Lauren Cox, a frequent plectrum user, gives some helpful tips:
One thing that I have found is that the shape of a plectrum affects how I play. Thinner ones allow me to play more quickly, and wider ones give me more control over my playing ability.
Another tip that I use is that when I first get a new plectrum I sharpen the edges with a nail file before starting to play with it. I find this helps me to play more effectively.
As well as this, I always keep two or three in my guitar case so that if one breaks or gets lost, then I can replace it straight away and not be stuck without one.
Lauren Cox: You can use a plectrum to pick out individual notes in a chord, or strum the whole thing at once.
Interviewer: How do you hold them?
Cox: I like to use two fingers. You can also use your thumb.
Interviewer: What material do you prefer?
Cox: It depends on what you want. Thicker picks are good for strumming, but thin ones are better for picking single strings.
Interviewer: How long do they last?
Cox: A good plectrum will last forever if you take care of it. Don’t leave it lying around; keep it somewhere safe and clean. If you have multiple picks, don’t put them in the same place—they might scratch each other if you drop one!
Interviewer: Do you have any advice for beginners?
Cox: Don’t get discouraged if you’re not getting the hang of things right away. Plectrums are made for people with all levels of skill, from beginner to expert. Also, keep a spare pick handy in case yours breaks or gets lost.
Lauren Cox uses a plectrum to play the guitar, and sometimes even something else.
“I use the plectrum to pluck the strings of my guitar,” she says. “And I sometimes use it to pick up items I’ve dropped.”
Cox came to this realization about the two possible uses of plectrums after reading an article on the Internet. She’s been using her plectrums in both ways ever since.
“It’s really quite amazing how many other things you can use a plectrum for,” she says. “One time, I was out with my friend, and we got hungry, so we stopped at a bakery for lunch. But I realized that I had lost my wallet, so I couldn’t pay for lunch! Luckily, though, I was carrying around my electric guitar—it’s black with red trimmings—and I had my plectrum in my pocket. So I used my plectrum to pick up all of our food, and then we took it home!”
Some people might think it strange that Cox also uses her plectrums for picking up food or other objects that she’s dropped; isn’t there just as easy a way to do this? After all, isn’t it
Lauren Cox is a professional plectrum user. She has been playing the guitar for over 20 years and has worked with many artists and bands including The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Alanis Morissette and Diablo Cody. She is a frequent contributor to Guitar World Magazine, offering advice to aspiring guitarists.
When I asked her about her favorite guitar part of all time, she replied, “I think my favorite moment was when we were recording the song ‘By the Way’ by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I had never played in such a large room before and there were so many people in the studio that I almost felt overwhelmed. But after I got past that initial shock, it was really one of those moments where you are just so grateful to be doing what you love.”
Lauren also recently sat down with me to talk about guitar technique, practice tips and how she gets motivated to keep playing even when she’s not feeling inspired.
Here are a few things we talked about:
Lauren Cox claims that she has no secrets to share, yet I find that hard to believe. She is a very talented individual who has worked at perfecting her craft for many years. She’s been playing guitar since she was 13, and now she uses her talents to support herself. I have a few questions for Lauren, which I hope will help everyone.
First off, what is your opinion on the use of plectrums?
I’ve always been a big fan of plectrums. It’s such an easy way to make music; you just put it in your mouth and start strumming away! You don’t need any sort of special talent or knowledge to be able to play with a plectrum in your mouth. My only complaint would be that sometimes it falls out when you’re playing, but that problem is easily solved with a bit of tape.
What about the use of plectrums in your everyday life?
I like using plectrums when I’m doing household tasks because they make it easier to get things done quickly. Also, they’re great at getting into tight spaces where my fingers can’t reach (such as under the sofa cushions).
What sorts of things do you use plectrums for?
The plectrum is made of a very thin piece of plastic and is held between the thumb and index finger. The thumb should be closer to the palm, and the index finger further away. To strum a chord, one needs to press down firmly on the strings and stroke downward with the plectrum. The plectrum should be closer to the bridge than the neck, in order to create a louder sound.
Strumming is a vital part of guitar playing, but it can also help students in other areas of their lives. Strumming helps students learn how to listen carefully, follow directions, and work independently. Plectrums are easier for students who have difficulty holding a pencil or scissors because they only need to focus on holding one item at a time.
I have found it difficult to find a plectrum that suits me. I was using a piece of wire, using a part that suited me best after bending it in different ways. However, I found this inconvenient because it would always break and I would have to bend another piece of wire. I took to the internet to find a plectrum that suited me.
I first tried the Dunlop Tortex Standard .60mm picks. These are made with a material called Tortex, designed to be similar to tortoiseshell. It was very rigid when I picked it up, but actually was quite flexible on the strings. It was comfortable between my fingers and had a decent sound quality that wasn’t too dull or too harsh for my liking. The only problem is that, after some use, the tip became rather rounded and lost its attack on the strings; however, this can be solved simply by filing down the tip until you prefer it again.