New to Gypsy Jazz, looking for feedback

MoggyMoggy New
edited August 2013 in Welcome Posts: 5
Hi Folks,
I've just learned my first Gypsy Jazz tune, "minor swing" (who would have guessed!) and I posted a video of me playing it with a friend on double bass. I'd very much appreciate any feedback. Right now I'm not trying to emulate strict Gypsy Jazz picking technique and instead have adapted what I already do, which is using a thumb pick and three fingers. I hope that doesn't offend the traditionalists. Maybe later on I'll try it with a plectrum and real gypsy jazz guitar, (when I can afford one), but for now I have to use what I have. Thanks all, here's a link:


  • crookedpinkycrookedpinky Glasgow✭✭✭✭ Alex Bishop D Hole, Altamira M & JWC D hole
    Posts: 921
    Hi there, I think that's really nice. Is it gypsy jazz ? Maybe not but who cares it's lovely playing and you've adapted your own technique pretty well. Sometimes I think we get too concerned about technique - especially here on this forum - and we forget about the music. As - I believe - Frank Zappa once said I think we should sometimes just "shut up and play yer guitar..."

    Look forward to hearing more of your playing.
    always learning
  • MoggyMoggy New
    Posts: 5
    Thank you for your kind comment Alan, possibly it wouldn't be considered true Gypsy Jazz because of the way I'm picking it, but I love Django's music and am trying at least being true to his melody and feel.

    All the best,
  • Lango-DjangoLango-Django Niagara-On-The-Lake, ONModerator
    Posts: 1,852
    Moggy, you might be interested in a contemporary of Django's who played with a thumb pick and sometimes even used fingerpicks, Oscar Aleman. Oscar wasn't a gypsy, he was a black fella from Argentina who lived in Paris in the 1930's... great player.

    A lot of his thumbpick stuff still sounds like its being played with a plectrum, but check out such tunes as "Nobody's Sweetheart Now" and "Whispering" which clearly sound like fingerpicking. ... yaA7_xNkJs ... oykvVCir50

    Personally, I'd consider "Blue Skies" Oscar's greatest recording ... HWqVzTtBKw

    but there are lots of great ones to choose from.

    Django also made a few solo recordings finger style, among them "Tea for Two" ... jYNMKvUyXI

    ... which I would argue is probably his worst recording ever, very stodgy and stilted... I'll probably get flamed for saying that!



    PS Here in Canada where I live, CBC Radio once way back in the early 80's broadcast about an hour of my favourite finger style guitarist Amos Garrett, playing his tribute to, I wish Id made a recording of that.

    PPS My number two guitar hero, Eddie Lang, also recorded some fingerstyle stuff check this out ... KaEiY4Xelc

    According to contemporaries, Lang would just hold his plectrum in the palm of his hand when he wanted to use his RH fingers.
    Paul Cezanne: "I could paint for a thousand years without stopping and I would still feel as though I knew nothing."

    Edgar Degas: "Only when he no longer knows what he is doing does the painter do good things.... To draw, you must close your eyes and sing."

    Georges Braque: "In art there is only one thing that counts: the bit that can’t be explained."
  • anthon_74anthon_74 Marin county, CA✭✭✭✭ Alta Mira M 01
    Posts: 561
    Hi Moggy,

    Let me preface what follows by saying your playing sounds great.
    In terms of honest feedback I would really just say that you may run into challenges if you ever Jam with another Gypsy player in an all acoustic setting. In my experience, when I jam with a player who doesn't have the gypsy picking technique down pretty well, when it's their turn to solo, they get drowned out by my rhythm playing too easily, no matter how quiet I try to play.
    The rhythm guitar in gypsy jazz is essentially the drummer, so it must be percussive. In addition, selmer/manouche style guitars are about 30% louder than standard dreadnought steel string guitars. Also, to really sound like django there's a tonal quality that you can really only get with gypsy picking.
    That's not to say there's anything wrong with your playing at all, you just may run into the drawbacks I mention in a live jam session.
    If you ever sit in front of someone playing gypsy jazz on a manouche style guitar, you may also fall in love with the tone they create, which requires rest stroke picking.

  • BonesBones Moderator
    Posts: 3,318
    Your fingerstyle stuff sounds great!

    Also, for jams you need to be able to comp rhythm for the other guys when it is their turn so.....not sure how that would work out with finger picks but if you can get a good pompe going with them.....
  • BohemianBohemian State of Jefferson✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 303
    As a fellow finger picker... three cheers ! ! ! Well done.

    My suggestion...(and previously mentioned) OSCAR ALEMAN .

    Check out the Acoustic Disc website or Amazon or elsewhere for Aleman's recordings. There are also some you tube videos.
  • PhilPhil Portland, ORModerator Anastasio
    Posts: 764
    Hi Paul, very nicely done...I think Django would've enjoyed your take on this!
  • MoggyMoggy New
    Posts: 5
    Hi All,
    Thanks again for everyone's valuable feedback and great suggestions. I've checked out Oscar Aleman, kind of makes me feel good that a contemporary of Django's played with the same picking style I do.

    All the best,

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