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A year on

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  • zeddyfreezeddyfree The Netherlands, near UtrechtNew
    Posts: 23
    About only guitarists hearing this difference, I don't think so.

    Most of my playing with others comes from spontaneous jam sessions. Sometimes with a lot of other musicians, and sometimes outdoor. Without gypsy picking I would not have the volume to make my solos heard well, and I can make my articulation and use of dynamics better heard.

    And if you want to play like that, the aggressive percusive sound (where everything rattles :wink: ) is only able to be made with gypsy picking.

    Anyway, there is no better or worse. I guess it comes down to preference, circumstance and such. But I love letting gravity do a lot of the work. The Tai Chi or Daoist way of playing guitar :wink: (although every technique executed in total relaxation and flow would qualify under that). Have fun!
  • rottjungrottjung New
    Posts: 40
    GOOD JOB jazzeferri!! can we hear a sample? did you record one after your first week and recorded one now to compare?

    I just started this week, same same... playing alternate (or something alike never really paid much attention...) for 20 years, had a crush on maccaferri guitars since i was 15. last week i saw a dell arte DG-H2 and just bought it (for like 800euro) felt a bit guilty because i can't play GJ so i decided i won't stop practising until i can! :-)
    uptill now i learned the solo for minor swing and bouncing around starting on minor blues en fleche d'or now.
    but i still have lots off questions about the picking technique. I just tried to copy it from a stochello vid on youtube... know only one rule...? every new string starts with a downstroke? right...?

    anywayz you inspired me to make my own progress thread!... so i 'll go do that then... hehehe
  • Nice work. I'm at about 6 months. It has been challenging because I did exactly what Michael suggested to NOT do: gig while trying to learn while gigging.

    The good is that I've been gigging in this style. The bad is that it was (and occasionally is) very difficult to "unglue" my wrist from the guitar. It's always floating at home.

    Speed is up, phrases are starting to sound like real phrases, and I'm starting to be able to play at pretty fast tempos.
  • SpartanSpartan New
    Posts: 27
    I have not received my gypsy picking book yet, it should arrive soon, so i've not started really into the style, but i can't get my head around the floating right hand, why does your hand have to float? is it for relaxation of the hand? speed? endurance?

    What about muting, how does that work with the float? if it's floating it can't be muting at the same time.

    I generally don't like rules in guitar playing, usually playing the way you're most comfortable is best in the long run, but we'll see when i start delving into the exercises from the book! :|
  • klaatuklaatu Nova ScotiaProdigy Rodrigo Shopis D'Artagnan, 1950s Jacques Castelluccia
    Posts: 1,665
    rottjung wrote:
    but i still have lots off questions about the picking technique. I just tried to copy it from a stochello vid on youtube... know only one rule...? every new string starts with a downstroke? right...?
    You are right so far, but there's so much more to it than that - hand position, holding the pick, direction of stroke, and so on. Your best bet would be to get Michael Horowitz's Gypsy Picking book - it's the only piece of teaching material that goes into the right hand technique in any detail. It would be a very worthwhile investment.
    Benny

    "It's a great feeling to be dealing with material which is better than yourself, that you know you can never live up to."
    -- Orson Welles
  • klaatuklaatu Nova ScotiaProdigy Rodrigo Shopis D'Artagnan, 1950s Jacques Castelluccia
    Posts: 1,665
    Spartan wrote:
    I have not received my gypsy picking book yet, it should arrive soon, so i've not started really into the style, but i can't get my head around the floating right hand, why does your hand have to float? is it for relaxation of the hand? speed? endurance?

    What about muting, how does that work with the float? if it's floating it can't be muting at the same time.

    I generally don't like rules in guitar playing, usually playing the way you're most comfortable is best in the long run, but we'll see when i start delving into the exercises from the book! :|
    Well, I'm no expert, but here's my $.02 (Canadian) worth.

    It's not so much that these are rules as that this is the way to play if you really want to reproduce the unique sound of gypsy jazz guitar.

    The floating right hand facilitates the technique in a number of ways. Relaxation is a part of it - you can't play this style well with tension in the hand and arm, either on lead or rhythm.

    It really helps in terms of getting forcefulness into your playing AND allowing you to move the pick in the proper direction on both down and upstrokes. In most other styles, the pick moves more or less parallel to the strings; in gypsy picking it angles towards the top on downstrokes at about a 45 degree angle (and the reverse on upstrokes).

    Some things are extremely difficult to execute without this technique, one example being what Michael calls the "diminished sweep" on page 35 of Gypsy Picking. I found this pattern impossible until I adopted the elements of gypsy picking.

    I resisted making the change until taking a workshop with Kruno Spisic at Django in June in 2009. Someone asked him if gypsy picking (particularly the floating hand) really made a difference. He demonstrated by playing a very fast passage with alternate picking and a fixed hand, followed by the same passage with gypsy picking and a floating hand. #1 was impressive, but the sound of #2 was explosive by comparison, with an unmistakable gypsy character to it that was missing in #1.

    From that time, I became a true believer and set myself to the task of making the change. It's been difficult but well worth it. My biggest problem at first was a tendency to completely miss the string on upstrokes.

    As to muting, you can certainly touch the hand down on the strings briefly to mute any unwanted resonances. You should not need to hold it there.

    If you want the true gypsy sound, you need to do the hard work of making the transition to gypsy picking, floating hand included, and Michael's book is the place to start.
    Benny

    "It's a great feeling to be dealing with material which is better than yourself, that you know you can never live up to."
    -- Orson Welles
  • HotTinRoofHotTinRoof Florida✭✭✭
    Posts: 308
    I'll second Benny's experience above - I'm not as far along as him by any means but it was a very tough start. I've been playing for 20+ years and my wife joked that It sounded like I had never played before. I was a seriously difficult first 3 mos. But it does get better! The learning curve is very steep at first but plateaus out nicely. Sweep picking as well as trem picking is much much easier with a floating hand on acoustics/archtops. If you are coming from a lot of electric playing - as I did - the pickups are doing so much work to broadcast your picking which is much lighter than it should be on an acoustic and especially in Gypsy Jazz! You need that floating hand because gravity provides the weight on the down strokes. Just work at it, we've all been through it or are still in the middle of experiencing this whack to the inner guitar hero ego. :lol:
  • SpartanSpartan New
    Posts: 27
    Thanks for the advice HTR, i appreciate it, yes i've been playing a long long time but am a total beginner at GJ so need all the advice i can get.

    I'll certainly be going all out to master the hand positions that's for sure and am under no illusions as to how difficult it'll be, but it's a challenge. It's also good to feel like a beginner again after 30 years! :D
  • klaatuklaatu Nova ScotiaProdigy Rodrigo Shopis D'Artagnan, 1950s Jacques Castelluccia
    Posts: 1,665
    HotTinRoof wrote:
    You need that floating hand because gravity provides the weight on the down strokes.

    Hey, HTR, you're so right, I missed that point. If you watch the top players, it almost looks like their hand is falling into the string on downstrokes, rather than being pushed. You let gravity do the work, instead of muscle tension.
    Benny

    "It's a great feeling to be dealing with material which is better than yourself, that you know you can never live up to."
    -- Orson Welles
  • For me I find that a tiny accelerative push at the top and then relaxing completely until stroke rests works best.

    An exercise that I do virtually every day til I can feel my wrist saying stop is one that I learned in a masterclass with Stochelo, starting on open E one does a chromatic four finger run E-Ab S6 shift A-Db S5 etc with the exception on the G string only 3 frets up to Bb shen shift all the way up to Ab S1 then back down.

    Start off really slow with this as the speed will come faster in you master it really slowly cause you get the feel of the wrist right at a snail's pace. I'm up to eighth notes cleanly about 140 without the pause when moving back down strings which comes from two unrefined downstrokes in a row. SR worked up to maybe 220 in the demo.

    I am glad this thread has provided some encouragement. It was only with the help and support of the denizens of this forum that I made it over the hump. Now I am starting back focussing on more advanced GJ rhythms as it is seat and practice time for rest stroke.

    IO have been in a jazz program in school and found that this picking style can be made to work in the jazz idiom as well. It ends up being a bit more hybrid at higher speeds catching more strings on the upstroke but even that is a GJ upstroke now. :D The other thing I find myself doing is playing more with starting runs on an upstroke to get a different phrasing emphasis.
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
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