Adrien Moignard's thumb flexion and extension for picking

edited March 15 in Gypsy Picking Posts: 3

What does the thumb flexion on Adrien Moignard's right hand mean? When he picks, it looks like his thumb is flexing and flexing a lot. Why is this?


  • Posts: 75

    Short answer: Adrien's got a "hitchhiker thumb" and is double jointed to some extent.

    Longer answer: Speaking as someone with a hitchhiker's thumb, similar joint movements happen in my thumb depending on what I'm playing and same with other players I've seen who have very flexible thumb joints. If you look at other videos, you can see players who have more "rigid" thumb joints and even then, their right hand thumb still has some degree movement depending on what they're playing - check out Bireli's thumb:

    In addition to having massive thumbs period (and fingers), Bireli's thumb joint moves naturally with what he's playing, more straightened at the lower strings and bending a bit as he reaches the higher strings and on chords.

    Anyway, personally I would assume Adrien's thumb is moving naturally and he's not thinking about it consciously - as we all know, relaxation is KEY to rest stroke and that applies just as equally to thumbs as anything else. Then again, I've certainly been wrong before on stuff like that so maybe someone who knows Adrien can ask him about it lol

  • Posts: 3

    Thanks for your info!

    I certainly didn't know about the double joint. I think there are many guitarists in the gypsy jazz world who can hold the pick in a reverse angle way.

    By the way, when I play the high E string, I also fully extend my thumb so that the contact point between the pick and the string is as parallel as possible. When I play the low E string or the strings around it, I relax my thumb. I think the video of Birelli that you posted is probably close to that.

    However, Adrean Moignard uses thumb flexion on all strings. I thought that it was to help him escape the complex alternate picking down or up, but it seems that's not the case. Is there any other possible meaning? I think it's great to have the pick attack as parallel as possible to the string, so Adrean Moignard's thumb flexion seems very strange to me...

  • pdgpdg ✭✭
    Posts: 470

    It may be that it's more stable (and tone is stronger) if the pick rests on the actual thumb tip joint, rather than on the last bone after the joint. See photos in Michael Horowitz,'s book, Gypsy Picking (near the beginning). It does mean, though, that the thumb sticks out more past the pick. Maybe the thumb movements at that point don't have any effect, since the pick grip is not affected by the last part of the thumb.

  • Posts: 3

    Yes, I also hold the pick with the second joint of my thumb. And I support my index finger with my ring finger and middle finger. I hold the pick tightly so that it does not give in to the tension of the string.

    By the way, when I play the first or second string, I extend my thumb to adjust the angle. I hold the pick with the second joint of my thumb, but it is possible to adjust the angle of the pick.

    I'm repeating myself, but Adrean approaches all strings with the angle of his thumb. It seems to me that he uses picking with the wrist and picking with the thumb bending and stretching.

    What do you guys think...?

  • Posts: 4,784

    I've noticed it too, you can see this in any genre, acoustic or electric. Just the other was watching some electric shredder and he was doing it too and I thought that was interesting. You can see Gonzalo doing the same just not as obvious as Adrien. It's something that happens, it would be interesting if someone took a deep dive and researched why but I wouldn't put too much weight on it.

    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
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