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  1. #2101

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    Quote Originally Posted by djg View Post
    really?

    edit: i would put it to you guys that troy grady is wrong on pretty much every aspect of benson's picking.
    Yeah I wonder.

    I found that the pick angle of Benson picking made it easier to upstroke than trad grip.

    I've approached TG with a request to cover Sheryl or some other Benson picker in detail but they really aren't interested. It's just DWPS they say.

    Well, life has a habit of surprising you!

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  3. #2102

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    Quote Originally Posted by djg View Post
    well, "they" don't have a clue. benson picks exactly like farlow? lmao. and what is this nonsense about only ever changing strings after an upstroke? i'm willing to bet that grady has never "tabbed out" a single george benson line. you think TG is able to write out a benson line with correct fingerings? no way, josé.
    That said, does Farlow pick that way for that matter?

    I say 'they' because while I was in contact with Troy directly a few years ago (he sent me a nice response to a blog I posted) now it's a whole team.

    The lack of curiosity to 'just see' regarding Benson picking is concerning. I appreciate Troy's work on picking, but he is focussing more and more on fusion/rock players who while impressive aren't really my thing (but I understand why commercially, also this is TG's own area of interest). Also isn't a but unscientific to make assumptions like this when I have yet to see a slow cam vid of a Benson picker's right hand?

    I await his work on Mike Stern and Pat Martino with interest - has he released anything like that yet? I haven't checked.

    What I need to do is get the smart phone adapter thing and film a Benson picker in action - maybe Sheryl when she's next over and up for it.

    It might be easier for someone in the US to do this. There are few if any formally trained Benson pickers in the UK, although some players use a self-taught variant of the technique.

    I'd also like to ask if anyone has gone to the trouble of tabbing out Benson's lines with correct fingering and articulation and if they'd be so kind as to post them here? I'd do it myself, but Benson isn't really my main focus of interest, although I am curious to see.

  4. #2103

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    Quote Originally Posted by djg View Post
    you're a gipsy picker, right? so when TG speaks about benson being a gipsy picker who only ever changes strings after an upstroke, you know he's talking out of his rear end, right?

    scott gormley did a vid with dan wilson that was very helpful. dunno if it's still up. regarding fingerings i'd suggest to do it yourself. try the a-section of myna bird for starters. that's a fun one.

    I think my knowledge of Benson picking is not sufficiently advanced to make that call, but I'll take your word for it. I certainly notice that it is easier to alternate pick at speed and up sweep using my half assed Benson grip. It's almost enough to make the switch. But not quite...

    TBH I really don't have time to completely rework my technique unless I have a pressing reason to do so.... but I am interested to find out more to develop my knowledge.

  5. #2104

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    From my limited knowledge I would describe Benson picking as almost using the pick shape itself to facilitate what Grady calls two way pick slanting. Man is missing a trick if I am right!

  6. #2105

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    The big issue to me with the Troy Grady assumptions about what Benson is doing is that, like you say, he hasn't actually filmed it. I think there's more going on than just the DWPS, although I do think Benson uses that most of the time. Seems to be something useful or magical about the pick position.

    I know Rodney Jones teaches people to use gypsy pick patterns on ascending lines and alternate pick on descending lines. Not sure if that's just his thing, or if he picked that up from Benson. JC Stylles, who I took a couple lessons from, didn't do any of the rest-stroke stuff, and he plays a lot of Benson licks and vocabulary.

    I've been working a lot with both the standard right hand position and the Benson one, going through Grady's materials. Still can't figure out why but I can get a good 10-15 bpm boost out of Benson picking. Maybe it's just me and my own physiology or something. I'm pretty convinced that it's easier to relax in the Benson style because you don't have to support your arm above the strings fighting against gravity, and can instead just let gravity pull your arm down. Whatever the case is, for me an eighth note lick that I top out at around 280-290 bpm using standard position will fall easily using Benson picking at 300-320 no matter how much I try to work it up with standard.

    Would love to see him get Perry Hughes, or Henry Johnson, or one of the guys who Benson actually personally taught on camera. I love Sheryl Bailey's playing, but she's not a direct receiver of the technique the way those other guys are.

    And, I mean at the end of the day the reason we're all obsessed with Benson is because he's way better than everyone else. Maybe it's just him and has nothing to do with the particulars of the positioning, but every time I start getting too far down the rabbit hole of thinking about someone else's technique I go listen to this and realize that none of those guys can play at those high speeds with that great feel that Benson can. I mean listen to this shit.



    Everyone else sounds so stiff and ridiculous at those speeds on guitar compared to what Benson is pulling off. It's nuts.

  7. #2106

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    Quote Originally Posted by djg View Post
    but you do gipsy pick? do you only ever change strings after an upstroke as TG implies being essential to this picking? does TG mention rest-strokes and their importance anywhere in his vids?
    For 8ths at around 280 + ish TG's analysis seems correct to me. You have to string hop (inefficient) to move up a string after a downstroke (that's what he said) so even numbers of picked notes are important in descending lines.

    You could use 2nps shapes in descent. This is a recognised feature of the Dutch school Manouche players. GJ is very licky....

    You can also use legato. I prefer this option - allows more flexibility....

    So his analysis of GJ picking is spot on IMO.

    IIRC according to TG every non 'cross-picking' player does rest strokes at speed whether they realise it or not.
    Last edited by christianm77; 07-29-2017 at 09:06 PM.

  8. #2107

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    Quote Originally Posted by djg View Post
    why are we talking descending now?

    again, when you play ascending lines, do you only ever change strings after an upstroke like TG claims as being essential to gipsy picking? yesno?

    or am i misunderstanding the TG interview?
    Yeah you misunderstood TG

    You can do whatever you want when ascending

  9. #2108

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    Quote Originally Posted by djg View Post
    so you're saying the whole TG deal about DWPS and what not only applies to descending lines? that can't be right?
    Gypsy picking creates an asymmetry in ones playing. It is far easier for me to ascend arpeggios or 3nps patterns than to descend. Easier as in I can play ascending lines at any speed with any combination of notes per string.

    Going down, not so much.

    This is due to the way the pick works differently on upstrokes to downstrokes.

    aren't there a ton of vids out there about dwps and changing strings from low to high?? isn't the point of this dwps theory to get out of the plane of the string for the next downstroke on the higher string?
    Dwps means your upstrokes come out of the plane of the strings. If your pick is buried in the next string down it's basically impossible to then move your pick outwards in its plane of movement without hitting the next string up.

    It's probably easier if you try it :-)

    So you have to hop over it - very inefficient movement.

    Ascending it's easy - you either alternate or economy pick and nothing is hard.

    ...

    i just watched a TG vid and it's clearly about ascending?



    he clearly says that "every last note on a string must be an upstroke".

    so again i must ask. is his description of gipsy picking correct? it's gipsy a dwps technique that *requires* only to change strings after an upstroke for ascending lines? from what i know it's incorrect. it certainly is with benson picking. (i thought we did agree on that a looong time ago?)

    i also think that TG hedges, by calling the gipsy/benson economy thing "sweeping".
    Dunno haven't watched that one. I paid for his DWPS content (on Yngwie!) and I found it to be helpful and as I have described it.

    His description of gypsy picking is accurate. He has after all videoed one of its leading proponents, Joscho Stephan, in some detail.

    The same cannot be said of a Benson picker.
    Last edited by christianm77; 07-30-2017 at 05:53 AM.

  10. #2109

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    Quote Originally Posted by djg View Post
    this feels a bit like nailing pudding to the wall (no offense, chris). i just watched a joscho vid by TG and joscho just picks the usual economy down alternate up style. there is absolutely no sign of only changing strings after an upstroke when ascending. if there is any preference it's for 3as (i don't dig the term three notes per string and prefer three attacks per string) so the *preferred* picking of as well gipsy and benson is to change after a*downstroke* when ascending. which is the opposite of what TG claims.

    you wrote: "It is far easier for me to ascend arpeggios or 3nps patterns than to descend." so obviously you do prefer to change strings after a downstroke when ascending (as you should imo) and are not following the TG rule.

    here's the vid.



    0:55 has a super-clear economy-picked ascending scale fragment.
    I'm not sure what you want from me lol.

    Dude I really don't have time to watch these vids as I'm teaching today and have a gig tonight, but all I can say is that changing upwards (physically) by a string after an upstroke is much easier than doing so than after a downstroke when using a downward pick slant.

    I remember TG saying that and I was like 'aha!' Instantly it made sense on a physical level.

    Ascending (as in playing lines going up in pitch) any combination works great. Gypsy picking is 'always start a new string on a downstroke', but other things are possible. For instance Clarence White style country cross picking is DWPS and goes DDU across the strings.

    Descending (playing lines going down in pitch) it is awkward changing string after an upstroke. I notice Joscho cheats his descending arps a bit at tempo by economy picking them. 2 consecutive upstrokes are practical. More than that is awkward without changing pick slant.

    In my professional musical life I play DWPS picking, and these are my experiences. If that's not good enough for you, I'm not sure I can help you.
    Last edited by christianm77; 07-30-2017 at 10:32 AM.

  11. #2110
    Two videos were you can see clearly how Perry picks. To my ears Perry has the most "bensonish" feeling of all the Benson Pickers. I see a lot of consecutive picking but not a lot of rest strokes. What do you think guys?




  12. #2111

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    Quote Originally Posted by nunocpinto View Post
    Two videos were you can see clearly how Perry picks. To my ears Perry has the most "bensonish" feeling of all the Benson Pickers. I see a lot of consecutive picking but not a lot of rest strokes. What do you think guys?



    I guess we're seeing different things or we have different definitions of rest stroke because it looks like he's using the rest stroke in that first video. The downward pick slant can't help but land the pick against the next string. His right hand technique and mine are very similar. Perry is just a much hipper player than me. Lol.

  13. #2112
    Quote Originally Posted by nunocpinto View Post
    Two videos were you can see clearly how Perry picks. To my ears Perry has the most "bensonish" feeling of all the Benson Pickers. I see a lot of consecutive picking but not a lot of rest strokes. What do you think guys?




    Yeah in the first video there are rest strokes all over. Part of his style.
    What I see in that first clip:
    • Zero muting on the bridge.
    • Rest strokes
    • Thin plectrum. Thinner than a Fender Medium. In fact, it could be a Fender thin. There are other videos of him using a Thin.
    • Beautiful feel.....timing. So in the pocket.

  14. #2113
    Just found an even better video with a camera angle that shows is right hand and how he never rest-strokes or at least not most of the time!. Solo starts around 4.00 minutes.


  15. #2114

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    Quote Originally Posted by nunocpinto View Post
    Just found an even better video with a camera angle that shows is right hand and how he never rest-strokes or at least not most of the time!. Solo starts around 4.00 minutes.

    Well, I'm not sure what you want here. The video could be some free strokes in places and could be rest strokes in other places. It's really not clear. If you're trying to justify not using rest strokes I don't think you need to validate it with these clips. Just play the way you want to play and if it's working for you then that's all the validation you need.
    I mostly use rest strokes but there are times when I don't. I caught myself the other day in a lick swinging my pick out of the string plane on a down pick on the 2nd string so I could come back around with an up pick on the 3rd string. That's something I didn't realize I did but it works for me.
    I think the rest stroke is an important part of the Benson arsenal but it's not 100% of the time and others may have less use for it. I think it contributes to that hard snap in his picking. That's one thing I noticed about Rodney Jones' playing when I studied with him that I loved and wanted to emulate.
    However you end up doing it, remember that if it feels good, you're on the right track. Benson Picking technique on Gibson L5 Wesmo

  16. #2115

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    It's hard to tell when rest stokes are being used at speed (!)

    Whatever people do in medium tempo playing doesn't necessarily have any connection to what they do when the shit hits the bebop fan. Gypsy Jazz is unusual in plectrum guitar circles in that it enshrines rest strokes at all tempos - but it does this because of the need for acoustic projection.

    Troy contends (and I don't necessarily say he's right, just reporting on what he said) that most players use rest strokes when picking fast... The exceptions to the rule are those alternate pickers he calls 'cross pickers' (like Craig Milner and Miller) who have developed away of dipping in and out of the strings at speed.

    To me this makes sense, but of course we have no real idea whether or not Benson pickers use rest strokes because the fecker won't film them.

    At a guess from my own experience I would say they do when playing fast, but we await video evidence ;-)

  17. #2116

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    I'm following with great interest, and using a D'Andrea teardrop + DWPS to taste (in traditional - not Benson - grip).

    Watching Alessio Marconi - not for 'Benson-picking', but for the successful way he's harnessed pick-slant. In Italian - no subs, but a demonstration and contrast at the two-minute mark.



    Check this out:

  18. #2117

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    Quote Originally Posted by nunocpinto View Post
    Just found an even better video with a camera angle that shows is right hand and how he never rest-strokes or at least not most of the time!. Solo starts around 4.00 minutes.

    Really can't tell whether he's using rest-strokes or not, but I very much enjoyed hearing Perry Hughes use a wah-wah! (It woke me from my reverie - I'd been half-expecting Chuck Mangione to join in.)

  19. #2118

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    I've been gone from the forum for several months. I chuckled out loud when I saw that this thread is STILL going strong. Incredible.

  20. #2119
    I've seen one of these videos and this one looks like it's from the same show. Man, Benson is just ripping it up on a blues.
    He had a lot of his technique down at 21 years of age.
    Apologies if this has been posted before......but I have not seen this one.
    The famous "chicken squawk" is also present here.


  21. #2120

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    On the other hand, Peter Farrell is not the source (then again, neither does he claim to be), but he teaches with such (humble) transparency that the source looms large.

    Posting to plug the news below (gratitude and admiration are my only affiliation), but I'll take the liberty of adding a word to the wise: Peter teaches how to use both hands.

  22. #2121

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    Quote Originally Posted by destinytot View Post
    Posting to plug the news below (gratitude and admiration are my only affiliation), but I'll take the liberty of adding a word to the wise: Peter teaches how to use both hands.
    That was my big "aha" thing. Not the right hand, which if you are just DWPS with rest strokes and using the mechanically hyper-efficient motion that Benson picking allows is not that crazy difficult to realize. But the left hand. Once I took a lesson from JC Stylles and he showed how easily all the bebop scales fall under this technique it started to make a lot more sense. I still struggle with how to execute arpeggio patterns without relying on sweep picking, but any line with step-wise motion is just easy as sin to work up to speed now.

    Things that I think are important:

    - Tuck Andress was impressed because George had the best feel with speed. There are a ton of other guys with speed. None of them have the feel.
    - Benson himself said that he was "not a technical player". That Martino and McLaughlin could do things he "wished he could do", and that he learned picking the "wrong way". This to me suggests that his picking style doesn't magically allow one to play whatever shred pattern 90% of the guys on the internet who are interested in "Benson picking" are really eager to perform. It's suited for jazz, and that vocabulary. Henry Johnson talks about this on a forum thread somewhere on the internet, too.
    - Benson can play most of his vocabulary with his thumb. He's an admirer of Wes almost to the extent of being a disciple.

    This stuff all to me says downward pick slanting with a system of fingering conventions to not require anything trickier than that. Seems to work for me 90% of the time, but then I get frustrated like christian talks about that I can't play whatever other pattern I try that uses some kind of weird cross-picking and go back to fucking around with Troy Grady's videos and alternate picking in different positions.

    I'd probably be a way better player if I just ignored everything else and focused on (1) Benson pick grip, (2) DWPS patterns, and (3) bebop scales, but whattryagonnado.

  23. #2122
    Quote Originally Posted by ecj View Post
    I'd probably be a way better player if I just ignored everything else and focused on (1) Benson pick grip, (2) DWPS patterns, and (3) bebop scales, but whattryagonnado.
    Couldn't agree more.
    It's easy to get lured into the shred thing and I think it's impossible NOT to when you are at a certain age.

    The closest Benson ever got to shredding was in the "Take Five Period" or just after that. It was impressive for a minute but then.......even he stopped doing it.
    In his really early days he had great speed and WAS including bop language into a lot of his playing. IMO he is the only bop guitar player to ever do that. I'm talking about the early albums.

    He didn't cross strings in an arpeggio fashion but rather he invented a bunch of startling sweep licks that he used to great effect. But they were like "one of" He never used them over and over.
    George has always had taste and always plays the great notes.

    Regardless of his great technique, the one thing that separates GB from everyone else, is his choice of notes. George has great lines, and that's why people (including non guitar players) love him.
    Charlie Parker also had great lines. When you hear a great bop line it kind of stops you in your tracks. It's a beautiful thing.

    But to your point......a lot of the cross picking type lines that bop requires cannot be executed in a shred fashion.
    Oberg can do it .....but.....well........ it doesn't work for me anyway. He is the most technical player with great chops but I'm never drawn to listen to him.
    You can shred bop scales....sure. That doesn't sound like bop to me.
    All shredders do is find what is comfortable for them and work like hell on it. I did it for years. It's not that hard, you just have to be fanatical.

    As soon as you start crossing strings and try to articulate the more harmonically demanding ideas that bop requires you are going to have to either sweep or come up with a tech that hasn't been invented yet.

    When you do come up with that tech I can guarantee you one result.
    You will bore the pants off everyone, bar a few beginner guitar players.

  24. #2123

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    Last edited by destinytot; 08-12-2017 at 02:38 AM.

  25. #2124

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    Interesting stuff - I'll just chip in that as a gypsy picker with similar limitations, I find that
    1) bop scales in descent are very natural for me (and anything chromatic stuff really)
    2) it's helpful for me to focus on articulating upstrokes
    3) I don't actually like the sound of too many unadulterated bop scales like that - sounds a bit 'downbeaty'

  26. #2125

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    Oh also I incorporate some legato in my left hand to smooth things out and it is also mechanically helpful too. Is this a part of GB style picking?

  27. #2126

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    Quote Originally Posted by djg View Post
    i'd love to hear more about your approach. could you give an example on how you negotiate a descenting bebop-scale? do you play 2 or 3 nps? do you attack every note? do you play economy up, alternate down?
    Basically what I was shown by JC Stylles is to use a left hand position that covers 5 possible frets. You have your 1-4 home base, then stretch back with the 1st finger as needed. He didn't teach using rest strokes, but if you're using R-hand rest downstrokes with this basic approach you pretty quickly realize that you can play 8th note lines forever in whatever direction with however many notes on each string as long as you use pull-offs to allow yourself to always switch strings on a downstroke.

    JC Stylles was kind of a weird case when I started studying my Skype lessons with him because he also starts a lot of lines with an upstroke. Not sure what else to say about that, but there it is.

    I haven't seen Benson do his thing up close and personal, and there are definitely some things he does that I can't figure out, but if you just do this you can get pretty close to the sound of his super fast lines if you also include some of the sweeps like what Philco was talking about. A very "Bensonish" thing to do in my eyes is sweep up a 7th arpeggio and then use the chromatic passing tones of the bebop scale as you rip back down.

    Benson's speedy vocabulary is super chromatic when descending and almost never has wide interval leaps on the descent, which really makes sense with this technique when you start thinking about it logistically. That's basically what Montgomery is doing, although he has (imo) even better note choices. I think if you listen to that touplets lick from Off the Top that is so insane and see how chromatic it is, that's a great example.

    So, yes, basically the gypsy thing, and then Benson also has those insanely weird octave displacement things he does that I think use a lot of sweeping with upward pick slanting. I can only do a few of those so I wouldn't make any claims about how the hell he does it. Sounds bad ass, though.

    I also think on this thread you'll see people pretty consistently getting distracted by watching what's happening when people are playing slower. In my opinion as an amateur or "semi-pro" player, you can work literally any ridiculous fingering or picking system up to playing around 8th notes at 280. It's once you get up above 300 that you have to have a more intentional system to survive on a tune.

    I've been trying to rebuild a lot of my basic vocabulary to have a higher ceiling, because nothing sucks more than getting clowned by some sax player on Cherokee. One of my favorite things about listening to Benson is when he shreds the sax/piano/organ player. You just never hear a guitar player that can do that.

    Also, everything Philco said about bop language x 1,000. Even Benson can't compare to those ridiculous Parker lines. Wish you could do that on guitar, but, again, like Philco says no one will care. That's why I spend at least twice as much time practicing my singing as I do my picking.

  28. #2127

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Oh also I incorporate some legato in my left hand to smooth things out and it is also mechanically helpful too. Is this a part of GB style picking?
    Yes, I think it's absolutely essential and used in a similar way. When you have 3 notes to play on a string on a descending line you pick 2 and pull off just like the gypsy pickers.

    I think I saw it from Henry Johnson but might be misattributing. He said whenever you can't figure out the right way to articulate a line to have a good jazz style, just put your pick down and figure out how to play it with your thumb, then do that pattern with your pick.

  29. #2128

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    Sorry, one more post in this little drive by then I gotta run.

    Check out this and then the rest of the clips from this set:



    It's Oberg and Mike Reinhardt jamming on a few things. To me, this set shows the power of the rest stroke thing.

    Oberg has got to be the most crazy technical alt-picker jazzer out there. But, to me, Reinhardt's sound is much stronger and more confident here. I think it's the rest strokes. His feel is more relaxed (even if it's a European feel and not true swing/funky like Benson). To be Oberg sounds less locked into the groove.

    To me, anyway, the biggest realization for me in playing over the last several years is that all of the players whose feel and time I admire the most are rest stroke pickers. Django, Christian, Montgomery, Pass, Benson. They all used rest strokes. I think the rest strokes help you lock in a more confident time. Alt-picking tends to sound stiffer and less fluid to me. There are crazy amazing alt-pickers, even in straight jazz like Pat Martino, but they always sound stiff to me.

    Your mileage may vary, but I think if you don't hear and feel that then spending your time on Benson picking is probably a waste and you're better off focusing on learning what Troy Grady is teaching.

  30. #2129

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    Quote Originally Posted by ecj View Post
    Yes, I think it's absolutely essential and used in a similar way. When you have 3 notes to play on a string on a descending line you pick 2 and pull off just like the gypsy pickers.

    I think I saw it from Henry Johnson but might be misattributing. He said whenever you can't figure out the right way to articulate a line to have a good jazz style, just put your pick down and figure out how to play it with your thumb, then do that pattern with your pick.
    Yeah I dig that bit of advice. Sometimes when I can't be bothered to dig out a pick i just practice with my thumb, and it's always quite fun to work out how to play stuff.

  31. #2130
    GB is using lots of slurs and pull offs in the early recording. It's complicated stuff and hard to emulate. Very exciting.

    The diatonic or more modal stuff that came later allowed him to use more scalar lines. Lots of simple pentatonic stuff as well. Much easier to blast through that style. Of course, there is always the blues element present

    There are very few changes to worry about in his later stuff......no fast moving 11 V 1's to navigate.
    It's really only the early GB recordings where he had to make some challenging changes at speed. In fact, it's hard to find recordings of him navigating challenging changes. There aren't that many.

    He stopped doing that well before the big success of Breezin.
    Then he was free to use his amazing chops on fairly straight forward changes.....or no changes at all.
    That's when the shred came into it. A lot more picking and less slurring.

    My theory is: Less bop changes = easier to play.
    I mean......look at what Pasquale Grasso has to do to play in the early bop style...... what both his hands have to do to emulate that sound.
    Some outrageously, seriously demanding stuff.
    That's a life's work right there.

  32. #2131

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    Quote Originally Posted by Philco View Post
    GB is using lots of slurs and pull offs in the early recording. It's complicated stuff and hard to emulate. Very exciting.

    The diatonic or more modal stuff that came later allowed him to use more scalar lines. Lots of simple pentatonic stuff as well. Much easier to blast through that style. Of course, there is always the blues element present

    There are very few changes to worry about in his later stuff......no fast moving 11 V 1's to navigate.
    It's really only the early GB recordings where he had to make some challenging changes at speed. In fact, it's hard to find recordings of him navigating challenging changes. There aren't that many.

    He stopped doing that well before the big success of Breezin.
    Then he was free to use his amazing chops on fairly straight forward changes.....or no changes at all.
    That's when the shred came into it. A lot more picking and less slurring.

    My theory is: Less bop changes = easier to play.
    I mean......look at what Pasquale Grasso has to do to play in the early bop style...... what both his hands have to do to emulate that sound.
    Some outrageously, seriously demanding stuff.
    That's a life's work right there.
    Yeah but PG is a student of Barry Harris, and playing a bop tune using that approach is more like playing on vamp changes than you'd perhaps think.... PG plays bebop lines which express interesting harmony but the underlying basis is often surprisingly simple.

    It's like strip down and re-embellish. A Barry student would think of a simple I-IV-V blues for example, but embellishing using internalised scale devices and substitutes so you hear all kinds of clever harmony which you can tell them about afterwards :-) these things are more in the ears and fingers than in the theoretic brain so to speak....

    Using this approach, i don't find bop changes hard at all provided a spend a hour or two playing through the tune to familiarise myself with the nooks and crannies.

    TBF moments notice or old milestones are a bit more challenging but BH doesn't really teach these tunes AFAIK.

    To my ears GB plays bop on modal vamps - that's a different thing to playing modal stuff on bop tunes (which is what these modernists like to do haha.)
    Last edited by christianm77; 08-13-2017 at 03:06 PM.

  33. #2132
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Yeah but PG is a student of Barry Harris, and playing a bop tune using that approach is more like playing on vamp changes than you'd perhaps think.... PG plays bebop lines which express interesting harmony but the underlying basis is often surprisingly simple.

    It's like strip down and re-embellish. A Barry student would think of a simple I-IV-V blues for example, but embellishing using internalised scale devices and substitutes so you hear all kinds of clever harmony which you can tell them about afterwards :-) these things are more in the ears and fingers than in the theoretic brain so to speak....

    Using this approach, i don't find bop changes hard at all provided a spend a hour or two playing through the tune to familiarise myself with the nooks and crannies.

    TBF moments notice or old milestones are a bit more challenging but BH doesn't really teach these tunes AFAIK.

    To my ears GB plays bop on modal vamps - that's a different thing to playing modal stuff on bop tunes (which is what these modernists like to do haha.)
    Yeah GB is definitely using his old bop licks on the modal songs but during that phase, he also introduced more pentatonic and more chromatic material.

    When I watched his instructional DVD I was amazed at how much traditional bop language he knew.

    I'm glad you fleshed out the Barry Harris comment because I was about to ask you about that. I am not sure what you mean by "vamp changes".

    I actually have the Barry Harris material on the way so I'll be delving deep and no doubt asking a few questions.

  34. #2133

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    Quote Originally Posted by Philco View Post
    Yeah GB is definitely using his old bop licks on the modal songs but during that phase, he also introduced more pentatonic and more chromatic material.
    I'm not sure if I know exactly what you mean here (pentatonic blues lines have always been a part of the bop language of by bop we mean Charlie Parker) but I would also say I'm not the biggest Bensonian out there! Obviously his playing evolved over time...

    When I watched his instructional DVD I was amazed at how much traditional bop language he knew.
    Perhaps if you were more familiar with his later stuff... But Benson was very much Wes's heir apparent - he mentored with the greats and played bop as well as anyone. He is certainly one of the most swinging guitar players I ever heard.

    Unfortunately Benson was coming up in a time where old school swinging, changes jazz was becoming more and more eclipsed by popular music of various kinds, and jazz itself was changing... so Benson did his vocal thing... but to be fair to him he never stopped playing jazz guitar to a stellar level as part of his shows.

    I'm glad you fleshed out the Barry Harris comment because I was about to ask you about that. I am not sure what you mean by "vamp changes".
    vamps, like a ii V Latin thing, or when it goes I bVII I on Broadway etc... although a few of Bensons famous tunes have changes to them as well. Vamp as in sticks around on one or two chords as opposed to following functional harmony like an old vocal standard.

    I actually have the Barry Harris material on the way so I'll be delving deep and no doubt asking a few questions.
    Cool, feel free to ask! There are a few Barry heads knocking around here.

  35. #2134

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    I like the stretching back thing. I teach that, but it was my wife who plays cello who pointed out the difference between stretching back and stretching up.

    Beginning players often get stuck in too low a position.

  36. #2135

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Yeah I dig that bit of advice. Sometimes when I can't be bothered to dig out a pick i just practice with my thumb, and it's always quite fun to work out how to play stuff.
    I think this is an important piece of advice. When I took some lessons with Rodney Jones he really pushed me to start using my thumb. There's an early record where Rodney pretty much only uses his thumb. GB uses his thumb on some things on his early organ records for sure, pretty sure Henry Johnson did as well.

    The thumb really makes you articulate in a similar way to an "mostly downstrokes" player like Charlie Christian, as well, who was obviously a huge influence on Wes.

    Just thinking about this whole school of ridiculously swinging players makes me want to practice more with the thumb. Jimmy Ponder and William Ash, too.

  37. #2136

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    So we are agreed that downstroke heavy rest stroke picking is the natural technique of jazz guitar, and all this alternate picking malllarky is a more recent thing (possibly influenced by shred and or country guitar?)

    I was wondering that .... I feel that even various forms of two way economy picking have more history in jazz than alternate, Martino and Garland nonwithstanding...

    Anyway it's not to say alternate is wrong in any way. But I would say alternate is actually harder and obviously a bit less suited to acoustic playing (although country players can project with this technique.)

    Anyway, alternate picking with downstrokes on the beat and upstrokes on the upbeat is something I practice and I think is worth looking into. But then it's also good to practice upbeats on downstrokes too. Your picking will get turned around rhythmically unless you a super strict Jesse Van Ruller style picker.
    Last edited by christianm77; 08-15-2017 at 01:06 PM.

  38. #2137

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    So we are agreed that downstroke heavy rest stroke picking is the natural technique of jazz guitar, and all this alternate picking malllarky is a more recent thing (possibly influenced by shred and or country guitar?)

    I was wondering that .... I feel that even various forms of two way economy picking have more history in jazz than alternate, Martino and Garland nonwithstanding...

    Anyway it's not to say alternate is wrong in any way. But I would say alternate is actually harder and obviously a bit less suited to acoustic playing (although country players can project with this technique.)

    Anyway, alternate picking with downstrokes on the beat and upstrokes on the upbeat is something I practice and I think is worth looking into. But then it's also good to practice upbeats on downstrokes too. Your picking will get turned around rhythmically unless you a super strict Jesse Van Ruller style picker.
    I think that's right Christian. Not sure where the alt-picking-as-gospel started, maybe GIT?

    The only downside of doing it the rest stroke only way is that it's pretty idiomatic so I've found that tackling a classical piece or something can be challenging. When I go with the conceptual thumb approach my feel, time, and ease increases 200% and I feel more jazz like, but it feels like I can only play jazz doing it.

    Not sure if that's a problem, but I think in the end you have to make choices. There's no single best approach for everything.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  39. #2138

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    Quote Originally Posted by djg View Post
    thank you. rodney jones has a similar concept regarding the index finger. i've posted a few examples about GB's strange looking UWPS for sweeps.

    so you always change on a downstroke, even when descending?

    how would you guys pick this passage? like me with consecutive upstrokes, or econ up alt down (like bireli picks it)
    The first 6 notes would be down on 6th string, down on 5th string, down on 4th string, then stay on 4th string with an up, down, up. Repeat lick starting on 5th string, then 4th string.

  40. #2139

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    Quote Originally Posted by djg View Post
    thank you. rodney jones has a similar concept regarding the index finger. i've posted a few examples about GB's strange looking UWPS for sweeps.

    so you always change on a downstroke, even when descending?

    how would you guys pick this passage? like me with consecutive upstrokes, or econ up alt down (like bireli picks it)
    This one lays fine for alternate picking, to me.

  41. #2140

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    Daryl Darden - love the last clip, Road Song:



    Last edited by destinytot; 08-23-2017 at 04:33 PM.

  42. #2141

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    Sorry for resurrecting this thread..

    I just stumbled across another thread regarding Benson’s technique, which I’d never taken notice of before - probably because I have other favourites on guitar. I noticed my picking technique is remarkably similar to this, though my pick is a bit smaller and I choke up on it more (right index finger super close to the strings). Are there any advantages and disadvantages to this technique? Obvious one might be “well benson uses it” so you could play quick. I alternate pick quite a bit.

    cheers

  43. #2142
    To be brief:
    Advantages: Less forearm movement. Very relaxed arm and mainly wrist movement. No tension. Lends itself to rest stroke playing and alternate playing.
    Disadvantage: Hard to mute ringing strings. Hard to Hybrid pick.

  44. #2143

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    Quote Originally Posted by Philco View Post
    To be brief:
    Advantages: Less forearm movement. Very relaxed arm and mainly wrist movement. No tension. Lends itself to rest stroke playing and alternate playing.
    Disadvantage: Hard to mute ringing strings. Hard to Hybrid pick.
    Great thanks,

    This is what came most naturally to me, try not to put too much thought into it. My ears tell me.

    Maybe my technique is a bit different then, because I don't get ringing strings (I think the base of my palm is close enough to the strings, and my palm is parallel. Looks like Benson's palm is 45 degrees to the strings?). I also don't like hybrid picking, so no worries there.

    I'll have to read through this thread at some point..looks a little daunting though.

  45. #2144

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    Man, I used to check this thread every day!
    Still think it's one of the crown jewel threads of this Forum, and thank God a patient pro such as Philco kicked it off and kept it running smoothly. Patience and generosity are virtues and he exhibits them here in a most admirable way.

    Benson picking turned out not to be the thing for me but it was a crucial step in my 'journey' toward tolerable picking. (Not all the way there yet but I think I see---could it be?---land, ho!)

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

  46. #2145

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    Well, finally got through all the posts on this thread. Someone mentioned the similarities of this technique and playing with the thumb. I used to play with my thumb, so it’s no wonder I naturally held the pick like this..

  47. #2146

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    He posted in another thread on Benson picking.

    I assume everyone here knows who he is, and of his connection with George Benson.

    Actual Examples of George Benson Picking

    See post #31
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola