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Rest stroke question

I'm getting used to the down stroke when changing a string and rest stroke technique. I wonder though about how it works when playing fast, specifically when playing a very fast run does the pick always hit the lower string? I've looked at lots of videos of great players and I can't tell.


  • BonesBones Moderator
    Posts: 3,028
    Not that I can play fast, but I think that the answer is 'no'. Sometimes it does not rest on the lower string like for example when changing from the B to G strings using downstrokes the picking distance should be shortened up (for speed) so that the pick does not necessarily 'rest' on the E string. I think Stochelo calls this a 'normal' stroke (rather than a 'rest' stroke). I hope that helps.
  • BonesBones Moderator
    Posts: 3,028
  • Stochelo's high speed downstroke picking described to Christiaan, is down through the string, then circling around yo repeat the slower speeds, Stochelo......and what to us would be high speed his pick does rest. :)
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • Charles MeadowsCharles Meadows WV✭✭✭ ALD Original, Dupont MD50
    Posts: 432
    Here's a slow-down of Stochelo doing downstrokes in a row.
  • edited March 2015 Posts: 3,059
    Here's another video of the rest stroke by Stochelo, shot from the perfect angle in hi-def.
    It could be the best replica of Django's I'll see you in my dreams solo ever captured on camera. Not only all the right notes are in there but every every stroke of the pick and dynamic nuance are just perfect.

    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • MattHenryMattHenry Washington, DC✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 128
    Stochelo doesn't always rest, no, but I think you loose nothing by overdoing the rest stroke and learning to work with it as opposed to imagining that it's a slowdowner.

    And we're really only talking about descending phrases here since the rest sets up the "interrupted sweep" that is faster and more efficient for ascending stuff no matter how quick the lick is.

    You know who really sits on the rest stroke is William Brunard. Check it out:

  • ChiefbigeasyChiefbigeasy New Orleans, LA✭✭✭ Alves de Puga DR670; Dupont MDC 50; The Loar LH600
    Posts: 281
    Thanks, Buco, for posting this video. It's something I've been looking for for a long time. I even purchased Dennis Chang's In the Style of Stochelo Rosenberg, hoping for Stochelo to explain his picking style (I think the first short video capture is from that video). He talked a little bit about it in the video, but not much. Surprisingly, he said even less about it in his Academy, which I joined for a few months.This is what I've been able to figure out:

    Stochelo uses a Wegen Big City pick, I believe it's the 1.5, but it could be the 2.2 mm; I don't remember.

    He plays with a very light touch, only pushing harder when making some sort of statement with volume.

    From my observation of his playing in his Academy videos and Buco's video, he appears to angle the plane of the pick slightly downward in order to make forward sweeping movements and rest strokes very fluid.

    He has been known to suggest double downward rest strokes on a single string, even when a downstroke/upstroke pick would seem to be appropriate.

    He stated in Dennis Chang's video that when he's playing fast, he often calls it a "normal" stroke, and is not completely pushed through the string to rest on the next ring.

    From what I have observed watching the videos carefully and slowing them down, he does not angle the plane of the pick even slightly askew from the horizontal plane of the string. In other words, even in the most swift passages, he does not appear to turn his wrist even slightly at an angle to aid swift passage over the string and take even more advantage of the bevel in the Big City pic.

    I posted a couple of threads earlier on in the forum about "swift and efficient picking" in an effort to get players to talk about how they achieve this. Mostly, I just continued to hear "practice slowly with a metronome and speed up in increments." But no one seems to want to talk about the mechanics in very great detail. There has been a lot of discussion of various picks and their use, and these discussions sometime wander into the picking mechanics area.

    I know many modern advanced players appear to depend too much on speed for speed's sake, wandering far away from melody in soloing. This approach leaves me cold, as I believe many contributors to this forum also agree. But there is no denying that swift and energetic picking through phrases that have melodic substance does convey melodic statements that are not the same when played more slowly.

    Therefore, the posting of these two videos inspires me to put forth again to my fellow players, this question: what were the steps along the way that you discovered to use rest stroke picking to play more swiftly and efficiently, yet still stay melodically interesting?
  • Al WatskyAl Watsky New JerseyVirtuoso
    Posts: 440
    You will find that the greater the bevel on the pick the less you will need stray from the parallel pick/string.
    Thats why the bevel is there.
    On thinner picks with out any bevel, the technique of making the pick more perpendicular to the string is more necessary and effective. The angle also eliminates pick drag and clack, that slapping sound you hear when alternate picking hard and fast.
    The extreme bevel allows the pick to stay parallel to the string.
    I'll just bet that you will see the guys with the thinner pick using the non parallel stroke more often than the thick pick guys.
    Thats what I've observed and thats what makes sense.
    That how it seems to work in that single aspect.
    I favor a "stylus" grip (a 3 finger grip) more perpendicular when holding a pick under 2mm and use a parallel stroke for the Wegan type 3.5 -5 mm picks.
    Not everyone uses a stylus approach but it works for some people and needs to be mentioned more because its very effective for control and speed.
  • edited March 2015 Posts: 3,059
    Therefore, the posting of these two videos inspires me to put forth again to my fellow players, this question: what were the steps along the way that you discovered to use rest stroke picking to play more swiftly and efficiently, yet still stay melodically interesting?

    It's a hard question to answer.
    I get your wanting to pursue this music with more of a sense of direction but I doubt many people deliberately worked on picking technique. And it's kinda hard to figure out what's going on there while you play and if you try to slow it down and take a look it's very likely that you won't be doing exactly the same thing.
    I know my pick is pointing upwards, kinda like Stochelo, but I think I have more of X between the string and a pick, not a lot but there's definitely some. I think though, at least partially some of these things are conditioned by the anatomy of you hand, the length of your arm.

    One thing I practiced deliberately when picking is to visualize as my end target not the note itself but the string below it. Analogy I came up with is in martial arts when trying to break a hard object, the focus of peak of energy burst isn't at the object itself but behind it. As one guy who was good at this told me "if I was focusing on the brick I'd break my hand every time, not the brick". In another words he was visualizing his hand going through the brick, not breaking it by hitting and stopping.

    I remember in the beginning before I even knew about any of the downstroke rules, I was just trying to listen for the attack of the notes from the CDs and try pick out some lines and recreate where and how should this attack be more pronounced.

    One interesting thing, for a short time I was trying to do a floating wrist. It was hard for me and I gave up and actually wondered why are people sometimes hung up on this when so many of the top players use their pinky finger, or ring plus pinky finger to anchor the wrist. So I continued that way, using these two fingers as anchors. Then interesting thing happened recently. I noticed black spots on the knuckles of my first two fingers and after trying to figure out what's going on I realized I developed a floating wrist without trying. But it's not a 100% floating because I also realized that although it looks floated from the front, I'm just slightly brushing my fingers against the strings at the knuckles which gives me just enough stability which was one of the problems I gave up on trying to have a floating wrist, the lack of stability of any kind. This is for both rhythm and solo. I wonder if other guys who seem to have a floating wrist are doing the same thing?

    I also tried to keep my fingers splayed out wide, while still curled at the knuckles, because the picking sounds like it has more power and volume that way but that didn't stick either. It sure would be cool to naturally adopt that, it really does sound better.

    This was part of my practice for a good while, it's a very good picking practice regiment and he also has an amazing rate of rebound on his wrist.

    PS I have a small mirror I use occasionally to monitor my either left or right hand depending on what I'm practicing and make sure it looks correct whatever it is that I'm trying to do.
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
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