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  • littleknicky 1:55AM

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pick noise

aa New York City✭✭✭✭
edited September 2006 in Gypsy Picking Posts: 800
On many modern gypsy guys' recordings, most notably Romane's, the ratio of pick noise to the sound of plucked note is much higher than what can be heard in django's recordings. At first, I thought this had to do with the quality of the recording, but if you listen to solo django or django recordings of high quality, there really isn't that much pick noise. By pick noise, I guess I'm talking about the sound of the pick hitting/resting on the string after the stroke. Romane uses 11s...does that have anything to do with it?
I have a hunch that it might not have anything to do with string guage, but technique. Any thoughts?
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  • Colin PerryColin Perry Montreal, QCNew
    Posts: 115
    My theory has always been that it has to do with recording techniques. Most modern recordings are close miked, which allows the mic to pick up nose from the pick and squeak from the strings. Most of Django's recordings would have done with one or two microphones, and a sufficient distance from the mic to make the extra noise inaudible.
  • aa New York City✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 800
    yeah, but django's playing is so well articulated. the sound is just so clean. the only pick noise you hear is an occasional scrape (which accents the notes he is playing) or what sounds more like him hitting the top of the guitar ( "toc") than the chirpy pick against string sound.
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  • aa New York City✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 800
    like, if you look at the j'attendrai video, in the intro, when he does that diminished sweep and then that little chromatic bit, there is no pick noise at all...and the audio in the version i have is really good (better than most other django recordings)
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  • mmaslanmmaslan Santa Barbara, CANew
    Posts: 87
    I agree with Colin, but it's also true that you can hear Django's pick on some of the unaccompanied pieces, at least on the JSP remasters. It just gets lost with the full band. Some contemporary players clearly want a percussive sound--the pick noise and slap of the strings against the frets is part of their sound. It's fun--to a point.
  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 5,970
    As someone who studied Audio Engineering, I'll have to say that a huge part of what we think of as Django's "tone" was created by the recording technologies of his era. Fapy realized this and decided to record a number of CDs using vintage recording gear...see: Swing Guitars

    INMO, Romane has one of the weakest tones in Gypsy jazz....I've studied with him so I've heard it up close. I think the problem is that he plays with a locked forearm...try it. You get a really harsh sound that way. The Gypsies always told me to play with a loose wrist...besides being a much easier way to play, it sounds better too.

    Romane is a great player....but I just never liked his tone that much. I think his strong point is arranging and producing. I love some of the stuff he did for Tchavolo on Alors? ... Voila!

    One thing that reduces pick noise is playing with a really worn pick. I mean really, really worn. When I was studying with Fapy he was playing with this pick that was so worn there wasn't anything even remotely resembling a point. I've heard accounts that Django played with heavily worn picks as well...

  • fafanellufafanellu New
    Posts: 1
    On a tutorial video he made, Romane is always playing with a totally locked wrist.

    The movement comes from his arm !

    And even if he plays well and fast, I think the sound is not rich enough !

    And I have to say that the problem is exactly the same for me ! I started to learn Gypsy Jazz with the Michael's ,nice book "Gypsy Picking" and even if I managed to play with a free hand (before, my fingers were laying on the guitar table...) I just can't play with my wrist !

    When playing only on the E string, I can play a bit with my wrist, but when playing a chorus on all the strings it is my arm that guides my hand !

    Are there some exercices (not only with a guitar) which can help me to improve my wrist movements ?

    I've been trying for several months, and I wonder why I can't !


  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 5,970
    fafanellu wrote:

    Are there some exercices (not only with a guitar) which can help me to improve my wrist movements ?

    Hi Stephane...I think it just takes a lot of careful practice. Keep at it!

  • aa New York City✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 800
    i think that the motion is generated in the elbow and the wrist has to be completely relaxed or limp. the pick should never fight with the string..instead of displacing the string, it should rub against it. i think this is why people use thick picks with large bevels- like how bow makes a violin string vibrate.

    when everything is working, it should feel very easy. if it doesn't, than go back a few steps and try to figure out where the tension is.
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