Bireli and picking technique

edited August 2009 in Gypsy Picking Posts: 33
I recently read an interview with Bireli Lagrene where he talks about his picking technique. For electric jazz guitar he rests his hand near or on the bridge and its a flatter wrist. On Gypsy guitars he uses the Gypsy technique as you describe in your book. A higher arched wrist approach. I am wondering why the flat wrist technique can not be used on the Gypsy guitars? Is it a difference in the construction, size of the guitar? Or what? Thanks.


  • Dr. HallDr. Hall Green Bay, WisconsinNew
    Posts: 65
    I know Michael and others will chime in, but the simple answer is that you can use the flat-wrist picking on a gypsy guitar but it won't sound the same. The rest stroke technique gets the most volume and tone out of a gypsy guitar, especially when playing acoustically. When I play archtop gigs through an amp, I find myself flattening out my wrist, picking more lightly, picking closer to the neck, playing chord with my fingers more, and letting the amp and the low action of the archtop guitar do more of the work for me. When I play my gypsy guitars, I use more rest strokes to get the required volume and tone out of the guitars. Bireli probably just adjusts his picking depending on the guitar he's playing in order to get the sound he's looking for.
  • aa New York City✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 800
    is the article online?
    Learn how to play Gypsy guitar:
  • babsycobabsyco New
    Posts: 10
    Yeah, wow, I'd also like to see that article. Does it say (or can anyone tell me) if he uses standard alternate picking on archtops or electrics? Or does he use 'speed picking'? does he use upstroke speed picking as well? how much does he use legato? The big question is though, does anyone know what DJANGO used on electric? I've checked out youtube thoroughly, but I'm interested to hear anyone elses conclusions (or perhaps you KNOW).

    Do many other Gypsy jazzers play a lot of electric? I've seen one (only one) clip of Stochelo looking quite at home on an archtop, but anyone else?

  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 6,154
    babsyco wrote:
    The big question is though, does anyone know what DJANGO used on electric?

    I'm pretty sure he just used the same rest stroke technique...many Gypsies play electric with the same technique as acoustic. I do as strokes work fine on electric...although it's usually a good idea to play a little more subtlety. Joe Pass was a rest stroke picker in his early days....Frank Vignola also uses rest strokes on electric. No reason you can't do it. But if you want different sorts of phrasing and the ability to pull off some of the complex runs that Bireli does on electric, then you'd need to go beyond rest strokes.
  • Posts: 33
    Here is the interview where Bireli describes his right hand technique. ... bireli.htm
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