Rest Stroke "relax" - how? And a few other questions

woodamandwoodamand Portland, OR✭✭✭ 2015 JWC Favino replica
Sorry if this has all been answered before but I could not find anything definitive on here.

At the two week mark with gypsy picking, I am not at all sure if I get the basic concept of relaxing. Following the book as best I can, I have ended up getting pain in my right arm, and I never have had pain there from playing ever, even when I was playing in punk bands and strumming like hell for hours every day.
Seems like if you loosen the grip too much on the pick, it will simply fly out of your hand. Again, I must be missing something very basic and simple. I mean, if you want the pick to plant itself on the string at the end of the downstroke, for me that means controlling the bounce off the string, which takes more than just a loose grip on the pick.

Also wtih the up and down stroke, this doesn't seem much different to me than what I have been doing forever, meaning that I don't understand how you can possibly rest at all going up/down when you are only going to be on the downstroke long enough to change to an upstroke.

I looked at a bunch of the rest stroke vids here on the forum and was not enlightened. Has anyone used the Yaakov Hoter lesson on the rest stroke? I just picked up his lesson on Le Pompe and now that makes more sense to me, even if I obviously can't do it right yet.


  • crookedpinkycrookedpinky Glasgow✭✭✭✭ Alex Bishop D Hole, Altamira M & JWC D hole
    Posts: 921
    I don't know if this helps but I'd say that the pick needs to be held quite firmly between thumb and finger what needs to stay relaxed is the wrist. And think about pushing through the string on a downstroke to come to rest on the next string rather than bouncing off the string. Problem is describing a physical act is difficult which is why I just didn;t get anywhere with the gypsy picking book. Stay with it, it'll click
    always learning
  • HemertHemert Prodigy
    Posts: 264
    I don't know if this helps but I'd say that the pick needs to be held quite firmly between thumb and finger what needs to stay relaxed is the wrist.
    That might work for some people but most of the really high level players I know have a loose grip on the pick. I also have a very loose grip on the pick. Tightening will often create tension in the hand.

  • StringswingerStringswinger Santa Cruz and San Francisco, CA✭✭✭✭ 1993 Dupont MD-20, Shelley Park Encore
    Posts: 465
    I keep the wrist loose and also have a loose grip on the pick when playing leads or la pompe. The only pain I experience is when I hit a bad note. (I have tried the hit it again with conviction trick, but that only seems to increase the pain) :-)
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass
  • MattHenryMattHenry Washington, DC✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 131
    There's definitely a lot to think about initially with gypsy picking but it's just so great in every way once you get the hang of it. Take it slow try not to get frustrated early on.

    Also, make sure you don't imagine you can jump right in playing whatever you were playing before and just add gypsy picking. Instead, start with slower, simpler exercises that repeat: root, third, fifth arps like the intro to Minor swing. Many arp exercises cover a few octaves but it's fine to only play one, two, or three notes at first so you don't have to move your hand around.

    To put it another way: make it so you don't need to use hardly any of your brain power to attend to what your fretting hand is doing. That way you can be sure you're practicing correct gypsy picking and getting lots of deliberate, slow reps to help it become muscle memory.

    Upload a video of you practicing gypsy picking and share it to get some specific feedback. Yaakov is great and I'm sure you're not as far off as it might seem at times.

  • nomadgtrnomadgtr Colorado Bumgarner, Marin, Holo, Barault
    Posts: 123
    It's patience and lots of practice. I've been at this style now for about 9 months and I've just been able to truly start to relax in the right hand over the past month or so. It might be different if you're new to the guitar altogether, but it takes a considerable amount of shedding of your muscle memory from playing other styles like rock, blues, etc. You have to wipe that memory clean and just start fresh. Start slow and deliberate and focus on tone and technique. It might help to keep a practice log and briefly document what you do each day and what you think you need to work on. Then review that log every few days to see if you're actually focusing on the things you need to work on. Keeping yourself honest is one of the hardest things to do. It's not easy and it hasn't been without frustration. Like anything in life, patience and discipline can allow you to overcome even the most extreme obstacles. After 9 months I feel that I'm just starting to "get it" but with that comes the realization that I have just one toe in the water so far.
  • Posts: 4,731
    Few weeks is not a lot.
    Let's look at it this way: you have a bowl of piping hot soup in front of you. In your case you're still blowing on it to make it cooler, you still haven't had a first slurp.

    After a couple of years of relatively dedicated practice, I still tighten up my arm at high tempos although at slower tempos I'm relaxed.

    Funny that I was thinking about my own stage problem this morning and wanted to ask/discuss it because I stick patiently to "play slowly to where there's no tension" but I think maybe I should push a little because I'm having a hard time breaking through this platou and kicking it into higher gear.
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • HemertHemert Prodigy
    edited September 2015 Posts: 264
    Also, if you do the exercise regiment of my second Q&A video for 20/30 minutes every day you'll probably have the technique down in about 6 to 18 months (depending on your starting level). That's basically what I did and I had no problem using the technique to about 270 BPM after 18 months starting from a beginner's level. Took me another 18 months to get it to 320 BPM though.

    @Buco, the only way to play fast well is to also practice fast, so twice a week just crank that metronome or backing track and try hard. After doing that for about 10 minutes dial it back 50 bpm and work your way up again (in increments of 5 or 10 bpm) to that starting fast tempo in a half hour. This is very fun and it works wonders!
  • anthon_74anthon_74 Marin county, CA✭✭✭✭ Alta Mira M 01
    Posts: 561
    Try this - First, relax your wrist. Allow it to go slack so it's slightly bent, but not forced. Second, turn your hand up and inward slightly so you can see your palm when you look down.
    THEN - Imagine you're THROWING your picking hand at the strings, not guiding it.
    The main thing to keep in mind is that you're NOT using your wrist muscles, but rather your bicep and forearm muscles.

    Overall, you need to practice everything slowly until you can do it without tensing up your wrist. This takes time and happens in stages.

  • BonesBones Moderator
    edited September 2015 Posts: 3,319
    Woodamand, yes it seemed at first to me that if I didn't grip the pick hard for rhythm or solo it would spin or flip out of my fingers but with time that seems to have disappeared. Wish I could tell you how but I don't know other than just practice as slow as necessary with good technique and it will happen. If you feel tension or feel the need to put a vise-grip on the pick you probably need to slow the metronome down. It took a loooong time for me but eventually I noticed that it wasn't an issue anymore.

    It seems like there is another thread where this was discussed a while back but I don't remember which one.
  • ChiefbigeasyChiefbigeasy New Orleans, LA✭✭✭ Dupont MDC 50; The Loar LH6, AJL Silent Guitar
    Posts: 335
    Gypsy picking has a very distinctive sound whether you're playing fast or slow. Actually, I think you can hear it even more clearly when you play slowly.
    The funny thing is, you probably already reproduced the correct sounds and technique without even knowing it.

    Rest stroke picking, apparently, is an early kind of picking on stringed instruments and is still practiced on other stringed instruments around the world. It is a very natural way to play a string. Therefore, I think you are already doing some of that technique without knowing it. Again, listen carefully to lots of different examples of rest stroke picking instruction, and I think you will hear what I'm talking about.

    That said, if you want to get really technical, I think Christiaan Hemert's video (the one he mentioned above), is a great instructional tool and dissects the technique very clearly.
Sign In or Register to comment.
Home  |  Forum  |  Blog  |  Contact  |  206-528-9873
The Premier Gypsy Jazz Marketplace
Banner Adverts
Sell Your Guitar
© 2024, all rights reserved worldwide.
Software: Kryptronic eCommerce, Copyright 1999-2024 Kryptronic, Inc. Exec Time: 0.069822 Seconds Memory Usage: 2.44136 Megabytes