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  1. #1
    Rodney is a master of benson picking and other picking techniques as well.

    Check out this preview.


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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Super excited about this. Rodney Jones is exactly the kind of player I'd like to grow up someday and be, and can't wait to see how he breaks things down.

    Did you watch the longer trailer for the picking course?



    Couple things jumped out at me as strange. He thinks Al Di Meola and John McLaughlin are sweep pickers, for one. Kind of wondering how this is going to turn out in terms of his analysis of other players.

    Regardless, it'll be amazing to watch him up close and get some insight into his Benson-inspired system, which is, imo, the best for jazz.

  4. #3
    Lets hope he does some videos this time. cause its been six years since the first one, and i don't think he ever got to do the full video.

  5. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by ecj View Post
    Super excited about this. Rodney Jones is exactly the kind of player I'd like to grow up someday and be, and can't wait to see how he breaks things down.

    Did you watch the longer trailer for the picking course?



    Couple things jumped out at me as strange. He thinks Al Di Meola and John McLaughlin are sweep pickers, for one. Kind of wondering how this is going to turn out in terms of his analysis of other players.

    Regardless, it'll be amazing to watch him up close and get some insight into his Benson-inspired system, which is, imo, the best for jazz.
    I watched some of it and skipped through other parts. I was mainly interested in the playing parts so I missed the part where he said mcglaughlin was a sweep picker. I'm guessing he just misspoke on that...

  6. #5

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    Umm he also says Di Meola is a sweep picker. I dare say that’s news to Al

    Edit: mentioned In the op duh

  7. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Umm he also says Di Meola is a sweep picker. I dare say that’s news to Al

    Edit: mentioned In the op duh
    Ummm...Let's not throw the baby out with the bath-water. Jones has forgotten more about picking than most people on this forum know about it!

  8. #7

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    If one was to download a GB video and play it slowly, they would see that very often GB plays ‘directionally’.

    For example, if he’s playing an ascending pentatonic line starting on the “E” string, he will often play consecutive downstrokes when switching strings, THEN, alternate pick the remainder of the lick.

    If one was to do this many times they would gain first hand insight, a primary source look, into some of GB’s picking approach. I’ve studied and applied his technique and would be happy to share transcriptions that I’ve made. Why don’t some of us post short examples; video clips with detailed transcriptions and discuss our findings?

    Robb

    Picking technique masterclass by Rodney Jones (speaking of benson picking)-gb-ex-16-jpg

    I didn't want to hijack this thread so I've started a new one and I've posted an example of GB picking.


    Actual Examples of George Benson Picking

    Last edited by guitars; 10-30-2017 at 09:59 AM.

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by jzucker View Post
    Ummm...Let's not throw the baby out with the bath-water. Jones has forgotten more about picking than most people on this forum know about it!
    I will dismiss him through idle pedantry, as is the way of the internet. :-)

    I do know that Jones is a legend of Benson picking, and that is after all why we are here.
    Last edited by christianm77; 10-28-2017 at 06:15 PM.

  10. #9

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  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by guitars View Post
    If one was to do this many times they would gain first hand insight, a primary source look, into some of GB’s picking approach. I’ve studied and applied his technique and would be happy to share transcriptions that I’ve made. Why don’t some of us post short examples; video clips with detailed transcriptions and discuss our findings?

    Robb
    That would be a great thing, Robb!

  12. #11

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    Cool. An articulate teacher who can back it up with his playing.

    But like Christian said, there were a few head scratchers.

    1. I would say that an additional downside to strict alternate picking is the speed barrier, at least when it comes to playing at one's highest possible speed. For example, string skipping arpeggios ascending and descending. It's not as efficient as sweeping, which means by definition it's slower, all things being equal. But then there are a number of players who have worked alternation to the point of not needing additional speed for what they want to express.

    2. Sweep picking:
    • It's "Scalier", like a fish? Or scalar? lol.
    • And how can picking be scalar anyway? Sweeping really helps with string crossing, especially 3+ strings, and that's not scales folks.
    • Al and John sweep pickers? No, more like occasional sweepers. Lighter strings? Well yeah, but then watch Al on that Ovation.
    • JM using 3 notes per string? Since when? Rodney didn't say that per se but there were some generalizations, which can confuse students.
    • Sweep picking doesn't lend itself well to bebop playing? (uh - what about beboppers Tal and Barney? Didn't they sweep a fair amount?)


    3. This is the first I've heard of Metheny's and Scofield's hammer-on style as Legato picking. (Since when was it called that? In the 70's? I don't think so). I have always interpreted PM's and JS's approach to picking as "alternate with slurs" which facilitates speed when the players right hand limitations constrained the music. Scofield has admitted as much. But then we can't say that about those famous masters on a video I guess. Interestingly, the name "legato" is logical for their approach, given that it pairs with slurs. A further thought on this is if you slur enough it may not make much difference which direction you pick in a lot of cases, mostly down seems reasonable.

    I have observed that people have referred to legato picking and economy picking interchangeably. In fact I would emphasize this point - shredders/rockers specifically refer to sweep picking (uni-directional picking across strings) as "Legato" - when picking EVERY note. They call it legato because it has a smoother sound than the more percussive alternate picking approach. They do NOT call it legato because it pairs with slurs. So, it would seem that all this "picking scholarship" and some of its terminology is unsettled.

    4. Economy picking was mentioned, but not broken down like the others. An oversight? Jimmy Bruno and Frank Gambale have each published instructional materials on their picking approaches. Whether their body of recorded music is as compelling as some others mentioned here is one thing, but their virtuosity is unimpeachable.

    5. Why not address Gypsy and Rest Stroke picking? Those are well known approaches - and terms - that date back as far as it goes for jazz guitar, if ya know what I mean. No modern player invented them, yet they are still valid.
    Last edited by Jazzstdnt; 10-29-2017 at 04:25 PM.

  13. #12

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    I didn't want to hijack this thread so I've started a new one and I've posted an actual example of GB picking.

    Actual Examples of George Benson Picking
    Last edited by guitars; 10-30-2017 at 02:03 PM.

  14. #13

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    I think its very clear, that Benson don't use strict alternate Picking when descending. He use Gypsy Picking in General and that is also the the case in the transcription you has shown us.

  15. #14

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    Both hands are EQUALLY important.
    He had good analysis of GB picking, but just a part of it. It's obvious that GB also use other techniques very often.
    - YouTube is wonderful. Slow down a video and watch BOTH hands.
    - Troy Grady interviews gives very good answers for right hand. Adjusting left hand to those answers would give great picker.
    What is interesting to me is that when you realize importance of both hands, you realize the importance of lines and what learning lines brings. But, there are certain rules regarding learning lines.
    Also, it is interesting how time feel changes by using GB playing (see, I'm using word playing not picking).
    We'll see what answers RJ will give us.


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  16. #15

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    I hope he doesn't tell Al that he's a sweep picker lol

  17. #16

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    People worry a lot about whether the pick should go up or down and where. IMO, such matters are intuitive when the picking hand is correctly set up and working well.

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    People worry a lot about whether the pick should go up or down and where. IMO, such matters are intuitive when the picking hand is correctly set up and working well.
    I don't agree with this, IMHO. Exact up/down direction in right hand and exact fingering in left is crucial thing.

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  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikostep View Post
    I don't agree with this, IMHO. Exact up/down direction in right hand and exact fingering in left is crucial thing.

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    Perhaps I overstate the case - but maybe I can find a bridge.

    Please bear in mind that I say this as a player who is pretty happy with his right hand chops. I'm not trying to spread disinformation, but rather to suggest a different area of focus for players who are struggling.

    The most important thing to learn a technique on the guitar - right hand technique - is finding the quality of motion. I've tried out a few right hand strategies successfully. Once I understand the quality of the movement I need to make, the small stuff isn't so important.

    ATM I'm what Troy Grady would call a downward pick slanting - DWPS - player, and I literally have to change my whole pick stance to do upsweeps. This movement is not natural to how I play so I rarely use it regardless.

    What you might notate on music as a downstroke might feel completely different depending on how you play using the position of your right hand. To me, a downstroke feels like a relaxation, as I let the pick and the whole arm descend towards gravity, while the upstroke feels like a flick of the wrist. In contrast to someone with a floating wrist with no slant either way, both would probably feel like a wrist/arm rotation in either direction.

    If you use DWPS, it doesn't matter how many hours you clock in trying to learn to alternate pick, for instance, if you are using this pick stance you will fail. Certain combinations will always be awkward - any stroke on a higher adjacent string following a downstroke, for instance. Consequently I don't use alternate picking, and no professional DWPS player does AFAIK.

    When studying Gypsy jazz picking, I did make a concerted study of that style of picking. I came to the realisation that sweating over starting each string with a new downstroke etc was actually much less important that being able to play entirely with downstrokes, rakes (which are intuitive), and being able to play triplets DUD DUD.... It's a slightly different perspective, but most pure GJ players use more downstrokes than you'd think for musical and phrasing reasons. And if you used GJ picking without adopting the correct right hand stance, it would be a complete waste of time.

    Anyway - that's tangential, because more movements are available to you as a DWPS picker than you'd think by following GJ rules, and most of the GJ rules drop out of the fact that you are phrasing a certain way and playing acoustic guitar. When I have to play an acoustic gig, I play 85% downstrokes. It just happens.

    Anyway, moving to a more Benson grip opens up some interesting stuff - upsweeps are a lot easier, as is alternate picking - while still maintaining that basic DWPS mechanic. I think it has to do with the shape of the pick. These things are just accessible - right away. It's not so necessary to practice them.

    I see a lot of players who think about their picking and make, small controlled movements that appear tense.

    If you feel the way you are practicing are bringing results that please you, obviously carry on. But what I want to show is that there is an alternative viewpoint that's a little more holistic.

    Almost nobody posting on the technique forums IMO needs to think more about picking directions. FWIW I'm pretty sure GB never micromanaged his playing in this way because he didn't have to (not that I'm any kind of authority on that of course!)

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    People worry a lot about whether the pick should go up or down and where. IMO, such matters are intuitive when the picking hand is correctly set up and working well.
    I think this is right though easily misunderstood.

    After playing with a thumb pick for a while and realizing it works best for me if the 'blade' is just above the thumb knuckle (meaning, I wear a thumb pick further back along the thumb than normal, and I use a Herco thumb pick w/ a narrow blade), I started situating my flat pick (a tear drop Fender Medium) so that its point was in roughly the same place. Nearly all of my picking problems just vanished. And this, I think, because the whole mechanism (-arm, wrist, pick grip, etc.) fell into place.

    I wouldn't call that the best way, let alone the only way, but the reason it works for me is that in that position, everything is working together for me. (Why, I do not know.) Refinements may come later, but i've never been happier with my picking. (I spent a lot of hours across many years working at it and here I find a solution when I wasn't even looking for it.)
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  21. #20

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    I've found one hack that pays dividends for me is to warm up using a : up-down-up, up-down-up, up-down-up pattern. Kind of like triplets always starting with an up stroke. Play a lot of arpeggiated things so there is lots of string changing. Start each triplet with an upstroke - pretty awkward but it seems to force me to make sure that my upstroke is locked in with a good pick angle and now I find however I have to position my pick hand to achieve some fluency with this ends up being the most efficient position for me to play 'normally' ie using a more natural alternating up down picking for most things . It leads me to believe that for me, upstrokes are more of a problem than downstrokes and isolating ways to improve upstrokes is helpful.

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by jzucker View Post
    Rodney is a master of benson picking and other picking techniques as well.

    Check out this preview.

    I'm impressed with the sound he gets out of a Heritage 555 with HRW pups. Nice!
    MG

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by dmorash View Post
    I've found one hack that pays dividends for me is to warm up using a : up-down-up, up-down-up, up-down-up pattern. Kind of like triplets always starting with an up stroke. Play a lot of arpeggiated things so there is lots of string changing. Start each triplet with an upstroke - pretty awkward but it seems to force me to make sure that my upstroke is locked in with a good pick angle and now I find however I have to position my pick hand to achieve some fluency with this ends up being the most efficient position for me to play 'normally' ie using a more natural alternating up down picking for most things . It leads me to believe that for me, upstrokes are more of a problem than downstrokes and isolating ways to improve upstrokes is helpful.
    I think so much of this depends on your personal right hand approach. I can't make any hard and fast conclusions without watching you play. You are no doubt right - for you, but this doesn't mean that this is true of other pickers.

    But one's physical intuition is a really valid guide in all of this.

    I sometimes feel over dogmatic teaching styles - ALWAYS alternate pick, position the wrist like this etc - can actually do more harm than good, unless it comes from a position of really understanding what works. For instance, trad, floating wrist alternate picking can be done amazingly, but it is not (IMO) and entry level technique. It's hard! Harder than GJ picking, perhaps GB picking.... .I think the light that TG has shed on this backs up my own personal observation of other players.

    Many players who went through strict tuition of the type I have described never develop the speed and fluency they desire. So, I can only conclude that this type of tuition doesn't really work.

    OTOH I have never met a GB picker or a GJ picker who can't play fast and fluid. Maybe it's self selecting - and playing fast is certainly not the be all and end all. But the problem is that many players never play as fast as they would like, and they see it as their fault.

    Let me put it this way generally to guitar students - it should not be taking you years and years to put together a solid right hand technique. If this is the case - the fault does not lie with you.

    Anyway - I have personally worked a lot on upstrokes over the past year or so, mostly for rhythmic/articulation reasons. Upstrokes are not difficult in DWPS.... Consecutive raked upstrokes are impossible.

    If you are a DWPS picker, DUD DUD strings 6-1 is perhaps the hardest drill, UDU is a bit easier actually because you can escape the plane of the strings.

    If you are a UWPS picker (I think Peter Bernstein might be? I used to be) the opposite will hold.

  24. #23

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    I had a long post in another thread taht some of you might want to check.



    The basic premise is that it's hard to pick something fluently, no matter how good the right hand technique is, if you don't have eaquly adapted and accordingly developed left hand. Both hands must work together. That is the major secret.

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    Last edited by mikostep; 01-11-2018 at 07:29 AM.

  25. #24

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    And updates here?

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  26. #25

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    I found myself telling my students today what you said at the end of your last post?

  27. #26

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    Ha..ha. I met Rodney Jones when he came to look at the apt. I was selling in Riverdale. (Technically, this is still NYC, but is, for many intents and purposes, a suburban area, though the subway was just down the hill.)

    I had a guitar in a case in the living room, and we chatted. My main squeeze then was a Guild X500. It seems like every fancy archtop I mentioned, he said "Yup....got one of those." He called them "big boxes".

    We chatted a bit about Peter Mazza who I'd taken some lessons from, and who had studied with Rodney.

    Nice guy...told my wife I'd just met a famous musician.

    (When I took lessons with Peter, it was at 250 W. 54th, next to the infamous site of "Studio 54", and around the corner from Letterman at the Ed Sullivan Theatre. I'd walk by, and people would say...."Look there's one of the musicians...." I would laugh and go on... The closest I'll ever come to greatness.)

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Anyway - I have personally worked a lot on upstrokes over the past year or so, mostly for rhythmic/articulation reasons. Upstrokes are not difficult in DWPS.... Consecutive raked upstrokes are impossible.

    If you are a DWPS picker, DUD DUD strings 6-1 is perhaps the hardest drill, UDU is a bit easier actually because you can escape the plane of the strings.

    If you are a UWPS picker (I think Peter Bernstein might be? I used to be) the opposite will hold.
    'Oooh FANCY! Coming here with your fancy motions.' ;-)

  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Let me put it this way generally to guitar students - it should not be taking you years and years to put together a solid right hand technique. If this is the case - the fault does not lie with you.
    Yes! It's someone else's fault. I've always known it.

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by M-ster View Post
    Yes! It's someone else's fault. I've always known it.
    It's always the fault of the teacher. That's the deal.

    Well I mean unless the student does NO WORK.

  31. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    It's always the fault of the teacher. That's the deal.

    Well I mean unless the student does NO WORK.

    I wonder how many teachers accept that deal. Think they should, hope they do, but I just don't know.
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  32. #31

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    The diligent student should certainly bear it mind.