Gypsy Playing without Gypsy Picking ?

edited November 2007 in Technique Posts: 2
Hi all

new user here. As with many others, I spent years and years playing the wrong kind of music before discovering Django :wink:

Through years of electric playing, mainly fusion and traditional jazz, I have developed a reasonable right hand alternate picking, of which I am quite happy.

Now it's all over again with the rest stroke and I don't feel too comfortable with it.
I don't aspire to be a gypsy jazz master, I just want to play it and enjoy it to the best of my capability.
Do you think one can be a good gypsy player WITHOUT a proper gypsy picking technique ?
I can play some of Django's most challenging solos in terms of speed with my traditional alternate picking, but I know it doesn't look and "feel" right when compared to the real deal !

I also want to continue to play electric and I don't want to get too confused with the different techniques....

what do you think ?

Thanks for your feedback



  • ElliotElliot Madison, WisconsinNew
    Posts: 551
    No Gypsy picking? You play - but not like Gypsy.
  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 6,155
    Hi Will,

    This is a decision everyone has to make....for those of us who really want to master the genre, the choice is obvious. The rest stroke technique will allow for the tone and phrasing used by Django and most Gypsies. Free stroke picking just doesn't sound the same...

    But if you're playing a variety of different instruments and styles, you may not want to spend then time learning how play with rest strokes. You can make good music with any technique, so you can really do it any way you want. But it will be very difficult or impossible to get the traditional tone and phrasing. Also, many of the idiomatic phrases that Django used are all but impossible with other picking techniques. So you may find yourself spending so much time trying to adapt your current technique to Gypsy jazz, that you'd be better of just learning the Gypsy Picking technique anyway.

    Good luck!

  • pale42pale42 ✭✭✭
    Posts: 12
    "Also, many of the idiomatic phrases that Django used are all but impossible with other picking techniques."

    Hi Michael,

    Could you give an example of this to illustrate why?

  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 6,155
    There's a number of triplet patterns, tremolo devices, etc. that are hard or impossible to get up to speed with free strokes. If you take a look at the Gypsy Picking book and work through the patterns you'll see what I mean.

    Also the tone and phrasing are very different....

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