The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
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  1. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by Christian Miller
    I’m not sure if Chucks technique is circle picking btw - he used finger based economy/directional picking. IIRC Kenny Burrell used circle picking (at least how Tuck Andress described it.) Circle picking is more an alternate type of thing. But I might be dead wrong….

    That said maybe there’s not that much difference. It certainly feels like you are doing little circle movements.

    I often forget that Kenny had amazing picking chops! He was just also Mr Taste.
    Robert Conti is the circle picking guy.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #27

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    GUITAR IS SO AWESOME!!! We've identified about a half dozen ways of moving a thin piece of stiff material across a string to make a note, with supporting evidence to show they all work great. Just scratching the surface really. Haven't touched on what kind of material to use, how thick it should be, how to hold it, or at what angle it should strike in all three dimensions.

    "Check this Tube Brothas!! Dude uses 8.3mm hand carved unicorn horn. Holds it like Benson with wrist anchored on bridge like Tuttle! Got forearm rotation like Joshko and still hybrids like Pasquale! Inward pick slanting...if you can believe that. Dude totally cracked it!!! Tried it with my blue chip and totally gettin a feel. Unicorn hunting tomorrow. Wish me luck!!"

    I got five plus decades trying to tame this ludicrous contraption. Cello before that. I'm going back to the bow. At least everyone knows how to use that thing. Look for my youtube in about...I dunno...maybe 10 years. And please remember to subscribe if you're still around!

    (... you know I love it :-)

  4. #28

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    Lost my unicorn horn pick. Back to using a Jim Dunlop.

    Maybe it’ll show up when I move.

  5. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by ccroft
    That might be the circle in circular picking, in which case it might be good. I think I do that, along with some wrist. If you search for vids of Julian playing something like Blues Connotation where he's playing almost all single notes you'll see he uses a flexing of the thumb and index a lot. Not much happening with the wrist except changing strings.

    I'll just say again that the thing that impresses me most about Julian and Pasquale as far as technique is that they can do single note runs with the best of them, and intersperse it with hybrid. From the same position. You'll find lots of other players that are like "now I play some fast single notes, now I completely change my technique to play multi-phonically." I like the idea of a single multipurpose hand position. I can't tell you why. It just seems like a really good idea.

    Yeah... string hopping. I knew Julian wasn't doing that in the bad sense. That's why I called it masterful and put the smiley! I've seen a bit of Grady's thing, but I kind of glaze over after a while. Kinda stuck with my thing at this point.
    i think most players would call it ‘cross picking’ though rather annoyingly Tory Grady uses that to mean something else.

  6. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by ccroft
    GUITAR IS SO AWESOME!!!
    Amen.

  7. #31
    Acoustic or electric (or somewhere in between) is a consideration here too. Some picking methods don't cross over as well as others.

    John Stowell (e.g.) picks with a featherlight touch for which sensitive pickups and amplification are needed to compensate. To play like him on a purely acoustic guitar would be analogous to mumbling.


    And then on the other hand somebody like Joscho, who plays primarily acoustically and with vigour, has to modify his technique when he plays an electric. He gets more flatpicky and wristy then.

  8. #32
    Example at about 1:30 in that video above.

  9. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by Christian Miller
    i think most players would call it ‘cross picking’ though rather annoyingly Tory Grady uses that to mean something else.
    Thanks Christian. I was going to call it that, but I googled and got confused about what cross-picking actually means. Didn't want to get called out again :-)

  10. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by ccroft
    Thanks Christian. I was going to call it that, but I googled and got confused about what cross-picking actually means. Didn't want to get called out again :-)
    Haha! It’s a minefield. But any terminology where you take a well understood widely used term and give it a different meaning inhibits understanding. But that seems the law on the internet lol.

    Most players would agree Tony Rice was a top level cross picker, even through he didn’t use ‘cross picking’ mechanics as Troy defines them (instead being an ‘upward escape’ picker iirc.)

  11. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by James W
    Thanks for the replies!

    I don't know about inefficient... looks smooth and relaxed to me, like he could do it all day.
    Maybe off topic but smooth and relaxed is an exact description of the guy at the organ keys.

  12. #36

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    To my ear many of these techniques have inherently distinct sound. Think Kenny Burrell (circular?) vs Pat Martino (heavy wrist movement). I have a strong sound preference and find it hard to justify the switch if I have to trade the tone.

  13. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by burchyk
    To my ear many of these techniques have inherently distinct sound. Think Kenny Burrell (circular?) vs Pat Martino (heavy wrist movement). I have a strong sound preference and find it hard to justify the switch if I have to trade the tone.
    I think this is right. The different techniques don't sound the same.

    Warren Nunes had a jackhammer attack I don't think you can get with economy picking.

    Chuck Wayne sounded "floaty" to me (for want of a better descriptor). I doubt you can get that with alternate picking.

    That said, Jimmy Bruno is an economy picker (apologies to Jimmy if I've got this wrong) -- and Jimmy has a pretty strong attack when he wants to.

    If I was starting over, I would make sure I could economy pick. Not necessarily to the exclusion of other techniques to get different sounds, but I think economy picking has broad application and is a great basic approach.

  14. #38

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    what does Frank Vignola do

    i like his picking style ...
    chord to line to chord
    he keeps a good groove going man

    and he can solo after Joey D !
    and anyone who can do that ....

  15. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by pingu
    what does Frank Vignola do

    i like his picking style ...
    chord to line to chord
    he keeps a good groove going man

    and he can solo after Joey D !
    and anyone who can do that ....
    I'd say he has a hybrid style that leans to the gypsy side (i.e. lots of forearm pronation/supination, though only moderate wrist flexion). It's perhaps more evident in older videos of him, e.g. the vids with Les Paul or with Jimmy Rosenberg. After his scary ATV accident, his picking style did change somewhat. Famed jazz guitarist on comeback trail after devastating ATV crash

  16. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by ArnoldSchoenberg
    I've spent a lot of time over the years studying plectrum techniques and experimenting with different mechanics. Mostly I've used a wrist-anchored flatpicking style, à la Al Di Meola or John Petrucci. But I'm exclusively an acoustic guitarist now, and since last fall I've been developing a gypsy technique with lots of flexion at the wrist, modelled on Joscho Stephan's godlike right hand. Look at Joscho's effortless precision here for example:
    .

    With this style, it's neither wrist (radial/ulnar deviation) nor elbow (flexion/extension) so much as forearm (supination/pronation). And I think this is what makes it comparatively effortless and low-maintenance. Using gypsy-type movement I can tremolo pick for minutes non-stop, whereas I seize up after thirty seconds of the same using radial/ulnar at the wrist, when everything locks up and the elbow takes over. It's helpful, too, that rhythm and lead mechanics are much more continuous using gypsy picking.

    It goes without saying that there are pros/cons to each method. And there are things which I could play using flatpicking that I can't using gypsy picking. But it's proven to be the best style for me overall, greatest advantages, lowest maintenance, etc.

    That said, there may be a commitment time of MONTHS to really demo a technique, if it's different enough from what you're used to, such that your body has to adapt to the new mechanics. I'm almost six months into working on Joscho-style picking, and it's only felt fully natural recently. The posture is different too. You pretty much HAVE to be seated. The leg supporting the guitar is often raised. And gypsy players tend to lean forward aggressively at the waist. Joscho's guitar is up almost at his collarbone much of the time.
    yeah this is what I found; although I am able to do it standing up I do prefer to play sitting.

    advantage of gypsy picking is it’s a clear and effective technique that I think pretty much anyone can learn if they dedicate themselves to practicing the form.

  17. #41

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    I rekindled my interest in jazz primarily to open up my mind for the primarily bluegrass flatpicking that fills my time; it's really helped me rethink the fretboard and approaches to the more limited harmonic/melodic vocabulary of bluegrass. That said, I think anyone's jazz playing could be helped by paying attention to really good flatpickers and their right hand technique. Clarence, TR, etc.; David Grier has an otherwordly sense of time and forward motion driven by his right hand. I am nowhere near their level, but my own right hand technique tends to fall closer to Kenny Smith/Bob Minner. Just great flow coming from a light touch and really relaxed right arm/hand. Kenny and Minner both tend to graze (definitely not anchor, that's a rookie's mistake that I had to unlearn years ago) their right hand pinky. Bryan Sutton does as well.



    Here's is some really interesting footage of Grier's right hand technique. Masterful:


  18. #42

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    Guitar is SO awesome!

    I totally appreciate bluegrass pickers. Here's what I see in those vids:

    Kenny picks like Julian. He even has the same right had posture. Ready at a moment's notice to go hybrid. A lot of action coming from thumb and forefinger. Other 3 fingers hanging quite loose.

    David holds his pick with the mid finger kind of supporting the index, so no movement in the thumb & index. Mostly wrist. Some elbow on the strums.

    What about Molly Tuttle? Anchors on the bridge for cross picking, goes more gypsy for strumming. Switches back and forth effortlessly.

    It's true that all the different ways have different sounds. I think you'll find that a lot of economy pickers can also do alternate quite well. You have to for certain things. McLaughlin and Julian do a mix.

    When I came back from 10 years away, with more than thirty years playing before that, I couldn't quite remember if I held the pick like Kenny or like Dennis: 3 fingers loose or middle supporting index. I went back and forth. They both work really well. I had to find some old pics of me playing to see that I was more like Dennis when I was in my prime. I stuck with that for the hybrid option, but sometimes go to the other when I get excited.

    Here's another thing we always say, but isn't necessarily so: down strokes are stronger. I think they may be for 'downward slanters'. This thread got me interested in finding out what I do. I'm upward. My upward rest-stroke is really strong. Classical rest-stroke is up. From the beginning I tried to make my upstrokes as strong as down. It can be done.

    Guitar is definitely awesome. Diff strokes for diff folks, and they all work great if you work them enough.

  19. #43

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    Pencil grip is how you hold a pencil. Most people use what is called a dynamic tripod grip. But, many people don't, and some of them have beautiful handwriting. One theory is that it has to do with how the body is enervated. A person who doesn't have the right physiology for it, won't be able to use a dynamic tripod grip.

    Seems to me that how you hold a pick also relates to enervation and we all probably have less choice about it than we might wish.

  20. #44

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    I'm pretty sure some players use the dynamic tripod pick grip. Maybe Troy will look into how that works, if he hasn't already.

    I think I got a dynamic tripod somewhere in my camera gears...

  21. #45

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    Technique definitely varies acoustic to electric too; I use the shoulders of 1.5 or 2.0 mm Tortex's on my acoustics and they are all long scale with medium action. Almost all the picking occurs between the bridge and soundhole and never forward of that, which sets up specific picking ergonomics. I used to lightly rest the heel of my hands on the bridge behind the saddle and pins (still do occasionally), but tend to let it float more now and brush the pickguard with fingers to keep things oriented.

    I use 1.0 mm Jazz III's when I play electric (if I use a pick at all), far more hybrid picking, a lighter all around touch and tend to play closer to the neck unless I'm muting at the bridge, . My electrics also tend to have lower action and are probably split 50/50 long/short scale. A 2.0 mm pick does not work well for that.

  22. #46

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    Can’t stand bloody jazz iiis haha

  23. #47

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    I use a dynamic tripod sometimes - at least I think that’s what it is

  24. #48

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    Feeling quite pleased with how my plectrum technique is coming on. I keep remembering back to the ignominious decision (in hindsight) to give up jazz guitar in the first place, with a sense of defeat, just over a year ago, I think it was a misunderstanding over plectrum technique; seems absurd in hindsight that I considered myself physiologically incapable of making the main movement come from my wrist. I am also fairly certain I experienced a mild form of repetitive strain injury in 2020, too.
    In any case, the motto I have discovered is a pastiche of the Funkadelic album title - "Free Your Arm and Your Wrist Will Follow" - in other words, while it is fine for the joint movement of the initial attempts at fast tremolo to come from the elbow, it is only by doing that and in the process loosening up the whole arm that one can get a smooth and fast movement from the wrist. I think I got down that I could only do it from the elbow, rather than strictly from the wrist, which was pretty daft. It doesn't matter anyway, because I am very pleased with how things are going now, no more tension or RSI, just nice smooth and fast wrist motion. Obviously I have some way to go yet, but things seem auspicious.
    I still use my classical guitar for left-hand exercises in the morning, and I play BWV 998 once through - it's not quite as enjoyable since abandoning classical guitar and its right-hand technique and experiencing the loss of technique in that area, though; oh well, I know which side my bread is buttered on!

  25. #49

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    Here's some info on Warren Nunes' picking.

    Warren was an alternate picker who used pull-offs. I'm not sure about hammers or slides. He had a jack hammer attack and said, "I can pop any note". Sonny Stitt once called him "greased lightning".

    He played a stock L5.

    He made his own picks, sort of. He started with a rounded triangular tortoise shell blank. He apparently had a supply of them, somehow.

    He'd heat the pick with a cigarette lighter and bend the whole thing to conform to the pad of his thumb. He'd then heat the upper edge to create a kind of ridge, which I think further anchored it to his fingers. He'd buff it on the carpet backing of the studio.

    He then played not with the point of the triangle, but with the rounded side. The curve was shallow enough that it looked like it wouldn't work.

    He angled the pick so that there wasn't much movement required to pick the next string, up or down.

    It's hard to describe this clearly enough because it's a 3 dimensional thing. If you're holding the guitar horizontal, imagine positioning the pick between two strings. So, that the flat side of the pick faces the string above and the string below. Then, tilt the front (toward the neck) of the pick down towards the floor about 30-45 degrees. Now, the front edge of the pick is very close to the string closer to the floor and the back edge is close to the string towards the ceiling. Now go back and forth between the two strings. You don't need to move the pick very much to make contact.

    I have no clear recollection of how he held the pick, but the pad of his thumb was in the concavity.

    I think he was good with alternating on ascending lines. Maybe he wasn't above a downward sweep for three notes ascending on consecutive strings.

    On descending lines he coordinated the left hand to accommodate the need to reposition the pick. He wouldn't try to play 3 descending notes on consecutive strings at high speed.

    So, for example, if he wanted to play the E C and G notes at the fifth fret (B, G and D strings) in a row, he would move the E to the 9th fret on the G string. That would allow him to pull off to the C. The pull off meant that he had one note's duration to reposition the pick. I recall him playing G to E (followed by some other descending notes) by playing G on the E string at the 3rd fret and then playing the E note on the G string at the ninth fret. That's a pretty dramatic position shift, but it makes sense if you pick his way.

    Overall, it was a very clever combination of pick construction, picking technique, left hand accommodation and his particular style of improvisation/music. I'm not sure if this method would work for other music or improv style.

    What Warren did is figure out a whole bunch of details of technique which allowed him to convey his musical imagination - which included a jack hammer attack at blistering speed. I think Tuck Andress is another player who figured out the technical things he needed to execute the music in his mind. Others?

    I remain surprised that nobody markets a concave pick.
    Last edited by rpjazzguitar; 03-12-2022 at 06:27 PM.

  26. #50

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    Doesn’t Metheny do something a bit like that bending the picks?