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How to learn gypsy jazz technique from 0?

lv92lv92 New
edited September 2020 in Technique Posts: 31

Hi there 😃

Guitar is coming, picks are coming, so next step would be starting to learn.

I am new to this genre, i mean i can put my hands on guitar and i know some basic jazz theory (2-5-1, chord substitutions, modes, etc...) but seems like i don't have the right "relaxed hand" position while playing, neither a right swingy picking technique. I come mostly from rock and heavy metal techniques.

So what books, youtube videos, etc... would you suggest to a newbie? And what songs to learn to start enjoying this? Thanks in advance



  • pdgpdg ✭✭
    Posts: 234

    Look up Christiaan Van Hemert's youtubes on right hand techique first. And Michael Horowitz's Gypsy Picking book (on this website).

    lv92Bill Da Costa WilliamsMichaelHorowitzChristopheCarington
  • edited September 2020 Posts: 13


    I'm also new to this Forum but was sneaking in and out for maybe two years and learned al lot!

    Also i am familiar with playing Jazz Standards but the Django Repertoire is quite different and new to me...

    but i DID study the right hand picking for maybe 10 years and "Gypsy Picking" is really THE way to start! I studied al lot of books about guitar playing and music but the way Michaels book is divided in two parts (right hand only/ right hand plus left hand) ist simply outstanding!!! Listening/ watching Oud players like Negar Bouban is also very inspiring for the right hand "ballet" and the use of ornamentation!

    Since its much more easy to play scales on guitar i recommend studying triads all over the neck: Major, Minor, Diminished (as triads diminished and half diminished are the same!), Augmented! Also the use of chromatics is more audible in this style!

    My constant (!) struggle (in every style) is that i love to practice licks, tricks an transcriptions but it doesn't feel right to me to use them literaly note for note, i have to work them in my playing by fooling around/ improvising with them. Also i want to understand more what is going on in the mind of the players i adore what means to listen to the Music i like day and night, sometimes analyzing it! Takes time though...

    There are a lot of great teachers/ players out there, i bought two courses of DC Music school, watching the right hand close up of Monsieur Boyer like mad!

    Well, learn the songs you really love plus the tunes you never want to hear again but need to know for the Jam sessions! Transcribe them by ear until you can hum them in your sleep!

    If you have the possibility to jam with humans-it can be quite funny!

    Have fun and be patient!


    Bucolv92billyshakesBill Da Costa WilliamsMichaelHorowitz
  • pdgpdg ✭✭
    Posts: 234

    The latter -- gypsy picking

  • geese_comgeese_com Madison, WINew 503
    Posts: 273

    @dennis Denis Chang has a three part Beginner Gypsy Jazz Soundslice course.

    I am not a beginner in this style but I still bought it. Very useful info and definitely worth it. It is a great start and there is a lot of info that you can work on on you own that will keep you busy for a long time.

  • Russell LetsonRussell Letson Prodigy
    Posts: 291

    Figure out the rhythm--if only because in social-playing situations, that's what you'll be doing most of the time anyway. Everybody wants to be Django, but Joseph and his colleagues were the other half of the equation. (I'd also say, don't agonize over the tiny details of la pompe--get the backing rhythm to drive. But maybe that's just the bias of a straight-swing rhythm player.)

  • bbwood_98bbwood_98 Brooklyn, NyProdigy Vladimir music! Les Effes. . Its the best!
    Posts: 527


    In terms of songs - Start with Minor Swing and Minor Blues . . . Follow Russell's advice and get the rhythm going - go on youtube find a video you like of this where you can see the rhythm player, and copy it . . . until you sound like they do! Then learn the melodies; then some solo phrases (Ideally this from the Django recordings); and the same, play it until you sound like the record. Then the some tunes in major - All of Me is a very often called tune (lists of tunes are pretty available here, and other sites - but honestly pick your favorite players, and learn their songs).

    There are a few technical things you might want a teacher for both in terms of rhythm and soloing technique for the style. just to have someone look at a few things and get your coordination and timing right. (gypsy picking is a great book, and DC music produces a lot of good lessons. In terms of basic exercises and ideas - Wrembel's Getting into Gypsy Jazz is good as well and available through this site!).

    Then just practice, a whole lot!

    @Russell Letson and @Djangheureux - good advice!

    Welcome, and good luck. We all can't wait to hear what you come up with!

  • pdgpdg ✭✭
    Posts: 234

    Make sure your rhythm playing is dry and relatively "staccato" like, and relatively quiet, so that you don't drown out the lead player or force him or her to have to play very hard. It will really be appreciated!

  • AzazzellAzazzell CanadaNew
    edited September 2020 Posts: 102

    In the beginning I found Clement's rhythm videos useful because you can see what he is doing and try to copy and play along:

    And Yaakov's video on la pompe:

    I also used Youtube's slow down to 0.75 or 0.50 speed.

    And of course SoundSlice has great gypsy jazz transcriptions:


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