Django's tiger - need help

lv92lv92 New
in Technique Posts: 31

Hi all GJ players,

this is a first rendition of Django's tiger as played in the original recording. I am honest, i enjoy playing it but after some listening i am not very happy with it as i found very hard to swing so fast and everything sounds kind of chaotic and not swingy hot to me. Or maybe i am not so talented.

What kind of excercises/suggestions would you give me?


  • ChristopheCaringtonChristopheCarington San Francisco, CA USANew Stringphonic FV Brazilian
    Posts: 70

    It's hard to pinpoint what exactly makes something "swing." Your right and left hand coordination is pretty good, and you're hitting the right notes, but I agree that there's not a lot swing.

    I think what's missing the most from that clip is a conviction to your playing - a confidence with your phrasing. To me conviction comes from a strong attack, and accenting specific notes. Looking at your right hand, it seems you're not using the rest stroke. This makes your notes quieter and have less attack, so that would be my guess.

  • lv92lv92 New
    Posts: 31

    Yeah i see, so learning rest strokes and right hand right posture would be a point. I find especially difficult and painful to downstroke single notes going up the strings

  • You have to work up to that speed. It feels to me like you are chasing that tempo. You have the notes. Play it until you are absolutely sick of it and then move on to another solo.

  • edited October 22 Posts: 2,948

    Everything that was said in your other thread "starting from zero" will help you here. But specifically what I'm seeing here is your picking technique is more what I'd see in a flattop player. Before trying to figure out why something doesn't swing, I'd focus on that first. Swing feel is so elusive to explain, you get it by listening. And at higher tempos it becomes a moot point in my opinion. At slower tempos it can be kinda explained with a playing example.

    But I think focus on your right hand. Easy change you can make immediately is do what you're doing only angle your wrist towards the top. There's ton of info on the forum about the rest stroke and Gypsy Jazz picking. Also lots of videos on YouTube.

    Playing consecutive downstrokes at a high tempo is a fairly advanced level of picking in this style. Takes a long time. You're already advanced player so it'll be faster. How fast I don't know. Maybe 6 months if you're practicing several hours a day.

    But you will get there, because you're willing to ask questions but more importantly you're critiquing your own playing.

    Jim KaznoskyChristopheCarington
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • BonesBones Moderator
    edited October 22 Posts: 2,964

    Swing eights get harder at faster tempos. Some of the notes are not as loud as others in the tricky sections. Yeah it's hard to see in the vid but it looks like your right hand tech needs some work if you want to play by the "rules"...or not. Lots of people don't use strict tech but you have to work around that to get the tone and power. That said, sounds pretty good! Maybe just slow it down a bit and work on technique??

    Jim Kaznosky
  • bbwood_98bbwood_98 Brooklyn, NyProdigy Vladimir music! Les Effes. . Its the best!
    Posts: 501

    Sounds pretty good. Notes are all there for sure - so really a very good job.

    I agree with folks who say slow it down - and be careful to swing through the strings on rest strokes rather then move the pick down the string and out from the strings of the guitar (if that makes sense!). Remember to try and cop some of Django's vibrato, slides out of notes at ends of phrases not just notes and hammer ons/pull offs.

    Finally, try to remember that the movement in gypsy picking is like a drummer, and really comes from the wrist moving. Which admittedly is hard to do and even harder to do relaxed!

    One other small comment - to me it looks like your index finger on the right hand is pointed pretty in at the guitar, rather then back. I found my tone much better and wrist more relaxed when I make a loose fist and put the pick in (meaning your index finger will be pointed back at your elbow, and the outer most joint where the nail is faces the guitar).

    Sounding great so far!!

  • peterjapeterja ✭✭
    edited October 22 Posts: 20

    I really liked your playing, you shouldn't be so hard on yourself. But I'd like to share a couple of random thoughts on swinging.

    Picking technique and sound is a great part of this style but it's not what makes it swing (but of course a reliable technique is the foundation for swinging).

    Think of swing as a question of note placement in relation to the beat. And it's the number one thing that makes you sound like a pro. The main thing is to place the notes deliberately and to take responsibility for the beat. If you manage to play a nice run on the guitar, and some of the notes randomly are at the beginning of the beat and some after, even if it's only ever so slightly, it probably won't swing, even though your notes technically all are on the beat. It will actually sound a little chaotic and hectic.

    The beat isn't a fixed point in time, you can place your notes at the beginning, the middle or the end of the beat, most people have heard this, it's kind of a cliché. But I takes some real work to actually being able to do this if you don't feel it naturally and most people don't.

    It's important to be aware of the note placement. And it takes some active listening. I always tap a finger on my thigh listening to music to understand how a player treats the beat because it can be very subtle.

    First of all you should be able to hit the beat straight on every time. If you're precise you actually can't hear the metronome anymore. Then practice to hit at the beginning of the beat, you can hear the last part of the metronomes click right after your note. And then practice after the beat. Finally you can practice changing note placement deliberately.

    To make it all the worse, practicing with a metronome can make you lazy. You end up relying on the metronome and not taking responsibility for the beat yourself. I've tried this, I could play pretty competently with the metronome but had difficulties replicating this with other players. Because I was used to the metronome holding my hand all the way. On the other hand I play with a rhythm guitarist who really swing and knows how hold a steady tempo, but he can't swing with a metronome if he's life depended on it. Go figure. So I guess my advice for swinging is to practice with a metronome... or don’t.... but always be mindfull of the beat.

    BucoBill Da Costa Williams
  • Posts: 63

    Great start. You know the notes and the rhythm. What I think you can improve on of your phrasing. At times it sounds like you are playing one note after another, with no relation between them.

    You have a few very clear endings of phrases, with vibrato and longer notes.

    What I would do is (slow down), play the first phrase after the melody, (where the arpeggios start) a few times in a row. Think about it leading into the downbeat. The ending of the second arpeggio doesn't sound like a musical ending. Think of each phrase as a sentence or thought. No run on sentences. Complete a thought it idea before moving on.

    As stated above. Good for you, for asking questions.

  • ChristopheCaringtonChristopheCarington San Francisco, CA USANew Stringphonic FV Brazilian
    Posts: 70

    It's super difficult to get clean and consistent. I actually use Django's I'll see you in my dreams as a test to make sure I'm properly warmed up... specifically the consecutive down-strokes licks like here:

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