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  1. #101

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    Quote Originally Posted by callouscallus View Post
    When I'm using this technique my pick contacts the strings on the side of the pick, more of a brush stoke. To get an even fatter sound more of the side of the pick is "brushed" on the string. It sounds pretty good to my ear and definitely fattens the tone tremendously. Is that how you guys see it?

    One thing about this technique that I am convinced of, if you look at Wes's thumb technique and compare it to Benson's, there are some striking similarities. Basically I believe the tecniques Benson has allows him to achieve a similar tone using a pick, but if you actually look at their hands in action you will see what I mean. What do I mean? Remove the pick from you hand while you are using the Benson technique. Now play with your thumb. Of course you no longer have to have the first finger touching your thumb, but if you do you can still achieve the fat Wes tone. If you try to do this same technique with "normal" pick technique your thumb is no longer in the optimal position for "fattness". I believe this is not a coincidence.
    Benson's left hand system is pretty similar to Montgomery's, too. Basically, he plays as though his pick is a thumb. It gives him the ability to crank up the speed to the ridiculous levels he does, while retaining the feel. The upstrokes are also stronger and more pronounced.

    That's probably why it's so easy for Benson to go between thumb and pick.

    I think one of the things everyone misses in that Tuck Andress post from years ago is that he never said Benson was the fastest player. He said Benson had the fastest technique without sacrificing feel. Spend 10 minutes listening to "shredders" on YouTube, and you'll understand exactly what he meant.

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  3. #102
    Yeah I remember Tuck said something like "Benson has solved the picking thing".
    That thought stuck with me and the more I develop this technique the more I think he's right.
    It's not just about the speed. That's a side effect. It's the effortless ability to try new things and not be hindered by the picking hand.
    More and more I find myself honing in on the "feel" and the tone and clarity of articulation.

  4. #103
    destinytot Guest
    Hi! I just want to say thanks for this excellent thread, especially to Philco for explaining the grip.

    At the risk of going off-topic, I'd like to add that the 'tremor thing' is something Sean Levitt used to practise away from the instrument with pick - extremely thick à la gypsy jazz (at least 2mm) and lightly held - in hand.

    Again, I really just wanted to say THANK YOU to everyone who's posted here.

  5. #104

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    If you want to stop the guesswork and get it with only 1 degree of separation-from George to me, then here you go:

    Choice 1/ This is for those who don't want any tips, highlights on benefits on Benson Picking, extra coaching or automation for ease of ordering jazzguitarcoach

    Choice 2/ For all others, this is it: Jazz Guitar Coach

    JC Stylles

  6. #105

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    Just some curious history material...

    This guy here show renaissance lute picking technique, which was reconstructed in the mid 20th century.
    It orgins also from using pick primarily (often feather pick - lutes are for angels))), and the in the renaissance when music became more complex and they needed to use all fingers they developed fingerstyle that imitated plectrum technique.. usually lines are played in this style, it allows to play it really fast, and with a kind of bounce good for dancing music especially... later they changed the angle - more basses added..
    But I know that some use this aproach for modern ukes also...

    What I am talking about is that hand positin is practically the same with Benson's, the only difference is he holds the pick and they use flesh..

    It is really interesting, this is a kind of historic background. They actually held lutes like Benson holds guitar embracing it from right side a little, and I think that earlier period when lutes were smaller it was very natural and they naturally held their feather pick like Benson does.



    And here is the combined technique in a piece of music
    Last edited by Jonah; 05-29-2014 at 09:53 PM.

  7. #106

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    Good post - I agree, in essence it's the same position. I also briefly played Viola Da Gamba (renaissance precursor to the violin/cello family) and the bow grip Gamba players use is also similar.

    The concept of having the palm facing slightly upwards with all these techniques seems to be a common factor. In terms of bio-mechanics it feels a lot more comfortable to me, in terms of the alignment of tendons all the way up the arm to the shoulder and neck.

  8. #107

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    I've been working on this (again) for the past month or so. Bought the J C Stylles tutorial, which cleared up some things that had confused me. I feel better about the grip. But I'm still not wholly sure about how the arm goes.

    I haven't seen Stylles play sitting but that's how I always play. I use a cushion (a Dynarette; got the idea from Mimi Fox and I love the thing; no longer use a strap at all) and was planting it on my left leg. That's the norm, I think. But lately I've moved it to the right thigh, which raises the guitar a bit. But I'm unsure about my upper arm and the upper rear bout. Is the upper arm supposed to a) rest on the top rear edge of the guitar or b) hang over it, not putting any weight there at all?

    Somehow I feel like a guest on a phone-in self-help show. "Thanks for taking my call--I'll hang up and listen!"
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  9. #108

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes View Post
    I've been working on this (again) for the past month or so. Bought the J C Stylles tutorial, which cleared up some things that had confused me. I feel better about the grip. But I'm still not wholly sure about how the arm goes.

    I haven't seen Stylles play sitting but that's how I always play. I use a cushion (a Dynarette; got the idea from Mimi Fox and I love the thing; no longer use a strap at all) and was planting it on my left leg. That's the norm, I think. But lately I've moved it to the right thigh, which raises the guitar a bit. But I'm unsure about my upper arm and the upper rear bout. Is the upper arm supposed to a) rest on the top rear edge of the guitar or b) hang over it, not putting any weight there at all?

    Somehow I feel like a guest on a phone-in self-help show. "Thanks for taking my call--I'll hang up and listen!"
    Most guys who are doing it let their right elbow actually hang over the bout of the guitar, so that their elbow is laying against the instrument's face. It kind of feels like you're hugging the guitar to your body, and creates great stability.

    Benson Picking technique on Gibson L5 Wesmo-russell_lamar_malone-jpg
    Russell Malone

    Benson Picking technique on Gibson L5 Wesmo-rodney_jones-jpg
    Rodney Jones

    Benson Picking technique on Gibson L5 Wesmo-jc-stylles-studio-cropped-jpg
    JC Stylles

    Benson Picking technique on Gibson L5 Wesmo-hqdefault-jpg
    Henry Johnson

    ...all look suspiciously like...

    Benson Picking technique on Gibson L5 Wesmo-wes_montgomery-png
    The Man

    More and more I just consider "Benson picking" to mean "trying to play like Wes but with a pick".

  10. #109

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    Quote Originally Posted by ecj View Post
    Most guys who are doing it let their right elbow actually hang over the bout of the guitar, so that their elbow is laying against the instrument's face. It kind of feels like you're hugging the guitar to your body, and creates great stability.


    Russell Malone


    Rodney Jones


    JC Stylles


    Henry Johnson

    ...all look suspiciously like...


    The Man

    More and more I just consider "Benson picking" to mean "trying to play like Wes but with a pick".

    Thanks! I needed this. Of those pictures, the thing that leaps out at me is Henry Johnson's hand. When I try 'elbow over the edge' it puts my hand real close to the neck pickup. Heck, I've been known to click-click the fretboard with my pick! Anyway, I'll work from these shapshots until I settle into something that works for me. Thanks again!

    And I love that line, "trying to play like Wes but with a pick!"
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  11. #110

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes View Post
    Thanks! I needed this. Of those pictures, the thing that leaps out at me is Henry Johnson's hand. When I try 'elbow over the edge' it puts my hand real close to the neck pickup. Heck, I've been known to click-click the fretboard with my pick! Anyway, I'll work from these shapshots until I settle into something that works for me. Thanks again!

    And I love that line, "trying to play like Wes but with a pick!"
    I met Henry at a concert. Super nice guy and killer player. He was not a large man. I'm terrible at judging height, but he was much shorter than me and I'm 6'. I can't really get my arm to mirror his position that well, either.

    One interesting thing I've noticed is that Henry's playing position looks a lot more like young George Benson than JC Stylles who looks more like contemporary George Benson. Probably because Henry learned from George way back when, and JC Stylles was studying videos of later performances.

    Henry's hand is almost anchored near the bridge.

  12. #111

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    [QUOTE=ecj;435201 Henry's hand is almost anchored near the bridge.[/QUOTE]

    They all seem to be that way, but Henry's (and Wes's) fingers are closer to the neck than the other players seem to be. Guess that's just hand size. I'm 5'11" and broad shouldered---my arms and hands are pretty big. (I used to play an Epiphone Dot and after a gig once a guy told, "That looks like a kid's guitar." Meaning that it seemed too small a guitar for such a big man, I guess.)

    I find myself banging into the bridge a lot as I adjust to this grip. Sometimes I move it a bit (-I hate it when that happens.) O, and sometimes the tailpiece bites my hand... Nobody knows the troubles I've seen... ;o)
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  13. #112

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    Okay, here's a picture I just took holding my guitar. I'm sitting, the guitar is on a Dynarette cushion (which rests atop my right thigh).

    Attachment 12834

    What do you see?
    Is there another position you need to see?

    It seems to me that my guitar is less tilted than Wes's guitar in the picture of him (above).
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  14. #113

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    It all starts with getting the hand in the right place. If you get that the arm will follow. I remember when I started with this technique I felt I had to reach around the guitar much more than I was used to but now it feels very natural. My armpit is usually on top of the lower bout of the guitar.
    Looking at your photo I'd question your hand position. I prefer to have my hand lower down with the palm facing up more instead of facing the guitar.
    Ed Cherry is another great player to check out for this hand position.

    Keep working at it. It does take a while to get it right but at least in my case it was well worth the effort.

    Mark Cally

  15. #114

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes View Post
    Okay, here's a picture I just took holding my guitar. I'm sitting, the guitar is on a Dynarette cushion (which rests atop my right thigh).

    Attachment 12834

    What do you see?
    Is there another position you need to see?

    It seems to me that my guitar is less tilted than Wes's guitar in the picture of him (above).
    Just as an opinion . . in response to "What do you see" . . two things glare out at me. Firstly . . the guitar seems to be too high up on your knee. Both of your hands and arms seem to be scrunched up and uncomfortable. I'm not sure I could ever play with my left arm locked in to my body like that. Also look at your right arm and how much more it's folded at the elbow . . rather than hanging a little lower and looser. Compare your elbow bend/angle with any of the pictures above.

    The second thing that glares out at me . . is the shirt. Seems to be the same blue shirt you wore for the photo in your avatar.
    Patrick2 . . Heritage representative (now former)

  16. #115

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes View Post
    Okay, here's a picture I just took holding my guitar. I'm sitting, the guitar is on a Dynarette cushion (which rests atop my right thigh).

    Attachment 12834

    What do you see?
    Is there another position you need to see?

    It seems to me that my guitar is less tilted than Wes's guitar in the picture of him (above).
    Mark, I'm playing the high E string. This first picture is me trying to imitate your hand position:

    Benson Picking technique on Gibson L5 Wesmo-snapshot_20140619_1-jpg

    This is more like the Benson position:

    Benson Picking technique on Gibson L5 Wesmo-snapshot_20140619-jpg

    In your position if you have the hinged wrist movement it will just go up and down perpendicular to the face of the guitar, your pick would just be tapping the face of the guitar. You can't pick the strings from that position with that movement. You have to use the more common wrist movement.

    In the second picture I posted, you can pick the string with a wrist hinge movement... a movement like tapping your finger on a table.

    I don't think there is anything wrong with your position, you just can't use the Benson technique from that position (if that's what you're trying to do). (I use both techniques, depending on what I'm trying to do).
    Last edited by fep; 06-19-2014 at 11:56 PM.
    B+
    Frank (aka fep)

  17. #116

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    Thanks, Fep.
    Here's what I'm trying to do. The Benson thing as taught by J C Stylles. I've spent a lot of time working on the grip---even carrying a pick in my pocket to practice the grip when away from the guitar; I fall asleep with a pick in my hand---but I realize that my arm position must change. Somehow, it seems to be working against itself. So in that picture I'm thinking more about where I place my arm than with how I'm picking. (I wasn't actually picking, just positioning my arm.)

    The latest thing (-between last evening and this morning) is this: I place / sense the inner bone of my elbow on the upper rear face of the guitar. This brings my hand down close to the frets. In fact, I often click the highest fret, which bugs me, so I inch my arm backward a bit.

    (I will make a short video of this tonight, so you'll have a better sense of what I mean and can 'see for yourself.')

    What I like about that is that it seems a natural way for my arm to be. Things feel more fluid. What I don't like is the pick clicking... I think that before, I held my arm in a way that forced it to work against itself sometimes.

    Well, as I said, I'll post a video later and that will give you (and others) more to work with in answering the musical question 'what the heck is he doing?' ;o)

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

  18. #117

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    Quote Originally Posted by ecj View Post
    Most guys who are doing it let their right elbow actually hang over the bout of the guitar, so that their elbow is laying against the instrument's face. It kind of feels like you're hugging the guitar to your body, and creates great stability.

    Benson Picking technique on Gibson L5 Wesmo-russell_lamar_malone-jpg
    Russell Malone

    Benson Picking technique on Gibson L5 Wesmo-rodney_jones-jpg
    Rodney Jones

    Benson Picking technique on Gibson L5 Wesmo-jc-stylles-studio-cropped-jpg
    JC Stylles

    Benson Picking technique on Gibson L5 Wesmo-hqdefault-jpg
    Henry Johnson

    ...all look suspiciously like...

    Benson Picking technique on Gibson L5 Wesmo-wes_montgomery-png
    The Man

    More and more I just consider "Benson picking" to mean "trying to play like Wes but with a pick".
    This is one of the most helpful posts I have every seen on this, or any other, forum!

  19. #118

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes View Post
    Thanks, Fep.
    Here's what I'm trying to do. The Benson thing as taught by J C Stylles. I've spent a lot of time working on the grip---even carrying a pick in my pocket to practice the grip when away from the guitar; I fall asleep with a pick in my hand---but I realize that my arm position must change. Somehow, it seems to be working against itself. So in that picture I'm thinking more about where I place my arm than with how I'm picking. (I wasn't actually picking, just positioning my arm.)

    The latest thing (-between last evening and this morning) is this: I place / sense the inner bone of my elbow on the upper rear face of the guitar. This brings my hand down close to the frets. In fact, I often click the highest fret, which bugs me, so I inch my arm backward a bit.

    (I will make a short video of this tonight, so you'll have a better sense of what I mean and can 'see for yourself.')

    What I like about that is that it seems a natural way for my arm to be. Things feel more fluid. What I don't like is the pick clicking... I think that before, I held my arm in a way that forced it to work against itself sometimes.

    Well, as I said, I'll post a video later and that will give you (and others) more to work with in answering the musical question 'what the heck is he doing?' ;o)

    Thanks for the feedback.
    Hey Mark - I'll get on the computer this afternoon and do a quick vid to try to help.

    A few things that jump out at me from the pic:

    - Your guitar is too high up. You're scrunching your right arm up, which looks uncomfortable to me. The big benefit of the Benson picking this is that it's a more relaxed position. I'll try to demo later (just making some notes for myself while I'm at work this morning).
    - Your hand position. I'd start with the pick literally at 90 degrees to the string, then move forward from there. Right now your hand position looks more like the standard grip than JC Stylles' demo, and you are curling your fingers in, which is a no-no. I'll try to address that later.
    - setemupjoe is right that you've got to start with the hand and work backwards. It looks like you're starting from the elbow and working in. One thing to consider is that the size of your guitar is going to play a big part in this. You're a big guy, with what looks like a 16" bout. I had to go up to a 17"er to get comfortable with the position.

    Check out Benson with two different guitars:

    Benson Picking technique on Gibson L5 Wesmo-mccoytyner3_89_georgebenson_02cs-jpg
    17"er

    Benson Picking technique on Gibson L5 Wesmo-1mpisch_7782466_george_benson_6-jpg
    his smaller GB model (can't remember the size)

    Look at how his elbow hangs over on the first one like the pics of all the guys playing big 17" archtops, then is actually back behind the bout like in standard playing position on the second. You aren't going to shrink the length of your forearm, so you'll have to adjust to the size of the guitar.

    As for the tilt, I don't think it matters at all if you are ever going to stand while you're playing. Wes tilted his, but he was always sitting. His position is great, but I stand too much to ever use it.

    Rodney Jones made a compromise by going with a thinline 335 style body shape, which I can actually appreciate probably being the most comfortable shape for this style of playing. You gotta keep loose.

    Will make a vid later.

  20. #119

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    Quote Originally Posted by dingusmingus View Post
    This is one of the most helpful posts I have every seen on this, or any other, forum!
    Thanks, Dingus. I've spent a ton of time thinking about this. It's really helped me improve as a player over the last year and I feel like it finally solved the picking problem for me, although I still have a really long way to go in terms of my overall playing.

  21. #120

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    Quote Originally Posted by ecj View Post
    Hey Mark - I'll get on the computer this afternoon and do a quick vid to try to help.

    A few things that jump out at me from the pic:


    Will make a vid later.
    Thanks, man.
    I'll make another one within the hour, to make clear what I'm doing today. (I may show what I was doing recently as well, so you can compare and contrast the two.)

    I appreciate the help, guys! It means a lot to me, both as a player and as a person.
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  22. #121

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    Okay. I made two videos. Here is the first, only 30 seconds, showing how I make The Shape (as Stylles calls it).

    This seems pretty much right to me. If it's not, I need to know. ;o)


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

  23. #122

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    Okay, video number two. Number one showed how I hold the pick and now number two shows two possible ways to place my right arm on the guitar. (I am open to trying other ways as well.)




    Let me know how I might improve things. Improvement is deeply needed.
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  24. #123

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    Hold on a sec, Mark. I made a vid talking about a bunch of the stuff I've learned, and am uploading it. It's about 10 minutes long though, so it'll be a sec. Hopefully it'll help you figure some of the positioning out.

  25. #124

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    Okay, I did a third video, just under a minute in length. We can call this attempt the Third Way.


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

  26. #125

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    Quote Originally Posted by ecj View Post
    Hold on a sec, Mark. I made a vid talking about a bunch of the stuff I've learned, and am uploading it. It's about 10 minutes long though, so it'll be a sec. Hopefully it'll help you figure some of the positioning out.
    Thanks. A 10-minute video would take my laptop a half-hour to upload...
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  27. #126

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    Haha, it took forever but here it is. Sorry the sound quality is so bad, I should've plugged in. It's kind of hard to hear the guitar sometimes.

    Check it out and see if that helps:



    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.

  28. #127

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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...
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

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

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  29. #128

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes View Post
    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?
    Patrick2 . . Heritage representative (now former)

  30. #129

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    Quote Originally Posted by ecj View Post
    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....
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  31. #130

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    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick2 View Post
    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.
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  32. #131

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
    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.
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  33. #132

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
    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.

  34. #133

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    Thanks ecj, great video lesson and explanation.
    B+
    Frank (aka fep)

  35. #134

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    Quote Originally Posted by fep View Post
    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.

  36. #135

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    Quote Originally Posted by ecj View Post
    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.
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  37. #136

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    Tomorrow----he warned---I shall return standing and strapped. We'll see if that helps...
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  38. #137

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    Quote Originally Posted by ecj View Post
    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.
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  39. #138

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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

  40. #139

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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.

  41. #140

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    Quote Originally Posted by setemupjoe View Post
    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)
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  42. #141

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    Quote Originally Posted by Richb View Post
    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.
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  43. #142

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    Here is this morning's take, 'standing and strapped.' I think I'm getting there. (Not there at all yet but closer...)

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

  44. #143

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    Mark, I like the placement of your index finger much better in this video, it is no longer pointing towards the tip of the pick. And you definately are using that 'wrist hinge' type movement. It really looks to me like you have it now. Now, it's probably just getting comfortable with it and hitting the wood shed (something I also need to do).
    B+
    Frank (aka fep)

  45. #144

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    Quote Originally Posted by ecj View Post
    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.
    Yeah, I noticed that. That's next on my agenda... Though he is sitting there and I'm standing now! (I'll play some sitting too, of course, but it's easier to make a change while standing now because I haven't stood in awhile.)
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  46. #145

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    Quote Originally Posted by fep View Post
    Mark, I like the placement of your index finger much better in this video, it is no longer pointing towards the tip of the pick. And you definately are using that 'wrist hinge' type movement. It really looks to me like you have it now. Now, it's probably just getting comfortable with it and hitting the wood shed (something I also need to do).
    I'll have to watch again and see where my index finger is pointing!

    As for hitting the shed, you're right about that. And it raises the question: what to practice?

    One possibility is 'just whatever you're working on anyway.' (Tunes, lines, arpeggios, what have you.)
    What are the other possibilities? Are some better than others? This, I do not know.
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  47. #146

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    ha...who want to play very fast?

  48. #147

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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
    Patrick2 . . Heritage representative (now former)

  49. #148

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    Here's my current take on the GB tech:



    It's been 6 months since I switched from 'traditional' picking to the Benson style and I'm still refining it, but so far I'm glad I did. I bought the coaching package from JC Stylles and can recommend that to anyone interested in trying out this style - also Philco has given me some great tips and insights into it all. I'm probably doing it 90% similar to how JC does it, while trying out other things that might better suit my physique, musical style etc. - like anything, it's a work in progress.

    Mark, that last video you posted seems a lot more in the 'GB' direction. I tried to shoot this vid demonstrating how my right arm sits on the guitar in response to your question, also I tried to mix it up between slower 8ths and a few 16ths so it would be easier see what I'm doing. Like ECJ mentioned in his vid (which I dug), I'm also a bit cautious about publicly giving away specific details I got from JC Stylles, so in addition to this thread, I'll PM you about some extra ideas I think may help based on what you've posted here (since you've also bought the tutorial).

    Also IME this technique can look really different depending on the camera angle, in terms of the wrist being 'cupped' or flat.

  50. #149

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    Mark - the new vid looks a lot better. Nothing jumps out at me, so just keep working at it. You're getting there. Remember to relax, and start to really think about focusing on small stuff, one thing at a time, etc...

    3625 - nice playing, man. Love that tone.

    Richb - love you, man, but get a new hobby.

  51. #150

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    Quote Originally Posted by kris View Post
    ha...who want to play very fast?
    Coltrane.