OK, another question about gypsy picking, my intense focus for the past several months.
I've been pretty diligent about practising the exercises in Michael's and Angelo Debarre's book, but I actually have no idea, when I go out and play someplace, whether or not I'm actually following rules like "Always start with a downstroke when playing a new string."
How do you know if you're really doing it right...?
Or perhaps you never know?
At "Django in June", I attended a workshop with Robin Nolan, a great player who, like me, seems to have started out playing rock and folk and whatnot and arrived to a gypsy-ish style later in life.
One of us in the workshop asked him how he picked the particular passage which he was teaching us at the time, and he said something like, "Don't ask me that, I'm the worst when it comes to that stuff, I have no idea what my pick is doing half the time."
Well, personally, I'd be happy as hell if I could play as well as Robin Nolan, and his comment has made me ponder the following existential question...
"What if you come to a crossroad between mastering the gypsy picking at a 100% level or mastering it, let's say, at a 75% level... Is there really such a crossroad? And if so, how important is mastering that last 25% going to be to me personally?"
Comments from other players that have already reached that crossroads and chosen their path would be greatly appreciated...
I should say that while my musical loves obviously include Django and gypsy jazz, all I really ask out of life is to play the standards at a high level of competence when I go out on a gig with other players in my area who also perform the kind of pre-bebop jazz I like best.
Paul Cezanne: "I could paint for a thousand years without stopping and I would still feel as though I knew nothing."
Edgar Degas: "Only when he no longer knows what he is doing does the painter do good things.... To draw, you must close your eyes and sing."
Georges Braque: "In art there is only one thing that counts: the bit that can’t be explained."