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Gypsy Picking VS Economy Picking

ghodaddyyoghodaddyyo The slums of OCNew
edited August 2008 in Gypsy Picking Posts: 41
I've spent quite a bit of time developing Economy picking from both Frank Gambale's method as well as Jimmy Bruno's. I've abandoned Frank's approach as Jimmy's approach came more natural to me in a useful manner. It has improved my picking by leaps and bounds.

Since I started getting into gypsy jazz, I became aware of their technique and their rules. One in particular, I'm having a really hard time with due to it's awkwardness and not understanding the reasoning behind it's use. It's the rule of "always start with a down stroke when switching strings". I learned this from Stephane Wremble's book. He gave several examples of instances where it would be natural for me to use an up stroke as I'm descending strings. Instead of continuing my upward sweep stroke, I have to skip over the string in order to accomodate a down stroke. It seems awkward and inefficient to me. Can anyone expain the reasoning and advantage for this?

It would be important to me as I'm interested in the Gypsy Picking book, but I fear it will be a drastic change to my playing and a difficult undertaking.

Thank you in advance for your replies.
"Aw, that's just pillow talk baby!"
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Comments

  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 5,791
    ghodaddyyo wrote:
    One in particular, I'm having a really hard time with due to it's awkwardness and not understanding the reasoning behind it's use. It's the rule of "always start with a down stroke when switching strings". I learned this from Stephane Wremble's book. He gave several examples of instances where it would be natural for me to use an up stroke as I'm descending strings. Instead of continuing my upward sweep stroke, I have to skip over the string in order to accomodate a down stroke. It seems awkward and inefficient to me. Can anyone expain the reasoning and advantage for this?

    The important thing to keep in mind is that "efficiency" is relative to the final result. Gypsy Picking might seem awkward at first, but it's much more efficient at getting volume, tone, and speed on an acoustic instrument then alternate free stroke picking. Also, it gives you the phrasing and tone that is part of the aesthetic of this genre. So if you're serious about Gypsy jazz it's worth giving it a try. Believe me, it works! 1000s of Gypsy guitarists can't be wrong...

    'm
  • ghodaddyyoghodaddyyo The slums of OCNew
    Posts: 41
    Thanks, I'd like to give it a try but now can't figure out which book to get, Gypsy Picking or Gypsy Fire... They sound similar in description, but Gypsy Fire sounds like it has some more "musical" content to it. I've got a pretty decent right hand from years of playing in a rock bands, but have only hacked my way through Gypsy tunes at a weekly jazz jam for the past few. I've taken private lessons with a jazz teacher focusing on harmony/theory and repertoir for about 3 years. Which book would better suit me at this level?
    "Aw, that's just pillow talk baby!"
  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 5,791
    ghodaddyyo wrote:
    Which book would better suit me at this level?

    You should definitely start with Gypsy Picking...it has precise instruction on how to play with rest strokes. There is plenty of musical content as well. Once you get the hang of it you can move on to Gypsy Fire or Unaccompanied Django.

    Good luck!

    'm
  • ElliotElliot Madison, WisconsinNew
    Posts: 551
    I'd like to amplify Michael's comment . I've had the Gypsy Picking book for a few weeks now without a guitar, and looking through it, I couldn't help but wonder, "how could this many pages be devoted to such basic aspects of a picking style?"

    Now, I just got a guitar ( a Manouche, at last) and I found out in the first 10 minutes. After plucking around in my usual Stratocaster fed manner with a puzzled look on my face, I finally settled down, held the guitar properly, put my arm in the right place, let my hand fall to about 4:00 on the oval hole, picked, no, more like struck, correctly with rest strokes, and BAM, there was the sound!

    These guitars DEMAND that you play them correctly. Walking looks easy, but you still have to take the time to learn to do it, and do it the right way.
  • ghodaddyyoghodaddyyo The slums of OCNew
    Posts: 41
    I just put in my order yesterday. I've been fooling around with the exercises on the sample pages and various books I have laying around trying to get my head around the picking rules. I recently picked up a Gitane 255 and some John Pearse sarod picks. They have extremely sharp points so should I go through the effort to reshape the points or let it grind down naturally? I'm using a rosewood sarod right now and it's grinding away quite a bit but I'm wondering if it's wearing down in bad way.

    I've been playing rhythm and taking a lead chorus or two in a weekly jam where we play a handful of gypsy jazz tunes like Douce Ambiance, Minor Swing, Swing 42, and a few others I've forgotten. I'm doing my best to approximate "la pompe" from what I've been able to gather from books, videos and CD's. Although my guitar teacher is great with teaching theory and contemporary jazz, he won't get into the gypsy thing with me as he prefers a more "modern" teaching approach. I can appreciate that, as "style" is more of a personal choice. I can't wait to get this book and gaining some authenticity to these songs. I am slightly hesitant on how it'll affect my ability to play straight ahead jazz or gig with my rock band, but after pouring through these archives I feel like it's worth it to give it a shot.

    Okay, enough rambling! Poor way of looking for encouragement!
    "Aw, that's just pillow talk baby!"
  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 5,791
    ghodaddyyo wrote:
    I recently picked up a Gitane 255 and some John Pearse sarod picks. They have extremely sharp points so should I go through the effort to reshape the points or let it grind down naturally? I'm using a rosewood sarod right now and it's grinding away quite a bit but I'm wondering if it's wearing down in bad way.

    The Sarods used to come with rounded tips. Unfortunately they don't make them that way anymore. You'd probably want to round them off a bit...and because they're are wood they won't last like the Wegen or Moustahce picks do. But they're a lot cheaper!
    I'm doing my best to approximate "la pompe" from what I've been able to gather from books, videos and CD's.

    You might want to check out this lesson on la Pompe: La Pompe



    Okay, enough rambling! Poor way of looking for encouragement!

    Check out Bireli's right hand on this video...that should provide some inspiration!

    http://www.djangobooks.com/archives/200 ... tml#000539
  • ghodaddyyoghodaddyyo The slums of OCNew
    Posts: 41
    I ordered my book standard mail on Monday and received my book on Friday! I was so stoked to see that box in my mail when I got home. Since the rain made my weekend surf a no go, I planned to devote the whole weekend to working on this book. My wife had different plans. :cry: , but now it's time to put the nose to the grind stone. I've got a rock gig on April 22, so other than that I hope to devote myself to rest-stroke picking... for Six months... :shock:
    "Aw, that's just pillow talk baby!"
  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 5,791
    ghodaddyyo wrote:
    but now it's time to put the nose to the grind stone. I've got a rock gig on April 22, so other than that I hope to devote myself to rest-stroke picking... for Six months... :shock:

    That's the path to success....good luck!

    'm
  • Michael BauerMichael Bauer Chicago, ILProdigy Selmers, Busatos and more…oh my!
    Posts: 1,002
    I'd like to add one thing to this discussion. I have had the same problems with descending arpeggios using all downstrokes. Somewhere around the 4th or 5th string I start to stumble, which is very frustrating. Then Kruno Spisic, a terrific player here in Philadelphia showed me something. He told me that he frequently plays just one upstroke during the descent, and showed me how to to it without affecting the phrasing. Playing that one upstroke on an offbeat still allows the rest stroke where the accent is needed, and in my view can actually enhance phrasing, since it gives me a chance to set up that next accented note. I started practising this and I defy anyone to tell which note is the upstroke. In a fast descending arpeggio, that one upstroke is imperceptible, yet it allows the hand to relax just long enough to avoid stumbling and losing the feel due to too many consecutive downstrokes. I thought it was a nifty solution to the problem.

    Maybe sometime in the future, all those descending downstrokes won't trip me up, but for now, Kruno's little trick allows me to concentrate on the music, keep my hand more relaxed, and actually incorporate it's use in a place that enhances, rather than detracts from my phrasing.

    The gypsy picking technique is great, and I agree that it is a must to get the right feel, but let's face it, there's a bit of hazing involved, too (if we had to do it, so do you!), and a common sense solution such as Kruno's which doesn't detract from the feel of the music and is employed sparingly can make the transition for straight ahead jazz and blues-rock players alot easier.

    I'll tell you this: I spend alot less time tripping myself up and alot more time concentrating on the feel of what I'm playing. If too many consecutive downstrokes is killing you, try Kruno's solution to the problem.
    I've never been a guitar player, but I've played one on stage.
  • ghodaddyyoghodaddyyo The slums of OCNew
    Posts: 41
    I've been working on this a few weeks now and it's coming along pretty nicely. Especially the assertiveness of my picking. I had learned the solo to Minor Swing a while back but used my alternate/economy picking to play it. I always had timing difficulties when playing to a backing track but since using the rest-stroke technique, my phrasing has improved and I can make transitions between phrases in a smoother fashion. I can now play this song at a faster tempo than before, though not yet at Django's speed. I'd say 75%.

    Now for those one finger chromatic glissando runs... They're killing me! They are not smooth at all, and I can often hear my pick hit right as my finger is directly on the fret wire. If I slow down, it sounds to staccato (I hope that's the right term) cause I'm making brief pauses at every fret instead of a synchronized, smooth glide up the neck. Also, I'm not sure about thumb pressure behind the neck when using this technique. I'm experimenting with no pressure to slight, to firm...

    Okay, one step at a time. I found this site cause I was wondering why my playing wasn't sounding more authentic when I played Django tunes, and since finding this site, I've made very marked improvements, so I'm enjoying the success I've picked up along the way. Wish I had more people to jam with in this style though!
    "Aw, that's just pillow talk baby!"
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