Horizontally or vertically - Django fretting

in Technique Posts: 4,804
So this has always been the thing that confused me when someone would say that because of his hand condition Django moved vertically across the fretboard... Or is the other way around?

There is this article which, in the same article, claims both ways ;

At one point it says:
It is difficult to play standard scales with just index and middle fingers, so Django adopted an arpeggio-based rather than modal approach to soloing. He adapted arpeggios so that they could be played with2 notes per string patterns which ran horizontally up and down the fret board instead of the usual vertical “box” patterns, enabling him to move around the fret board with great speed and fluidity

Then it says:
Unable to play the linear, scale-driven lines that fall all too easily under the fingers of most guitarists, Django’s limited mobility forced him to view the fingerboard more vertically than horizontally

But the thing is, I think they are both true.

One solo I learned to play with two fingers, I'll see you in my dreams, has both examples of hand moving more vertically and more horizontally.

It doesn't mean that my choice of fretting is correct or it's the way Django would have been doing it of course. But I think it is similar enough at least to point to show that he could easily move either way.

Is it really true that he played much more often in one direction then the other? To the point that you can define his fretting as either?

Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel


  • dennisdennis Montreal, QuebecModerator
    Posts: 2,161
    he does both.. definitely a lot more vertical playing than conventional wisdom would lead you to believe
  • Posts: 4,804
    Thanks for corroborating Dennis, that was my feeling too. It doesn't seem that he would be limited either way, albeit within the constraints that he had to work with.
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • edited May 2016 Posts: 3,707
    My opinion too. Much asier to hear in the remastered/reworked recordings.

    I do agree that his injury forced him to view the fretboard in a different light but he was far to good to be driven into any one solution.

    I suspect something similar can be observed if you watch how those who mostly use 3 fingers play versus those who use four fingers. Different string /fret/position choices at times.
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • BonesBones Moderator
    Posts: 3,320
    I always wanted to really study the 2 finger technique to try to understand how he did it but too much to do and not enough hours in the day. Have my hands full (hehe) just trying to do it with all 4. My guess (maybe some of the guys who've really studied it will see this thread and chime in) is that he could use slides, color tones, etc. and such to play vertically (scales or arps) with much success. Like for example how would he play a G major arp vertically starting on the 3rd fret 6th string. Seems like the horizontal approach would be better using only 2 fingers but I bet he didn't have too much trouble playing it vertically as well. Similarly, a C major arp with the root starting on the 3rd fret 5th string.
  • Posts: 4,804
    I definitely had some aha moments as I came across ways to finger this solo.
    Actually I was very excited about a few of them, it was such a delightful realization.
    I thought about making a video, going from phrase to phrase with a quick explanation about what I think Django might have been doing. There are several videos on YouTube of people playing a la Django but no one breaking it down talking about the left hand. It might cure someones curiosity.
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • wimwim ChicagoModerator Barault #503 replica
    Posts: 1,459
    I recommend to study the bridge of double whiskey, it's very instructive. If you listen to Django's carefully you can hear pretty clearly where he slides into the notes, which gives a lot of hints for the positions and fingering.

    The obvious and easy ways to play it for a 4-finger guitarist are kinda awkward and difficult for 2 fingers. And when you figure out a good 2-finger method, then the timbre suddenly sounds right and all the slurs are in the correct places, and ~voila~ your playing sounds a lot like Django!

  • The only guy I have ever heard who sounded like Django was Stochelo Rosenberg. I wish I could remember what tune it was but when I listened to itInthought to myself ...that's a really clean recording of Django, wonder who cleaned it up....I had to go look and voila, it was Stochelo. The only time I have been fooled.

    I have heard quite a few people play DR's solo's note for note, but no one has ever sounded like him. As had been said, the music isn't in the notes, it's in the spaces between the notes.
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • edited May 2016 Posts: 4,804
    There's a video of him playing I'll see you... It's on YouTube. Maybe that one. It's best note for note of that solo I've heard.
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • wimwim ChicagoModerator Barault #503 replica
    Posts: 1,459
    I agree he can sound like Django, but he doesn't sound like Django except when he's doing it intentionally. Most of the time he sounds like, well, Stochelo!

    Check this one out, one of my favourite Rosenberg videos .. he really nails the Django sound here

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