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Right hand - the 'extra' fingers

klaatuklaatu Nova ScotiaProdigy Rodrigo Shopis D'Artagnan, 1950s Jacques Castelluccia
edited May 2020 in Gypsy Picking Posts: 1,665
Michael,

In Gypsy Picking, you talk about a lot of different ways of holding the 3-4-5 fingers of the right hand, emphasizing that they should never rest on the top but more or less float freely, and that many players brush the top lightly as they play. You also mention that the fingers should be somewhat curled - as I understand it, starting with them curled like in a fist and then relaxing them somewhat.

Is there a disadvantage to letting those fingers relax completely and hang loose? I've been playing that way for decades (in other styles, just recently becoming a GJ enthusiast)? I still keep them off the top and just brush them over it (or in this case, over the pickguard, since I am still stuck with playing on an archtop, but I'm working on that!).
Benny

"It's a great feeling to be dealing with material which is better than yourself, that you know you can never live up to."
-- Orson Welles

Comments

  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 5,971
    klaatu wrote:
    Michael,


    Is there a disadvantage to letting those fingers relax completely and hang loose?

    That's what you should be doing...I'd have to see your hand in action. But your fingers should be pretty loose. Especially if you're letting them brush against the top. If you keep them closed in a fist then it takes a little more tension. But not much....

    Good luck!

    'm
  • dennisdennis Montreal, QuebecModerator
    Posts: 2,131
    check out this vid of mozes i shot at samois... he's stochelo's little brother... his right hand looks even more relaxed than stochelo's and he doesn't rest any fingers on the guitar.. it's completely floating, absolutely amazing

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=dsFmzkd5ug8& ... ed&search=

    unfortunately we can 't hear him too well for two reasons: he's a soft picker, sani van mullem is playing rhythm guitar like a train
  • JackJack western Massachusetts✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 1,748
    klaatu wrote:
    You also mention that the fingers should be somewhat curled - as I understand it, starting with them curled like in a fist and then relaxing them somewhat.

    Is there a disadvantage to letting those fingers relax completely and hang loose?

    I think klaatu means really uncurled, almost like a Jimmy Rosenberg thing:
    jimmyrosenberg.jpg
  • klaatuklaatu Nova ScotiaProdigy Rodrigo Shopis D'Artagnan, 1950s Jacques Castelluccia
    Posts: 1,665
    I think klaatu means really uncurled, almost like a Jimmy Rosenberg thing:

    Yep, that's about it. Wish sounding like Jimmy was as easy as looking like Jimmy.
    Benny

    "It's a great feeling to be dealing with material which is better than yourself, that you know you can never live up to."
    -- Orson Welles
  • Posts: 1
    There's one big disadvantage to letting the extra fingers just splay out in a relaxed manner, which is that if you're not careful you'll seriously scratch the soundboard of the guitar, which happened to me . . .
  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 5,971
    jfbattaile wrote:
    There's one big disadvantage to letting the extra fingers just splay out in a relaxed manner, which is that if you're not careful you'll seriously scratch the soundboard of the guitar, which happened to me . . .

    It happened to Django too....all his guitars are worn out above the high E string!
  • xavxav New
    Posts: 20
    It's interesting what you said about sounding like Jimmy and looking like Jimmy-

    For those of you that play Gypsy picking style with loosely curled fingers, like Stochelo just try this.
    pick up your guitar and play a few downstrokes on the high E with your standard technique and listen, particularly to the volume, of the note.

    then copy Jimmy's style - thumb and forefinger exactly the same but stick all the other three out, bolt rigid and play a few notes with the same amount of effort. Any observations anyone?

    What I'm getting at is that I'd like to see some attention paid to the other fingers in terms of the projection and tone it gives you when using GP technique. By the position of these other three, it affects the tension between your thumb and forefinger because all your tendons are linked. This degree of tension has a big effect and you can see it in most of the major players. In relation to a loosely curled fist-

    Django- plays with his middle finger lowered in relation to the others
    Stochelo- gets his tension from expanding the gap between his first and his middle finger
    Jimmy- gets the tension from sticking his fingers out straight
    Tchavolo- seems to raise the 3rd and 4th knuckles slightly

    In classical bow technique you look at the whole hand, not just the bits that make contact with the bow. Maybe its time the same thinking was applied to the pick...
    What does anyone else think about this?
    Xav
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