What a great bunch of folks! I personally thank each of you who replied and I will wager that there are many more who benefited from your teaching me how to solve this problem.
I have discovered,
I have experienced similar issues as my fingers are very dry and make gripping the pick difficult when strumming aggressively.
Thanks Jim. I too seem to have dry fingers, well, not dry, I would say more a coating of tough skin. Probably from playing golf without a glove and working with lots of sandpaper and such. I checked with a friend who is just taking up guitar and she has no problem holding the pick. Her finger skin is much softer than mine and her pick rotation is almost zero.
All above advice is great.
So here is my 2 cents as well...
Pat, how much of the tip of your pick is exposed from your grip?
What I have discovered a long time ago, for myself anyway, if the tip of the pick is exposed more than 1/4" / 6 mm past my thumb, I get pick rotation. I believe this amount of exposer is what most instructors recommend as well, 1/8" / 3 mm to 1/4" / 6 mm.
Maybe the physics of leverage applies here? Thinner picks can have more exposer, while thicker picks will be less, before applied torque can move the pick out of position?
Tom: I found that exposing less of the pick helped and the angle of the strum helped even more..
Pat, here's a pic of my pick holding.
Thumb and forefinger of course, but my middle finger is curled and the tip of it touches the back left side of my thumb right at the knuckle. The middle finger also touches the edge of the pick, maybe stopping any rotation. I don't run into any problems with picks rotating. Not sure if that's the reason or not, but it's as good as anything I guess.
Bob: This one was harder to do. Very uncomfortable (but almost everything I do the first few times is uncomfortable - practice, practice). This method helped the rotation a lot.
The goal is to have the tip of the pick skip smoothly across the strings in both direction. Sort of like skipping a rock across the water. The trick is to get the same smooth stroke in both directions at all strumming speeds.
I personally would not give too much weight to the photo diagramming the 45 degree angle. More or less angle may work fine for you. You just need to spend the time and attention on the detail to find what works and ingrain it.
Six String. This was a huge impact on the problem. The angle of somewhere around 45 degrees with a "skipping" stroke combined with the previous adjustments really helped.
Another thought generated by the pictures posted by SixString. I hold the pick with a "fist" rather than just my thumb and index finger. What I mean is I strum with my entire finger set backing up my index finger. When I first began playing, I often just held the pick loosely between my thumb and index finger with my other fingers flying along. Now, I strum with the extra fingers held again the index finger. The thumb has a large muscle in the hand and the index finger does not. so using the other fingers to back up the index seems to help. Again, it's not a "death" grip on the pick but a light touch using all the fingers.
Jim: And your advice added to the advice listed above made the rotation STOP. That bit of movement making the fist forces the pick "down or back" into the middle finger as the thumb holds the pick BETWEEN the thumb and index. The feeling is that there is little pressure between the thumb and index but the shorter pick length exposed, holding the pick as Bob described, and then curling the hand a bit ANCHORS the pick against rotation.
If you notice your index finger is pretty straight
His index is curled.
So is mine
Eracer_Team: The cherry on the ice cream! But hard to do. My index finger wants to straighten.... when it does, I loose the anchor against the middle finger and the pick rotates. Practice, practice - keeping that index finger curled a bit with the hand also curling to make an open fist.
And thanks to everyone else who make equipment suggestions... there are quite a few unique picks out there. I had a feeling that the problem was mine rather than the equipment.
This will sound boring and it is, but spend a few hours, yes hours, over the next week or so, simply experimenting with angling the pick and exposing as little as needed to get the tip to rake smoothly across the strings in both directions.
Great advice Six String: Boring it is but training myself to use all the above advice while strumming to some good music is not so bad... even better..... I am no longer crawling under desks and chairs looking for picks!
Again, what a great group of folks helping solve this problem.
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