This book will be beneficial for guitarists at any skill level. The basic techniques and picking patterns explained in this book will help beginning students develop a solid foundation on which to build their technique. More advanced students, of whom many have never been exposed to Gypsy technique, will find the picking techniques and Gypsy musical phrases in this book a welcome addition to their improvisational vocabulary. Additionally, the basic picking technique described in this book can be applied to many styles of plectrum guitar playing other than Gypsy jazz. Rock, bebop, bluegrass, and blues guitarists can all improve their technique and musical vocabulary through the material in this book.
One of the unique features of this book is the meticulous attention given to right-hand pick strokes and left hand fingerings. The picking patterns and fingerings notated in this book are based on research among Gypsy musicians and the study of video footage of Django Reinhardt. This book is unlike many other Gypsy jazz guitar instructional books in which the fingering and picking suggestions are unidiomatic to the Gypsy jazz genre or, at worst, merely an afterthought full of errors. To spare you this frustration, the examples in this book demonstrate proven ways of executing Gypsy musical phrases.
The accompanying CD has audio examples of the fifteen picking patterns, thirty musical examples, and the minor blues solo.
Gypsy Picking unlocks the secrets of the right hand in Gypsy jazz guitar playing. It is incredibly helpful to the novice or the more advanced player in this style and will help the player develop power, speed and most importantly the right tone and attitude for this music. I wish this book had been around when I first started learning this style in the early '80s!
John Jorgenson, world renown session guitarist, former Desert Rose Band, Hellecasters, and Elton John Band is currently touring and recording with the John Jorgenson Band and has been a leading proponent of Gypsy jazz in the US for 20 years.
How many times have you tried to execute that new hot guitar lick you just learned only to find that your picking hand was too slow to keep up with your fretting hand? I think most guitarists will agree that obtaining an efficient picking technique is undoubtedly one of the most difficult hurdles for guitar students of any style. Michael Horowitz’s new book Gypsy Picking is unique in that it offers a systematic approach to deal with this under discussed topic of guitar technique. In this 64 page book, Horowitz, a member of Seattle-based Gypsy jazz group Pearl Django, explains the very efficient and loud “rest-stroke” picking technique he learned from the Sinti Gypsies of Holland as part of his dissertation research. The rest-stroke technique (which was used by Django Reinhardt) is explained clearly through a series of 45 examples in both standard notation and tablature. The examples were transcribed from recordings or learned directly from the playing of Gypsy guitar masters such as Django Reinhardt, Stochelo Rosenberg, and Fapy Lafertin. Detailed fingerings, picking suggestions, and photos show you how to play all those fancy Django licks just like the Gypsies do. Additionally, the included CD has recorded versions of all the examples. Horowitz also includes inspirational quotes and photos from his Gypsy teachers, giving the reader a sense of their wonderful musical culture. Gypsy Picking is a “must” for anyone interested in Gypsy jazz but is also highly recommended for guitarists of any style who wish to improve their picking technique.
Erling Rockwell, The Quarter Note – Dusty Strings
A wonderfully thorough study of the right hand in Gypsy jazz guitar, this book is a fabulous resource - a 'must' for the serious student of Gypsy jazz, whether a beginner or advanced player. Bravo, Michael Horowitz!
Neil Andersson, Pearl Django
While many books have taught the arrangements and chord changes of Reinhardt oriented tunes, none have attacked the correct manner in which the style is traditionally played.Gypsy Picking is the first such method and is required study by those who take their Jazz Manouche seriously and wish to obtain a correct, legitimate sound. The photographic examples depicting correct posture, the way to hold the instrument, hand and plectrum placement introduce the student to the fundamentals of obtaining a correct tone and the picking exercises are the keys which unlock the door to the unique sound and style of this genre of jazz. The picking exercises – focuses on the correct methods for picking upstrokes, sweep strokes, alternate picking patterns, triplets, horizontal and chromatic arpeggios and double bass triplet runs as played by the Gypsies are just a few of the studies contained herein. Horowitz’ method of teaching, aimed at players of all skill levels, exhibits the quality one would expect from a musician with a BA from Berkley while his lessons reflect his hands-on study with some of Holland’s finest young Gypsy talent. The best thing is that the lessons in this book are easily transferable to other methods out there. Highly Recommended.
Ted Gottsegen, Just Jazz Guitar
After sitting at the feet of some of the top Gypsy jazz players in Europe and analyzing every component of the music associated with Django Reinhardt, Michael Horowitz has come up with Gypsy Picking, a landmark achievement that unravels the complexities and inner secrets of this fascinating style. In the first instruction book to explore the intricate right-hand picking patterns of Gypsy jazz in such detail, Horowitz takes the reader/student through downstrokes, sweep picking, horizontal arpeggios, syncopations, rest strokes, triplets, and other pivotal techniques. The 64-page text includes a series of helpful musical examples that demonstrate how a guitarist can use each pattern melodically, and Horowitz plays each example on an accompanying CD.
Dave McCarty, Acoustic Guitar Magazine
Great way to learn the right hand techniques which differentiate the genre from any other. Provides good warmup and discipline technique to prevent bad habits from forming. Interesting side notes from great players too.
Submitted by: sgw on 10/13/2016 03:56:45 PM
This book is a great source of developing technique for the beginner, in the Gypsy jazz style. The real genius of Horowitz' method book is the fact that the beginning half of the text is strictly dedicated to concentration on the picking hand's movement, by way of studying the rest, up, and swept stroke, using only open strings as examples. Once the muscle memory is developed, the student is to move on to more practical examples, using both fretted notes and open strings in the fretting hand. Highly recommended! This book makes much more sense out of Django's (as well as other Gypsy guitarists) playing from a technical standpoint. Looking forward to checking out other technique books by the author.
Submitted by: Michael Harrington on 01/29/2016 09:05:05 PM
Essential study material
Pros: Great excercises
This book is essential to learning the proper picking technique for gypsy jazz. Lots of great examples to get the mechanics right.
Submitted by: Andy L. on 04/20/2015 03:10:03 PM
Gypsy Picking Well Worth It
Great book that pays greatly if you put the time in. Been wanting to get into this style of playing and can find it quite intimidating. This book breaks it down simply into easily digestable chunks. Started having fun right away. I will buy more from this site and MH.
Submitted by: pimpscampi on 12/10/2014 07:54:55 PM
Gypsy Picking book
After 2 months with this book, I find it has had a profound influence over my playing. I am now following the handful of basic principles (and that's all there really is) without thinking when I noodle around on the fretboard, and when I do run up against a new riff that demands attention, I can work out my picking very quickly. My procedure with this book was simple: spend 20-30 minutes every day playing a bunch of the "musical example" exercises with a metronome. Still working on velocity, but the evenness is there. Start with quasi-chromatic scale, then chromatic arpeggio, then diminished arpeggio, etc. Run through larger arpeggio figures. Link Am and G arpeggios as written with diminished "stair step" arpeggios to make impromptu etudes. Play everything multiple times at different speeds. One desideratum: I wish MH had spent more time in the introduction describing the basic picking motion, and had sought out less ambiguous descriptions. For example, when he say to use a 45 degree angle when picking, he does not clarify which axis of rotation. Also, although there are photos of his hand position, he does not indicate whether it is the position of rest (post-picking) or position of readiness (immediately pre-pick). Quibbles. Overall, must rate this book a must have. And the quality of production, carefulness speak well of MH as method book author. Will no bout be getting one of his other method books soon. A+.
Submitted by: burrsi01 on 05/17/2014 05:26:48 AM
Great Book for Picking Technique
Pros: Great musical examples, thorough explanations, Gypsy Jazz history, CD of examples included
Cons: Higher price
As a jazz player for most of my life, I wanted to find a book that would introduce me to the Gypsy Jazz technique and also provide a few Django-ish lines without starting all the way back at an elementary beginner guitar level. Michael Horowitz did exactly that with this book. It's comprised of 4 main parts: gypsy jazz history, fundamental technique, picking patterns and musical examples. While I could understand why others might consider the history section just filler material, I found it extremely interesting and educational. I think anybody who turns to this book should know where the genre comes from. Michael also includes a short intro talking about his time with the Sinti people who still live in a gypsy culture today and have some of the best gypsy jazz guitarists in the world...interesting stuff in my opinion. The Part 2 Fundamentals section was almost totally useless to me but would serve a beginner guitarist well. Part 3 shows only the picking patterns themselves with open strings and no left hand activity. Part 4 puts the patterns to use by bringing in the left hand and assigning the picking patterns to actual musical lines. There's also a Django style solo that uses the picking patterns and lines to show how they can be used in a real improvisational situation. I ended up going through part 3 very quickly and spending most of my time with the lines themselves. Although it may be practical for beginners to spend time on part 3, I found this section to be a little redundant. From the viewpoint of a practicing reader, it would make most sense to be introduced to a picking pattern and immediately put it to use through a line so that the pattern can be absorbed and practiced as a whole. Parts 3 and 4 should definitely be combined in my opinion. At $35, Gypsy Picking is a little more expensive than average guitar method book but I would ultimately recommend this title to anybody looking to get into Gypsy Jazz or just wanting to improve/enhance their right hand technique.
Submitted by: Pete on 04/03/2014 11:53:02 AM
Well Thought Through
Overall this is a well thought through book. I liked the way the first section dealt with right hand only exercises allowing you to concentrate solely on the actual picking and how the next section then introduced the left hand to bring the whole thing to life
Submitted by: Martin on 10/17/2012 05:00:26 AM
Pros: good basis for Gypsy style
Cons: time consuming,detailed work
Michael has done a great service for guitarists trying to understand the nuances of Gypsy Jazz.The book is easy to read,has good notation and tab.It has made me aware of the importance of the right hand technique,arpeggios,,and the "rest stroke"The CD that comes with it is a nice addition.It makes it much better to be able to hear the exercises,as well as seeing.This type of music really uses the diminished,whole-tone,and minor 6th scales,which is seldom used in other styles.Really tests your chord-theory chops. Thanks Michael for your help.
Submitted by: tonehouse on 07/24/2012 09:56:04 AM
Pros: Great for guitar players of all levels
This book has been an excellent starting point for learning Gypsy Jazz and overall Jazz Guitar technique. It begins with a great overview of the Sinti culture and music. It discusses correct posture and right hand placement. Descriptions are clear and to the point. The exercises include common Gypsy Jazz licks and are great for warming up. I’ve collected and sold several guitar books and this one is a definite keeper! Also, customer service is awesome. Michael and the Djangobooks team have been great at responding to emails regarding this and all of my purchases.
Submitted by: jlander9 on 07/09/2012 09:19:58 AM
Good for all levels!
I am a new student, 3 mos. old. My interest and love of gypsy jazz drew me into studying banjo. Gypsy Picking is exposing me to the habits I need to cultivate and practice in order to play this type of music. The introductory material is great for anyone with an interest in this style. Last week I received my plectrum and have begun on lesson 1.
Submitted by: Lea on 04/23/2012 08:49:40 AM
The picking patterns are unbelieveable, most of guitarists would play the same tones differently and maybe that is the magic.There is much more in the book but as a beginner I have to finish the book first
Submitted by: Milan158 on 04/01/2012 12:06:03 AM
jazz manouche is the "new kid on the block" for me. i've been a mainstream player most of my life, so i know the tunes. however, the right hand technique is all new. i've definitely got my work cut out for me. the material that michael covers in "gypsy picking" is very well thought out. i would not hesitate recommending this book to anyone wishing to further enhance their gypsy experience. wonky
Submitted by: wonky on 03/31/2012 09:59:41 AM
Purchased on the advice of all the Djangobooks Forum users. Very well laid out with a good level of description. Accompanying CD is so useful. I'm a beginning GJ player so I appreciate all the background and insight. More advanced players will probably already know this stuff.
Submitted by: tcrowe76 on 03/05/2012 11:35:33 AM
I have been playing guitar most of my life and have a collection of technique and lesson /transcription material. Michaels' books are right on the money and far exceeded my expectations. His books are a credit to Django and a great asset to anyone who would like to learn his music.
Submitted by: Lonnie Turner on 02/11/2012 07:49:02 PM
Buy this first!
I can't recommend this book highly enough. In my first attempt at learning this style, I focused too much on learning from tab and picking whichever way seemed fastest. I hit a wall very quickly, and it wasn't until I invested in this book, began fresh, and relearned everything that I began to not only play better with a more beautiful sound, but I also had more fun. Don't make the mistake I did â buy this first! Michael has captured so much information and first hand experience with Dutch gypsies in this book. It really helps us folks that can't make it there ourselves!
Submitted by: Vince on 01/21/2012 12:16:55 AM
Worth the $
If you want to play in the gypsy style and you've been taught the alternate picking method, do youself a favor and buy this book. Considering all the time MH put into researching this material it's an amazing value.
Submitted by: bas on 10/12/2011 01:10:25 PM
You Need This!
Pros: Inspires confidence that you are on the right track!
Cons: Living in the UK meant high shipping costs
Woody Allen's Sweet & Lowdown inspired me to investigate Django's music and I've found all the elements I naturally lean to within one style...however: Without this book I would never find it a natural style to play and this is important! Gypsy Picking gives you the fundamental pointers on Right Hand technique which allows you to deliver an authentic attack, tone and clarity which we all found so breathtaking upon our discovery of it. I've a long journey ahead of me, and you MUST be self critical, but it will be a much easier journey with Michael's book beside me. This should be the next essential purchase after your guitar! Enjoy!
Submitted by: DanielSmyth on 08/29/2011 03:56:48 PM
Submitted by: sirseine on 05/21/2011 12:51:42 AM
One of the few method books I can honestly say has been a pleasure to read. The author's scholarship and his love of the subject come through in all of the material in the book. I am not a guitar player (attempting to become one), having played bass and ukulele for years. The advantage is that I have no bad habits to unlearn, but attempting gypsy jazz is a fairly steep learning curve. The instructions are clear and concise, and the exercises well explained. Give the drills plenty of time and lots of repetition in order to process them into muscle memory.
Submitted by: MK on 05/09/2011 07:05:21 PM
What an amazing resource for anyone approaching gypsy jazz. Michael Horowitz structures the book according to a series of very helpful exercises/studies that lead towards an understanding of the rest-stop right hand technique. This book has changed my playing. My phrasing now sounds more authentic and has a fuller, richer tone.
Submitted by: Ryan on 04/25/2011 09:02:02 AM
In my opinion, this is the best source out there for the subject of gypsy picking. Breaks down technique incredibly allowing for ease of learning. The book is filled with relevant examples and great audio samples. If you need to get a jump start on this not so talked about technique, this book is where you need to start...and stay for awhile. One of the most valuable guitar technique I have purchased
Submitted by: jon on 04/23/2011 10:45:57 AM
I consider this publication a great value even though similar books may be out there with more pages and less valuable information. While Michael does seem to spend a lot of time in the first half of the book making sure your right hand is doing what it is supposed to do, the second half makes up for the perceived pedantic approach with a ton of great licks that are easy to implement in a jam or whatever. Even if I totally master what's passed on in this book, I don't think I could part with it since it's full of great reference ideas that I could see myself revisiting in the near and/or distant future.
Submitted by: p.k. on 04/22/2011 08:36:14 PM
A Must Have Book!
Pros: TAB, CD with recorded examples, Detailed fignerings
While many books have taught the arrangements and chord changes of Reinhardt oriented tunes, none have attacked the correct manner in which the style is traditionally played. Gypsy Picking is the first such method and is required study by those who take their Jazz Manouche seriously and wish to obtain a correct, legitimate sound. The photographic examples depicting correct posture, the way to hold the instrument, hand and plectrum placement introduce the student to the fundamentals of obtaining a correct tone and the picking exercises are the keys which unlock the door to the unique sound and style of this genre of jazz. The picking exercises - focuses on the correct methods for picking upstrokes, sweep strokes, alternate picking patterns, triplets, horizontal and chromatic arpeggios and double bass triplet runs as played by the Gypsies are just a few of the studies contained herein. Horowitz' method of teaching, aimed at players of all skill levels, exhibits the quality one would expect from a musician with a BA from Berkley while his lessons reflect his hands-on study with some of Holland's finest young Gypsy talent. The best thing is that the lessons in this book are easily transferable to other methods out there. Highly Recommended.
Submitted by: ted on 11/25/2010 02:25:17 PM