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gypsy picking

aa New York City✭✭✭✭
edited December 2012 in Gypsy Picking Posts: 800
couldn't figure out how to re-post this and delete the one in in the technique section. anyway...

i've been using the book, but i'm having trouble getting down the best way to hold the pick. the concave part of the wegen makes me think that either the tip of thumb, or the first joint should connect right there.i def get more momentum when i grasp right at the first (closest to the tip) joint of my thumb.

also, my index finger keeps on getting in the way of the rest-stroke by not letting the pick fall to the next string. at what angle should my index finger be in relation to the string? i've checked out the videos, but the close-ups are sort of ambigious. do you have any pictures?

furthermore, should i be stroking each string with my hand in the same position (using my forearm to move the hand to a different string)? should i let my right hand relax to the point that it is virtually limp, like a dead hand (like a classical guitarist)? that's what michael's hand looks like in the book. it feels like there is greater stroke resolution/control when I do that, but the sound isn't as driven.

could you explain play-relax a little more...am i supposed to keep my hand as relaxed as possible all the time, or only when i'm not playing. should any adjustments be made when playing at very high speeds? should i get my hand to the point where tremolo and phrase picking are indistinguishable (that's what it looks like when django plays)?

thanks,
a
Www.alexsimonmusic.com
Learn how to play Gypsy guitar:
http://alexsimonmusic.com/learn-gypsy-jazz-guitar/
«1345

Comments

  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 5,913
    a wrote:
    i've been using the book, but i'm having trouble getting down the best way to hold the pick. the concave part of the wegen makes me think that either the tip of thumb, or the first joint should connect right there.i def get more momentum when i grasp right at the first (closest to the tip) joint of my thumb.

    You should avoid holding the pick with the tip of your thumb...it'll cause you to press too hard and tense up. As mentioned in the book, your thumb should make contact somewhere between the first joint and the center of your thumb so that the tip of your thumb hangs over the edge of the pick.

    also, my index finger keeps on getting in the way of the rest-stroke by not letting the pick fall to the next string. at what angle should my index finger be in relation to the string? i've checked out the videos, but the close-ups are sort of ambigious. do you have any pictures?

    The picture on p.12 and p.14 of the book show the index finger position. In general I'd say the top of your index finger is parallel to the strings But if your finger is bumping into the strings too much you could tuck it in more. However, it's totally normal for your index finger to be grazing the strings while you play.
    furthermore, should i be stroking each string with my hand in the same position (using my forearm to move the hand to a different string)? should i let my right hand relax to the point that it is virtually limp, like a dead hand (like a classical guitarist)? that's what michael's hand looks like in the book. it feels like there is greater stroke resolution/control when I do that, but the sound isn't as driven.

    Your pick stroke should be primarily from the wrist with forarm only acting as a "crane" to help you position your hand over the right string. When done properly wrist motion is louder and more relaxed then forearm motion.
    could you explain play-relax a little more...am i supposed to keep my hand as relaxed as possible all the time, or only when i'm not playing. should any adjustments be made when playing at very high speeds?

    To train your hand to do play-relax, you do the required motion (which requires some effort) and then totally relax when you're in the rest position. You have to do this very slowly and be hyper aware of your level of tension. If you do it for 6 months slowly you'll begin to do it automatically at faster tempos. Even for a split second you'll be able to take advantage of the that little bit of relaxation which makes all the difference.
    should i get my hand to the point where tremolo and phrase picking are indistinguishable (that's what it looks like when django plays)?

    Yes, I'd say that's true. Because you should be using big relaxed motions to get the right sound and volume for single note lines. Most folks use way too small of a motion when starting out.

    Good luck!

    -Michael
  • aa New York City✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 800
    when i hold the pick between the middle segment of my thumb and the joint, the tip of my thumb hangs out too far and sometimes gets in the way of the picking motion (useful for artificial harmonics, but not for straight-up picking). in the pictures, it looks like the pick is grasped somewhere between the tip and the first joint. do you have any other images (like a profile shot)?

    in the jazz a veinne dvd, it looks like angelo debarre's thumb sticks out a lot, and his sound seems brighter than bireli's or stochelo's (who has a more controlled, but warmer sound). by the way, did stochelo study with anyone?

    as for the motion, should i exaggerate my wrist movements to compensate for the loss of power which my forearm used to provide? is there a place where i should feel tension as i'm learning this technique (like a sore muscle)?
    thanks again,
    a[/quote]
    Www.alexsimonmusic.com
    Learn how to play Gypsy guitar:
    http://alexsimonmusic.com/learn-gypsy-jazz-guitar/
  • dennisdennis Montreal, QuebecModerator
    Posts: 2,123
  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 5,913
    a wrote:
    when i hold the pick between the middle segment of my thumb and the joint, the tip of my thumb hangs out too far and sometimes gets in the way of the picking motion (useful for artificial harmonics, but not for straight-up picking). in the pictures, it looks like the pick is grasped somewhere between the tip and the first joint. do you have any other images (like a profile shot)?

    Well. it's a little different for everyone depending on physiology. It's pretty normal for the side of the thumb to make contact with the strings when playing this way.
    a wrote:
    in the jazz a veinne dvd, it looks like angelo debarre's thumb sticks out a lot, and his sound seems brighter than bireli's or stochelo's (who has a more controlled, but warmer sound). by the way, did stochelo study with anyone?

    I don't know if there is a relationship between thumb position and brightness. Stochelo mostly learned from Waso Grunholz.
    a wrote:
    as for the motion, should i exaggerate my wrist movements to compensate for the loss of power which my forearm used to provide? is there a place where i should feel tension as i'm learning this technique (like a sore muscle)?

    Yes, big movements are good. You really shouldn't feel very much tension. Let gravity do the work!

    'm
  • aa New York City✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 800
    one more thing...
    when you say practice slow, do you mean like snail pace (40-60bpm), or just not lightning-fast or upbeat? also, should i accelerate the tempo as each practice session progresses (e.g. starting at 40 for the first half an hour, and upping it by 10[?] every other), or should i be patient and wait several months before even messing with the tempo control on the metronome?
    your responses are helping alot.
    thanks again!
    Www.alexsimonmusic.com
    Learn how to play Gypsy guitar:
    http://alexsimonmusic.com/learn-gypsy-jazz-guitar/
  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 5,913
    a wrote:
    one more thing...
    when you say practice slow, do you mean like snail pace (40-60bpm), or just not lightning-fast or upbeat?

    I pretty much stayed around 40-60bpm in the first month or two. If you can't play the picking paterns with complete confidence and good tone then you're playing too fast. I know it's boring, but it pays off big time later on.
    a wrote:
    also, should i accelerate the tempo as each practice session progresses (e.g. starting at 40 for the first half an hour, and upping it by 10[?] every other), or should i be patient and wait several months before even messing with the tempo control on the metronome?

    Again, if you're playing well at a certian tempo then try moving the metronome up 5 or 10 bpm. If you can't do it then go back to where you were.

    'm
  • guit_boxguit_box New
    Posts: 113
    I've just recently changed my grip (mostly using twins but also the gypsy jazz Wegen) so that my thumb tip joint is in the concave part of the pick and my index tip joint is on the opposite side. I think the issue of the thumb grazing the strings in this position can be eliminated if you arch the wrist a little more and/or hold the pick so its plane is around 45 degrees to the soundboards plane--if the pick is held at 90 degrees to the top, the thumb is more likely to bump and it's harder to feel a weighted rest stroke in this position. For me, I'm noticing that I now have a much more powerful stroke, and I feel less tension in my hand. It feels more like my stroke is just an extension of the wrist and forearm--more like a direct drive from wrist to bone to pick. I once talked with a hand surgeon who told me the small intrinsic muscles of the hand are what operate the tip joints of the fingers. So, perhaps this explains the loss of energy and extra tension I feel when gripping the pick with the tips--it stresses muscles that are not needed for the stroke. I also like the tone I can get by driving the pick through the string at slight angle (as classical players do, using the fingernail as a ramp) I find this gives a fatter, more Django-like tone by displacing the string more towards the soundhole and driving the soundboard more effectively. Disclaimer: I don't claim to be an expert at this technique, these are just my personal observations.
  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 5,913
    guit_box wrote:
    I've just recently changed my grip (mostly using twins but also the gypsy jazz Wegen) so that my thumb tip joint is in the concave part of the pick and my index tip joint is on the opposite side.

    I'd be careful doing that. If I understand you correctly you're doing exactly what I say not to do in the book. Gripping the pick with the tip of your thumb tends to cause unnecessary tension. I've never seen a Gypsy use this grip. They always let the tip of their thumb hang over the pick.

    guit_box wrote:
    I also like the tone I can get by driving the pick through the string at slight angle (as classical players do, using the fingernail as a ramp) I find this gives a fatter, more Django-like tone by displacing the string more towards the sound hole and driving the soundboard more effectively.

    Yes, I tell folks to use a 45 degree angle for better tone.

    'm
  • guit_boxguit_box New
    Posts: 113
    Michael, you misread my post. I said tip joint, not tip segment.
  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 5,913
    guit_box wrote:
    I said tip joint, not tip segment.

    I'm not familar with those terms....I don't think I have a joint on the tip of my thumb. Maybe I'm an alien or something.

    Could you post a photo of your pick grip, that would be cleaer.

    'm
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