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How to EQ out Pick Attack?

jatna

Member
I realize that many guitarists desire the percussive sound of the pick hitting the strings. I however, would like to get rid of it in many heavy lead patches. So, I would like to know where it lives in the frequency spectrum and how best to diminish it.

Yes, I did try to find it on my own. I failed. That is why I am asking here.

Here is an example of what I am talking about: https://www.dropbox.com/s/t5ny11fczdnzyya/pick noise.wav?dl=0

You can clearly here the pick attack as a separate entity. I would like to be able to minimize that.

Any directly practical and useful advice towards that goal would be appreciated.
 

FractalAudio

Administrator
Fractal Audio Systems
Moderator
It doesn't have any particular frequency. Pick attack is impulsive so, by definition, it contains all frequencies. The standard approach to reducing attack is to use dynamics processing. The Axe-Fx II has a Pick Attack parameter which can be used to reduce the attack but the AX-8 does not have this parameter.

You can try using the Gate/Expander to soften the attack.
 

SoProg

Inspired
It doesn't have any particular frequency. Pick attack is impulsive so, by definition, it contains all frequencies. The standard approach to reducing attack is to use dynamics processing. The Axe-Fx II has a Pick Attack parameter which can be used to reduce the attack but the AX-8 does not have this parameter.

You can try using the Gate/Expander to soften the attack.

Wait a sec... so what does the pick attack knob do in AX8Edit?
Because all the advanced params all sound so subtle to me, I honestly don't know.
 

Matt_B_77

Power User
I would try using a pick with a different material. I used to use Dunlop Big Stubbies but one day the "plink plink plink" sound they made on the strings started to drive me nuts. I tried some Ibanez polyacetal picks and have settled on Dunlop Tortex IIIs. Fixing the source of the problem is sometimes simpler than covering it up after the fact.
 

artzeal

Inspired
Dunlop JD Jazztone 208 Guitar Picks work well for attenuating the attack transient. Thicker, darker tone, too.

There is pick attack on the amp dynamics page. Just tried it and it seems to have no effect, even in the context of adjusting the other dynamics. (its in the AX8 manual and AX8 Edit.
 
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FractalAudio

Administrator
Fractal Audio Systems
Moderator
Wait a sec... so what does the pick attack knob do in AX8Edit?
Because all the advanced params all sound so subtle to me, I honestly don't know.
I might have been mistaken. I thought the AX-8 didn't have that feature. I'll check tomorrow.
 

GotMetalBoy

Power User
A compressor with a fast attack (Between 1ms to 10ms) before the amp block will help. Try picks with different tips and make sure the tip's edges are smooth. Try using the neck pickup. Try holding your pick at different angles. It's really hard to change picking habits. I felt like I was re-learning guitar all over again. I used to hold my pick almost perpendicular to the strings but that made a lot of noise, so now I hold it almost parallel to the strings.

I change picks often and then smooth the used one's tips with one of those multi sided nail file blocks that women use. Before using a pick, I always slide the tip edge against the high strings to see if it makes noise.
 

Promit

Inspired
Pick materials do vary the attack. Acrylic picks (V-Picks, Gravity) have a fairly sharp attack. Petrucci picks have a softer attack due to the polished edge, and you can actually do a lot with the angle.
 

Tahoebrian5

Fractal Fanatic
A while back I was trying to figure out how to do the complete opposite. Make a legato run sound picked. Much more difficult!
 

Tahoebrian5

Fractal Fanatic
Another interesting problem is how to take the pick attack out of the delay repeats but not the dry signal. It seems easy enough.. Run a parallel line and put a compressor block before a delay block. I was never able to get it to work though. Maybe I'll give it another shot.
 

artzeal

Inspired
I could have sworn the pick attack parameter worked in an earlier firmware on the AX8: when I first got it and was going through every page and parameter to see what everything does. But, I've been known to remember incorrectly. In any case, the parameter would also be useful for synth pads or organ patches and the like. Maybe it will magically appear in an upcoming firmware. Let me shake the wand a couple times: "Aparecium" - there we go (I think that spell works on software as well as invisible ink).

I'm amazed by the range of pick attack nuance in response to technique and materials on the AX8. Better than many tube amps I've used, far better than other modeling devices. [Some popular modelers sound and feel as if there is a fixed attack, akin to an ADSR envelope on the front end: Pick hard, pick soft they get louder or softer but there's scant variation to the click. Unusable to me.]

In any case, I am more than happy with how well the AX8 handles attack transients. That Fractal secret sauce really is the business.

There's also leather picks (or the corner of the cuff when you wear the bomber jacket) - though that's more useful on bass than guitar..
 
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joegold

Fractal Fanatic
I realize that many guitarists desire the percussive sound of the pick hitting the strings. I however, would like to get rid of it in many heavy lead patches. So, I would like to know where it lives in the frequency spectrum and how best to diminish it.

Yes, I did try to find it on my own. I failed. That is why I am asking here.

Here is an example of what I am talking about: https://www.dropbox.com/s/t5ny11fczdnzyya/pick noise.wav?dl=0

You can clearly here the pick attack as a separate entity. I would like to be able to minimize that.

Any directly practical and useful advice towards that goal would be appreciated.
Just curious as to whether the OP is finding a too prominent pick attack as being a problem when monitoring via FRFR or whether he's using a power amp + guitar cab rig?

The reason I ask is because my main rig is pwr amp + cab and whenever I try to go FRFR (thru my CLRs) I can never get it to be quite satisfactory enough with the most noticeable issue being that the pick attack is so much more prominent with IRs thru the CLRs than it is through the guitar cabs.
And if I'm gigging with my cabs (via the FXL Block and Out 2) I don't feel so good about sending the FOH my Cab Block generated direct feed (via Out 1).

This isn't so much an "amp in the room" thing for me anymore.
But the feel is so much different via FRFR (and I'm using IRs that are from cabs with drivers like my own) that I really don't feel comfortable performing live with an FRFR rig as of yet.

My conclusion is generally that there's just something about the way FRFR systems in general propagate sound in a room, especially the attack transients of the source signal, that is incompatible with the way I'm used to hearing electric guitar.
[But I do notice this more thru the CLRs and other for-live FRFR monitors I've tried than I do thru my studio monitors (HS80ms) so maybe it's only related to non-near-field FRFR systems. ???]

But any Amp Block parameters I might adjust regarding pick attack will also affect my pwr amp + cabs tone.
So I guess my question is whether there are any tricks in the Axe that would allow me to soften the attack of the FRFR Layer (post Cab Block, I'm assuming) while not affecting the FXL Layer that has no Cab Block?
I've tried simply putting a limiter after the Cab Block but it doesn't really accomplish what I need.
I tend to think that there is no way to accomplish what I need but thought I'd ask the forum anyway.

Note: I'm playing mostly hyper-clean dark (and bright) jazz tones and medium-gain classic rock-ish tones, not metal.
And the pick attack issue is more annoying on the dark cleans than it is with any of the other tones I tend to use.
 

jatna

Member
To answer your question joegold, I am going directly into my pc and currently monitoring on fairly nice headphones. When I go to record I will be monitoring on some pretty nice/flat audiophile speakers.

Thanks everyone for the answers, I will work on it.

Interestingly, some amp models do not have this pronounced pick attack.
 

GotMetalBoy

Power User
To answer your question joegold, I am going directly into my pc and currently monitoring on fairly nice headphones. When I go to record I will be monitoring on some pretty nice/flat audiophile speakers.

Thanks everyone for the answers, I will work on it.

Interestingly, some amp models do not have this pronounced pick attack.
I have a similar issue with string noise. Some models really make it noticeable. I don't know how some people use so much gain but have very little to no string noise.

One other suggestion for your issue, make sure only a tiny portion of the pick tip is touching the string and your chopping right through the string and not causing the pick to kind of get stuck on the string and fling it off. Sorry it's kind of hard to explain. Look on YouTube for picking techniques and try a bunch of different ones and you'll quickly notice how certain ones cause less noise. I'm very OCD so I can't stand when I get that noise you got on your recording or string noise.
 
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