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How do you know if you're doing it right...?

Lango-DjangoLango-Django Niagara-On-The-Lake, ONModerator
edited September 2008 in Gypsy Picking Posts: 1,347
OK, another question about gypsy picking, my intense focus for the past several months.

I've been pretty diligent about practising the exercises in Michael's and Angelo Debarre's book, but I actually have no idea, when I go out and play someplace, whether or not I'm actually following rules like "Always start with a downstroke when playing a new string."

How do you know if you're really doing it right...?

Or perhaps you never know?

At "Django in June", I attended a workshop with Robin Nolan, a great player who, like me, seems to have started out playing rock and folk and whatnot and arrived to a gypsy-ish style later in life.

One of us in the workshop asked him how he picked the particular passage which he was teaching us at the time, and he said something like, "Don't ask me that, I'm the worst when it comes to that stuff, I have no idea what my pick is doing half the time."

Well, personally, I'd be happy as hell if I could play as well as Robin Nolan, and his comment has made me ponder the following existential question...

"What if you come to a crossroad between mastering the gypsy picking at a 100% level or mastering it, let's say, at a 75% level... Is there really such a crossroad? And if so, how important is mastering that last 25% going to be to me personally?"

Comments from other players that have already reached that crossroads and chosen their path would be greatly appreciated...

I should say that while my musical loves obviously include Django and gypsy jazz, all I really ask out of life is to play the standards at a high level of competence when I go out on a gig with other players in my area who also perform the kind of pre-bebop jazz I like best.
I live in a little tourist town called Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario, Canada, which is about twenty miles north of Niagara Falls.

If you are ever planning on visiting the beautiful Niagara area, feel free to PM me and perhaps we can get together and do some jamming.

Comments

  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 5,817
    How do you know if you're really doing it right...?

    If you practice the technique carefully for a long time, then it will get ingrained in your muscle memory and you'll always do it correctly. You'll know you're doing it correctly because it will sound *right*.



    Well, personally, I'd be happy as hell if I could play as well as Robin Nolan, and his comment has made me ponder the following existential question...

    Robin has an idiosyncratic approach which works for him and happens to sound awesome. However, the rest of us rarely sound as good "doing it our own way." Generally, mere mortals are best served by studying the techniques of the masters.

    Also, keep in mind that Robin plays very few of the idiomatic phrases and has a very different tone and phrasing. If you like his approach then study that. But if you really want to sound like Django, Stochelo, etc, then the traditional techniques are the way to go.
    "What if you come to a crossroad between mastering the gypsy picking at a 100% level or mastering it, let's say, at a 75% level... Is there really such a crossroad? And if so, how important is mastering that last 25% going to be to me personally?"

    If you want the power, tone, phrasing etc of the great Gypsy players then the last 25% is absolutely essential. If you want to do your own hybrid sort of thing then it doesn't matter as much.
    I should say that while my musical loves obviously include Django and gypsy jazz, all I really ask out of life is to play the standards at a high level of competence when I go out on a gig with other players in my area who also perform the kind of pre-bebop jazz I like best.

    Its fun to play straight ahead too, but then you run the risk of becoming a jack of all trades and master of none.

    Good luck!

    'm
  • steven_eiresteven_eire Wicklow✭✭✭✭ Dupont MD50
    Posts: 172
    but I actually have no idea, when I go out and play someplace, whether or not I'm actually following rules like "Always start with a downstroke when playing a new string."

    if you practice the examples in the book slowly and then pay lots of attention to when to use downstrokes when you are learning the first few solos it becomes automatic and there is no question, you know you are doing it right. once you have mastered the picking patterns in the book learn the minor blues solo at the end. follow the picking suggestions exactly. after a couple more solos you will have it without having to think about it.

    one thing that is cool that ive found that after studying this technique for a couple of years is i can switch between picking styles. As soon as i float my wrist i automatically go into gypsy picking but i can still play alternate picking too with my wrist on the bridge. the muscle memory for each kicks in depending on where my wrist goes.
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