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Speed question

nymnym New
edited April 2005 in Gypsy Picking Posts: 30
Hi!

Some licks which are presented in G.P. book require very vast consecutive downstrokes (f.e. tremolo-picked lick taken from Improvisation 1). Is it really possible to play downstrokes that fast?
At how fast tempo is it possible to play f.e. sixteenth-notes with consecutive downstrokes if you have totally mastered g.p. tecnique? (F.e. Charley Christian used only downstrokes and played (usually at the end of his solos) sixteenth-notes at c. 115 bpm - much slower than many django's lines.)
Regards,
Nym

Comments

  • stublastubla Prodigy Godefroy Maruejouls
    edited April 2005 Posts: 386
    nym wrote:
    Hi!

    Some licks which are presented in G.P. book require very vast consecutive downstrokes (f.e. tremolo-picked lick taken from Improvisation 1). Is it really possible to play downstrokes that fast?
    At how fast tempo is it possible to play f.e. sixteenth-notes with consecutive downstrokes if you have totally mastered g.p. tecnique? (F.e. Charley Christian used only downstrokes and played (usually at the end of his solos) sixteenth-notes at c. 115 bpm - much slower than many django's lines.)
    Regards,
    Nym


    I wish people would get away from this idea of CONSECUTIVE downstrokes--its not what the GJ picking technique is about really--its a dangerous habit to get into using consecutive downstrokes on one string in anything other than a ballad-you will tense up no matter how strong you are.
    it makes for more sense to think of the technique as using a downstroke whenever you change a string(as always there are exceptions)--so if you are playing an arpeggio(down or up) across the(for example) top 4 strings THEN you use consecutive downstrokes--but if you are playing on one string obviously you can use up and down strokes--as does Django in the tremelo runs of Impro no.1--which example do you mean btw??
    If you are referring to Gypsy picking pattern no 13(page 50 of gypsy picking book) it is NOT consecutive downstokes is it?
    The gypsies CAN play downstrokes very fast ACROSS the strings--but they use up and downstrokes on the same string all the time.

    The best thing is just to really watch the videos of Bireli ,Stochelo and particularly Angelo in action---all the answers are there.
    You just don't see them playing consecutive downstrokes for the sake of it--its just common sense!
    They ARE using alternate picking BUT with the major difference that they(9 times out of 10) start each string with a downstroke.
    A good way to think of it is to think of 'downstrokes for downbeats' and 'upstrokes for upbeats'.
    Its difficult;it took me at least 2 years to get the hang of it!!--keep at it!
    Stu
    BlueSkies
  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 5,893
    I agree with what Stu has said here. There is definitely a tendency for beginners to over emphasize the use of downstrokes. As Stu mentioned, there is still plenty of alternate picking.

    If you want to know how fast you can play in the Gypsy Picking style, get out your metronome and clock some of Stochelo, Bireli, and Jimmy Rosenebrg's ultra fast performances. It doesn't get much faster then that!

    However, there are limitations to the Gypsy Picking style. But that's true of any technique. Sometimes you'll find that you'll have to refigner a phrase to avoid so many consecutive down strokes on string changes.

    Good Luck!

    'm
    BlueSkies
  • nymnym New
    Posts: 30
    Hi!
    Thanks for your answers.
    I understand the basic principle, downstrokes when changing the string and alternate picking when playing on the same string. But my point is that although your hand doesn't become tense that way, concecutive downstrokes are "the slowest link" in the run (exept when sweeping). F.e. in the exemple I was referring (13.1 in the book) you have to use two downstrokes in the row when changing from b-string to g-string (you could use a pull-off from cis to b and avoid that).
    I am not sure if it helps to use downstrokes on downbeats and upstrokes on upbeats -principle with g. picking. That seems to be the way you think when using strict alternate picking. For me it seems that breaking that kind of thinking is one of the reasons why g. playing sounds different.
    By the way, I think that limitations with technique are eventually for good: they force players to create certain kind of licks which feel natural within their limitations and that leads to a distinctive style (vocabulary and tone).
    Regards,
    Nym
  • stublastubla Prodigy Godefroy Maruejouls
    Posts: 386
    nym wrote:
    Hi!
    Thanks for your answers.
    I understand the basic principle, downstrokes when changing the string and alternate picking when playing on the same string. But my point is that although your hand doesn't become tense that way, concecutive downstrokes are "the slowest link" in the run (exept when sweeping). F.e. in the exemple I was referring (13.1 in the book) you have to use two downstrokes in the row when changing from b-string to g-string (you could use a pull-off from cis to b and avoid that).

    nym
    They are only the slowest link until you get used to playing them at speed-that 13.1 pattern is important to learn i think-Django used that pattern constantly. (those triplets in Dinah for example)




    I am not sure if it helps to use downstrokes on downbeats and upstrokes on upbeats -principle with g. picking. That seems to be the way you think when using strict alternate picking. For me it seems that breaking that kind of thinking is one of the reasons why g. playing sounds different.Nym

    I think it DOES make sense to think in terms of downbeats and upbeats--its not strict alternate picking--you make sure your left hand patterns start downbeats(generally) on string changes--2 notes per string going up(or down) the neck.
    you are also using reststrokes on downbeats
    Thats what Angelo,Matcho,Bireli and Stochelo etc are doing.
    Stu
  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 5,893
    nym wrote:
    But my point is that although your hand doesn't become tense that way, consecutive downstrokes are "the slowest link" in the run (exept when sweeping). F.e. in the exemple I was referring (13.1 in the book) you have to use two downstrokes in the row when changing from b-string to g-string (you could use a pull-off from cis to b and avoid that).

    Consecutive downstrokes are definitely harder to do fast. But you have to keep in mind that the bottom line is sound quality, not speed. Sure, you can avoid downstrokes by using pull-offs. But you loose that authoritative Gypsy articulation and tone. If efficiency and speed are all that matters, then you may as well play Gypsy style on a Strat with 9 gauge strings and low action. You'll definitely be able to play faster then most Gypsies that way...but will it sound very good?

    I've always said the the Gypsy Picking technique is the most efficient way to play AND get great tone and projection. If you start to prioritize speed too much then you loose the tone and volume. If you stick with it, you'll eventually be able play at really fast tempos and still have that great tone. there are no short cuts other then doing the work sooner rather then later.


    Good luck!

    'm
    BlueSkies
  • nymnym New
    Posts: 30
    Hi!

    Thanks for your answers!

    I totally agree with you: tone is much more important than speed - Actually, Djangos distinctive tone is the main reason I have gotten interested in g.p. in the first place. (Haven't heard so much contemporary gipsy players) (I actually think that Django is one of the very few jazz guitarists who has as interesting tone and expression than horn players. For me, most jazz guitarists sound a little bit dry (tonewise) compared to f.e. bluesmasters).
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