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My Wegen gave me a Wedgie

Bill BarnesBill Barnes New HampshireNew
edited May 2010 in Gypsy Picking Posts: 63
Michael, I just received Gypsy Picking and am enjoying the exercises, although it is going to take a little time to unlearn years of bebop plectrum technique (not sure I want to throw that baby out with the bath water yet!) It is a thoroughly thought out and valuable book. Thank you.

I also received my first Wegen pick and my first reaction was 'what th...!' But I have been getting accustomed to its feel and, although it seems to me to have a softer attack than my normal 3-for-a-quarter mediums, my fiance insists that it makes the guitar much louder. In fact, after listening to my practicing for 30 minutes or so, Julie started getting agitated; my dog gave me a dirty look and then started making hot monkey love to the
La-Z-Boy. I may need a lot more work.

Do all you guys actually use these Wegens? If not, what is your preference for this style of picking?
Bill
www.billbarnestrio.com
"Listen to this, it speaks like a cathedral!"- Django, on the Selmer (from Michael Dregni's Django, the Life and Music of a Gypsy Legend)
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Comments

  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 5,773
    Hi Bill...Wegens are overwhelmingly THE pick of choice for Gypsy jazz musicians. The Gypsy Jazz is by far the best seller...but some go heavier and some go lighter. And of course, some people use other picks. Even plastic ones can work...but rarely slimmer then 2mm for Gypsy jazz.

    'm
  • Bill BarnesBill Barnes New HampshireNew
    Posts: 63
    Well, okay, I'll keep working on the Wegen.

    One other thing about Gypsy Picking- I had ordered Andreas Oberg's Gypsy Fire nearly a year ago and have been working through it periodically. It is a great companion to Gypsy Picking- in fact, the two books should be required reading for anyone serious about learning to play this music. But, for those who have yet to order the books, PLEASE get Gypsy Picking first. It will prevent having to go back and correct posture and attack when you get into the more advanced exercises and transcriptions. I certainly wish I had. Thanks again!
    Bill
    www.billbarnestrio.com
    "Listen to this, it speaks like a cathedral!"- Django, on the Selmer (from Michael Dregni's Django, the Life and Music of a Gypsy Legend)
  • Bob HoloBob Holo Moderator
    Posts: 1,240
    It's an odd transition - I used to play 0.68mm Clayton Ultex picks before getting into gypsy jazz. They're wonderful flatpicks - but like most flatpicks, the technique is basically "Get a death grip on the pick and drive it through the strings letting it flex as it meets the strings"

    With gypsy picks, the technique is different in that the flex happens in the pads of your fingers because you're holding the pick more loosely (not more lightly - you actually have a very substantial contact area on the pick - just nice and relaxed.)

    As awkward as it feels at first, when you get used to it you'll wonder how you played with a Fender Medium. When you get the hang of creating the flexibility in your grip, you just have a lot more control over what you're doing.

    I play two picks now primarily - gypsy 3.5 (if it's going to be all rhythm all night - i.e. if there are two rhythm players and I'm the guy providing 4 swats per measure) and BigCity 2.2 (if I'm going to be doing some heads and/or comping...

    But that's just my exprerience - if you're a lead guitarist - you might get tips from other people as I don't lead... no one with good musical taste would ever mistake me for a lead player ;) However, I do know that Michael leads on BigCity 2.2's from time to time as he's the guy who turned me on to that pick. It's a real swiss-army-knife pick - and I think Stochelo Rosenberg was the guy who turned him on to it, so it's another good choice - though the Gypsy 3.5 is "the" pick. Oh, and actually - now that I think of it - I know that Tchavolo Schmitt likes Gypsy 2.5mm because he traded me the ebony pick he was using for a Gypsy 2.5mm before his second concert at DFNW a few years back and he seemed pretty excited about it. I had a whole pocket full of different picks but when that one caught his eye - it was like he saw a familiar face in a crowd - he was like: 'That one - I like it very much."
    You get one chance to enjoy this day, but if you're doing it right, that's enough.
  • aa New York City✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 800
    i don't believe there is any flexing in the fingers or the pick, once you get the right grip and technique, there's no need for that...all the looseness is in the motion.
    Www.alexsimonmusic.com
    Learn how to play Gypsy guitar:
    http://alexsimonmusic.com/learn-gypsy-jazz-guitar/
  • Joli GadjoJoli Gadjo Cardiff, UK✭✭✭✭ Derecho, Bumgarner - VSOP, AJL
    Posts: 542
    When Dorado and Samson Schmitt came here, they were both using purple Dunlops (2mm ?). Dorado even made a joke in French saying that "anything would fit him and he doesn't need any of this fancy stuff".
    There's also a cool video of Bamboula Ferret's grand son showing from his caravan how to hold a pick. He explains that the pick should'nt be too thick (~2mm) and flat (whith no fingerprints like the wegen).
    Then he explains how to hold it : "a little like pinching someone's ear, firm enough not to drop it, but still loose to avoid a too harsh sound and keep the motion smooth".
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MCgOWBq7Qm4&feature=user
    - JG
  • BluesBop HarryBluesBop Harry Mexico city, MexicoVirtuoso
    Posts: 1,378
    A lot of top players like Bireli, Andreas, Yorgui, Adrien Moignard and Sebastien Giniaux use or have used the Dunlop 1.5mm (light purple), often picking with the fat side instead of the pointed end.

    I myself have been using those picks lately, but I used a Wegen for two years and I believe it helps a lot while one's first learning to gypsy pick. As someone wrote somewhere around here the Wegens "don't let you do anything wrong" and they produce a very fat sound.
  • Bill BarnesBill Barnes New HampshireNew
    Posts: 63
    Thanks for all your input, guys- it will be a big help! Hope to meet at least some of you at Django in June (if my new guitar arrives in time...)
    Bill
    www.billbarnestrio.com
    "Listen to this, it speaks like a cathedral!"- Django, on the Selmer (from Michael Dregni's Django, the Life and Music of a Gypsy Legend)
  • Posts: 597
    Bob Holo wrote:
    However, I do know that Michael leads on BigCity 2.2's from time to time as he's the guy who turned me on to that pick. It's a real swiss-army-knife pick - and I think Stochelo Rosenberg was the guy who turned him on to it, so it's another good choice - though the Gypsy 3.5 is "the" pick.

    I use the Gypsy 3.5, but just ordered the BigCity 2.2 out of curiosity! :wink:
  • BluesBop HarryBluesBop Harry Mexico city, MexicoVirtuoso
    Posts: 1,378
    Does anybody know for sure what thickness Stochelo's Big city is???
    1.8 or 2.2???
    Just curious...
  • nicksansonenicksansone Amsterdam, The Netherlands✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 240
    I have found a great middle ground with the wegens. I used a 2.5 wegen for awhile after finding the 3.5 Gypsy pick a little thick and a bit harder to maneuver when picking. A friend of mine somehow had something in between, a 3.0, which is an excellent balance between the tone and volume that you get with the gypsy pick, and the ease of picking single note lines that one gets with a thinner plectrum. I have been special ordering them directly from wegen for the last few years ( though one has worn down nicely and I still use it almost two years later), and have found them to be an excellent choice. I would hope that he releases these as a standard production model at some point, as I believe that they would be extremely popular.
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