"Gypsy Rhythm" more bounce (punch)?

steteaksteteak Kern County, California Paris Swing
edited August 2013 in Gypsy Rhythm Posts: 50
Good afternoon, how are you all? I am new to the group; but, I have been a Djangobooks customer several times. I live in Bakersfield, Ca. Home of Buck Owens. There is no Sinti Jazz scene here, nor have I met any people whom are aware of Sinti (Rom or Manouche) Jazz. I attempted learning the "Gypsy Rhythm" book. But, I am at a point where some further explanation will help me continue.
When the side of my Wegen "Trimus" moves across the strings, it glides smoothly. The sound produced, however, is rather quiet and "swooshy". The sound I want is more punchy, like the sound board is bouncing the archtop. I believe my sound problem is due to the use of the side of the pick.
So, I tried using the tip. When strumming with the pointed side of the plectrum, I find my hand is jerked by the resting of the pick on any one of the strings. My pick will grab and hold on. Using gravity and letting my hand fall does not help. I attempted to change the angle of my pick, but to no avail. My question is how can I get a smooth strum, but punchy- bouncing- swinging rhythm with my plectrum?


  • crookedpinkycrookedpinky Glasgow✭✭✭✭ Alex Bishop D Hole, Altamira M & JWC D hole
    Posts: 922
    Hi there, it sounds very much like it's using the side of the Trimus which is causing problems. It sounds like you're hitting the strings with a rounded edge which is giving that "swooshing" sound.

    I personally don't use wegens and for a long time have been looking for a plectrum which delivers a full tone with a clear edge to the sound - so, one which can glide across the strings with ease giving a consistent balanced rhythm stroke but which can, when it needs to, articulate single lines with volume and clarity.

    To date I haven't found one plectrum which can do that straight out of the box. Invariably I end up reprofiling at least one edge, normally the tip. I'll try to post some pics of my current favourite plectrums and you'll see what I mean.

    I also have to say that I had exactly the same problem when I started with a Wegen and the Gypsy Picking book - the grabbing and sticking of the pick on the strings. For me the whole notion of the part played by gravity and letting the hand "fall" didn't make sense at all for a number of reasons. I'm not saying it's not right I'm just saying that it didn't work for me.

    What made sense to me was when someone - can't remember who - said it's more like pushing through each string and resting on the next. I then came to think of the pick being like a Harpsichord jack ( look it up on WIKI and you'll see what I mean ). I then had a lesson with Lollo Meier who showed me how to hold a plectrum properly - and again this mirrored the Harpsichord jack idea. Prior to that I had been holding the pic too loosely, and too far back from the tip so it get kept getting caught up or at least slowed down by the strings. Moving to a more right angled grip with more of the plectrum being gripped and less tip being exposed also helped significantly.

    always learning
  • my blue chip works for me crisp but no pick noise.

    may not be ideal for a newbie though.

    can you post a video clip of what is happening...Adrien on this site may do online skyptype lessons as may a few others
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • steteaksteteak Kern County, California Paris Swing
    Posts: 50

    Above I have attached the sound that is produced from strumming. The vibrations are tinny and in no way are the booming, bouncy, swinging soung that emerges from the examples which I have observed. I am aware that my timing is off, and I am working with a metronome. But, the sound emerging is disappointing. Thank you both for your words of insight and encouragement. Can any one offer improvement tips, and observational problems with my attempt at copying the techniques, which I have observed online?
  • spatzospatzo Virtuoso
    Posts: 768

    I think that the swooshy sound comes mainly from the use of the side of your plectrum. Trimus is a big triangular plectrum with three tips and three sides. The plectrum is also available in three different thicknesses with the 250/350/500 models each one of which give pretty different sounds. The fact is that with triangular plectrums you have only two solutions: too much pic or too much side, it is hard to find an in-between solution. It gives you certainty when soloing but it is hard to use on rhythm. I think you can find a confortable solution for your problem using the Gypsyjazz Wegen white pick (Thickness 3.5mm - color is important as the black one hasn't the same sound) because first it is easy to hold, it gives you naturally a stronger sound and last but not least it is easier to angulate (ie giving more tip moving left or more side moving right) using the wide beveled side of the tip.
    After a few years of work on this model you will probably start using the Wegen Bigcity (white) one.

  • StevearenoSteveareno ✭✭✭
    Posts: 349
    I prefer using a rounded edge on my picks (even on my Telecaster, which grow on trees around Bakersfield). Currently use V picks and Dawgs, but even with regular tear drop shaped picks, I use the rounded edge or "shoulder". If you like Wegen Trimus, I suggest filing one of the corners to a rounded shape. This should produce a more mellow tone and maybe get rid of the "tinny" sound and yeah, the way you hold the pick (how much edge you stick out and how much force you apply) definitely effects the tone.
    Swang on,
  • steteaksteteak Kern County, California Paris Swing
    Posts: 50
    Hello every one, how are you? The fear of forcibly strumming every string prevented the sound from emminating its true potential. There is a location, which is very hard to reproduce, but I found it. Now is the time to commit the motion into muscle memory. But, there is a catch. I think the sound is too overpowering. Any advice on bringing the tone down? Btw, I am amazed at the lengths which GJ artists help eachother. We are a small counter-culture, and we are tight. -thanks

  • spatzospatzo Virtuoso
    Posts: 768
    Nice observation
  • steteaksteteak Kern County, California Paris Swing
    Posts: 50
    Earlier this evening, but after some ETOH, I looked and studied the design to the Wegen Pick. I think that to utilize the bevelling, there must be, as with everything in GJ, rapid-controlled angulation of the upstroke caused by moving the palm of the strumming hand toward the tuning pegs. I shall see tomorrow, when I practice more.
  • if it is of any help tio you....when I play either lead or rhythm.... there is a slight angle on the pick, the bridge side is slighjly fiether away from the string axis than the front.

    My rhythm stroke is a wrist roll down 1 and 3 being a bit more of a pushy type thing and 2 and 4 bein g more of a whippy type stroke. the upstroke if anything is played at all is just the reverse of the downstroke. My pick does not change from stroke to stroke.

    There is a sweet wpot on any guitar that will give the fullest tone on any given stroke. Playiing further toward teh nut will emphasize the lows and playing closer to the bridge will emnphasize the highs. I use all these different positions to obtain different sounds for different tunes.
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • steteaksteteak Kern County, California Paris Swing
    Posts: 50
    I noticed the tonality effects from strumming closer to the bridge and sound hole. What your saying is that I can utilize the difference while playing with some one else. Would the location be determined by the soloist's octive randge, or is there no relation? Say closer to the sound hole when the solo is low and closer to the bridge when the solo is high. You did say that there is some angulation to your pick, so I believe that there is some people who agree that the design can lead to funtion. But, some instructional videos declare that the pick must be held perpendicular to the strings (Gypsy Picking, Horowitz and Intro to Gypsy Jazz and Intermediate Gypsy Jazz, Jorgenson). The problem with the technique desribed by Horowitz and Jorgenson lies in the ability of a one dimensional image to interact with the student, to show him or her the proper movement, to physically correct technique, and to acknowledge success. After trying the perpendicular movement, the string tension does not allow a smooth glide to the ninety degree angled plectrum, and I raised the action to 4mm. So, maybe angulated on grace upstroke and gliding downstroke, then a perpendicular on the "chick". Everyone's input allows me to understand more than I knew before. If the advice is not shared, then there is no community. Besides most ideas sprout from group discussions.
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