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upstroke picking, Romane

HennoxLaneHennoxLane Leuven, BelgiumNew
edited December 2010 in Gypsy Picking Posts: 34
Hi,

I've recently come across a dvd with a gypsy guitar lesson taught by Romane. Now, in Michael's book "gypsy picking", he explains that when switching between strings you should ALWAYS use a downstroke. Also, when I'm observing Stochelo and other players.. indeed, they seem to be doing it in this matter. But now in this dvd of Romane (called la guitarre jazz manouche, it's only in French) he is now explaining a part where to do an upstroke sweep to play an arpeggio. He is saying it's pretty difficult to play it that way, though.

Now.. I got wondering.. I abandoned my economy picking techniques like upstroke sweeps some time ago to commit myself to the technique explained in gypsy picking, having some trouble still to keep playing downstrokes on every upwards string movement (especially when playing triads). But how bad would it actually be or sound, when you play in a more economic way (so a bit of a hybrid technique)? I've heard that birelly lagrene also plays in this way sometimes, but that its hard to keep up the combination? And now I get this in an instructional video.. I'm starting to wonder what's the "traditional" and "best" way to do it now ;). To me, more economic picking always seemed a bit less forced, so ...

Well anyway, I can't add the clip here because of copyright issues I guess, but I hope you all understand what I'm saying here =)
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Comments

  • ibradburibradbur Halifax Nova Scotia✭✭✭
    Posts: 55
    I've also noticed Bousquet doing a upstroke sweep on La Montagne Ste-Geneviève.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B_q3Wc9RfGQ (at 2:17)
  • I beleive that GJ downstroke rest stop picking may have come about in an attempt to get volume in unamplified dance hall and bar gigs. It is easier to get a loud punchy tone on a downstroke than an upstroke.

    It is not quite as efficient as bi-directional picking which is what I see being used for playing really fast.

    In the end ..... one can practice bi-directional until one can get punchy loud tone on an upstroke, and even balanced tone both up and down or one can practice downstroke rest stop picking 'til perfected. Both will get you there...... Same for sweeps on arps.

    Either way..... given modern pick design and materials ......... my guess is it takes pretty much the same amount of practice time to do either properly and end up just being different styles.
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 6,154
    HennoxLane wrote:
    But how bad would it actually be or sound, when you play in a more economic way (so a bit of a hybrid technique)?

    this is probably THE most asked question....take a look through the old posts and you will see this discussed at great length.

    In short, it's possible to combine elements of both techniques, but it really only works if you've mastered both. More often, people don't put in the time on rest stroke picking and start using lots of upstrokes and a flat wrist as a crutch. The result is pretty weak...

    Personally, if you're dedicated to playing this style it makes sense to stick with rest stroke picking as that's how 99% of people do it. Romane was probably demonstrating a more modern type arpeggio which might require an upstroke. But if you're playing Gypsy lines, I'd stick with rest strokes.

    'm
  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 6,154
    Jazzaferri wrote:
    It is not quite as efficient as bi-directional picking which is what I see being used for playing really fast.

    I don't think either way is faster than the other. Keep in mind Stochelo, Jimmy, and so many of these hyper fast Gypsy players are pure rest stroke players. It's probably more accurate to say that the two styles of picking do different things well. Rest stroke picking provides superior volume, tone, articulation, and lends itself to a certain type of "Gypsy phrasing." Alternate picking is a bit more flexible so your left hand fingerings often don't matter as much. Also, it is often executed with a flat wrist which provides muting that some people like.
    In the end ..... one can practice bi-directional until one can get punchy loud tone on an upstroke, and even balanced tone both up and down or one can practice downstroke rest stop picking 'til perfected. Both will get you there...... Same for sweeps on arps.

    I would beg to differ because alternate picking just sounds different than rest stroke picking. Not that it's bad or anything, but so much of the "Gypsy sound" we all know and love is created with rest stroke picking. It just doesn't sound the same with alternate picking. Of course there are guys like Martin Taylor that do a sort of hyrbid style and it sounds good. But I don't think anyone would say he sounds anything like Django or the contemporary Gypsies like Bireli, Stochelo, etc. Using alternate picking is fine as long as you aren't striving for that traditional Gypsy tone. If you are, then the obvious thing to do is learn the rest stroke technique as it really does make you sound like a Gypsy!

    'm
  • Michael

    I have a great respect for your expertise and upon reading your comments I went to the mirror and evaluated what I do ... as a result there are two points I would like to make

    First ... I never said that one was faster than the other ... just more efficient ..... I have never seen a Gypsy player tremelo pick using just downstrokes though :D

    Second .... I didn't learn bi-directional with a flat wrist ..... muting with palm (a la electric guitar technique) I learned a slightly more rounded technique from someone who was a pro guitar player in the thirties before the advent of the electric guitar. In carefully watching how I play just now it looks like there is a slight angular down bias on my down stroke and the reverse on the up but not resting against the string. Soooo I guess I have to say to everyone ...... completely discount anything I have to say about picking ....because I seem to use some sort of goofy hybrid that I learned yonks ago and wasn't even aware of it . :shock: :oops: :lol::lol:

    Out if interest:

    When I watch Stochelo now I see him using mostly bi-directional at fast speeds and rest stroke at medium and slower speeds. If I recall correctly, he states in his DVD that at slower speeds he uses (admittedly SR slow can be pretty fast for some) mostly downstrokes. Is this just me old eyes or do others see this.

    Do you find that GJ style does a better job on less responsive instruments.

    I completely agree with your assessment that for young players or newish guitar players learning the genre they should learn both to be correct. Me ..... after 45 years of guitar I find I am too old a dog to start unlearning old and learning new tricks ... I'd rather spend the time on perfecting what little I already know :oops: :oops: :lol:
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 6,154
    Jazzaferri wrote:
    Michael



    First ... I never said that one was faster than the other ... just more efficient .....

    I don't think alternate picking is more efficient either...again, they do different things well and are efficient for different tasks.
    I have never seen a Gypsy player tremelo pick using just downstrokes though :D

    Common misconception...rest stroke picking includes plenty of upstrokes and tremolo is actually one of things rest stroke picking does better than free stroke alternate picking. It's so much easier to get a fast single note tremolo with rest strokes because the rest strokes do all the work of stopping the pick for you. that way you can stay super relaxed and your wrist can move exceedingly fast. When I see people do tremolo with free strokes they inevitably lock their wrist and do a sort of stiff forearm type motion which works, but is a not as elegant or as fast.

    Here's an example of me doing some reststroke tremolo:



    Second .... I didn't learn bi-directional with a flat wrist

    Sure, there are plenty of people who do that (including myself before I switched to rest strokes).


    Out if interest:
    When I watch Stochelo now I see him using mostly bi-directional at fast speeds and rest stroke at medium and slower speeds. If I recall correctly, he states in his DVD that at slower speeds he uses (admittedly SR slow can be pretty fast for some) mostly downstrokes. Is this just me old eyes or do others see this.

    First, he is always using rest strokes on any downstroke regardless of speed. Alternate picking is used in rest stroke picking when playing fast eighth-note lines. At slower speed it makes sense to just use all downs and I'm sure he does that

    Do you find that GJ style does a better job on less responsive instruments.

    Usually rest stroke picking does bring the best out of any acoustic instrument....although there are some people who do pretty well with free stroke picking, but it's a different sound. Keep in mind that pretty much everyone used rest strokes before the 1950s. Even guys like Joe Pass, George Van Eps, and Eddie Lang were rest stroke pickers. And not just on guitar, but pretty much every stringed instrument (i.e. mandolin, banjo, bouzouki, all the way back to the Arabic oud). So historically free stroke picking is by far the exception.
    I completely agree with your assessment that for young players or newish guitar players learning the genre they should learn both to be correct. Me ..... after 45 years of guitar I find I am too old a dog to start unlearning old and learning new tricks ... I'd rather spend the time on perfecting what little I already know :oops: :oops: :lol:

    That's true for a lot of people....that's why I wrote a sort of warning in the preface of my book that you really need to be dedicated if you want to learn this technique. Some people just aren't up for the time comittiment.

    'm
  • dennisdennis Montreal, QuebecModerator
    Posts: 2,161
    if it makes anyone feel better, some of the gypsies that i've worked with (i'm not gonna name names) can't alternate pick to serve their lives, when i showed them that it was possible to start a new string with an upstroke, they flipped hahaha they couldn't even play a simple alternate picking line without messing up....

    so it goes to show that any technique is as easy/hard as you want it to be....

    stephane wrembel has a great saying : "nothing is hard; just unfamiliar"...
  • OK OK Uncle Uncle :lol::lol::lol:

    I will have to watch Dennis DVD and see what rest stroke picking is and how different from what I learned.

    Michael if you picked that whole Youtube thing downstroke rest stroke then I'm definitely going to have to try and learn more about this..... OH Well back to the grind.. :roll:
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 6,154
    Jazzaferri wrote:

    Michael if you picked that whole Youtube thing downstroke rest stroke then I'm definitely going to have to try and learn more about this..... OH Well back to the grind.. :roll:

    Yes, that was played all using the rest stroke technique (which isn't all downstrokes).

    'm
  • Well out gig got rained out at the last minute as the market organizers forgot a shelter for the musicians :roll:

    My buddy however says at times it looks like my pick hits the next string down and at times it definitely doesn't. I am now going to watch my Dennis DVD and hopefully there will bre a slo mo definition of Downstroke playing. May be I'm closer than I thought :oops:
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
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