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  1. #101

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    So seriously...not trolling....

    Those if you who have switched to this...worth it? The practice time you've taken away from tunes, writing, harmonic ideas, etc...

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  3. #102

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes
    Thanks. A 10-minute video would take my laptop a half-hour to upload...
    OK . . . so your avatar shows you as a right handed player. The video shows you as a lefty. Mirror?

  4. #103

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    Quote Originally Posted by ecj
    Couple things I noticed from your vids:

    - I think you have the shape right, but you need to not let your fingers move while you play until you figure out the wrist motion. Just focus on the wrist movement at first.
    - I'd try getting your guitar off of the left leg and onto a strap.

    I'm going to be out and about for the evening, but I'll try to check back this weekend if you have more questions.
    Thank you! I appreciate you taking the time. This helps. I just watched this and will watch it again later, with guitar in hand.

    Few quick replies:
    --I don't know what size my guitar is (Ibanez Artcore AF 85) but it's not as big as yours. I guess it's around 16 inches, maybe a little less.
    --As for the-finger-next-to-the-index finger, yeah, I tend to curl that one in with the other two. It's not intentional but it's becoming a habit. I'll try to coax it out of its shell....
    --Today, playing with my arm positioned in what I call the Third Way, I played better and had more of the 'cupped' position you talk about. A lot seemed to fall into place when I positioned my arm that way.
    --About JC Stylles holding the guitar sort of out to the side. You're right, of course. I hadn't thought of that. I play in a chair with a back, so I never tried to hold it that way. It's something to try.
    --A strap. I do have one. Wore it for years. What I didn't like about the strap was the guitar seemed to move around more than I liked and it dug into my neck at times. The cushion is great for keeping it in one place and encouraging me to plant both feet on the floor. It's good for my posture (-given that I am always reading or writing or playing guitar, my posture needs all the help it can get!)
    --O, I've moved the cushion back to the left thigh, so there's no more of that elbow-up-to-my-earhole thing. That was never gonna get me anywhere.
    --Yes, I bought the J C Stylles tutorial. I would recommend it to a friend. It helped but there are some things it doesn't show as clearly as one might like, which is why I came to you and the rest of this august crew for further guidance. And boy am I glad I did!

    Thank you again. I owe you one. I'm gonna go practice now....

  5. #104

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    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick2
    OK . . . so your avatar shows you as a right handed player. The video shows you as a lefty. Mirror?
    Patrick, I think this is meant for ecj, though you quoted me in your reply. I was wondering the same thing and assumed the same thing: a mirror.

  6. #105

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    So seriously...not trolling....

    Those if you who have switched to this...worth it? The practice time you've taken away from tunes, writing, harmonic ideas, etc...
    For me, yes.

  7. #106

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    So seriously...not trolling....

    Those if you who have switched to this...worth it? The practice time you've taken away from tunes, writing, harmonic ideas, etc...
    The practice time for me was worth it. I can actually hang on some tunes at 300 bpm now, which I never could before. It was also a good opportunity for me to revisit my time, tone, etc. while rebuilding my technique from the ground up.

    If your picking works already I don't see why you'd do it, but if you completely fell apart at fast tempos like I used to it might be worth looking in to.

    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick2
    OK . . . so your avatar shows you as a right handed player. The video shows you as a lefty. Mirror?


    Is this for me, Patrick? For some reason the "Photo Booth" app that came with my mac films everything in reverse. I don't really understand why. I need to switch to using iMovie, I guess, but the Photo Booth thing was easier for me to figure out (I'm a technology moron).

    I'm a righty.

  8. #107

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    Thanks ecj, great video lesson and explanation.

  9. #108

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    Quote Originally Posted by fep
    Thanks ecj, great video lesson and explanation.
    Thanks, Frank. I hope it helps. Picking has always been my number one struggle on the guitar. I spent many, many years feeling like I would never be able to play like my heroes and feeling bad about myself. After digging in this last year on Benson picking everything fell into place.

    I still can't play like my heroes - haha - but I am at least at the point where if I want to learn a lick, I can actually get it up to speed. Used to be that I'd transcribe a lick and spend weeks on it, only to eventually give up in frustration. Now it's pretty easy to incorporate new stuff into my bag.

  10. #109

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    Quote Originally Posted by ecj
    Is this for me, Patrick? For some reason the "Photo Booth" app that came with my mac films everything in reverse. I don't really understand why. I need to switch to using iMovie, I guess, but the Photo Booth thing was easier for me to figure out (I'm a technology moron).
    This was fine, though. I mean, I wondered why you looked left-handed all the sudden but it didn't detract from the presentation.

  11. #110

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    Tomorrow----he warned---I shall return standing and strapped. We'll see if that helps...

  12. #111

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    Quote Originally Posted by ecj
    Picking has always been my number one struggle on the guitar. I spent many, many years feeling like I would never be able to play like my heroes and feeling bad about myself. After digging in this last year on Benson picking everything fell into place.
    That's my story too. At least the struggling part. It's maddening at times. I won't give up but I knew something was making me what I feel I must call "reliably inconsistent." It would be great to play really fast but more than anything else, I want to know that when I want to play things I know and have practiced, they will come out right.

  13. #112

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    Hi Mark,
    Here's a bunch of photos of my right hand position with my guitar. It's a big 18" body. I'm 6' and it doesn't seem to give me any problems reaching around it. I hope this helps.

    Mark Cally

    Benson Picking technique on Gibson L5 Wesmo-img_1222-jpg
    Benson Picking technique on Gibson L5 Wesmo-img_1221-jpg
    Benson Picking technique on Gibson L5 Wesmo-img_1220-jpg
    Benson Picking technique on Gibson L5 Wesmo-img_1216-jpg
    Benson Picking technique on Gibson L5 Wesmo-img_1212-jpg

  14. #113

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    Pay close attention to the pics, Mark, setemupjoe plays his ass off with this technique.

    Just FYI, I've got a lot on my plate tomorrow so probably won't be around to respond to any questions until Sun.

    EDIT - Also look at how far to the right his guitar is in the last pic.
    Last edited by ecj; 06-20-2014 at 11:45 PM.

  15. #114

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    Quote Originally Posted by setemupjoe
    Hi Mark,
    Here's a bunch of photos of my right hand position with my guitar. It's a big 18" body. I'm 6' and it doesn't seem to give me any problems reaching around it. I hope this helps.

    Mark Cally
    Thanks, Mark. Yes, those pictures help. I'm amassing a collection of them for future reference. Also, as of this morning, I'm standing up to play. One advantage of this is that I can stand in front of a bigger mirror to get an overall sense of my posture, hand position, etc. (Before, I had a small mirror on my music stand which only reflected my hand position, unless I moved....;o)

  16. #115

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    Quote Originally Posted by Richb
    I don't deliberately want to be mean, but it needs to be said: ( and I should know since I knowingly copied Benson for a while too)

    All the guys who adopt this position seem to wind up as Benson-clones.
    These clones seem to judge their "ability" by how closely they can ape their hero. It's not cool at all.
    Well, Rich, since you put it that way, I've heard JC Stylles play and I've heard you play and I would much rather listen to him. I would also rather hear me with an improved right hand than me the way I was before.

    It's fine with me that you would rather play another way. Best of luck to you.

  17. #116

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    Regarding Richb's post. Firstly, to Richb . . I don't think your post was mean spirited at all, as you were concerned it might be.

    Also, I do think Richb has a point here. a very large part of what makes GB . . . GB . . . is the tone he get from his picking technique . . . (all things within it encompassed). I remember reading in Just Jazz Guitar, where Ed Benson interviews players then does (or did) what he called a blind fold test. He would play a series of different artists for the pro player he was interviewing and the player would have to name the artist in the recording. One guy (can't remember who he was) listened to a recording and said immediately . . . "That's George Benson! I'd recognize that pick attack anywhere".

    There might be those who are seeking that out . . . to sound exactly like GB (not withstanding his great lines) . . . just as some want to "sound" exactly like Wes and attempt to emmulate his thumb technique. But, there are others who use their thumb and do not want to sound like Wes. Also, there are pros who do use GBs technique and have avoided sounding like a clone of him.

    So, I think what Richb might be trying to say here is, if you want to use GBs picking technique, be cognizent of not totally becoming a GB clone . . . unless you want to.

    I've mentioned before, it's taken me some 35 years of developing my very own picking style and technique. That is now who and what I've become. I don't what to reinvent that, at this point in my life. I'm sure for some they might find what I do to be restrictive or not to their liking. But, it's me . . and I have no intention of trying to totally revamp everything I do from the shoulder down to my thumb and fore finger just to get a little bit faster. Besides . . I use so much of the hammer on, pull off, slurr technique type stuff in my playing, that I currently get all the speed I could ever want. My issue isn't right hand technique. It's knowing where the fingers on my left hand need to go during an improv that I need more focus on. lolol

  18. #117

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    I just stumbled on that thread, and since my picking technique hasn't improved much lately, I'm willing to give the Benson technique a go.

    I've read most of the posts and would like to check if I got all the key points right :

    -relaxed shoulder
    -pick motion comes from the wrist
    -30-45 degrees pick angle

    Is that all ?


    I also have a quick question : if I relax my arm completely, it makes my hand go toward the headstock, and I end up having it over the fretboard. So I kind of anchor my forearm to the edge of the guitar's body. Is this how it's supposed to be ?

    Thanks for all the info and discussion, this is all very interesting.

  19. #118

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    I think I shared this once before but it seems worth posting it again. This is me playing Barney Kessel's version of "On a Slow Boat to China."


  20. #119

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    Quote Originally Posted by setemupjoe
    I think I shared this once before but it seems worth posting it again. This is me playing Barney Kessel's version of "On a Slow Boat to China."
    Great playing, Mark. Thanks for posting this. You're a generous man and I deeply appreciate what you bring to this discussion.

    One question: is the tip of your pick pointing in the same direction as your index finger or is it at a 45 degree angle (or thereabouts)?

    One more question: in this video it seems like the guitar is resting normally on your right thigh but in a previous picture it looked (-to me, anyway) is if it isn't the arch that's on your thigh but the underside of the cutaway. Is it?

  21. #120

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    Quote Originally Posted by Professor Jones
    I just stumbled on that thread, and since my picking technique hasn't improved much lately, I'm willing to give the Benson technique a go.

    I've read most of the posts and would like to check if I got all the key points right :

    -relaxed shoulder
    -pick motion comes from the wrist
    -30-45 degrees pick angle

    Is that all ?
    Welcome, Professor Jones. Glad to hear you're willing to give this a go. I think a big part of it is how one holds the pick. (Many guys play with wrist motion and angle their picks but aren't doing anything like Benson / Stylles picking.)

    I think the best thing to do is get the J C Stylles tutorial. Yeah, it costs a few bucks but I think it's money well spent (-and I don't have much to throw around...)

    Short of that, give it a go and then show us what you got and we'll see what we can see. ;o)

  22. #121

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes
    Great playing, Mark. Thanks for posting this. You're a generous man and I deeply appreciate what you bring to this discussion.

    One question: is the tip of your pick pointing in the same direction as your index finger or is it at a 45 degree angle (or thereabouts)?

    One more question: in this video it seems like the guitar is resting normally on your right thigh but in a previous picture it looked (-to me, anyway) is if it isn't the arch that's on your thigh but the underside of the cutaway. Is it?
    Hi Mark,
    I took a couple of pictures of the pick in my hand which will show it much clearer than me trying to explain.

    The guitar is sitting on my knee in the arch though I can see from some of those photos where it's a little unclear.

    Mark Cally

    Benson Picking technique on Gibson L5 Wesmo-img_1223-jpg
    Benson Picking technique on Gibson L5 Wesmo-img_1224-jpg

  23. #122

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    Quote Originally Posted by setemupjoe
    Hi Mark,
    I took a couple of pictures of the pick in my hand which will show it much clearer than me trying to explain.

    The guitar is sitting on my knee in the arch though I can see from some of those photos where it's a little unclear.

    Mark Cally


    Benson Picking technique on Gibson L5 Wesmo-img_1224-jpg
    That's the ticket! In the first picture----the normal view of this while playing, looking down at one's thumb----one can imagine that the pick is pointed the same way as the finger, but in the second picture, it is clear that the pick is pointing at an angle. I seem to do better holding it that way. I'll make a "point" to keep at it.

    O, about the guitar sitting on your knee in the arch---this means the guitar neck is not at the usual angle one has when standing, right? Do you keep that same neck angle when standing (if you ever play standing)?

  24. #123

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    I try to keep the guitar in the same position whether standing or sitting. I mostly stand when I play and I have the strap at a length that hangs the guitar across my body at the same height as when I'm sitting.

  25. #124

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    Quote Originally Posted by setemupjoe
    I try to keep the guitar in the same position whether standing or sitting. I mostly stand when I play and I have the strap at a length that hangs the guitar across my body at the same height as when I'm sitting.
    Thanks.

    Most of my adult life I've played with a strap, even when seated, so the guitar was pretty much in the same place whether I sat or stood. However, I think I wore my guitar a bit high and my picking stank in any case. What I have to do now is go the other way: find the position in which I can consistently execute this style of picking and strap myself in accordingly, so that the guitar's always not only in the same place but in the RIGHT place for me.

  26. #125

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    To All,
    I've been following this thread in increments as it has grown over the past year and a half. Having decided to ask some questions, I went back and re-read the entire thread and watched the videos. Thanks to all of you who posted videos. Your generosity is greatly appreciated. You guys represent the spirit of the forum at its best.


    Although I am called upon at times to accompany singers performing standards, I also find myself having to cover blues, country and R&B also. With that in mind, I would like to know:


    1. While it appears that the Benson Technique translates best to flat wound strings, do any of you (philco, setemupjoe,ecj, 3625) think that using round wounds is completely out of the question?


    2. What gauge strings are you all using and what, in your estimation, is the lightest gauge that one could use successfully?


    3. Telecasters were mentioned briefly in regard to the pick-up selector. Have any of you successfully emploted the BT on a Tele or do you feel that an archtop is the best way to go? George seemed to do O.K. with a Les Paul the video that was posted earlier today but the LP has more in common with an archtop fingerboard and string arc-wise than a Tele.


    4. Most of you that have purchased J.C. Stylles tutorial have said good things about it. Is the video itself enough or does the coaching package justify the extra cost?


    Thanks,
    Jerome

  27. #126

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    Quote Originally Posted by setemupjoe
    Hi Mark,
    Here's a bunch of photos of my right hand position with my guitar. It's a big 18" body. I'm 6' and it doesn't seem to give me any problems reaching around it. I hope this helps.

    Mark Cally

    Benson Picking technique on Gibson L5 Wesmo-img_1222-jpg
    Benson Picking technique on Gibson L5 Wesmo-img_1221-jpg
    Benson Picking technique on Gibson L5 Wesmo-img_1220-jpg
    Benson Picking technique on Gibson L5 Wesmo-img_1216-jpg
    Benson Picking technique on Gibson L5 Wesmo-img_1212-jpg
    Hey man . . . I think I recognize that guitar.

  28. #127

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    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick2
    Hey man . . . I think I recognize that guitar.
    Lol. Didn't you just get one of these? I put Seth lovers in and I love it. I had to work on it for a while because I wanted to match the feel of the neck on my Gibson Super V but now it's perfect.

  29. #128

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    setemup's technique looks a lot like Sheryl Bailey's:

    Benson Picking technique on Gibson L5 Wesmo-sherylbailey-jpg

    I believe you both studied with Rodney Jones, right?

    Like Philco, I have a non-bendy thumb. Absolutely zero backbend in it. I just use more of the tip of my thumb against the pick than the pad.

    You can see in this earlier vid that I did that I've gone back and forth between the different ways of doing it:



    My hand position is more like setemup's there, I think. I'll use that frequently when I want a brighter tone. The Jc Stylles hand position puts the pick more angled towards the strings. I can pretty much the same with either, so I'm not sure it's that important which you choose.

    Great discussion. Fun to learn from you heavy players!

  30. #129

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    Quote Originally Posted by setemupjoe
    Lol. Didn't you just get one of these? I put Seth lovers in and I love it. I had to work on it for a while because I wanted to match the feel of the neck on my Gibson Super V but now it's perfect.
    Yeah, I've got a couple of Super Eagles. I really love the patina your blond has taken on. The Super V looks and sounds great. The video shows a great close up illustration of the picking technique in question. I'd be really interested in seeing a video of your playing utilizing the more conventional technique . . . most particularly with the Super V. I'd be curious as to the differences in tone, as well as execution of speed. I hope you get to post one while this thread is still active.

  31. #130

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    Mark and Philco - quick diversion (don't want to totally derail). I noticed that both of you guys have shaped nails for finger style playing. When you play finger style do you change your guitar's position into a more classical arrangement (or maybe just play an actual classical guitar)? I've been doing a lot of solo guitar lately, and have been using no nails, but I'm feeling like it's starting to limit what I do, and am just curious about what other folks are doing.

  32. #131

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    Henry Johnson was mentioned (and pictured) above.
    Thought some footage of him in action might be interesting.


  33. #132

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes
    Henry Johnson was mentioned (and pictured) above.
    Thought some footage of him in action might be interesting.

    This whole concert is up on YouTube. He crushes it on Days of Wine.

    If you find Caravan he demoes some pretty frightening chops towards the end of the solo. I really dig his playing so much, and he gets the best tone of any Benson picker, to my ears.

  34. #133

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    Quote Originally Posted by ecj
    This whole concert is up on YouTube. He crushes it on Days of Wine.

    If you find Caravan he demoes some pretty frightening chops towards the end of the solo. I really dig his playing so much, and he gets the best tone of any Benson picker, to my ears.
    Henry's been a favorite of mine for years. Very classy guy too. If you haven't heard the CD "An Evening At Sea" it's a must . . for any HJ fan.

    Oh, by the way . . that's a pretty cool looking guitar too. I wonder if that might have just a wee bit to do with Henry's great tone. Henry has a few of them. My favorite is the blond he took with him on the "An Evening At Sea" CD. It's a given that even though the CD was recorded live . . the master mix down was studio enhanced. But, the tone is just fantastic.

  35. #134

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    ecj> not sure if you've seen this vid . . but, if you que it up to 9 minutes in, you'l get a great close up of HJ's technique. Notice he anchors on the pick gurad more often than not. Also, notice that while incorporating what we've come to know as the Benson technique . . the angle of his pick is not nearly as dramatic as some suggest it should be. I believe that's the reason his tone is less "harsh or scrill" for lack of better adjectives . . . and may also be the reason you like his tone best . . of the many "Benson pickers" out there.

    That's what I love most about HJ. He's a bit of GB . . but mostly HJ. He's a bit of Wes . . but mostly HJ. IMO, that's true of his lines, his comping and his tone.

    Oh, The blind guy . . Rory Hoffman . . he aint too awful bad either!

    Kenny Burrell at NAMM 2004 with Rory Hoffman and Henry Johnson. - YouTube

  36. #135

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    Heritage amps are everywhere...

    Last edited by 2bornot2bop; 06-22-2014 at 01:07 PM.

  37. #136

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    Let's talk thumb.
    Some Benson / Stylles pickers seem to have their thumb bent back. (I don't know of anyone who plays this way with a cocked thumb.) But the thumb ain't a straight thing to start with, so the way a player's thumb may look and the way the force is moving through the thumb to the pick might be different.

    I've been thinking about this today because of a private conversation with another Benson / Stylles picker and realized I had never thought about how I was using my thumb. But it turns out there's a lot of area between 'bent back' (which is not a problem for me to do but I'm not sure it's the best thing to do) something closer to straight.

    Thoughts? (Not just about me, but about your own thumb and this style of picking.)

  38. #137

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    Quote Originally Posted by monk
    To All,
    I've been following this thread in increments as it has grown over the past year and a half. Having decided to ask some questions, I went back and re-read the entire thread and watched the videos. Thanks to all of you who posted videos. Your generosity is greatly appreciated. You guys represent the spirit of the forum at its best.


    Although I am called upon at times to accompany singers performing standards, I also find myself having to cover blues, country and R&B also. With that in mind, I would like to know:


    1. While it appears that the Benson Technique translates best to flat wound strings, do any of you (philco, setemupjoe,ecj, 3625) think that using round wounds is completely out of the question?


    2. What gauge strings are you all using and what, in your estimation, is the lightest gauge that one could use successfully?


    3. Telecasters were mentioned briefly in regard to the pick-up selector. Have any of you successfully emploted the BT on a Tele or do you feel that an archtop is the best way to go? George seemed to do O.K. with a Les Paul the video that was posted earlier today but the LP has more in common with an archtop fingerboard and string arc-wise than a Tele.


    4. Most of you that have purchased J.C. Stylles tutorial have said good things about it. Is the video itself enough or does the coaching package justify the extra cost?


    Thanks,
    Jerome
    1. I don't see any reason you can't use round wounds. I play a strat for some occasions with round wounds and I haven't had a problem.

    2. I use heavy gauge strings not because of the technique but because I prefer the sound and feel. La Bella 15-56 flat wound on my Heritage Super Eagle and Thomastic 14-55 flat wound on my Gibson Super V. Honestly I think you could use this technique on whatever string gauge you find most comfortable.

    3.I know some guitars present problems because of their hardware. Honestly I can't remember the last time I played a Tele so I can't give you a definite answer about that.

    4. I don't know about J.C.'s video. Haven't seen it but it seems a lot of people on this forum are giving it the thumbs up.

    Mark

  39. #138

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    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick2
    Yeah, I've got a couple of Super Eagles. I really love the patina your blond has taken on. The Super V looks and sounds great. The video shows a great close up illustration of the picking technique in question. I'd be really interested in seeing a video of your playing utilizing the more conventional technique . . . most particularly with the Super V. I'd be curious as to the differences in tone, as well as execution of speed. I hope you get to post one while this thread is still active.
    Hi Patrick,
    I stopped playing with a conventional grip 20 years ago so to try and play something now would be embarrassing for both of us.

    Mark

  40. #139

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    Quote Originally Posted by ecj
    Mark and Philco - quick diversion (don't want to totally derail). I noticed that both of you guys have shaped nails for finger style playing. When you play finger style do you change your guitar's position into a more classical arrangement (or maybe just play an actual classical guitar)? I've been doing a lot of solo guitar lately, and have been using no nails, but I'm feeling like it's starting to limit what I do, and am just curious about what other folks are doing.
    I play some classical so I have my nails grown out right now. When I do this it's on a nylon string guitar and I'm positioning the guitar in the traditional way on the left knee with a footstool. For finger style on my jazz guitars I always keep the guitar position on my right knee.
    Last edited by setemupjoe; 06-22-2014 at 01:52 PM. Reason: spelling

  41. #140

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes
    Let's talk thumb.
    Some Benson / Stylles pickers seem to have their thumb bent back. (I don't know of anyone who plays this way with a cocked thumb.) But the thumb ain't a straight thing to start with, so the way a player's thumb may look and the way the force is moving through the thumb to the pick might be different.

    I've been thinking about this today because of a private conversation with another Benson / Stylles picker and realized I had never thought about how I was using my thumb. But it turns out there's a lot of area between 'bent back' (which is not a problem for me to do but I'm not sure it's the best thing to do) something closer to straight.

    Thoughts? (Not just about me, but about your own thumb and this style of picking.)
    Some people's thumbs seem to bend way back. Look at Wes's thumb. Other people like myself have it much straighter. Either way though the thumb joint needs to be locked. No flapping the joint in and out.

  42. #141

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    Quote Originally Posted by setemupjoe
    1. I don't see any reason you can't use round wounds. I play a strat for some occasions with round wounds and I haven't had a problem.

    2. I use heavy gauge strings not because of the technique but because I prefer the sound and feel. La Bella 15-56 flat wound on my Heritage Super Eagle and Thomastic 14-55 flat wound on my Gibson Super V. Honestly I think you could use this technique on whatever string gauge you find most comfortable.

    3.I know some guitars present problems because of their hardware. Honestly I can't remember the last time I played a Tele so I can't give you a definite answer about that.

    4. I don't know about J.C.'s video. Haven't seen it but it seems a lot of people on this forum are giving it the thumbs up.

    Mark
    Mark,
    I appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions. I agree that heavy strings sound do better. Using .011-50 with an unwound third seems to be the limit for the kinds of jobs I've been playing.
    Thanks again,
    Jerome

  43. #142

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    Quote Originally Posted by setemupjoe
    Some people's thumbs seem to bend way back. Look at Wes's thumb. Other people like myself have it much straighter. Either way though the thumb joint needs to be locked. No flapping the joint in and out.
    Right. Here's the thing. My thumb bends back without any trouble but there's no real push from it. Also, it means it's the pad of my thumb, and the lower pad at that, which presses against the pick. Today I've worked on making the upper right tip of the thumb be the point of contact with the pick. This doesn't make my wrist cock by any means, but it's not bent all the way back either. It's actually straighter than before. I'll mess around with it for a bit before making another video.

    Another way to put this is that I'm not sure what "locked" feels like. I know when it's bent back, it doesn't move any, but it doesn't feel any more "locked" than when it's fairly straight but not bent back. (Does "locked" really mean "not cocked"?)

  44. #143

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes
    Right. Here's the thing. My thumb bends back without any trouble but there's no real push from it. Also, it means it's the pad of my thumb, and the lower pad at that, which presses against the pick. Today I've worked on making the upper right tip of the thumb be the point of contact with the pick. This doesn't make my wrist cock by any means, but it's not bent all the way back either. It's actually straighter than before. I'll mess around with it for a bit before making another video.

    Another way to put this is that I'm not sure what "locked" feels like. I know when it's bent back, it doesn't move any, but it doesn't feel any more "locked" than when it's fairly straight but not bent back. (Does "locked" really mean "not cocked"?)
    I think the main thing is that the thumb joint shouldn't be moving. Everyone's thumb is different so the angle of the thumb when locked differs according to everyone's own physiology. As long as you're not "flapping" your thumb, that is, engaging the thumb joint, you should be fine.

    Mark

  45. #144
    Quote Originally Posted by ecj
    Mark and Philco - quick diversion (don't want to totally derail). I noticed that both of you guys have shaped nails for finger style playing. When you play finger style do you change your guitar's position into a more classical arrangement (or maybe just play an actual classical guitar)? I've been doing a lot of solo guitar lately, and have been using no nails, but I'm feeling like it's starting to limit what I do, and am just curious about what other folks are doing.
    i do quite a bit of acoustic steel string finger picking for my work. I grew up working out the finger picking styles of early Dylan, Simon and Garfunkle, Donovan, Peter Paul and Mary, Feliciano etc. So I always need some nail on my right hand. The only thing I have to watch re the BT is the length of the thumb nail. It has to be shorter otherwise it presses on the plectrum.
    I don't change the way I hold the guitar at all.

  46. #145
    Quote Originally Posted by monk
    To All,
    I've been following this thread in increments as it has grown over the past year and a half. Having decided to ask some questions, I went back and re-read the entire thread and watched the videos. Thanks to all of you who posted videos. Your generosity is greatly appreciated. You guys represent the spirit of the forum at its best.


    Although I am called upon at times to accompany singers performing standards, I also find myself having to cover blues, country and R&B also. With that in mind, I would like to know:


    1. While it appears that the Benson Technique translates best to flat wound strings, do any of you (philco, setemupjoe,ecj, 3625) think that using round wounds is completely out of the question?


    2. What gauge strings are you all using and what, in your estimation, is the lightest gauge that one could use successfully?


    3. Telecasters were mentioned briefly in regard to the pick-up selector. Have any of you successfully emploted the BT on a Tele or do you feel that an archtop is the best way to go? George seemed to do O.K. with a Les Paul the video that was posted earlier today but the LP has more in common with an archtop fingerboard and string arc-wise than a Tele.


    4. Most of you that have purchased J.C. Stylles tutorial have said good things about it. Is the video itself enough or does the coaching package justify the extra cost?


    Thanks,
    Jerome
    I don't think round wounds are out of the question. I'm stuck here in London with only an acoustic guitar and it's strung with Phosphor Bronze rounds. I can actually use the technique on it.
    The trick is to change the angle of the pick to accommodate. Very easy to do so. Less angle = less scrape noise. I don't seem to lose any speed.

    On my jazz guitars I'm using Thomastik Benson .012 to .053 but I do swap out the first 2 strings for a .014 and .018. I think 3625 is using .011
    I like the heavier gauges because the string does not move much. Especially the bass strings. It's much easier to be articulate on the bass strings if they just sit there and don't vibrate too much. I also try hard to play in a staccato style. Just a personal preference.
    This is something you will have to experiment with. Everyone will have there preference. I have no proof of the different ballistics involved.

    A Fender Telecaster will sound great using this technique with Flat Wound strings. You may have to adjust the hand position because of the lack of a raised scratch plate. Round wounds may work but there would definitely be some scrape sound. The switch can be reversed (rewired) so it is out of the way.

    I have the JC Styles video and it helped a lot. My only concern was that you never got to see the pick hand and grip close up (as in over the shoulder view). I would still recommend the video though. I do keep going back to it. I have been told that if you have the personal coaching you will get much clearer videos that will remove any guess work. I ended up concocting my own style of the BT that I am still adjusting from time to time so I haven't done the personal coaching thing.
    Last edited by Philco; 06-22-2014 at 06:51 PM.

  47. #146

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    I haven't gone the personal coaching route either, though if money weren't an issue, I would have. I think the video tutorial is well worth the money.

  48. #147

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    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick2
    ecj> not sure if you've seen this vid . .
    Hey Patrick - yes this is a great vid. It's on my list of favorites that I look back on from time-to-time to double check my technique. Henry's technique is so perfect - he just has that really spot on approach to jazz guitar that seems so direct. There are no superfluous notes.

  49. #148

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    Thanks Philco. Your answers are most helpful.

    Regards,
    Jerome

  50. #149

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    Martin Taylor gets so much press these days for his fingerstyle playing that folks don't talk much about his plectrum playing. But when he was playing with Stephane Grappelli and on his later group recordings, MT played some fine music with a pick.

    Due to the overwhelming number of solo videos,it's difficult to find videos of him playing with a pick but I've found a few and he appears to be using the same grip as the previously mentioned players.





  51. #150

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    Quick question - do any of you folks lose any volume using this style of picking. When I pick this way my volume is way way down. I can't seem to get a nice attack on the strings.


    Thanks guys.

    edh