players who do more of rhythm role will also benefit from this thickness because the thinner strings on the electric guitar matches really well with the medium thickness guitar picks. We recommend this to beginners that have passed the stage of Wonderwall.

Thick Picks

Thick picks offer almost no flexibility and makes strumming a lot harder. However, the thickness in return allows for a faster response when picking a string as there isn’t any flexing on the pick to cushion the stroke. This means you can pick faster than with a Medium or Thin pick. With a little practice, the pro-guitarist will be able to strum with the thick pick and achieve a tone similar to Wonderwall. However, the risk of the pick falling off the grip is real when doing so. Usually, a guitarist at this level is able to go between a variety of thicknesses and will have a pouch filled with choices. Beginners, stay clear of the Thick picks.

Ultra Picks

As the name suggests, these picks are not meant for regulars. In fact, they are meant for people who have cleared all stages of Wonderwall and are entering the world of the vast unknown. The ultra-thick pick has no tolerance to flex, they simple are as tough as Diamond. However, the sweet reward of using these picks are ultra-fast picking response and a rather thick guitar tone! Each note will sound as if they have put on a few pounds since you last heard of them. We are not endorsing these kinds of picks but there are a few brands out there that offer this madness. V-Picks being one of the crazier ones… Go try it if you dare. Again, stay clear of this my Beginners.

Conclusion

If you are a Beginner and hunting for the most suitable guitar picks for your daily practice, we recommend you to go with the Thin or Medium thickness on the Standard design. If you have a doubt, it is also a good idea to talk to your guitar teacher about this. Your guitar teacher will know your progress the best and will be able to advise you on what is most suitable for you.

good guitar pick

How to choose a guitar pick ? Now you know !

Vinnie

fingerstyle guitar singapore

Fingerstyle Guitar

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Fingerstyle Guitar, more than a guitar!

fingerstyle guitar singapore

Our student Kryan performing his fingerstyle guitar song during our recital.

What is Fingerstyle Guitar?

Most of us were either really young or not even born when Chet Atkins took the world stage by storm. Unlike the superstars of today, there was no loud music or flashy colored lighting on stage. Instead, it was a small tv set-up with a small audience, some musicians and Chet right there in the middle. When Chet played his guitar, it felt like there were many more than those musicians on stage playing along with him. The secret was in Chet’s fingers. Even if those other musicians were removed, the music would still sound as full and as big! This was because Chet basically covered the Bass Guitar, Rhythm Guitar and Lead Guitar parts all at once! Occasionally, he would even cover the percussion section! This was the birth of fingerstyle guitar!

Fingerstyle Guitar’s unique techniques

The technique involves using each of the right (or left) hand fingers independently in order to play the multiple parts of a musical arrangement that would normally be played by several band members. Because bass, melody, and percussion can all be played simultaneously, fingerstyle tends to sound a little piano-like. It is the perfect style of music for playing without any other musicians. Fingerstyle guitar is one of the few musical techniques that’s actually fun to learn because it is so flowing and calming but at the same time so agressive and powerful. What’s more, the fingerpicking just seems to bring the best sound out of the acoustic guitar as an instrument.

Top 10 Fingerstyle Guitarist (Our list)

While this list is definitely not complete, we are certain that it is enough to give you a headstart to knowing more about this wonderful world of fingerstyle guitar! Share this list to your friends and soon we will see The Day Finger Pickers Took Over The World

Modern Fingerstyle Guitar Arrangements

While most fingerstyle music seems to have a layer of dust over them, modern guitarists have been churning out arrangements of modern music. Andrew Foy, as mentioned in our Top 10 Fingerstyle Guitarist list above, is notably the most hardworking in arranging modern pop songs into fingerstyle! Mike Dawes, another up and coming fingerstyle guitarist has a very unique method of merging percussive sound, harmonics and unusual harmonies, giving a modern and unique feel to fingerstyle guitar.

Of course, our very own Vinnie had a go recently in rearranging the Avengers’s theme song into a fingerstyle arrangement. There is no limit to what fingerstyle arrangements can be! They are destined to take over the world!

How to learn fingerstyle guitar?

Music arranged for fingerstyle playing can include chords, arpeggios, melodies with elements such as hammering on and pulling off with the fretting hand, using the body of the guitar percussively, and many other techniques.

There are a number of fingerstyle techniques. For beginners, fingerstyle guitar may feel a little strange and challenging since you’re plucking the strings directly with your digits. Thumbpicks are often seen on fingerstyle guitarist because of the need to emphasize the bass tone.  Thumbpicks aren’t absolutely necessary for you to play this way. In fact, you have also to make sure you can keep the finger picking pattern down and consistent.

For more on fingerstyle guitar, check out our guitar lessons or sign up for a free Trial Lesson. Give it a shot, you’re going to have a ton of fun! But if you are not convinced that a young kid will be able to learn equally well, then let 11-year old Dave show you how it is done!

Looking for Music Lessons in Singapore? (Part 3)

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Looking for Music Lessons in Singapore?

Looking for music lessons in Singapore? Read on and find out more in this 3rd and final installment in our series.

Should you choose a ‘music school near me’ ?

It is tempting to opt for convenience when it comes to taking music lessons. However,  this may not be the wisest choice to make. A good music school must have an environment that is conducive to learning. Choose a music school with dedicated studios that are well-maintained and equipped with quality instruments. Some schools may also hold recitals which go a step further by allowing students to integrate performing and all its benefits as part of their learning experience.

VCR 3 Final shot          electric guitar lesson singapore

Should you sign into a music school for children only?

Your child actually benefits if he learns at a music school that is open to both adults/teenagers and children. They grow by getting to experience and interact with peers and older students who are at different levels. What’s more, there is the benefit of being exposed to a variety of musical instruments. With only 30 minutes to one hour of lesson time per week, a music school environment produces better results as the focus at that time is on learning music.

Look out for credible partnerships

Aside from certification, a school that works with multiple other organisations makes it more trustworthy as it has achieved a level of success at an organisational level. When a music academy partners with other schools, it shows that it has proven itself as an academy that is able to provide an all-rounded music education.

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Posted by Vinnie Classroom on Wednesday, 4 May 2016

What should you look out for before signing up?

Do the owners of the school know about music? Have they taught or performed professionally? Do they have the credentials required to appropriately address the needs of students? It is important that the school you choose has the right values to nurture and develop that passion for music.

Not all students fit the same mould. A fixed curriculum or program may restrict learning and exploration of a student’s potential. Check if the school has one-on-one sessions that can be tailored to the student’s musical background and interests. The school should also use recognised teaching materials and exam syllabi or have developed their own syllabus that is student-centered and adaptable to individual needs.

 

Looking for Music Lessons in Singapore? (Part 2)

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Looking for Music Lessons in Singapore?

Our Views on Yamaha and Cristofori Music Schools

If you are looking for music lessons in Singapore, two names that pop up are Yamaha and Cristofori because they have centres dotted all around Singapore. They are well-known mostly for group music lessons that cater to younger children with the option for one-to-one lessons as they progress through the years.

We feel that personalised lessons tend to provide better attention to detail for each individual student. Therefore, it is important that the group is not so big that the teacher cannot focus on each student properly. In our humble opinion, music schools that offer one-to-one sessions are preferable. This is especially so for beginners who need to develop and train good techniques and habits.

The most crucial step you must take before signing up with a school is to audition the music teacher. This means you must know if the music teacher you or your child is taking lessons from is qualified. And we don’t mean just paper qualifications. When a music school has many branches, the quality of their music teachers could suffer. It’s important to check if music teachers are hired based not only on their certifications but also their years of experience and their attitude towards teaching.

Some music schools offer a Free Trial Lesson for all new sign-ups. Aside from being able to audition the teacher, you will also experience a lesson first-hand and have a clearer picture of how lessons are conducted.

Is it important to attend one of the Top 10 Music Schools in Singapore?

A top-listed music school may not necessarily improve your musical ability nor ensure you’ll learn any faster than a smaller, more dedicated music school. Every student is unique and has a different learning rate. In the same way, music schools are also varied and offer different advantages.

The list of top 10 schools you see is likely an inaccurate representation of the music school demographics in Singapore. There are many music schools in Singapore and it is unlikely that the selected top 10 schools on that internet list are compiled with a proper point scoring system or an objective assessment of each and every school. This creates a biased and skewed image of the music school scene. What’s more, the list you see might also be dated.

Just remember that big doesn’t necessarily mean best. Smaller music schools may be able to cater to your needs more personally and follow-up on your music education more efficiently.

What’s Music Education like in Singapore?

With the proliferation of music schools in Singapore, what should you look out for when signing up for music classes? Obviously, the teacher is very important. He or she needs to be qualified and experienced. It also helps if he/she can establish a good rapport with students. Aside from this, look for a school with a different approach from the others.

Some schools offer an approach that is performance-oriented. This means that while striving for good academic results is important, these schools place great value on gaining experience as performers. Students will learn more beyond the exam curriculum and understand the tough requirements needed to put up a good show. This ultimately trains and improves students who will grow as artists and overcome performance-related anxiety. You’ll see that attention to these small details plays a big part in ensuring a good music education.

Looking for Music Lessons in Singapore? (Part 1)

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Looking for Music Lessons in Singapore?

Many music schools

So you’ve decided to take up music lessons. Now you need to decide which music instrument you want to master. These include piano, keyboard, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, ukulele or drums, just to name a few. After that, there are many avenues for learning music in Singapore. The proliferation of music schools just means that your choice becomes more difficult because too many options can sometimes lead to confusion! There are also many different music genres and styles: classical music, traditional folk, pop, rock, country, jazz, and blues. The list goes on. Most schools offer classical music training but some focus on more contemporary Pop and Rock music. Whatever you choose, remember to learn at your own pace, at your own convenience and timing to get the most out of the experience.

Should lessons be exam-based?

Singapore is all about qualifications. However, should music lessons revolve around prepping students for exams only? While this may be the case for some music schools, there are others that cater to a more well-rounded student. Afterall, there is certainly more to learning music than exams. Some schools organise ensembles or recitals where students learn how to perform in front of a ‘live’ audience. They also get to experience working as part of a band. Another possible avenue of creativity is having students learn how to perform in recordings for Youtube videos that will be eventually uploaded onto the internet. All these add variety and a different learning experience for students!

Music Lessons for MEP or DSA

The Music Elective Programme (MEP) is offered by the Ministry of Education to provide students with an aptitude for music to pursue a deeper study in music listening and music making. Music lessons at a good music school can boost and equip young musicians with musical knowledge to support performance and any other musical endeavours they may embark on even after leaving school. Students aiming to qualify under the Direct Schools Admission (DSA) programme can also bolster their music repertoire. This is especially so if they are exposed live performances offered at some music schools, apart from the usual examination-based syllabus.

Whatever your reasons for pursuing a music education, rest assured that there are good schools out there who can partner you in your search for quality and provide many opportunities to improve your playing standards. Look out for Part 2 of our post on Music Schools in Singapore. Coming to you soon!

 

 

Jack Thammarat Guitar Lessons

Guitar Lessons with Jack Thammarat (My experience)

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Guitar Lessons with Jack Thammarat!

If my video hasn’t sung enough praises about my guitar lessons with Jack Thammarat, let me emphasize yet again! It was such a rewarding trip. I am very thankful this took place! I guess the lesson was not so much about how to pick faster or how to play crazier. It was about how to discover and rediscover myself. It is only when I discover more about my own routine, habits and attitude then I can move forward. However, you probably need not start with someone like Jack to correct your playing. If you are keen in improving your guitar playing, sign up for a trial lesson with us!

My first-hand experience!

If you have not read my detailed blog post about this experience, just clink on this link to read more about it. Sometimes, it is easier to write my experience down. But if you’d rather watch, then this video above should be for you!

Interview with Jack Thammarat

If you are waiting for the interview video I did with Jack Thammarat, subscribe to my youtube channel and set the notification bell on. I will be premiering it on 24th September 1am Singapore Time, or 23rd September 1pm GMT -4. 

My Current Goal

Jack Thammarat Youtube Silver Play Button

Jack Thammarat’s YouTube Silver Play Button

I know most people don’t regard this as anything special or significant. YouTube creators have repeatedly shared that having a huge subscriber base does not equate to more views per video too! However I feel that should I cross the 100,000 subscribers mark, I will be able to get my work out to a greater group of audience. Furthermore, if they subscribed to me it’s because they like my content! So if you have not subscribed to my YouTube channel and you agree with my hardwork in creating all this content, please consider subscribing.

Vinnie.

Jack Thammarat Singapore

Jack Thammarat is my Teacher!

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I can finally call Jack Thammarat my teacher! 

Jack Thammarat and Singapore

Jack is no stranger to Singapore and has been coming for masterclasses, clinics and shows on our sunny island over the years. He was here doing shows as early as 2012! This, mainly thanks to his success in the 2009 Guitar Idol competition and his endorsements with various brands and the small but active guitar scene in Singapore.  Because he is such a successful artist, it was hard to imagine that I would actually be able to call him my teacher one day!

How I first met him

Jack Thammarat Wala Wala Singapore

Jack Thammarat and students of Vinnie Classroom 2016 at Wala Wala Singapore

It was during a clinic he did back in 2016. Vinnie Classroom was still a very young music school and I was desperate to make it work. As you can imagine, I felt lost from time to time. However, the stars aligned and we received information that Jack would be coming for a clinic. I gathered my students and brought them to the show and boy, were we all inspired! His playing was phenomenal and might I repeat, inspiring. After he left, I started working really hard on my guitar all over again. Our students were also motivated to perform better during our recital. Of course, he don’t know what magic he did for us.

I went to Chiang Mai for lessons!

Yamaha guitar Thailand

Took this photo the moment I reached my hotel in Chiang Mai

So about a year ago, I met Jack again at another Masterclass he did in Singapore. This time, I felt the need to bring things to another level. I was hoping to have lessons with him, probably via Skype. Never did I expect myself on a flight all the way to Thailand to have up close and personal lessons with him!

Surreal Lesson Experience!

Guita lesson with Jack Thammarat

My view for the full 60 mins was nothing but astonishing! Jack’s playing is nothing short of jaw-dropping. However he didn’t get this because he was born genius or because “he simply has it”. It was nothing but extreme hardwork. Having one-to-one lessons also made me realise so much about my own playing! Jack would ask me to play some lines and he would immediately set to work checking all my flaws and bad habits. I never knew I was so bad in my guitar playing! However, that’s ok and as a matter of fact AWESOME! Because the best way to improve is knowing where you went wrong and correcting mistakes accordingly! I felt I improved by a whole lot in just the first 60 mins than if I were to continue working hard blindly on my own for another year. This is the thing I always emphasize about having an actual guitar teacher than doing skype lessons or learning on YouTube. This was just unbeatable.

Jack Thammarat Masters Japan Guitar Pick

Jack Thammarat has some awesome new picks made for him!

Conclusion

At the end of the lesson, I was given 3 guitar picks and A HEAP OF HOMEWORK! I will be spending the next 2 days practicing hard in Chiang Mai before I go back for another lesson with him! After that, Jack will be continuing his tour with Wang Leehom in China. These guitar picks are his latest signature picks and I have to say they feel really good on the strings! There is this rubbery texture that helps with the grip. The sharp end of the pick cuts the string at just the right angle. The size feels great and most importantly I like how it is Red and Gold. Jack’s logo looks really awesome too! Ok, too much of talking.. I should head back to the woodshed!