World-Class GJ players who DON’T use “Gypsy Picking”/Rest Stroke Technique?


I’m a 30 year working pro guitarist who’s just making an entry into the world of gypsy least attempting it myself.

I have Micheal’s book and plan to work diligently with it for a while to see what happens. Looking forward to it.

But, as a matter of contrasting and comparing the differences, could you make suggestions of excellent GJ players who DON’T use the traditional picking technique Michael teaches?

Off the top of my head, I can think of Jon Jorgensen and Martin Taylor.

Who else? Just curious to compare the different styles and tone production.




  • adrianadrian AmsterdamVirtuoso
    Posts: 545

    Sounds like you're looking for an excuse not to learn it? :-)

    Check out Olli Soikkeli for an excellent guitarist who doesn't use the technique.


  • JimfogJimfog
    Posts: 9

    Ha! Not at all........though I suspected it might sound that way.

    No, just curious what the differences are.


  • BonesBones Moderator
    Posts: 3,320

    Use whatever technique you like if you get the tone and phrasing that you want. I'm not sure who uses strict technique or not though so I guess you would have to check out a lot of vids to figure that out. Let us know what you discover,

  • ScoredogScoredog Santa Barbara, Ca✭✭✭✭
    edited October 2019 Posts: 875

    I think you will find with all players fluent in the GJ style even players who "don't use the traditional technique" at all times still have to use it some of the time as certain idiosyncratic lines demand it. I believe once you decide to give it a try because a certain line intrigues you, you will start to realize there is an economy and ease to doing it, and if you have some fretboard knowledge a plethora of new options open up for you.

  • dennisdennis Montreal, QuebecModerator
    edited October 2019 Posts: 2,161

    i think first you'd have to define what that technique is exactly ;-)

    Olli does use it for slow playing but for certain fast passages he might switch to something else. The same can be said for so many players.

    I made a long video about this on Youtube :-)


  • geese_comgeese_com Madison, WINew 503
    Posts: 465

    Andreas Oberg does not have much of a wrist bend on his picking hand but still gets a pretty good gypsy jazz sound.

  • JoseJose Minneapolis New DuPont MD 50
    Posts: 49

    Adrian Moignard has a hybrid picking technique I believe but play what feels right and sounds right for you though many pros use rest stroke picking.

  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 6,154

    Since I wrote a book with Andreas and performed with him for a number of years, I'm pretty familiar with his approach. As @geese_com stated above, he definitely does not use strict Gypsy Picking. He uses more of a hybrid approach, utilizing mostly rest-strokes on the more traditional Django style arpeggios and phrases, but will switch to more free-stroke, alternate style picking on modern lines. It works for him but I'm not sure it's something mere mortals could emulate ?

    @dennis can elaborate more on what many of the other modern players are doing (Bireli, Sebatien, Adrien, etc,) but it's clear to me that they have fully mastered the traditional rest-stroke style and then modified it with the use of more upstrokes/sweeps/etc to execute more complex and modern passages.

    @Jimfog predicament is a common one faced by experienced players, especially professionals whose livelihoods depend on being able to perform at a high level night after night. Players like these don't have the luxury of taking a year off to learn how to do rest-stroke picking. So inevitably a compromise will have to be made. Ultimately, if you have great time, tone, and good ideas you'll sound awesome no mater what. But there's no doubt that at least understanding how rest-stroke picking works is a huge benefit in tackling this style and if you want to really capture the traditional tone/phrasing of Django and the other greats, then it's absolutely essential.

  • stuologystuology New
    Posts: 196

    Gary Potter doesn’t use any kind of gypsy picking in my experience.

  • richter4208richter4208 ✭✭✭
    Posts: 525

    Well stated Michael.

    Robin Nolan has very untraditional technique but sounds absolutely amazing in his own right.

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