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Gypsy picking in classical pieces

MikkoMikko FinlandNew
edited April 2009 in Gypsy Picking Posts: 14
Hello!

Beside practicing actual gypsy jazz language with gypsy pickin style I have tried to play some classical pieces with GJ pickin style. In some points there comes unusual picking directions if I use "downstroke always when change strings-rule". For example if you look at the example I made from Paganini's Caprise 16. bars 2, 4, 5 and 6 you should start with upstroke. That's something what doesn't open to me. I think subconsciously that bars first beat should play downstroke especially when the chord chages significantilly. It's very strong point musically. So it's hard to play upstorke.

Of course I could play two downstrokes one after the other in same string like in slower tempo-phrasing, but now we are playing sixteenth-notes.

And there is possibility to change the playing positions so that the picking would be easier, but I think that everything should be possible to play in any position.

Main target is that it would possible to play gypsy picking style always.

If you got time to dig into this, post some suggestions for better picking. Or other opinions.

Thanks!

Mikko

Comments

  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 5,936
    When playing faster lines I usually look for ways to avoid too many consecutive downstrokes by:

    1) looking for a fingering that allows the phrase to be played with an even number of notes per string (often requires big stretches, large position changes, and/or open strings.)

    2) Use pull offs or hammer ons to keep the picking even.

    Good luck!

    'm
  • dennisdennis Montreal, QuebecModerator
    Posts: 2,128
    i think every technique has it advantages and drawbacks/limitations.... the django style technique in my opinion doesn't work for classical pieces such as paganini's 16th ... it's too complex!

    in my opinion when playing classical music on pick style acoustic guitar.. the important thing is tone, and to play things as much as possible in first position, to use open strings, and to try let things resonate as much as possible

    here's a friend of mine playing the 16th caprice

  • aa New York City✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 800
    that guy's great..

    maybe it could be done django style with the right fingering..
    Www.alexsimonmusic.com
    Learn how to play Gypsy guitar:
    http://alexsimonmusic.com/learn-gypsy-jazz-guitar/
  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 5,936
    well, it's worth mentioning that the all the old Italian classical mandolin players used the rest-stroke technique. So there's definitely a precedence for that...
  • kimmokimmo Helsinki, Finland✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 167
    well, it's worth mentioning that the all the old Italian classical mandolin players used the rest-stroke technique. So there's definitely a precedence for that...

    Mandolin's neck and thus also scale is very short, and it's tuned in fifths, so you don't have to make too long stretches to get even number of notes per string.
    dennis wrote:
    i think every technique has it advantages and drawbacks/limitations...

    I agree. Descending arpeggios and diatonic scalar patterns that are so common in Paganini's works among others (especially when played in one position or "box") are always a bit challenging, to me at least.
    Mikko wrote:
    And there is possibility to change the playing positions so that the picking would be easier, but I think that everything should be possible to play in any position.

    I think you should try changing positions or fingerings, as Michael suggested. To me Gypsy picking works in general much better diagonally in the fretboard as opposed to playing in fixed positions.
  • MikkoMikko FinlandNew
    Posts: 14
    Hi!

    Thank you all for your opinions.

    This "Paganini with gypsy picking" was a study for me to get out of those gypsy lines and examine possibilities of this technique.

    I have found that these classical pieces can be more suitable when playing with other techniques if you try to get best tone and so on. But if you listen for example Debarre's solo piece Voyages from Entre Amis which has lot of classical influences, gypsy picking can be very beautiful think in classical style.

    I have practiced now more of this caprise. Played it as a first thing always when I crap the guitar. Very slowly first so that I'm sure that it goes absolutely with downstroke rules. I have to say that it has improved already my gypsy picking. it's very efficient and diverse practice. There is lot of good studies for gypsy picking in other caprises too.

    My main concern in first place was that sometimes you can't avoid upstrokes in strong beats or strong harmonic changes. or if you avoid them you might end up making very complex positions and fingerings what can of course be good for widing up your technique sometimes. Maybe I have to get used to that "problem" and make it to come truism for me.

    Here's a Sweet Georgia Brown cliche. If you don' use any legatos you should play every 3:th beat of the bar up. That is one where you have strong beat but "weak" picking direction.

    D U D D U D D U D U D D U D D U
    --10-7------------6-9-8-5------------4-7---
    --------8-------7-----------6-------5-------- etc.
    -----------7-6-----------------5-4-----------
    -----------------------------------------------

    Mikko
  • Matthias LenzMatthias Lenz Lucklum, GermanyNew
    Posts: 101
    I have also found upstrokes on strong beats awkward at first.
    But thinking that downstrokes on strong beats are pretty much the "root" of standard alternate free-stroke (or rhythmic) picking, I think it´s something one has to overcome to fully benefit from the rest-stroke technique.

    I am still working on Romane´s "Swing for Ninine" out of his book "L´Esprit Manouche"...after a while of chewing on it I threw some consecutive downstrokes out the window and am now playing some lines completely with upstrokes on strong beats and downstrokes on the upbeats, like this :


    --------0-/--5--4--0--4--3--0--3--1--/-0--3--1--------------
    -----1----/-----------------------------/-----------------------
    --2-------/-----------------------------/-----------------------
    --D--D-D-/-U--D--U--D--U--D--U--D-/-U--D--U--------------
    ----------/-----------------------------/------------------------
    ----------/-----------------------------/------------------------

    At first it´s a really nasty feeling, but by now I feel very comfortable with it.
    Generally, to me it´s hard enough to play a downstroke on each string change, and furher wrestling around in order to avoid upstrokes on strong beats is just too much in my opinion, also unnecessary because I find that a "good" upstroke doesn´t necessarily sound weaker than a downstroke.
    Propably it´s more a matter of what one is used to and familiar with.
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