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  1. #1

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    I am really used to pick the guitar with a flat hand, since I play an electric guitar.
    But recently I found out, that you are supposed to pick the guitar with your wrist stuck out in gypsy jazz style.
    This feels realllly awkward and unstable.
    It feels like my hand just randomly flies everywhere without control over the guitar, everytime I try to play a note.
    So I want a PROPER way of the right hand positon while picking.
    Some say, that you are supposed to lay the three fingers(middle, ring, pinky) on the body of the guitar, which I think is the correct way, since it gives you more control over your hand but on the other side, when you try to play the lower strings, the three fingers and the pick are quite distant and it becomes an awkward position(see the photo).
    So summarised, I have completely no idea how to place my right hand in gypsy jazz style. A detailed instruction(with a photo would be fantastic) would help me A LOT.
    Thanks!

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  3. #2

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    Are you on Facebook? Dani Rabin of Marbin is a hell of a picker, and in my opinion he breaks it down in a few short videos better than I've seen anybody do it.

    If you follow "marbin" you should be able to find these videos pretty easily.

    I'm not a great gypsy picker, but its definitely about keeping that hand loose and tension free...the wrist movement is like shaking out a match.
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  4. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gipciboi View Post
    I am really used to pick the guitar with a flat hand, since I play an electric guitar.
    But recently I found out, that you are supposed to pick the guitar with your wrist stuck out in gypsy jazz style.
    This feels realllly awkward and unstable.
    It feels like my hand just randomly flies everywhere without control over the guitar, everytime I try to play a note.
    So I want a PROPER way of the right hand positon while picking.
    Some say, that you are supposed to lay the three fingers(middle, ring, pinky) on the body of the guitar, which I think is the correct way, since it gives you more control over your hand but on the other side, when you try to play the lower strings, the three fingers and the pick are quite distant and it becomes an awkward position(see the photo).
    That shouldn't be necessary. In my experience fingers brushing against the guitar happens naturally if you don't play with a closed hand.

    The thing that gives you positional information is primarily the rest stroke. Make sure your guitar is in a stable position - isn't moving around and practice one note at a time downstrokes up and and down with rest strokes, nice and slow, using a rake going from 6 to 1 and individual downstrokes from 1 to 6.

    So summarised, I have completely no idea how to place my right hand in gypsy jazz style. A detailed instruction(with a photo would be fantastic) would help me A LOT.
    Thanks!

    Gesendet von meinem LG-H815 mit Tapatalk
    Pick angle looks good, as does wrist angle. Those fingers reaching down to the body of the guitar look a bit unnatural and awkward so just let them dangle loosely.

    Here's my video about how to do it.


    (BTW if my experiences are anything to go by, you won't keep your right hand nails. :-()

  5. #4

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    Re: nails...

    If you're playing the rhythm correctly, they're toast.
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  6. #5

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    I always play with a floating wrist. Any contact I make with the picking hand is on the strings, and it's the hair of my knuckles.

    Recently, I've started to develop a pain in the palm of my picking hand. Before, I got tennis elbow from trying to adapt Benson technique to a floating hand.

    Now I am working on uptempo and double time playing. I am picking every note because I like the definition I get from it. However, I get an odd pain in my palm the next day...

    I wish I could find more floating hand players.

    The ones I know are Jimmy Bruno (though he plays from the elbow, I play from the forearm and elbow), Tim Lerch, and George Van Eps (when he played with a pick).

    Sorry for hijacking the thread, but I thought my issue was closest to "gypsy picking technique". However, I don't employ all down strokes when I'm working my way back to the low E string

  7. #6

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    Paul Mehling has some DVDs out on Gypsy jazz guitar solo picking technique as well as rhythm playing that I like.

    Here's the link to his page on the Chord Melody Guitar Music website where you can watch video clips from all of his DVDs.

    Regards,
    Steven Herron
    Paul Mehling Gypsy Jazz Guitar Course

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Irez87 View Post
    I always play with a floating wrist. Any contact I make with the picking hand is on the strings, and it's the hair of my knuckles.

    Recently, I've started to develop a pain in the palm of my picking hand. Before, I got tennis elbow from trying to adapt Benson technique to a floating hand.

    Now I am working on uptempo and double time playing. I am picking every note because I like the definition I get from it. However, I get an odd pain in my palm the next day...

    I wish I could find more floating hand players.

    The ones I know are Jimmy Bruno (though he plays from the elbow, I play from the forearm and elbow), Tim Lerch, and George Van Eps (when he played with a pick).

    Sorry for hijacking the thread, but I thought my issue was closest to "gypsy picking technique". However, I don't employ all down strokes when I'm working my way back to the low E string
    My hunch is that you will find those players in Nashville. (But the needs of country picking are different to jazz.)

    Gypsy technique is another way, but it is both more limited and much easier than alternate picking floating hand (IMO) - it's also a good, if not perfect technique for jazz lines.

    George Van Eps (who I mention in my vid) employed rest stroke technique so was probably closer to Django.

    Jimmy Bruno is an economy picker AFAIK... I think in a sense that is basically two way rest stroke picking. As with Gypsy you are getting positional feedback from rest strokes.

    Adapting Benson to a floating hand? OK, let's try and improve one of the best pick techniques in world lol. I can't fault you for ambition.

    Relatively few top level jazzers are floating hand alternate pickers, because quite frankly, there's better stuff to be spending your time on if you can't just do it...

    My advice would be - learn one picking style and master it. Don't try to adapt it. Gypsy style, Benson style, even floating hand Alternate, whatever. I would say GJ is one of the easier ones, because have you met a professional GJ guitar play who can't play 8,000,000 notes a minute? There are some drawbacks, but it can be adapted...

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
    Are you on Facebook? Dani Rabin of Marbin is a hell of a picker, and in my opinion he breaks it down in a few short videos better than I've seen anybody do it.
    Here's that video. This is the best explanation I've yet seen.

    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  10. #9

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    Also Joscho Stephan


    Note that his wrist angle, while clearly there, is a lot less.

    Everybody's different.

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Irez87 View Post
    I always play with a floating wrist. Any contact I make with the picking hand is on the strings, and it's the hair of my knuckles.

    Recently, I've started to develop a pain in the palm of my picking hand. Before, I got tennis elbow from trying to adapt Benson technique to a floating hand.

    Now I am working on uptempo and double time playing. I am picking every note because I like the definition I get from it. However, I get an odd pain in my palm the next day...

    I wish I could find more floating hand players.

    The ones I know are Jimmy Bruno (though he plays from the elbow, I play from the forearm and elbow), Tim Lerch, and George Van Eps (when he played with a pick).

    Sorry for hijacking the thread, but I thought my issue was closest to "gypsy picking technique". However, I don't employ all down strokes when I'm working my way back to the low E string
    Sorry just to add some more points:

    Alternate picking arpeggios upwards isn't impossible with a Gypsy picking stance (as the Joscho video demonstrates) but falls outside the traditional practice regime of the approach. Downstrokes on each new string (it's not as hard as it sounds if you are using a pick slant like Joscho, Dani Rabin etc)

    Furthermore, with the fact that sheer acoustic projection isn't really a modern day issue in jazz, coupled with the fact that heavy picking sounds less sustaining and legato through an amp, makes picking styles suited to acoustic guitar problematic for amplified performance. Partly the sound, but also because of feedback, and the need to mute strings to stop them from sounding of their own accord. I find this to be a problem even with Benson picking.

    IMO the only purpose of floating hand technique is to allow the guitar to resonate and project to its absolute maximum. (And even then some acoustic pick players like Molly Tuttle use an anchored picking approach for lead.)

    Personally I have backed away from GJ technique, by and large, because I don't like the way it sounds for modern jazz music. I still do pure GJ picking when requited, but I'm not as good at it when that was my sole technique (and I was pretty good at it) as I don't have the chops I used to. Maybe if I warm up for a day or two. Which is fine, because I no longer play that style of music in its pure form.

    The two areas (I can thing of) of guitar music where floating hand flat picking reigns supreme, Bluegrass and Gypsy Jazz picking, are the two areas that still have a tradition of acoustic performance, and still the guitar is easily drowned out.

    So, why bother? Is acoustic performance importance? Or will you be playing through an amp?

  12. #11

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    Wow! Quick Draw McGraw, Mr. Chris

    I just really like the way it sounds. I've been playing with a floating hand for 10 years and it's worked just fine for both plugged in and acoustic playing. I also like how the switch to chordal playing is seamless.

    At this point, I'd rather not go back to anchoring. I've done away with my pick guard long ago.

    I'm just on the look out for other people who float... zero g's baby!

    When I had a couple of lessons with Ron Eschete, he actually said I had good technique. Heck, all the big names that I've been VERY lucky to study with have never said anything bad about my picking technique.

    Problem is, there's few that float and floating works for me. So when I encounter a problem (like people who anchor often do), I have no one to problem solve my mechanics with. I've thought of Skyping with Troy Grady, but I dunno if he'd be able to really comment on my mechanics...

    I think my sore palm is from tension in my thumb from gripping the pick. Johnny Smith talked about that in that long interview that was posted on Youtube.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Irez87 View Post
    Wow! Quick Draw McGraw, Mr. Chris

    I just really like the way it sounds. I've been playing with a floating hand for 10 years and it's worked just fine for both plugged in and acoustic playing. I also like how the switch to chordal playing is seamless.

    At this point, I'd rather not go back to anchoring. I've done away with my pick guard long ago.

    I'm just on the look out for other people who float... zero g's baby!

    When I had a couple of lessons with Ron Eschete, he actually said I had good technique. Heck, all the big names that I've been VERY lucky to study with have never said anything bad about my picking technique.

    Problem is, there's few that float and floating works for me. So when I encounter a problem (like people who anchor often do), I have no one to problem solve my mechanics with. I've thought of Skyping with Troy Grady, but I dunno if he'd be able to really comment on my mechanics...

    I think my sore palm is from tension in my thumb from gripping the pick. Johnny Smith talked about that in that long interview that was posted on Youtube.
    Possibly. I don’t want to suggest that my way is the right thing for you, but the way I grip the pick is just tightly enough so it doesn’t fall from my nerveless grasp. I think that’s a common GJ approach.

    More commonly now I do thumb under (Halfassed. Benson picking) and to do that properly I think requires a specific way of locking the thumb and forefinger.

    I’d need to see a video of your right hand to share my thoughts FWIW. I’d be interested to see how much it resembles, or differs from, the GJ style.

    Troy Grady might not be a bad shout. The fact that there are few players that use your technique might tell you something - ie it’s hard to do. You need someone who has studied a lot of different techniques to advise. (I have only taken from Troy what I find directly relevant to me and my approach.)

    Anyway this has become rather derailed.....