Gypsy Picking...impossible

edited July 2014 in Gypsy Picking Posts: 85
Ok, so I've been playing guitar for quite sometime, got alternate and economy somewhat picking down, but no matter what I do I can't get the Gypsy Picking. I saw all the videos, have been through the book sold here, it's just with the gypsy position, picking up trying to do a tremolo, or just a slow even picking pattern on one string is impossible for me. The down attack even sweeps is no problem, it's mainly catching the string on an up pick after the rest stroke. Any last advice before I give up on it totally??


  • JSantaJSanta NY✭✭✭ Dupont, Gaffiero, AJL
    Posts: 262
    I practice with a metronome and take things very very slowly. I've picked up on the style quite well. But at first I could not do it at the speeds in the book.

    I would also strongly recommend a few lessons if there is anyone in your area. That was a massive help as well.
  • NairbusNairbus
    Posts: 2
    It's as JSanta has said. Go slow. I originally was an electric bassist, but due to an acl separation, I had to quit. That was about 3 years ago. I didn't want to leave music altogether so I got an acoustic flattop cutaway and started learning guitar. About 18 months ago I discovered Gypsy swing and haven't looked back. My pompe is finally starting to swing(I was primarily a blues bassist so I tended to shuffle) and my picking is starting to come together. You must realize it takes time to digest and internalize the technique. Just recently, I was trying to do a bit of Travis picking, but because I've been practicing with a floating wrist, I can't mute properly. It has become second nature to not touch the soundboard with my right hand. Keep at it. It will pay off in the end.
  • bopsterbopster St. Louis, MOProdigy Wide Sky PL-1, 1940? French mystery guitar, ‘37 L-4
    Posts: 513
    Opus - I noticed that you're in PA. Kruno Spisič is a tremendous player in Philly. Barry Wahrhaftig is there too. They can point you in the direction for lessons. Barry's site is
  • Charles MeadowsCharles Meadows WV✭✭✭ ALD Original, Dupont MD50
    Posts: 432
    I wonder if some of it is muscle memory from an early age. I have assimilated it decently well. But I think to get the speed and dexterity of Stochelo or Angelo one probably has to have started this style at an early age. But maybe not...
  • When I decided to make the switch several years ago I spent maybe six months playing everything downstroke only. At speed I still have a hybrid style where sometimes I shift strings with an upstroke, but for the most part I play rest stoke now. It took me about 2 years a few hours a day to get there.
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • JonJon melbourne, australiaProdigy Dupont MD50B, '79 Favino
    Posts: 391
    A working jazz guitarist before I took this stuff up, it took me two years of daily practice to start to feel comfortable with rest stroke picking (after alternate picking all my life). Still not as relaxed as I'd like to be. Stick with it - it gets better, but you have to stick with it and don't compromise.
  • ShemiShemi Cardiff✭✭✭
    edited July 2014 Posts: 170
    I wonder if some of it is muscle memory from an early age. I have assimilated it decently well. But I think to get the speed and dexterity of Stochelo or Angelo one probably has to have started this style at an early age. But maybe not...

    I think that can definitely be a factor, although there are always exceptions. I think the often overlooked aspect is the psychological side... We tend to say to ourselves "this is going to be hard" before we start, and it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. When you do something from a young age, before life has a chance to fill you with self doubt, it's just the way it is and you get on with it. Young people are generally fearless in that respect. Who knows what we could achieve, starting something at a later stage in life, if we could leave the "inner voice" behind. :-)
  • opus20000opus20000
    Posts: 85
    Thanks for the input, as I said my only problem is the up pick, I can do the down strokes back to back accurately fast and strong( even on descending arpeggios) but because of the bouncing off the "rested" string, keeping things relaxed, to play the up pick I would have to come back to the plucked string after I passed it with the bounce (hope that description made sense). I guess I could "bounce less" but than it feels to constricted.
  • ShemiShemi Cardiff✭✭✭
    Posts: 170
    I'm trying to imagine what you mean, and I will say I'm new to this style as well. When you describe your understanding of the bounce, are you thinking that the upstroke should happen as a sort of trampoline effect from the rested position on the string alone with no wrist movement to help it along?
  • ShemiShemi Cardiff✭✭✭
    Posts: 170
    Maybe post a video so people can give you more accurate help. Don't give up though, nothing worth doing comes too easy :-)
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