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  1. #501

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlainJazz
    No, I'm saying that "I" cannot play with a medium pick using standard grip. I use Dunlop jazz IIIs (at least I did 5 weeks ago). I am sure many people can play really well with them. I just can't.
    Is that because of the thickness of the pick or the size? I used to play with Jazz IIIs and any thickness of a normal sized pick (--the 351 shape) felt odd to me. Now, of course, the Medium feels fine and a Jazz III would feel strange....

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  3. #502

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    For the sake of argument, Joe Pass used a medium pick with standard grip, and his tone sounds pretty damn good to me.

    Metheny also uses a thin pick. I don't think anyone would accuse him of having a thin tone.

  4. #503

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    Quote Originally Posted by ecj
    For the sake of argument, Joe Pass used a medium pick with standard grip, and his tone sounds pretty damn good to me.

    Metheny also uses a thin pick. I don't think anyone would accuse him of having a thin tone.
    Joe used to talk about using "half a pick." I got the impression he had regular picks cut into smaller pieces. Does anyone know for sure? (I think it's on the "Jazz Guitar" dvd where he talks about using "half a pick.")

  5. #504

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    With medium picks, if the pick is approx. parallel to the string they sound pretty thin if you snap them too hard. But when you use the reverse angle it feels like an entirely different pick.

    I think medium picks were more common with the 50's players. Jimmy Raney used mediums (reverse angle similar to GB) - his son Jon wrote that on his forum.

    An example of full tone with a medium pick in traditional grip is Billy Bean.

    If I'm doing a bebop comp like Galbraith, then mediums are fantastic for that. I find thicker picks way too clacky sounding when raking across the strings for a chord.

    For me, electric archtop + flats + medium pick is the golden mean for getting a 50's based sound and feel.

    A lot of modern players like their picks around 1.5mm with rounds, like Kreisberg. Depends what you're going for.

  6. #505

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    Quote Originally Posted by 3625
    With medium picks, if the pick is approx. parallel to the string they sound pretty thin if you snap them too hard. But when you use the reverse angle it feels like an entirely different pick. .
    Exactly. When you're playing with the side of the pick, a Medium is pretty danged thick! ;o)

    (This causes me some confusion with talk about pick flex. I know what it means for a pick to flex or bend. But when a a Medium pick is being played on its side, well, mine doesn't seem to flex at all!)

  7. #506

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes
    Exactly. When you're playing with the side of the pick, a Medium is pretty danged thick! ;o)

    (This causes me some confusion with talk about pick flex. I know what it means for a pick to flex or bend. But when a a Medium pick is being played on its side, well, mine doesn't seem to flex at all!)
    that's why i'm making such a fuss about it - it can easily get lost - but its crucial

    it does flex a bit - and the tiniest change in angle allows it to flex more

    and if there's inefficiency in the pick-clamping aspect the flex will be very elusive

  8. #507

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes
    Exactly. When you're playing with the side of the pick, a Medium is pretty danged thick! ;o)

    (This causes me some confusion with talk about pick flex. I know what it means for a pick to flex or bend. But when a a Medium pick is being played on its side, well, mine doesn't seem to flex at all!)
    It's subtle but it's there. Depends on the thickness of the pick, but also the material it's made out of. I just bought some of these new dunlop primetones (not the old primetones that resemble Wegens). These new ones are basically blue chip clones with 'hand burnished tips'. They make a .73 exactly the same size as a fender 351. Even though the shape and thickness are to fender specs, the material is a little bit stiffer. Nice picks with a warm tone, but I prefer the little bit more 'give' that fender celluloids have.

  9. #508

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    epic thread btw - it's almost become a forum unto itself. I've been having trouble keeping up with all the posts. Now got to go back and find that GB interview in here somewhere...

  10. #509

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes
    Exactly. When you're playing with the side of the pick, a Medium is pretty danged thick! ;o)

    (This causes me some confusion with talk about pick flex. I know what it means for a pick to flex or bend. But when a a Medium pick is being played on its side, well, mine doesn't seem to flex at all!)
    Mark, the pick should have some kind of angle to it. Even the tiniest inflection makes a difference, and never 90 degrees in relation to the string. like that in a way it becomes unusable.

    Some time ago i ordered a box of fender mediums, and use them for a wile, but my batch as something wrong, because they don't flex: i am using an orange old Dunlop now and that one flexes in a nice way and makes all the difference. I think you can use any pick you feel comfortable with as long as it flexes a bit i guess.

  11. #510

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    Quote Originally Posted by Groyniad
    that's why i'm making such a fuss about it - it can easily get lost - but its crucial

    it does flex a bit - and the tiniest change in angle allows it to flex more

    and if there's inefficiency in the pick-clamping aspect the flex will be very elusive
    I grant you that it is elusive. I think I misunderstand what you are getting at. I can be dense at times. But since this is so important, I want to make an extra effort to get it and I apologize in advance for being slow here.

    Imagine a sharp pick tip, such as on a Jazz III. It looks like this: > Let's put a string next to it, so that now have > I.
    If the point of a medium pick with that tip hits a string like that, one can imagine the pick flexing. That is, when making contact with the string, there would be "give" in the tip, away from the string. One could say the string resits the impact of the pick. That resistance causes the flex.

    But let's consider a Fender Medium pick held with a Benson grip. The pick looks like this: / The side of the pick makes contact with the string ( ____ ). If we imagine that pick angle near a string we see something like this / ___ Now, if the bottom edge of that pick hits a string and the impact makes it flex---where is the "give"???? Here is what we have ___/___ an angled pick slicing a string. Where is the flex?

    For me, the pick slides off the string. The pick starts out already on the string (-in many cases). To me it feels much more like sliding off the pick than flexing against it.

  12. #511

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    Quote Originally Posted by nunocpinto
    Mark, the pick should have some kind of angle to it. Even the tiniest inflection makes a difference, and never 90 degrees in relation to the string. like that in a way it becomes unusable.
    O, my pick is angled, believe me. 45 degrees and sometimes more.

  13. #512
    I think there are 2 types of flexing in regard to the pick. A FM can flex a bit within itself…that is you can bend it a little. Then there is the "movement of the pick" between your fingers as you play through the string.

    If you watch the GB instruction video closely there is a passage when he is picking single notes where you can see the pick moves (not flexes) so much that it appears to completely leave the pad of his index finger. It's bent all the way back as far as it can go without falling out of his fingers. That's not the pick flexing within itself…..and that's not a stiff grip.

    Then you will see GB strum fast and hard and in concert he sometimes strums fast with his whole arm moving…..I mean you couldn't hit the instrument any harder.

    Try that with a stiff grip and for most of us the pick will be bouncing off our shoe after the first strum.

    There are so many angles and variables with this concept that I think you have to find the way that works for you. There are basic guidelines that are deal breakers……the pick must have some angle and the pinky must anchor on the plate….BUT then you have to figure out all the other stuff that will suit you.

    I don't think that individual physiology will allow for a common method. The angle of the wrist, how much arch over the bridge, where does the thumb press the index, is the thumb pushing or is the index pushing, where is the tip of your pick pointing, how far does the pick hang out sideways, how far does it protrude down, how much flex, how much movement etc, etc, etc.

    All these things make an enormous change.

    Some things make perfect sense though The big one is economy of movement.
    GB's pick strokes are small and efficient. No rolling of the hand or excess movement.
    He points, he plays.
    If you watch Adam Rodgers you can see how elegant and controlled his right hand is.

    Why wouldn't you want the same attention to detail for your own picking hand?

    Pat Metheny is exempt from all the above.

  14. #513
    destinytot Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by 3625
    epic thread btw - it's almost become a forum unto itself. I've been having trouble keeping up with all the posts. Now got to go back and find that GB interview in here somewhere...
    Hope it's cool to re-upload it.
    Attached Images Attached Images Benson Picking technique on Gibson L5 Wesmo-cover-jpg Benson Picking technique on Gibson L5 Wesmo-page-1-3-jpg Benson Picking technique on Gibson L5 Wesmo-page-2-3-jpg Benson Picking technique on Gibson L5 Wesmo-page-3-3-jpg 

  15. #514

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    Thanks destinytot - I was thinking when George was saying that his picking was in the 40's style, he might have been referring to rest strokes, not the pick angle or grip. I've been working on rest strokes lately with GB picking and think they might be a big part of his staccato sound. Rest strokes would also explain the volume he gets from his pick attack.

    Not necessarily full rest strokes, but rather the pick follows through in that direction more than when doing normal freestrokes - like it's maybe lightly touching the adjacent string perhaps? Anyone looked into this in detail?

  16. #515
    destinytot Guest
    You're welcome, 3625. Re. rest stroke, have you checked out post #400?
    Last edited by destinytot; 08-03-2014 at 08:15 AM. Reason: grammar

  17. #516

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    Quote Originally Posted by destinytot
    Your welcome, 3625. Re rest stroke, have you checked out post #400?
    I just read post #400 of Groyniad's, and while I agree with the whole flex thing, IMO that's separate from whether you use rest or free strokes (separate yet related). Immediately prior to his post I caught up on that back and forth between other members about whether GB was using rest strokes.

    I just looked at an excerpt from GB's instructional vid - the one at his home - where GB plays uptempo single line and the camera does a close up of his right hand. Philco edited the clip, but I can't remember where he posted it here. Anyway, it pretty much looks to me like GB is using rest strokes from what I saw there.

  18. #517
    destinytot Guest
    I didn't get anything out of GB's DVD except entertainment, but Philco's post has me re-visiting it with fresh eyes and renewed interest - thank you!

    can grip quite loosely right on the top right corner and let the pick flex and do the work
    .
    I'm finding the straightened index and thumb crucial to gripping the pick just firmly enough to bring the flex into play.

    I also find I can use my old Clayton 2mm picks to good effect if I reduce the angle of the pick and hold it exactly as Philco describes, but it's much harder work and the sound isn't at all the same. (I won't rule out using it at some point, but I'm more than happy with the sound I'm getting from pick flex at work.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Philco
    Please go to 21.27 and you will see what Groynlad is talking about. The pick is really "hanging out" and flexing like crazy.
    This is the way I grip now. It was hard at first but now I can grip quite loosely right on the top right corner and let the pick flex and do the work.

    Mark the confusing thing is that if you watch the Benson Video with Chet then he is NOT doing the same thing. The pick is tucked in more. I think he changed over the years.
    What I'm not seeing is any stiffness and I'm usually seeing a 45 degree angle……but it varies.

    GO TO 21.27 It's worth buying the DVD because it's much clearer quality.


  19. #518

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    Quote Originally Posted by Philco
    There are so many angles and variables with this concept that I think you have to find the way that works for you. There are basic guidelines that are deal breakers……the pick must have some angle and the pinky must anchor on the plate….BUT then you have to figure out all the other stuff that will suit you.

    I don't think that individual physiology will allow for a common method. The angle of the wrist, how much arch over the bridge, where does the thumb press the index, is the thumb pushing or is the index pushing, where is the tip of your pick pointing, how far does the pick hang out sideways, how far does it protrude down, how much flex, how much movement etc, etc, etc.

    All these things make an enormous change.

    Some things make perfect sense though The big one is economy of movement.
    GB's pick strokes are small and efficient. No rolling of the hand or excess movement.
    He points, he plays.
    If you watch Adam Rodgers you can see how elegant and controlled his right hand is.

    Why wouldn't you want the same attention to detail for your own picking hand?
    I agree that if the big things are in place---the angled pick, the pinky anchor, that general "shape" JC talks about---the little things tend to work themselves out. That and of course, economy of movement.

    It's funny about grip. My grip feels loose to me. I mean, there's sensation of pressure. Yet I never drop the pick. And it rotates less in my hand than my old Jazz IIIs did when I was using a conventional grip with much more firmness than I now use.

  20. #519

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    Quote Originally Posted by 3625
    Thanks destinytot - I was thinking when George was saying that his picking was in the 40's style, he might have been referring to rest strokes, not the pick angle or grip. I've been working on rest strokes lately with GB picking and think they might be a big part of his staccato sound. Rest strokes would also explain the volume he gets from his pick attack.
    I wondered what George meant about "40's style" too. Monk is our resident expert on books by great classic jazz guitarists----he would know what they taught about gripping a pick and angling it (-if they taught that). I'll send him an email....

  21. #520

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes
    I grant you that it is elusive. I think I misunderstand what you are getting at. I can be dense at times. But since this is so important, I want to make an extra effort to get it and I apologize in advance for being slow here.

    Imagine a sharp pick tip, such as on a Jazz III. It looks like this: > Let's put a string next to it, so that now have > I.
    If the point of a medium pick with that tip hits a string like that, one can imagine the pick flexing. That is, when making contact with the string, there would be "give" in the tip, away from the string. One could say the string resits the impact of the pick. That resistance causes the flex.

    But let's consider a Fender Medium pick held with a Benson grip. The pick looks like this: / The side of the pick makes contact with the string ( ____ ). If we imagine that pick angle near a string we see something like this / ___ Now, if the bottom edge of that pick hits a string and the impact makes it flex---where is the "give"???? Here is what we have ___/___ an angled pick slicing a string. Where is the flex?

    For me, the pick slides off the string. The pick starts out already on the string (-in many cases). To me it feels much more like sliding off the pick than flexing against it.

    what a great attitude you have!

    and the ingenuity with the diagrams is amazing

    - on the topic - if you've been playing with jazz 111 - as (effectively) i have for 25 years - then you will surely feel even the tiniest bit of flex. try executing the technique with a rigid pick - its infuriating to say the least - that should tip you off. like i've said in response to JC S - although the flex is subtler if you leave less of the pick free to move, you can - kind of - feel it more because your ultra-sensitive finger tip is right there and it moves a bit against it.

  22. #521

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    Quote Originally Posted by Groyniad
    what a great attitude you have!

    and the ingenuity with the diagrams is amazing

    - on the topic - if you've been playing with jazz 111 - as (effectively) i have for 25 years - then you will surely feel even the tiniest bit of flex. try executing the technique with a rigid pick - its infuriating to say the least - that should tip you off. like i've said in response to JC S - although the flex is subtler if you leave less of the pick free to move, you can - kind of - feel it more because your ultra-sensitive finger tip is right there and it moves a bit against it.
    Thanks. I played earlier----always practice first, THEN come here, or else I might lose track of time and not practice---but will have another session after lunch. I'll rustle up a Jazz III to use for contrast with a FM. (I'll never hear that Steely Dan song the same way again! "FM" now means Fender Medium to me!)

  23. #522

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    I'm going to have to make a clip too...

  24. #523

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    Guys, just did a jazz brunch gig this morning. First gig since I've been working on this technique. I was blown away by the tone of my guitar. I don't think I've ever gotten such a good sound at a gig. No muddiness at all. Just clear bell-like tone. :-)

  25. #524

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    So, I've been following the thread, I got JC's video, and I've been working on this for about a month, now. No reverting to my prior grip -- strictly trying to "get" the Benson thing. At this point, I'm starting to feel more comfortable, and I'm liking the sound and feel of it. However, some bits are still awkward.

    I find that it feels and sounds best when I squeeze and play harder (talking right-hand, here), but strumming chords is disastrous and sweeping arpeggios (particularly downward sweeps -- downward in pitch, I mean) is craptastic. So, how firmly/loosely are you guys gripping the pick?

    Also, I've been trying various exercises that I see on JC's, SetemupJoe's, and Philco's videos; but I need some more exercises -- especially those that might help orient me better to the correct feel of this technique. Can anyone share things they're doing, please?

    As an example, whenever I even begin to think that I can pick, I drag out this exercise (see attached .pdf) and prove myself wrong.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by M-ster; 08-03-2014 at 03:03 PM.

  26. #525

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlainJazz
    Guys, just did a jazz brunch gig this morning. First gig since I've been working on this technique. I was blown away by the tone of my guitar. I don't think I've ever gotten such a good sound at a gig. No muddiness at all. Just clear bell-like tone. :-)
    Yay! That's great to hear! Congratulations.

  27. #526

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    Quote Originally Posted by M-ster
    So, I've been following the thread, I got JC's video, and I've been working on this for about a month, now. No reverting to my prior grip -- strictly trying to "get" the Benson thing. At this point, I'm starting to feel more comfortable, and I'm liking the sound and feel of it. However, some bits are still awkward.

    I find that it feels and sounds best when I squeeze and play harder (talking right-hand, here), but strumming chords is disastrous and sweeping arpeggios (particularly downward sweeps -- downward in pitch, I mean) is craptastic. So, how firmly/loosely are you guys gripping the pick?

    Also, I've been trying various exercises that I see on JC's, SetemupJoe's, and Philco's videos; but I need some more exercises -- especially those that might help orient me better to the correct feel of this technique. Can anyone share things they're doing, please?
    Great stuff. I'm so glad you mentioned the issue of practice / exercises because I need more too.

    As for the grip, mine is not tight at all. I pay a lot of attention that that mound / muscle between the thumb and index. I notice that when I try grips that call for more of hard-press from the the thumb on the index, that mound gets smaller. When the mound is large, my grip feels loose. (It's not actually loose. I never drop the pick. But I don't feel any pressure from the thumb into the index or from the index back against the thumb. Of course, I may have just gotten used to it...)

    Another kind of exercise I could use some help on: lines that move horizontally along the neck. Wes played that way, George plays that way. It seems ideally suited to the Benson approach. But I came up as more of a position player. I can move around better than I used to but I was wondering, esp for double-time passages, if there are go-to runs that that get you used to playing in the pocket at higher tempos, runs / licks / moves that one will eventually place a personal stamp upon.....

  28. #527

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    here's a vid (revised) to illustrate control benson technique provides for

    of course its ragged in all sorts of ways - but i got this thing down only last night after modifying my thumb position significantly

    i'm trying to lay it on a bit thick here to emphasize advantages of the picking technique - of course you don't know what i sounded like last week so it doesn't really show what i want it to

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_VqRlJmanF0&feature=youtu.be
    Last edited by Groyniad; 08-04-2014 at 06:20 PM. Reason: new clip without baby noise in background

  29. #528

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    Quote Originally Posted by M-ster
    Also, I've been trying various exercises that I see on JC's, SetemupJoe's, and Philco's videos; but I need some more exercises -- especially those that might help orient me better to the correct feel of this technique. Can anyone share things they're doing, please?
    A book I like to use for warm ups is Oliver Nelson's "Patterns for Improvisation." It's written for saxophone but can be used by any melodic instrument. There's a lot of great exercises in there that will help your right hand plus there's lots of great ideas for motifs in your solos.

    I also spent a lot of time listening to and transcribing phrases from George Benson's recordings. My routine was going to the gym first thing in the morning while listening to Benson on my headphones. Every time I'd hear something cool that I liked, I'd write down the track and time so I could find it later. When I went home I'd transcribe those lines and practice them that day. I picked up an awful lot that way.

    Patterns For Improvisation: Oliver Nelson: 9781562240974: Amazon.com: Books

  30. #529

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    great stuff mylesgtr

    seems clear to me that there's a distinctive fluency and chilled out feel that comes with this style

    interesting what you say about not liking the tone and the 8th note feel

    not so used to it as you are, but i find its improving tone and feel across the board

    parallel improvement in four in the bar rhythm feel too - feels easy and relaxed even at high tempos

  31. #530

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    Really nice playing myles. Do you have any clips of you using standard grip that would show the comparison of why you're not happy with the Benson technique? Your feel sounds great to me.

  32. #531
    Myles that's exactly the economy of movement I'm going on about.
    You're playing great.
    No doubt you've tried moving your hand more toward the front pup. Did that not improve the tone for you?

  33. #532
    I don't have a problem muting anymore. Amazing how the body compensates.
    I started to do some muting with my fingers on the left hand because it seemed natural to do it.
    Also it's easy to move over the bridge and do the palm mute thing.
    Never hear GB with ringing strings.
    Hard to explain this technique.
    You have to do to know.

  34. #533

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    I agree that I've heard Adam Rogers play with a clean tone on a 335 with roundwounds and heard strings ringing - though to clarify, I think the guy plays like a mofo. Thing is, if like Benson you play an archtop with flats, the natural tendency of those instruments is to have no sustain. It's a totally dead thunk. My Painter archtop is fantastic, but it's completely useless for playing anything other than straight ahead - the notes die almost immediately. I love it for that.

    I did my first gig the other day with GB picking and was anxious to see if the low strings would ring out or start feeding back. To my relief everything was fine. I've been recording direct during the last week, and also I don't notice any errant strings/notes. Now if I was playing a solid body with rounds - no dice. This Benson picking is really about playing an archtop with flats - works great for that.

  35. #534

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    Quote Originally Posted by 3625
    I agree that I've heard Adam Rogers play with a clean tone on a 335 with roundwounds and heard strings ringing - though to clarify, I think the guy plays like a mofo. Thing is, if like Benson you play an archtop with flats, the natural tendency of those instruments is to have no sustain. It's a totally dead thunk. My Painter archtop is fantastic, but it's completely useless for playing anything other than straight ahead - the notes die almost immediately. I love it for that.

    I did my first gig the other day with GB picking and was anxious to see if the low strings would ring out or start feeding back. To my relief everything was fine. I've been recording direct during the last week, and also I don't notice any errant strings/notes. Now if I was playing a solid body with rounds - no dice. This Benson picking is really about playing an archtop with flats - works great for that.
    I mentioned in a post way above that this method has to work for me on all my guitars or it's no dice. So I've been concentrating on practicing on my old strat with rounds. Works totally fine. At first I was getting that scratchy sound and the strings were way to slinky. I put 13s on and changed the angle of the pick slightly and it works fine now.

  36. #535

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    Ha! - oh well I'm happy to be wrong about that. lol

    As an aside, I'm being given a left handed strat copy by a friend who's clearing out his garage. I noticed when playing it right handed with GB picking that the volume pot wasn't there to get in my way (cause the controls are all up top). Now because of Myles and Alain I've got no excuse...

  37. #536

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    I always find the string ring complaint kind of funny because...Hendrix. If you want to sound like Steve Vai, I guess I could see this being a problem, but is there any better rock guitarist than Hendrix? I never seem to complain about open strings when listening to Are You Experienced. The Benson position seemed to work well for him.

    Never had any issues with feedback with this tech. If anything, I get less because I tend to turn down more to "thin out" the sound as myles said. To me, that's kind of a feature, not a bug. I'm trying to move away from the Jim Hall tone and get a more acoustic sound. When Benson is really dialed in to me his guitar almost sounds like an acoustic instrument, which is why I like the way it fits in with a jazz combo so much. The Hall/Metheny sound can be a little much, and I really don't like the super chorused out electric tone of a lot of the new great players (Rosenwinkel, Kreisberg, etc.).

    Myles - you might want to check out what JC Stylles is doing. He has a much thicker, more traditional tone than Benson. I think two factors are: (1) your pick is closer to 45 degrees than 90 degrees to the string. You might feel the tone thicken up if you turn the pick more onto the edge. If you consider that Pat Metheny also uses the reverse grip (although not the Benson hand position), there's got to be a way to get the tone you're looking for. I think Metheny uses thin picks and 0.11s. And (2) you might want to choke up more on it. The less pick is showing, the thicker my tone gets. When you grip up towards the top you get the Benson flex thing and that acoustic snap that has been variously described as "thunk".

    Just some thoughts. As Benson said re: tone, feel, and speed, you can't have it all. Unless you're Pat Martino.

  38. #537
    destinytot Guest
    There's a prety good view of each guitarist's right hand in these two live clips.

    From Spain, Telmo Fernández (who's studied with JC Stylles):


    And from France, Amaury Filliard:

  39. #538

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    Quote Originally Posted by Philco
    I don't have a problem muting anymore. Amazing how the body compensates.
    I started to do some muting with my fingers on the left hand because it seemed natural to do it.
    Also it's easy to move over the bridge and do the palm mute thing.
    Never hear GB with ringing strings.
    Hard to explain this technique.
    You have to do to know.
    True about George---never heard any unwanted string-ring there.

    I don't know how the idea got started that no one who plays this way can mute. Like you say, "amazing how the body compensates." I think it can be handled a few different ways, depending on one's preferences and hand position.. Let's not forget, not everyone who plays with a standard grip does it exactly the same way. We're not robots...)

  40. #539

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    Quote Originally Posted by Richb
    That last cat isnt using the GB position. And they are all the same. Just about all of them are the same: Benson/Wes clones or Benson/Wes wannabe's.
    Rich, you keep saying this. It's one thing if you're hoisting a few with your buds, but it's pointless to keep coming HERE and making the same point that no one here agrees with. You hear them as all the same. Fine. We are FINE with that, Rich, We really don't care what you think about this because you've already told us several times. We heard you. We're still here because you want to be. Why are you still here when you don't want to be?

  41. #540

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    There's a new thread up called "Zappa on Mike Douglas" posted by srlank. (Mike Douglas hosted an afternoon talk show in, I believe, Philadelphia back in the '70s.)

    It was a treat to see Frank as a guest but for our obsessive purposes, the place to go is to the 6:29 mark, where Frank is performing and you can see his right hand clearly. Looks like Benson picking. If you go back a few seconds, you will see him tapping (-which I did not know he did), so when he starts around 6:29 with the pick, he is also repositioning it after the tapping bit. Interesting....

    (In the still photo you see for the video, Frank is tapping. That's just before he goes back to picking in Something Live a Benson manner. The pick is clearly on the index-pad side of the finger and his thumb if more-or-less locked.)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kSPdg4yPwAg#t=408

    Last edited by MarkRhodes; 08-04-2014 at 10:30 AM.

  42. #541

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    I think we're getting pretty broad in the definition.

  43. #542

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    Quote Originally Posted by Richb

    Also re the hand pos of PAul Jackson: that is a different creature from the so-called Benson position. That is simply using the normal anchored hand on bridge/strings but playing with a reverse angled pick. That's just normal picking afaic.
    Exactly what I thought......I see no curve of the palm upward, which I thought was part of the Benson thing (in addition to pick angle and how you hold the pick with thumb and index)

  44. #543
    destinytot Guest
    One could do a lot worse than sound like a walking conflation of Wes Montgomery and George Benson.
    Monsieur Amaury Filliard wears that distinction as a badge of honour.

    "Ah, make the most of what we yet may spend,
    Before we too into the Dust descend;
    Dust into Dust, and under Dust to lie
    Sans Wine, sans Song, sans Singer, and--sans End!" (Omar Khayyam)


  45. #544

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    Quote Originally Posted by Richb
    Mark thats just flat out dumb. Unless you believe in magic, if a human plays the first string on a guitar and doesnt dampen the lower strings, then its a FACT that the lower strings will vibrate in sympathy.The vibration might be quiet, but its there. And the longer a player leaves those strings unmuted, the worse it gets. There is no way around physics. If a human plays a series of notes on the higher strings there is just no way to prevent sympathetic ringing unless you can wrap your thumb all the way around 4 or 5 strings.
    Its a dirty secret that devotees dare not talk about. This is how it seems.
    I'd just like to understand this Rich. Does that mean you always dampen strings when you're playing? I didn't do that even with the standard grip. I let my hand float loosely above the strings with no contact to the guitar. I learned that from Jimmy Bruno.

  46. #545

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    I think we're getting pretty broad in the definition.
    Well, I wouldn't define Zappa as a Benson picker. What I find interesting about that clip is that it is from the '70s and it's clear Frank is NOT picking with a standard grip there. Couldn't help posting it here. (Interesting clip in its own right, for that matter. Frank was a remarkable guy.)

  47. #546

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    Quote Originally Posted by djangoles
    Exactly what I thought......I see no curve of the palm upward, which I thought was part of the Benson thing
    That varies. Some people have an upturned palm but others do not. George doesn't have an upturned palm and neither does JC Stylles.

  48. #547

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    I gotta admit, I thought what I did was standard...I was told from my first lesson at age 12 to angle the pick back!

    can you guys post some videos of jazz players using what you'd call "quintessential standard grip?"

  49. #548

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    Quote Originally Posted by Richb
    Mark, that's just flat out dumb. Unless you believe in magic, if a human plays the first string on a guitar and doesnt dampen the lower strings, then its a FACT that the lower strings will vibrate in sympathy.
    To quote Miles, so what?
    This isn't a problem for George Benson or JC Stylles or Henry Johnson or Adam Rogers. It isn't a problem for Philco or Mark Cally (setemupjoe) or Evan (ecg).

    I will stipulate that it is a big problem for you and I wish you best of luck in addressing it.

  50. #549

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    I gotta admit, I thought what I did was standard...I was told from my first lesson at age 12 to angle the pick back!

    can you guys post some videos of jazz players using what you'd call "quintessential standard grip?"
    Sure. Here's Herb Ellis, a big fave o' mine.


  51. #550

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    So that's considered standard, holding the pick between the pad of the thumb and the side of the index finger?

    very interesting. I know a lot of beginner books show that, but I didn't think anybody actually did it