The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary

View Poll Results: What is your primary picking style?

195. You may not vote on this poll
  • Fingerpicking good!

    50 25.64%
  • Plectrum/pick

    106 54.36%
  • Hybrid country style

    29 14.87%
  • My thumb

    10 5.13%
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Posts 26 to 50 of 66
  1. #26

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    I use the Dunlap Jazztone 204 for single line and add middle/ring fingers to grab chords...

    Those who hate the sound of picks need to try the Jazztone picks. Very warm and organic sounding...


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  3. #27

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    I paid attention to what I do since I read this thread:

    1. I use a proplec pick and almost always sweep when changing strings.

    2. I use leggato very often because I don't like the "plec plec plec" sound of alternate all the time. On the other hand my pull off technique is poor so I always alternate in that occasions.

    3. I'm trying to pluc the strings for chords with hybrid picking... I hate to drop the pick to do that or "hide" the pick inside my hand.

    4. Most important of all: I do all this stuff very bad...I need work on it very much

  4. #28

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    Primary is hybrid.

    I will also do only thumb (nice for quarter note comping), only pick, and only fingers. Sometimes I stow the pick between my index and middle picking hand (got this idea from Brian Setzer's Hot Licks video).

  5. #29

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    I'd very much prefer a pick. It sounds good, feels good and is cooler anyway. But the trade-off is too much for me. Although fingers do have some trouble areas that a pick can do better. In my case, not enough to switch.

  6. #30

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    Coming from a steel guitar background I always used a Thumb pick and 2 finger picks. One on my index finger and the other on my middle finger. This never seemed to work out well for me on "armpit" guitar. Andy Reiss turned me on to V picks and I have since modified my technique to hold the flat pick between my thumb and index finger and my middle and ring finger picks up the slack without finger picks.
    Took several months to get accustomed to the change after 40 + years, but it is working itself out. Using a thumb pick and 2 finger picks I was finding that the attack was just to harsh for a nice smooth jazz styling.
    I have gotten so comfortable with it that I did a gig a few weeks ago..... (western swing so I used a console steel ie; non pedal steel) and only used the thumb pick.... worked out great ! My tone was softer and a tad more mellow. I really enjoyed my fingers making actual contact on the strings. One of the things that I enjoy about using the flat pick.... 2 finger combination on the regular guitar is that the string to flesh contact that I get seems to allow me to be more expressive.

  7. #31

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    Plectrum. I need that bite

  8. #32

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    I use my fingers 90% of the time on my L5, and use my index finger like a pick if I'm doing a fast succession of single notes between chords. On the other hand, If I'm playing a Stratocaster I use a flat-picking style.

  9. #33

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    My picking style is a mess. I play with my fingers half the time because I have those stupid see-through yellow Jazz IIIs and they go missing the second they're out of my hand. I learned that chet-atkins picking thing... or (Merle) Travis picking, but it requires heavy offbeat accents (1&3 is muted) that sound silly outside of country. I tried also to learn Holdsworth legato and then found I wasn't even really that interested in his playing after a few years of being enamoured by his technique and alien sound. In conclusion, it's a bastardisation of all the types, and none particularly well.
    Last edited by JustMac; 05-31-2018 at 05:39 PM.

  10. #34

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    Pick. I did good with directional with the wrist but now Im playin with alternate kinda from index and thumb. Not thumb joint circle picking but moving the fingers from the knuckles in the hand like when classical/flamenco players picado index and middle from those same knuckles for fast scales... At fast speeds it feels like your using hand muscle. Not just fingers or wrist.

    I think the most important thing picking fast is just push/rub/listen. It dosent really matter alot where it comes from. I know of 2 ways to pick from index and thumb, 4 ways to move the wrist, and 2 ways to pick from the elbow - and all 8 of those work good with alot of practice.

  11. #35

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    Another all finger style player. I wish I was versatile enough to play hybrid or with a pick, but I just can't. Like tying your shoes with gloves on.

  12. #36

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    I use a hybrid technique but have never played a country song in my life

  13. #37

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    No primary style. I use both finger style and pick and I am equally comfortable with both. I make a point of not neglecting one at the expense of the other. Also use hybrid occasionally.

  14. #38

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    I just don't know any more. *sob*

  15. #39

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  16. #40

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    For single notes and most double stops I use just the pick, for most chords I just use the pick, but for some double stops with an un-sounded intermediate string or particular chords where I want to emphasize an upper lead voice I use either the pick and additional fingers, or sometimes just all fingers.

    I generally rest my fourth finger on the pick guard to provide the "pinion" for my hand as a "rack", so moving from string to string is a rack and pinion movement that provides relative reference, and provides a set mounting contact against which to apply force when changing pick direction up and down. In suspension terms, my hand is the "sprung weight" with my fourth finger also serving as the damper (shock absorber).

    I hold the pick very lightly between the tip of my thumb and the side tip of my index finger on the side edge of the pick... if you look down and imagine that the pick shape represents the infield of a baseball diamond with home plate being the point, I hold the pick on the third base line.

    Looking down at the pick, I rotate it around its longitudinal axis so as to lower the left edge slightly but maintain the pick's longitudinal axis parallel to the floor.

    Picking itself is through flexing of the thumb and index finger in conjunction with a very slight hand movement of wrist flexing and rotation; my arm does not move, and the hand movement is almost undetectable. Guitarists always ask me how I'm making all those notes because they don't see any familiar apparent movement.

    Self taught, I developed all this myself, discovering only decades later that aspects of it were named various things; Chuck Wayne picking, circular picking, scalpel picking, economy picking...

    As to picking up and down, I actually use a reverse version of economy picking where I favor "outward" picking rather than "inward" picking between two adjacent strings. When the number of notes on the strings works out, it often just looks like alternate picking, but I don't think about it either way; I never concern myself with how to pick anything, whether to start a line with an up or down stroke, or how many notes per string a line might use... it is all totally transparent and natural to me, and has served me well because its articulation, tone, and phrasing stay coherent twice the pace of anything called to perform, which is nice in terms of comfort and confidence.

  17. #41

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    I wonder if the results are skewed. Because at first I was reluctant to vote because of the category ”hibrid picking country style”. I hibrid pick but don’t consider it “county style”.

  18. #42

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    Pelctrum as my most used But would also consider thumb and finger picks as same. other style is flaminco finger style with or without Thumb.

  19. #43

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    I feel pretty comfortable using either a pick or fingerstyle. Couldn't do hybrid if my life depended on it. Learned Travis picking from some book by Happy Traum as a young teenager, and I still only use thumb, index, middle. And can't use finger/thumb picks at all. I need the touch of string on skin to tell my nails what to do. I find fingerpicking on a Les Paul harder because of the closer string spacing. Thought about getting a Fender Jaguar because of the combination of short scale-length but wide string spacing.

  20. #44

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    Excellent question.

    If people understand how I pick, they can be sure not to do it the way I do it. And, that will help them.

    I learned alternate as a beginner. Then Sweep Picking, Chuck Wayne style. Then alternate with pulloffs and shifts, Warren Nunes style.

    And, that was all it took to screw up my right hand forever.

    But, even after that, I self-taught some fingerstyle which I use for comping, not single note stuff.

    And now, I can play tied whole notes at a moderate tempo.

  21. #45

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    I first started hating plectrum playing and loving fingerstyle - probably because I had some mild 'fingerstyle' experience from pizzicato violin playing in my youth, and because some slower Metallica riffs lent themselves well to fingerstyle. But eventually I buckled down and put in some serious dues practicing with a plectrum, which is now my main (99%) approach.

  22. #46

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    Although I voted for plectrum/pick, there have been times when I have used all of the techniques in the poll. There's a time for all of them depending on the sound one wants.

  23. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by pauln
    I generally rest my fourth finger on the pick guard to provide the "pinion" for my hand as a "rack", so moving from string to string is a rack and pinion movement that provides relative reference, and provides a set mounting contact against which to apply force when changing pick direction up and down.
    Interesting - I can't do that. I feel a lot more comfortable with a free-floating picking hand, no support. You seem to have good reasons for the technique, though.

  24. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by fasteddie
    I wonder if the results are skewed. Because at first I was reluctant to vote because of the category ”hibrid picking country style”. I hibrid pick but don’t consider it “county style”.
    Depends on the country. Ed Bickert, from Canada, played hybrid style jazz.

  25. #49

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    Hybrid picking country style.
    Fried chicken country style.

  26. #50

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    I'm mainly hybrid, though I wouldn't consider it "country style". At times I'll be strictly pick, and other times finger style. I stick with the pick because 1) I've been using it most of my life 2) I don't like the tone I get on single lines with my fingers 3) I don't have the technique to execute more technical single lines fluently with my fingers, and 4) I don't want to and am too old to start over