Herb Ellis, rest strokes?

beavertoofbeavertoof nashville, tnNew
edited February 2012 in Gypsy Picking Posts: 60
I was into Ellis back in the 80's, actually went to one of his seminars and concerts in Little Rock, Ar (he retired to Heber Springs Ar). Had not thought much about him recently, but been working on "Tangerine", and looking for other people playing it came across this hot version of it with him and Kessel: ... re=related

At :45 closeup of the right hand (rare to see that!) for a good bit. Nice loose fluid technique. Not GP, but seems like he may be using rest strokes and down only sweeps to at least some extent.

Interesting contrast with Kessel's approach, which seems to brush all the strings with each stroke, and I guess dampen all but the one he wants?


  • StevearenoSteveareno ✭✭✭
    Posts: 349
    Nice clip of Barney and Herb. Thanks for posting. Saw them when they toured with Charlie Byrd as "The Great Guitars" (excellent concert) and a few years later had to stop while Herb crossed the street during the day on Sunset Blvd in Hollywood with guitar case in hand wearing a coat and tie (should have waved). He looked like a bank manager on his way to the office. Don't know about his picking technique but he sure liked to wiggle his jaw and scat sing when he picked. Those backup chords he plays when Barney solos are very cool. Barney's old Gibson with the single CC pickup seemed to be his favorite.
    Swang on,
  • Archtop EddyArchtop Eddy Manitou Springs, ColoradoModerator
    Posts: 589
    Reminds me of a funny story about Barney Kessel. Barney leans his guitar against his chair to take a break when a guy comes up and says, "Man, that guitar sounds great!" Barney looks at the guy, then at the guitar, and says, "Yeah, how's it sound now?" AE
  • klaatuklaatu Nova ScotiaProdigy Rodrigo Shopis D'Artagnan, 1950s Jacques Castelluccia
    Posts: 1,665
    Reminds me of a funny story about Barney Kessel. Barney leans his guitar against his chair to take a break when a guy comes up and says, "Man, that guitar sounds great!" Barney looks at the guy, then at the guitar, and says, "Yeah, how's it sound now?" AE
    I heard the same story about Chet Atkins. Good one. And so true.

    "It's a great feeling to be dealing with material which is better than yourself, that you know you can never live up to."
    -- Orson Welles
  • Archtop EddyArchtop Eddy Manitou Springs, ColoradoModerator
    Posts: 589
    Before I posted, I kept wondering... now was that Kessel? I knew someone on this group would set me straight! Thanks Ben!

    Now that I screwed up that quote, I feel I owe you a real Kessel quote. Here's one I found on the web from a May 82 Guitar Player interview. A little long but a good one: :) AE

    "What goes through your mind when you’re improvising?
    BK: First of all, I think that any kind of introspection is a complete waste of time, and can be harmful-asking yourself why you did that, or what should you do next. You don’t have to explain anything, You just are. Let me tell you what doesn’t go through my mind: scales, the names of chords, arpeggios, licks, devices, formulas, what could possibly work as a superimposition, what John Coltrane would do at that point, what I could do now that will make people think I’m hip, what my jazz lessons through the mail tell me I could do here, what finger shapes I could use on the fingerboard that will sound real weird and eerie and will impress people. Those are some of the things I don’t think about. I don’t think about the notes in the chord, and I don’t think about the fretboard. Well, that leaves me with very little.
    Okay, you asked me what I do think about. To me, it’s like this:Let’s say we’re playing a song and all of a sudden we were to freeze at a certain point-just as if we were taking a picture. Say we stopped at a point where I just struck a Cm7 chord. At that moment, to me, it’s just like somebody came in with an atomizer and sprayed with a Cm7. But I don’t think about what I’ve just said. All I hear is how the chord sounds, not its name.
    It’s very much like if I was blindfolded and somebody said they wanted me to taste a piece of cake and tell them what flavor it is. Chocolate, cherry, pumpkin? Well, I’m tasting that chord, and the next thing that wells up in me-is, what’s my musical comment? Not a lick, or a run, but a statement. That’s what I think about. If I have to think about what George Russell said in his Lydian Chromatic Concept book, or that John Coltrane would do, then I’d be filled with too much data, filled with intimidation and need to comment in a way that what I’m playing would be nothing more than status-buying. Everyone would know I’m buying all these other licks and devices, The only way that you get good at improvising is to improvise on what’s in you.
  • pinkgarypinkgary ✭✭✭
    Posts: 282

    That's fine if i'm playing blues, spot on even. But, unfortunately, i still have to think when i'm playing jazz.

    One day, though..... It's good to know i could get there.
  • neillneill portland ,englandNew
    Posts: 50
    yeah @pink gary ... i'll stick to what bird said.. 'learn the changes and then forget them' ummm still gotta learn em yet though .. :-)
  • pinkgarypinkgary ✭✭✭
    Posts: 282
    Indeed. :)
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