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Rest Stroke not resting properly!

beavertoofbeavertoof nashville, tnNew
edited September 2008 in Gypsy Picking Posts: 60
I am coming at GP from bluegrass Alt P. where my right arm comes around from the end of the guitar (my elbow pretty close to the end pin of the guitar) and my wrist resting on the bridge.

I have the GP book, and understand what to do, but the problem I am having is that when I execute a downstroke, which hopefully will result in a rest stroke with my pick resting on the next string, instead my pick is probably 60 to 80% of the time going past the next string, and ends up resting on the string two strings away!

So if i play the G string, I end up resting it seems on the E, not the B. The A string attack ends up on the G etc...

It seems like if I concentrate to prevent this, I end up using tension in my stroke to stop the pick on the next string, and tension I think is definately what we are trying to prevent.

I assume this extra string jumping is a no-no, and wondering if anyone else ran into this and has an idea on where I may be going wrong.

I think I do have the correct positioning with my right hand/wrist/arm, and the big volume and tone is definately there.


  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 5,970
    Hi...definitely don't use any tension. Everything should be very relaxed with power coming mostly from gravity.

    Honestly, I think you just need to do a lot of very, very slow concentrated practice until your muscle memory gets used to the rest stroke. It will come!

  • jmcgannjmcgann Boston MA USANew
    Posts: 134
    If I may make a suggestion, think of playing with the pick down toward the top of the guitar- you may be having trouble if you are used to the lifting the pick up on attack, leaving the "plane" of the string.

    Standard Alt. flatpicking tone also really improves tremendously by playing "down toward the top" in a similar fashion, regardless of if you use rest strokes.

    I think the reason for the tonal improvement is based on physics, which you can see as you watch the string vibrate after attack. The GJ rest stroke technique gets the string to ring fully, in a circular fashion, as you push through the string, coaxing it to ring almost like a violin bow, which gets the box of the guitar to do what it is designed to do in an optimal fashion.

    You can compare and contrast the "lifting" of the pick, which really lifts the string and releases in, creating a more vertical, up-and-down response from the string, with a less full sound that is more of a "bwonk" attack. Again, compare and contrast...

    I've never heard Django play a note without commitment.
  • BluesBop HarryBluesBop Harry Mexico city, MexicoVirtuoso
    Posts: 1,379
    What Michael and John said...
    Definitely pick towards the top, "into" the guitar, that should make your pick rest on the next string effortlessly.
  • beavertoofbeavertoof nashville, tnNew
    Posts: 60
    What Michael and John said...
    Definitely pick towards the top, "into" the guitar, that should make your pick rest on the next string effortlessly.

    Thanks guys, i was actually trying that a bit more last night and this morning and indeed it did seem to make it a bit better.

    I discovered also, that i was not really relaxing the wrist enough after striking the string. Instead, I am so used to the alt. picking where it keeps going, that though I thought I was just letting gravity do it, and "resting", really I was not, so trying to get that going a bit more now too.
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