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  1. #26

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    I just tracked down setemupjoe's video. This is a great video:


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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by fep
    That's totally it Frank. You've nicely summed up the concept. The problem most people have when changing over to this style is that it feels so foreign and because it uses a different muscle group it takes a while to build up any skill or speed. As Phil mentioned earlier, the hardest period is the few months when you initially change over. You lose any skill you previously had and it feels like starting over. The good thing is as you rebuild your technique it feels stronger and more in control.

    Mark

  4. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by fep
    Thanks, Fep. Yes, that helps a lot. I'll spend the afternoon working on this. It looks as if your thumb and index are pointing in the same direction. Is that right? (I normally point my thumb toward the index and in the index toward the strings.)

    By the way, is your guitar resting on your right thigh or suspended (via strap) above it?

  5. #29

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    [QUOTE=fep;286333]I just tracked down setemupjoe's video. This is a great video:

    Yeah, that is a great video. Thanks for posting it, Frank.

  6. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by setemupjoe
    Hi Mark,
    There are a few problems I see. First, don't put your guitar into the classical position onto your left knee, it actually makes it harder to get the Benson position.
    The pick shouldn't be pointing in the same direction as your index finger. It's more at a 10 o'clock position if your index finger is pointing at 12 o'clock. Does that make sense?
    If you haven't checked my original video out regarding this, please do. I try to make the steps for this as clear as possible.

    Good luck,
    Mark
    Thanks, Mark. Yes, 10 o'clock position makes sense. Frank posted the original video here so now I've seen that. Great stuff. I think light has dawned.... Thanks!

  7. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes
    Thanks, Fep. Yes, that helps a lot. I'll spend the afternoon working on this. It looks as if your thumb and index are pointing in the same direction. Is that right? (I normally point my thumb toward the index and in the index toward the strings.)

    By the way, is your guitar resting on your right thigh or suspended (via strap) above it?
    My thumb and finger are sometimes nearly pointed in the same direction. Most of the time they are a little bit off from that. In the playing position my thumb is pointed more towards my forehead and the index finger is more towards my left shoulder or towards the area on the guitar just above the neck pickup. There is a bit of variance from player to player that I have noticed. Keep your attention on having your thumb pointing upwards and the goal of working your wrist as a hinge.

    I use a strap and the guitar sits above my leg, it's pretty much in the same area as if it was sitting on my right thigh, just a little higher than that.

  8. #32

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    Cool Mark, Keep posting videos, this is something were folks have to see your technique to give you feed back.

    I originally thought that this was the "Benson Grip" as some folks will refer to it. It's really not the "Benson Grip", it's the "Benson Technique".

    Just like with a golf swing there is a proper way to grip a club to get a sound golf swing. But there is so much more to getting a good swing than just having the proper grip.

    With this "Benson Technique", holding the pick is definitely part of it, but just as important is the way the palm is facing, the hinge of the wrist, the relaxed hand, wrist, arm, etc. There is more to this than just the grip.

  9. #33

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    I have nothing intelligent to add, but this is a great thread. I've been working the Benson picking thing for about a year now, and am seeing the benefits, for sure.

  10. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by fep
    I originally thought that this was the "Benson Grip" as some folks will refer to it. It's really not the "Benson Grip", it's the "Benson Technique".


    With this "Benson Technique", holding the pick is definitely part of it, but just as important is the way the palm is facing, the hinge of the wrist, the relaxed hand, wrist, arm, etc. There is more to this than just the grip.
    Great point, Frank. I never had any trouble holding my thumb that way and I thought that WAS the grip, but I was still a million miles away from where I wanted to be. Feels a bit weird but so much more relaxed it's ridiculous. I realize I have to begin a new search for the right pick----I think Philco is right that a heavy pick isn't doesn't provide the same benefit here it would with a conventional grip. Just what we need, another pick thread, right? (Actually, I enjoy pick threads.)

  11. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes
    Third attempt. Think I'm getting there---what do you think?


    I think you are in the ballpark now Mark. So now you have to spend some time practicing. Some days will be good, some days not so. But very shortly it will become natural.....and you will begin to feel some control. Then it builds.

    There are a couple of things you can adjust.
    1 How much pick is hanging out the side (toward the fretboard)
    2 How much pick is hanging down (toward the pick guard)

    I think this is a matter of taste and not a mandatory adjustment.

    Remember what Frank said re the grip only being one element. Once you get comfortable with the grip then start thinking about the loose wrist and it not being totally controlled by the forearm.

    This technique is really hard to put into words.
    If you persist then you will have little "ah"moments as things come together.

    You are trying to change something that you have been comfortable with for years!

    Also I should mention that if you are looking for a guide on how your thumb should look then don't take my video as a good example.
    The very first knuckle of my thumb (at the base) was broken in a bike accident in my teens. They never set it correctly and now I can't bend my thumb back.
    Some of you guys can really get that thumb bent back like a banana!
    I envy you!

  12. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by setemupjoe
    Hi Mark,
    That is looking way better than your last video. I would try playing slow even quarter note lines, maybe just scales and arpeggios from the 6th string to the 1st string so you can start to get a feel for the movement across the neck. Don't try to play fast yet, that comes with time. Work on your tone and flexibility with the right hand.
    Now that the pick is striking the string at an angle it changes the tone and the feel of picking a string. Concentrate on making your downstrokes pick "through" the string and come to rest on the next string. This is what classical players would call a "rest stroke." This is an important aspect to the technique.
    Keep an easy relaxed grip of the pick, the key is to stay as relaxed as possible. Don't try to crush that pick between your fingers, keep it loose.
    Good luck,
    Mark
    Thanks, Mark. You're right, playing slow would be best now. I think I'll take out my old Mel Bay "Technic" book and play those familiar exercises slow and even. As for the relaxed grip, I see the purpose of that; my struggle is keeping the pick from shifting back to pointing the same way my index is. That should take care of itself in a few days.

    Rest stroke, eh? I'm familiar with the concept but I never developed it. I'll try that too. If nothing else, it will take my mind off trying to play fast when I'm not ready for that with this grip.

    As for tone, that's completely different. I figure once I get the grip down, I'll start looking for the right pick. Right now, I'm using the short supply of regular sized picks that I have.

    Relax, relax, relax, and make sure you can see your palm! <<< That's my mantra now. Thanks, man!

  13. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by Philco
    I think you are in the ballpark now Mark. So now you have to spend some time practicing. Some days will be good, some days not so. But very shortly it will become natural.....and you will begin to feel some control. Then it builds.

    There are a couple of things you can adjust.
    1 How much pick is hanging out the side (toward the fretboard)
    2 How much pick is hanging down (toward the pick guard)

    I think this is a matter of taste and not a mandatory adjustment.

    Remember what Frank said re the grip only being one element. Once you get comfortable with the grip then start thinking about the loose wrist and it not being totally controlled by the forearm.

    This technique is really hard to put into words.
    If you persist then you will have little "ah"moments as things come together.

    You are trying to change something that you have been comfortable with for years!
    Thanks, Philco. You're right that I've spent years picking another way but I was never really comfortable with it! I've always struggled with the conventional grip. It's hard to describe but I often felt like the pick was getting in my way sometimes. I was crushingly inconsistent. Many times I thought of just quitting but I'm too stubborn. (And really, nothing else interests as much as the guitar does!)

    Once the grip feels normal and I don't have to keep checking to see whether I've slipped back to the old way, I'll refine the new grip. I'm thrilled finally to be in the ballpark! Thanks!

  14. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes
    Great point, Frank. I never had any trouble holding my thumb that way and I thought that WAS the grip, but I was still a million miles away from where I wanted to be. Feels a bit weird but so much more relaxed it's ridiculous. I realize I have to begin a new search for the right pick----I think Philco is right that a heavy pick isn't doesn't provide the same benefit here it would with a conventional grip. Just what we need, another pick thread, right? (Actually, I enjoy pick threads.)
    Hi Mark,

    Good progress, you are getting yourself in the right position. It looks to me that now your wrist does have that hinge type motion. Try opening and relaxing the hand a bit. It's good that you have the side of your pinky on the pick guard. It just looks a little bit firm. Don't worry if it slides around a bit on the pick guard.

    Regarding picks. For me, the small picks don't work as quite a bit of the tip of the pick sticks out from my finger. More so than when I use a traditional picking method. I'm using a regular fender 351 pick, now I'm experimenting with a thin and a medium.
    Last edited by fep; 01-16-2013 at 08:16 PM.

  15. #39

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    Hello guy's; sorry for getting on latte on this topic but i have been studying this technique for some time now; and there something i would like to clarify: rest picking in every downstroke is not what George does; that is what Rodney Jones, or Sheryl Bailey does and it's their interpretation of this particular technique.

    I am not saying that one shouldn't do this but doing it on every downstroke will be detrimental for the development of this technique. I also don't think Philco is doing that on is video but i guess he can answer that question himself.

    Anyway, just trying to clarify this issue.

  16. #40
    Re rest stroke: only sometimes for me....and there doesn't seem to be a reason.
    Well perhaps if I'm economy picking (different from sweeping).
    I was working on some Bireli and Stochelo Rosenberg and played it so much that it has become a part of how I pick.
    If I'm playing a down stroke on a string I will cross to the next string on a down and the first stroke would have been a rest stroke.
    Only sometimes though.
    Everyone is different on this I think.

  17. #41
    The subject of another Benson Technique thread was focused on muting and it's something I work on all the time.
    Left hand muting.

    I am not referring to quickly laying your fingers across the strings to stop a blooper.

    I think there is a technique or style that we are not quite hip to.....especially if you have come from a rock background like me.

    It's the fundamental way we form a note.

    The way I learned was:
    1 Pick note
    2 Pick next note.

    The way I think GB plays is this:
    1 Pick note
    2 Raise finger enough to kill note
    3 Play next note.

    Not when you are playing fast of course....you can't do this with every note.
    BUT you can do this if the first note was on a string below the next note.

    For example (I have a video of GB doing this)
    Play a 4 note phrase like this:
    6th st 8th fret
    6th st 11th fret
    5th st 10th fret
    4th st 8th fret

    I would start this on an up stroke and end on a down.
    Play with a little speed.

    So? Are your 5th and 6th string completely dead when the phrase is finished?
    Every time?

    When GB does this, whatever string he left is completely dead.
    He mutes them before he leaves.

    This is very different for me and I have to work on it......and I think it is a part of the whole technique we are discussing.

    How are your basic muting skills?

  18. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by nunocpinto
    Hello guy's; sorry for getting on latte on this topic but i have been studying this technique for some time now; and there something i would like to clarify: rest picking in every downstroke is not what George does; that is what Rodney Jones, or Sheryl Bailey does and it's their interpretation of this particular technique.

    I am not saying that one shouldn't do this but doing it on every downstroke will be detrimental for the development of this technique. I also don't think Philco is doing that on is video but i guess he can answer that question himself.

    Anyway, just trying to clarify this issue.
    Okay, the deal with the rest stroke is this, and this is why I mention it to people who are switching over from a more standard method.
    When we pick in a standard way the pick moves like a pendulum swinging back and forth over a string. But like a pendulum it starts it's swing from above the plane of the string, swoops down into the plane of the strings to strike the string and then swoops back up the other side to avoid the string directly below it.
    With the Benson technique the pick is now staying within the plane of the strings and moving "through" the strings. There is no lifting the pick out of the plane of the strings. This is one of the strong points of this technique and is what makes it easier to use. I find I don't have that problem I always had of missing strings all the time.
    This concept is explained more fully in the Tuck Andress article and if you have any questions about it, that would be a good place to look for further explanations.
    As far as I know, George Benson does use economy picking on downstrokes which means he is resting his pick on the next string if he's going to pick that string next. Whether or not he uses it in other instances, I think it's a great way to start practicing this method as it reinforces the concept that I explained above.

    Mark

  19. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by fep
    Hi Mark,

    Good progress, you are getting yourself in the right position. It looks to me that now your wrist does have that hinge type motion. Try opening and relaxing the hand a bit. It's good that you have the side of your pinky on the pick guard. It just looks a little bit firm. Don't worry if it slides around a bit on the pick guard.

    Regarding picks. For me, the small picks don't work as quite a bit of the tip of the pick sticks out from my finger. More so than when I use a traditional picking method. I'm using a regular fender 351 pick, now I'm experimenting with a thin and a medium.
    Thanks, Frank. (And to clarify for any who might need it, as there are two Marks in this discussion, I'm the one in need of help while the other Mark, aka setemupjoe, is the one dispensing it.) This morning I was practicing and tried using a small pick now that I have my wrist turned. Seemed to work. I'll post a vid of that this evening as I'm elsewhere now.) I will go to a guitar store today or tomorrow and get some Fender Thins and Mediums to see how that goes.

    It thrills me to receive such good advice from people who are good at this---how long would I have kept going wrong on my own????? Scary thought....

  20. #44

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    [QUOTE=Philco;286509]The subject of another Benson Technique thread was focused on muting and it's something I work on all the time.
    Left hand muting.
    How are your left hand muting skills?/QUOTE]

    This is easy to answer. In the words of Lorenz Hart, "It Never Entered My Mind." Well, aside from deadening an un-fretted string in a chord voicing or while playing octaves.
    Indeed, one picking exercise I ran across years ago urged the player to keep each finger down until it had to be moved, which is the opposite of raising each finger (-or at least relaxing the pressure sufficiently) to kill the note just played before playing the next one.

    I get the point, though, and see how it gives each note more punch / definition. One more thing to work on.... (Reminds me of the old saying: "History is not one damned thing after another; it's one damned thing over and over and over.")

  21. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by nunocpinto
    Hello guy's; sorry for getting on latte on this topic but i have been studying this technique for some time now; and there something i would like to clarify: rest picking in every downstroke is not what George does; that is what Rodney Jones, or Sheryl Bailey does and it's their interpretation of this particular technique.

    I am not saying that one shouldn't do this but doing it on every downstroke will be detrimental for the development of this technique. I also don't think Philco is doing that on is video but i guess he can answer that question himself.

    Anyway, just trying to clarify this issue.
    This is just not correct, nunocpinto. Benson absolutely uses a rest-stroke technique that is very similar to what the gypsy jazz guys do. He mentions both Django and Joe Pass frequently as inspirations, and both guys use that technique as well.

    I feel like this conversation happens a lot where people want to insist that Benson is a pure alternate picking player. In the first book of his jazz guitar series Jody Fisher (who got the chance to sit down and play with Benson) even makes note of Benson's technique being "very similar to gypsy jazz" or something similar.

    Anyone who thinks rest-stroke style doesn't work for bop needs to listen to more Joe Pass, IMO.

  22. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by setemupjoe
    Since changing to this technique some 20 years ago, I have always used a Fender Medium pick. They're cheap and every music store carries them. I've never felt the need to change to something else because this pick seemed to cover all the bases for me. It's big enough for me to have a decent grip on it and the point is sharp enough to give definition to the notes. Being a medium it has some give in it which helps with this technique. With a traditional grip I always used a heavy pick and tried everything under the sun trying to find "the" pick that was going to make the difference. After changing to the Benson technique, it became much less about the pick.
    I might be happier with a Medium too. That Pro-Plec is 1.5 mm and that just seems to thick for this. And you're right---everybody sells Fender Mediums! I'll go buy some tomorrow and give 'em a whirl. Thanks again for all your input. I do appreciate you taking the time and sharing your expertise.

  23. #47

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    Another quick question (sans video): I noticed this morning that when I play this way, sometimes my fingernail (index finger) hits the string the same time my pick does. Does that happen to anyone else? What does it mean?

    Thanks.

  24. #48
    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes
    Another quick question (sans video): I noticed this morning that when I play this way, sometimes my fingernail (index finger) hits the string the same time my pick does. Does that happen to anyone else? What does it mean?

    Thanks.
    If your index is hitting the string then perhaps there is not enough pick protruding down.

    It took me a while to figure out that the pick has to be protruding quite a bit more than I thought was sane.
    This will give you some flex and also make you concentrate on this one important thing:
    THAT IS:
    *It's the tip of your pick doing a lot of the work.*

    You should concentrate on it and see if you can deliberately play with the tip and blade.
    Really look at how much is showing and just how it is hitting the string.

    Experiment. Take it out further than you think. Till you think you might drop it. Then back a bit.
    That's how GB can do that insanely fast strumming. Because his pick is hanging out and flexing.

    Stop thinking that you have to have a lot of your thumb on the pick.
    I am only gripping the pick in the top corner with my thumb.

    I sound like a lunatic but this is something the JC Styles video really helped with.

    Others may disagree but please try it.

    Mark, I think there is too much point on that pick (Delrin). The Pro Pleck is out of the question. Way to thick and rounded.

    Get thee to a music store and get some Fender Mediums. Get the pick right first up.
    Keep at it!

  25. #49

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    Quote Originally Posted by Philco
    If your index is hitting the string then perhaps there is not enough pick protruding down.

    It took me a while to figure out that the pick has to be protruding quite a bit more than I thought was sane.
    This will give you some flex and also make you concentrate on this one important thing:
    THAT IS:
    *It's the tip of your pick doing a lot of the work.*


    Mark, I think there is too much point on that pick (Delrin). The Pro Pleck is out of the question. Way to thick and rounded.

    Get thee to a music store and get some Fender Mediums. Get the pick right first up.
    Keep at it!
    It's 9:57 AM here (South Florida, USA) and the local Guitar Center opens at 11. I'll be there for packets of Fender Mediums. (I sound like a junkie looking to meet my dealer: "I need the Mediums and I need 'em NOW.") Yeah the Pro-Plec is too sharp and the Pro-Plec is too thick and round. I'll get there.

    I'll stick the pick out further. It seems 'far out' now but I guess it's not hanging out enough yet. Thanks for the advice!

  26. #50

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    I did a little bit of this slow picking from a players perspective camera angle. For evaluation, what do you guys think?

    And, to help folks trying to learn this.

    Note, based on my understanding, I made a mistake when playing the 3rd and 6th scale degree the first time, I shouldn't have lifted the pick. I should have just followed through. The second time with the alternating picking, I did it correctly on the 6th (the 3rd doesn't apply).

    Last edited by fep; 01-19-2013 at 12:30 PM.