Pykmax UPP Guitar Pick Review

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Pykmax UPP is an ergonomic guitar pick holder designed to ease pain and help keep guitar players from dropping their picks. It works for both right and left-handed players. In this article, I review Pykmax after one year of use.

This product was purchased for personal use. This article includes affiliate links.

Who Pykmax UPP is For

Pykmax is not for every guitar player. Not everyone will feel comfortable holding something in their hands while strumming. One of the advertised advantages is that it keeps you from dropping your pick. Practically every guitar player will drop a pick when starting to play the guitar, but holding something of this size in your palm is not the best answer for that problem. It’s easy enough to tape a few picks to your guitar, strap, or mic stand.

Who Pykmax really helps is anyone that has trouble gripping a pick due to hand pain. There are other products that hold picks, but none worked well for me. Pykmax has worked well for me for over a year.

Note- This article isn’t meant as medical advice. If you have hand pain when gripping a pick, I recommend seeing a doctor and only using this review as information.

Pykmax UPP

The Pykmax UPP system is different from the other pick systems that didn’t work for me. The pick is held by an ergonomic grip that fits comfortably in the hand. Your fingers hold the pick and have “mostly” full control, but you don’t have to pinch the pick with any effort.

The Pykmax grip is adjustable to work with righthanded a lefthanded players. Simply move the pick to the other side by holding the grip and pushing on the edge of the pick in the direction you want to move it.

It comes with a small, medium, and large extender so there’s something to fit any hand size. The medium extender is installed by default. This is the one I use and it will fit most hands. You can change them by applying a little pressure to remove the extender. The new extender pops into place with ease and it holds in place well. I did find it a touch difficult to remove the extender at first.

It comes with two pick grips. These are the rubber pieces that hold the pick in place. It uses standard picks, so there’s no need to purchase picks from the company. I never had to replace my pick grip, but I was concerned that it would tear where it’s attached to the extender. It does seem to be a weak area, but mine never tore.

Pykmax UUP uses the most common shape guitar picks, which are not included. The guitar pick slides into the rubber sleeve. It can be a touch difficult to get the pick in or out, but it holds into place well. Picks will not fall out of the sleeve.

Pykmax UPP Build Quality

The Pykmax grip is tough. It’s made of hard plastic that doesn’t feel like it will come apart. The extender sits tightly into the grip holder. It will come apart easily enough if you use something to press into the hole that it latches onto. The rubber piece that holds the guitar pick concerns me, but I’ve used it for a year with no issues and it does come with a replacement, just in case.

Playing Guitar with Pykmax UPP

Holding the Pykmax UUP feels like having your finger on a trigger. Your finger sits on the trigger, but this places the pick where it needs to be. All you have to do is place your thumb on top of the pick. This gives you control of the pick without having to apply pressure to hold it. You can hold the pick anywhere you’d normally hold it to have as much or as little of the pick extending beyond your fingers.

This does feel a little awkward at first, and it never feels as good as not holding a device in your palm while holding a guitar pick. However, it’s not difficult to use or get used to. Strumming is easy enough. Some lead tricks take a touch more concentration, but I was able to do anything that I normally could do while just holding a pick.

I Can Play the Guitar Again

A little over a decade ago I started to feel a burning in the palm of my hand when I pinched the pick. I’d sometimes press through the pain, but it became unbearable. I’d want to drop the pick and strum with my fingers, but I was never comfortable growing my nails to play, so strumming an electric guitar with my fingers didn’t work that well for me.

Recently, the pain became too much to bear, so I looked for an alternative. I tried guitar pick systems that held the pick onto your finger with a band. It wasn’t comfortable and the strumming didn’t feel natural. Some required specially cut picks that broke after a minute of playing. After wasting money on cheaper systems that didn’t work, I spent $29 on a Pykmax and I’ve used it ever since.

Conclusion

Of all the pick systems I tried, Pykmax is the only one that actually worked for me. I can play guitar again. The pain isn’t always 100% gone, but I can play for an hour or more without wanting to drop my pick and play fingerstyle. It worked instantly. It didn’t take long for me to appreciate Pykmax.

The Pykmax has recently gone up to $40 on Amazon. I was skeptical about buying it for $30, but even at its new price, I’d buy it again. Is it worth $40? It is if your hand hurts when gripping a guitar pick and you want to play guitar without the pain.

Where is Buy Pykmax UPP

You can purchase Pykmax UPP on Amazon. Here’s my affiliate link. If you get it, please let me know how you like it.

This product was purchased for personal use and review. The company did not ask me to review this product or provide a positive review.

Gutenberg Editor – Review

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Gutenberg Editor – Review

I don’t often review something in beta, but the Gutenberg Editor is getting closer to becoming an integral part of WordPress, so it’s time to start digging in to see what it can and cannot do, what’s good and what’s bad, and what it means for the future of WordPress.

What is the Gutenberg Editor?

The Gutenberg Editor, named for the creator of movable type Johannes Gutenberg, is an upcoming replacement to current TinyMCE design. The current format has been the editor that everyone has gotten used to for many years. It’s intuitive and easy to add text, media, links, HTML. Themes and plugins that use text modules, like Divi, use TinyMCE as the editor. It’s gotten streamlined over the years and many feel that it needs an update. The Gutenberg Editor is more similar to the editor you’ll find in web-building platforms like Squarespace. It creates paragraph blocks where you choose the content type from drop-down box and then place your content within the block. The first thing I noticed that I don’t like is no access to the Divi Builder. My preference of content creation is to write in the TinyMCE Visual Editor, add all of my images last in their proper locations, and then copy the content and paste it into my custom blog layout. That’s not possible with the Gutenberg Editor (at least with the beta version).
I started this post in TinyMCE and then did a copy and paste into the Gutenberg Editor. Each paragraph and header pasted as its own block. I like that. It is easy to create the content blocks. Just hit enter. Each paragraph is its own block. You can also insert blocks by clicking Insert in the upper right corner of the screen.

Drop Caps

If you want a drop cap simply click on Block to the right with your cursor placed on the block that you want to have the drop cap. Click the switch to On and you have a drop cap.

Uploading and Placing Media

Media such as images are placed into content a couple of different ways. One is to click the image icon at the bottom of the content. You’ll have to click the arrow to the left of the content block in order to move it into place. It’s a tedious process. Image alignment still works as expected.
Another way is to click the Insert button at the top right and choose what to insert. The block will be placed at your cursor’s position. The image above was placed using this method. Using the insert feature you can place common blocks, formatting, layout blocks, and widgets.

Cover Image

The Cover Image feature is interesting. Insert a Cover Image and then add your text over it. Choose Fixed Background for parallax and Dim Background to darken the image so your text stands out. This is one of my favorite features so far. 

Classic Text

It does have a Classic Text block that brings in the familiar features of TinyMCE’s Visual Editor. It doesn’t include the Text tab or a media feature. Plugins that add shortcodes to TinyMCE do not appear within the menu. Hopefully this is due to the plugin still being beta. The Insert drop-down box does include a shortcode block, but you have to paste in the shortcode.

Settings Sidebar

To the right of the screen is a list of options with tabs labeled Document and Block. Document includes the expected options for publishing, choosing categories and tags, setting the featured image and excerpt, allowing comments, choosing the post format, and ads a new feature – viewing the table of contents.
The Table of Contents shows your headers in an outline form. Clicking on one takes you to that header. I like this feature a lot.

Text Tab

Changing to the Text tab in the upper left corner reveals a few tags you can add to your content. This works like the Text tab of the TinyMCE editor.

My Initial Thoughts About Gutenberg Editor

There are a few things I like about the editor. I like the drop cap feature and the clickable Table of Contents. The Document area to the right is cleaner than the current settings area. I like the ability to insert a widget for latest posts, categories, or shortcodes into the content. I like being able to choose the author from the editor. I like the auto-save feature. I also like the multi-column feature in the Insert drop-down. I love that it can display cover images with text overlays in parallax. Unfortunately what I do like is far outweighed by what I don’t like. There are no SEO adjustments for my favorite SEO plugin. I can’t use the Divi Builder (my building tool of choice). I can’t publish without a sidebar like I can with Divi and Extra. Hopefully this will be fixed before it’s added to WordPress. It doesn’t show my my word-count. This is important for writers who charge clients by the word or someone that tries to target a word-count range for their posts. Overall the Gutenberg Editor feels awkward to me. I’m not even sure what the goal is, but it doesn’t seem to be to make the UI easier to use. I like the idea of a clean UI, but I don’t like common features turned into blocks as options to insert into different locations from a dropdown box. I found the old method of showing them at the top of the editor to be more intuitive. The content being broken up into blocks makes my content feel disjointed. There’s no drag and drop feature, so you have to move blocks around with the arrows. It’s actually easier to copy and paste the content than it is to move it. The worst part is I can’t use the Divi Builder to create my layouts. Matt Mullenweg has stated that the Gutenberg Editor will replace TinyMCE in WordPress 5. I think at the most it should be an option – not a replacement. Let those of use that want to keep the editor we’re used to have our choice. Don’t turn WordPress into Squarespace or similar UI just to be changing it. WordPress doesn’t have to be like those editors. TinyMCE is simple to use. The Gutenberg Editor doesn’t feel like an improvement. Instead, it complicates the process by adding steps that are not needed. I want tools across the top like a ribbon – not in a drop-down box that adds disjointed elements to the page. This isn’t the kind of word processor I would use to write with. It just makes creating content more difficult or confusing. The user interface should never get in the way of creating content. I suspect that if TinyMCE is removed from WordPress we’ll see lots of third-party plugins that will add it back with even better features than before. The majority of this article was written in the Gutenberg Editor. I did start to get the hang of it but it never felt as intuitive as TinyMCE. I ended up pasting the content back into Divi to publish with my Divi blog layout.

Let’s Discuss

  • Have you tried the Gutenberg Editor beta plugin?
  • Do you prefer Geutenberg, TineyMCE, or would you rather have something else?
Let us know what you think in the comments. Thanks for reading and please subscribe if you haven’t already. Featured image Munich – Deutsches Museum, from Wikimedia commons

Divi Background Gradient Review

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Divi Background Gradient Review

Divi has recently gone through a series of updates and one of those updates added some interesting background features including gradients. As you may know, I’m partial to gradients (see the article WordPress Design Trends 2017 – Gradients) and I see them becoming more popular throughout the year. As you can imagine I was excited when I heard that Divi was getting a gradient tool. Does it meet my expectations? In this review we’ll take a look at the new gradient tool as see what it can do.

(Note – this article contains affiliate links to help keep this site running)

Background Settings

The new background settings includes four tabs: Color (for solid colors), Gradient, Image, and Video. Gradient is the second tab. To create a gradient, click the plus in the center.

Visual Editor Example

You’ll see the default gradient with two colors with boxes labeled Select Color. Click on these boxes to choose your colors.

From here you can move the circle to the color you want or select the color from the circles at the bottom. Once you’ve chosen your color you’ll see the hex code that you can copy if you want. You can also paste hex codes into the code field. If you move the circle, a circle will appear filled with the color to help you decide if that’s the color you want. The sliders on the right change intensity and opacity.

Once you’ve chosen your first color, select the box for the second color and make your choice.

Once you’ve chosen your colors select somewhere outside the gradient color box and you’ll see your gradient. If you don’t like the colors you can select the color boxes and choose another color.

Gradient Settings

Under the gradient is a section with settings that include Gradient Type (choose from Linear or Radial), Gradient Direction, Start Position, and End Position. These controls allow you to change the direction the gradient flows and how the colors blend together.

You can even keep them from blending if you want. Playing around with the controls can create some interesting backgrounds.

Choosing Radial gives you another set of options called Radial Direction which includes center, top, bottom, left, right, and several combinations.

Image Blend

You can even place a gradient over an image using the Image Blend tool. Click on the Image tab and load the image you want. Go to the drop-down box at the bottom called Background Image Blend and select Overlay. Your gradient will appear over the image as an overlay. (I took this photo of a log cabin at Cades Cove here in TN).

You can adjust the gradient controls to create some interesting effects. You’ll see the results in real-time.

Thoughts on the Divi Gradient Tool

The gradient tool is intuitive to use. It’s easy to create and modify gradients. There are enough adjustments and features that you can create dozens of gradients and none of them would look alike. You can even have a different gradient for each column in a row. You can place the gradients over images, which opens up a lot more possibilities. For example, you could use an image of a texture behind your gradient. By themselves the gradients are visually interesting. Throw images into the mix and the possibilities are endless. Since they’re created within the modules you can save the module to your library and reuse the gradients.

The gradient tool is fun to play with. I like adjusting the colors to see what I can create and I like seeing how they look over the images. The gradient tool is a welcome addition to Divi and I highly recommend using it for your designs. Now, if they were to throw particle animation in there I would probably not have time to write.

The example shown uses the text module. The background options are also available in rows, sections, and many other modules. The background gradient tool comes with many of the modules in Divi, Extra, and the Divi Builder plugin. You can get them at ElegantThemes.com.

Let’s Discuss

  • Have you tried the Gradient tool?
  • Do you prefer using Divi’s gradients or something else?
  • What features would you like to see added to the gradient tool?

Let us know what you think in the comments. Thanks for reading. Please subscribe if you haven’t already. 

Disclaimer – I am a contributor to the Elegant Themes blog. I am also a customer. This in no way affects my opinion of Elegant Themes’ products. I take pride that all of my reviews are unbiased and fair. Honesty and credibility are my highest priority. 

Divi Wireframe View Review

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Divi Wireframe View Review

Elegant Themes recently updated Divi with an interesting feature for their front-end builder (called Visual Builder). One of the reasons I like building with Divi is the Divi Builder makes it easy to create a layout fast. You can place sections, rows, and modules, chose the number of columns per row, and customize every element and rearrange them by drag-and-drop.

The Visual Builder

The front-end builder works similarly, but I found it more difficult to visualize the layout than with the back-end builder because the sections, rows, and modules were almost invisible. I didn’t use it. Instead, I used the back-end almost exclusively. When I did use the Visual Builder I would change to the back-end to make layout changes, add modules, etc. This back and forth motion made me stick with the back-end builder. Until now.

The Wireframe View

The Wireframe View lets you clearly see the sections, rows, and modules that build your page. You don’t have to mouse over them to make them appear, and you can see more modules at once. You can easily switch between views while staying on the same page. The example above is the same page as the one above it. You can see how the longer pages are much easier to see and deal with from a design standpoint when looking at them in the Wireframe View.

The Wireframe View also lets you take advantage of the extra features in the front-end options windows. Features that are not available in the back-end such as collapsible options, a powerful option search, and the ability to edit labels directly where you see them. The Wireframe View sits next to the desktop, tablet, and phone views and switches almost as quickly.

Thoughts About the Visual Builder and Wireframe View

The Wireframe View solves a lot of my complaints about the Visual Builder. There are still some things we can’t do from the Visual Builder, such as use most third-party modules or use post settings, but the recent updates have added enough to make me use it. Elegant Themes has even more views planned, so the Wireframe View is just the start of something bigger, and I’m sure better, that’s to come. Divi now has excellent back-end and front-end builders. No matter what style of building you prefer, Divi has a mode to fit with your style.

The Visual Builder and Wireframe View come with Divi, Extra, and the Divi Builder plugin. You can get them at ElegantThemes.com.

Let’s Discuss

  • Have you tried the Wireframe View?
  • Do you prefer using the Wireframe View or the back-end builder?
  • What features would you like to see added to the Wireframe View?

Let us know what you think in the comments. Thanks for reading. Please subscribe if you haven’t already. 

Disclaimer – I am a contributor to the Elegant Themes blog. I am also a customer. This in no way affects my opinion of Elegant Themes’ products. I take pride that all of my reviews are unbiased and fair. Honesty and credibility are my highest priority.