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Guitar right hand technique

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Dreaded Thumbpick 17 Dec 04 - 10:12 AM
The Beast of Farlington 17 Dec 04 - 10:15 AM
mooman 17 Dec 04 - 10:15 AM
The Beast of Farlington 17 Dec 04 - 10:24 AM
GUEST,greg stephens 17 Dec 04 - 10:25 AM
Steve Parkes 17 Dec 04 - 10:32 AM
Nick 17 Dec 04 - 10:49 AM
Dreaded Thumbpick 17 Dec 04 - 10:51 AM
Mooh 17 Dec 04 - 10:58 AM
breezy 17 Dec 04 - 11:06 AM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 17 Dec 04 - 11:12 AM
Pete Jennings 17 Dec 04 - 11:17 AM
Paco Rabanne 17 Dec 04 - 11:23 AM
GUEST,Jim 17 Dec 04 - 11:34 AM
Vixen 17 Dec 04 - 11:38 AM
GUEST,Jim 17 Dec 04 - 11:50 AM
RichM 17 Dec 04 - 11:55 AM
Pete Jennings 17 Dec 04 - 11:55 AM
Nick 17 Dec 04 - 12:00 PM
Leadfingers 17 Dec 04 - 12:04 PM
GUEST,Jim 17 Dec 04 - 12:16 PM
EagleWing 17 Dec 04 - 12:29 PM
GUEST,Jim 17 Dec 04 - 12:32 PM
GUEST,Whistle Stop 17 Dec 04 - 12:47 PM
PoppaGator 17 Dec 04 - 01:18 PM
Justa Picker 17 Dec 04 - 01:25 PM
Blissfully Ignorant 17 Dec 04 - 01:30 PM
GUEST,tunesmith 17 Dec 04 - 01:42 PM
Don Firth 17 Dec 04 - 02:24 PM
PoppaGator 17 Dec 04 - 03:48 PM
Midchuck 17 Dec 04 - 04:01 PM
Dreaded Thumbpick 17 Dec 04 - 04:01 PM
GUEST,munchie 17 Dec 04 - 04:01 PM
Peter T. 17 Dec 04 - 04:14 PM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 17 Dec 04 - 04:17 PM
Richard Bridge 17 Dec 04 - 04:34 PM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 17 Dec 04 - 05:28 PM
Leadfingers 17 Dec 04 - 07:42 PM
Pete Jennings 18 Dec 04 - 09:06 AM
GUEST 18 Dec 04 - 01:52 PM
EagleWing 18 Dec 04 - 03:24 PM
GUEST,Tunesmith 18 Dec 04 - 03:40 PM
Dreaded Thumbpick 18 Dec 04 - 03:56 PM
s&r 19 Dec 04 - 12:07 PM
GUEST,The Beast of Farlington 20 Dec 04 - 11:04 AM
Big Al Whittle 20 Dec 04 - 10:56 PM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 20 Dec 04 - 11:11 PM
GUEST,goodbar 21 Dec 04 - 01:06 AM
GLoux 21 Dec 04 - 08:52 AM
GUEST,Ray 05 Jan 05 - 06:39 PM
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Subject: Guitar right hand technique
From: Dreaded Thumbpick
Date: 17 Dec 04 - 10:12 AM

I've been around some players in their late teens and early 20s for the past 3 or 4 years. The thing that I find very surprising is that they almost invariably use flat picks for their guitar playing.

When I was young, 25 million years ago, everybody wanted to learn a finger picking style and be able to use those techniques to play like Libba Cotton, Merle Travis, John Hurt.

Frankly, I'm disappointed because I think they're limiting themselves. They listen to my playing, admire it, but seem to have no interest in learning. Anybody else playing or working with younger people experiencing this?


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Subject: RE: Guitar right hand technique
From: The Beast of Farlington
Date: 17 Dec 04 - 10:15 AM

I'm 43 and I use a pick.

I suspect the younger ones prefer to play rock guitar and apply the same technique when playing an acoustic

I'd love to be able to finger pick but I am lazy.

I'm planning to get some guitar lessons to put this right.

Old dog, new tricks


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Subject: RE: Guitar right hand technique
From: mooman
Date: 17 Dec 04 - 10:15 AM

Not really, my current best guitar student is 17 and she is making great progress with both a flatpick and a variety of fingerpicking techniques. She be a really excellent player soon. I personally prefer to teach a variety of styles of playing in a variety of styles of music so the student has lots of possibilities.

Peace

moo


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Subject: RE: Guitar right hand technique
From: The Beast of Farlington
Date: 17 Dec 04 - 10:24 AM

Hey mooman, maybe you could teach me!

You can hear how bad I am at www.ic-musicmedia.com/alistairmcintosh


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Subject: RE: Guitar right hand technique
From: GUEST,greg stephens
Date: 17 Dec 04 - 10:25 AM

Afraid I' m a bit of a disgrace in this line,Dreaded Thumbpick. I spent a huge percentage of my youth trying desparately hard to play exactly like Merle Travis, Libba Cotton, and John Hurt(those aliens make it very awkward, but I digress). Anyway, I spent years and years attemting to master that stuff, but now I am professional guitarist I'm afraid I invariably play with a flatpick. I'm sorry to be a bad example to the the youth of today, but that's the way it is. Occasionally in the privacy of my own home I play Freight Train, Railroad Bill and other clawhamer classic, but never in public.
   Of the current crop of guitarists(I'm thinking UK folk here) Ian Carr divides his time bewteen fingers and a flatpick(during the same tune sometimes). He was the new whizzkid, but I guess he's just another old fart now.I'm not sure about all the youngsters, but I think you're right, picks are on the ascendant.
In my own case, I put it down to playing in sessions in pubs with accordions and fiddles...it's a volume thing. I invented a flatpick style to match the music going on around me, when I resalised fingers weren't going to do the trick.
People sitting on stools singing "Louis Collins" and playing Anji was the 60's. That was then. This is now!


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Subject: RE: Guitar right hand technique
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 17 Dec 04 - 10:32 AM

I'm ten years older than Beast, and I use a flat pick too! I just can't get different fingers (and thumb) to do different but co-ordinated things, despite having lessons ... it's not that I don't know what to do, I just can't do it. I can do pattern-picking, but not the pukka melody+bass stuff, even though I can hear both in my head. I can play tunes -- or bass -- up and down the neck, no problem; I only picked up the knack of that in the last few months, despite playing bog-standard box since about 1967.

I expect it's largeley right about rock guitar, though.

Steve


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Subject: RE: Guitar right hand technique
From: Nick
Date: 17 Dec 04 - 10:49 AM

Went to see Dick Gaughan last night and he too mostly flatpicks (though he finger picked a couple of tunes out of all the ones he did).

I'm the opposite to Beast in that I pretty much fingerpick everything and play with a pick when I need to make more noise. I put it down to me being much shyer than him and much less noisy :)

For me it's what I grew up listening to and playing. Though I used to play blues and rock in a band, most of the things I played were influenced by the people I liked - James Taylor, Dylan a bit, Tom Paxton, Judy Collins, Joan Baez, Leonard Cohen (because all his styles were in my John Pearce Folk music tutor!) etc etc most of which was based on (to my ear) fingerpicked rather than flatpicked tunes.

But I now look at people like Chris Newman and others who I like and wish I was more comfortable with a pick.


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Subject: RE: Guitar right hand technique
From: Dreaded Thumbpick
Date: 17 Dec 04 - 10:51 AM

Well, I suppose if I could emulate anyone else's style, it would be Sir Martin of the Carthy's. Of course, he's a very sick man. He has to be to play the way he does. I can't even imagine playing like that with a flat pick.


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Subject: RE: Guitar right hand technique
From: Mooh
Date: 17 Dec 04 - 10:58 AM

I learned flatpicking and fingerpicking at the same time because I wanted to BE both Roy Buchanan and Leo Kottke. Eventually, I grew up (I'm 46).

I start all my young students with a flatpick unless there is a specific directive from the parents to start with classical studies, but that's very rare. In any event they get fingerstyle a little later, depending on their progress, though I start them without a thumbpick. If they want to try a thumbpick it's okay with me (I use a Fred Kelly Slick Pick), but young hands have trouble with fit and control in my experience. The serious students want to try everything, especially if they think it puts them ahead of the "competition". It's my job to reveal to them a variety of styles and approaches to music and guitar, and (like mooman, above) it makes my job a lot more fun.

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Guitar right hand technique
From: breezy
Date: 17 Dec 04 - 11:06 AM

Strumming got to be boring so I moved onto arpeggioing then double thumbing then claw hammer.

By using thumb pick and nickel-silver finger picks I got no problem with volume, I strum and flat pick when I go 'rhythm'

I saw a challenge in learning to f-pick.

Now for the left hand.

Dont agree with believing youngsters arent using f-picking techniques.

but we dont want too many doing it!!!


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Subject: RE: Guitar right hand technique
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 17 Dec 04 - 11:12 AM

i've been playing guitar [poorly ???] since about 1974
my inspiration was 1st Donovan
[he seemed to be on TV quite a lot back then]
and then Wilko Johnson..

both contrastingly different styles of plectrumless players..

but i've never been able to finger pick,
and never had the patience to learn..
neither can i play arpegeggios repetitively & consistently
with a pick without making an error after a couple of bars
and eventually losing the pattern completely..
to be honest i think much basic precise finger picking chord playing
in support of a song
can sound stilted and mechanical..
[and i really hate flatpick arpeggios through chorus pedals..
how many 70/80's folkrock recordings have been tainted
with that obtrusively prissy bland sound..!!??]

i've just happily accepted that my personal talent is inclined towards strumming rythm electric guitar with a very thin light flatpick
or fingernails when i occasionaly drop and lose my plectrum..

sure.. i still enjoy listening to master guitarists
who can play fingerstyle instrumentals ragtime, jazz, country..etc
playing ALL melody, bass lines and chords at the same time,
sounding like a one man band..
much respect to them
for their talent & dedication..

but its not my 1st choice of music..
and i've always played within the context of an amplified band;
never as a solo performer..

so now i'm middle aged..
and some might say, a respectably accomplished rythm player..
a good drummer and bass guitarist are a joy to play with
and make me sound even better..
and the 3 of us combined can enhance the efforts & ego
of any of our regular singers and lead instrumentalists..

..and i'll just as effectively apply my style of strumming
to any fretted string instrument i can get my hands on..

its never bothered me that i cant fingerpick.
nor have i ever been too concerned that i cant
juggle.. unicycle.. skateboard.. blow smoke rings..
play darts.. and etc and etc and etc..

but if a young guitarist [eg my young teen nephew]
showed a natural inclination to fingerpick
and enjoyed styles of music where it was an appropriate
method of playing..
i'd do my best to encourage him to develope
to the most of his potential..


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Subject: RE: Guitar right hand technique
From: Pete Jennings
Date: 17 Dec 04 - 11:17 AM

Well, if they don't want to learn there's not a lot you can do, but it does seem a shame to me as well. On the other hand, there are some great guitarists who don't fingerpick at all - and Chris Newman is definitely one of them.

Beast of Farlington, try this way of learning to play clawhammer (NB this is NOT tab, rather just my way of illustrating it).

Play a D chord, using the top 4 strings (DGBE). Play the 4th and 3rd strings with your thumb, the 2nd string with your first finger and the 1st string with your second finger. The string sequence is:


|----------1-----------|
|---2-------------2----|
|-------3-------------3|
|4------------4--------|


Then just keep repeating it. It may sound weird till you get the rythm, (remember the bass should alternate evenly), but it's easy really. For other chords, change the base strings accordingly, e.g. for C use 5 and 3, for G use 6 and 4 (or 3).

Here's another way:

|1------------1-----|
|-------2-----------|
|----3-------------3|
|4---------4--------|


Good luck!


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Subject: RE: Guitar right hand technique
From: Paco Rabanne
Date: 17 Dec 04 - 11:23 AM

Long ago and far away, before I started to follow the true path of flamenco, I used to use a plectrum. But I found it very limiting, I mean you wouldn't play a piano with a plectrum in each hand would you? I use my thumb nail as a plectrum when I accompany my daughter.


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Subject: RE: Guitar right hand technique
From: GUEST,Jim
Date: 17 Dec 04 - 11:34 AM

I played guitar for 20 years before starting to learn fingerstyle. I wish I'd had someone to show me right from the start - and there weren't any "How to play...." type books back in 1965 (apart from Bert Weedon of course). I agree most youngsters don't seem to be that bothered, which is a real shame.

It's worth the effort. I heard a Lucy Kaplanski track "Guinevere" and was convinced there were two guitarists - 'til I worked out the pattern. It's surprising how mastering particular favourites gives you the tools to move ahead so much further and quicker.

"Vincent Black Lightning" (Richard Thompson) was another song I found a real challenge - trying to get 2 halves of my brain to think repeating bass pattern, and melody runs, then translating that into co-ordinated thumb and finger action - keeping solid timing as well -nearly drove me mad.

Good strong nails help.


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Subject: RE: Guitar right hand technique
From: Vixen
Date: 17 Dec 04 - 11:38 AM

Being a lefty who learned to play righty, right hand technique presents a continuing challenge

Many of the aforementioned folk fingerpickers were my role models, plus I liked rock'n'roll, so I wanted to strum AND fingerpick. I got a book of classical method by Carcassi, and practiced those 40-odd finger picking patterns until I can do them in my dreams. By learning from observing others, I can strum a reasonably rhythmic 4/4 and 3/4 backup with a pick. I can do a boom-chick frail too.

The problem? Boring, boring, boring. I can do patterns, either strumming or picking, but I can't improvise, switch-off, or mix-it-up. No "feel"...

Big shortcoming with "paper-training"...

V


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Subject: RE: Guitar right hand technique
From: GUEST,Jim
Date: 17 Dec 04 - 11:50 AM

Just "picking" up on the Pete Jennings post - I learnt fingerstyle in stages as follows:

1. Keeping 1st, 2nd and 3rd fingers together, and simply plucking the E B and G strings together whilst playing alternating bass strings.

2. Eventually separating out the 1st finger to play G whilst 3rd and 4th (together) played B and E strings.

3. Then separating 2nd and 3rd fingers to play patterns, such as "TIMRIMI" (Thumb, Index, Middle, Ring, Index, Middle, Index)

4. Developing independence of fingers to play melody notes whilst thumb plays bass.

Also - using 1st finger (with thumb as support - as if holding a plectrum) to give driving rhythms and strums.

I used to think guitar playing was all about your fretting hand - 'til a brilliant guitarist once told me "Nope - it's about your right hand (assuming right-handed playing), and you've got a right-hand to die for!"

It'd always been one of my best friends anyhow........


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Subject: RE: Guitar right hand technique
From: RichM
Date: 17 Dec 04 - 11:55 AM

To teach yourself to BEGIN to improvise, you need to start with melody.

Wherever you are in terms of knowledge, or experience is where you start. IE, the knowledge you have now, is what you start with.

In practical terms, I would suggest you start with a song, any song you know.
Since it's christmas season, you could start with a seasonal song: play the melody.
NOT from music , Not from tab, but from your own familiarity with the song.

If you are not comfortable with anything beyond 1st position (ie, first four frets of guitar) find the melody there.

RichM


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Subject: RE: Guitar right hand technique
From: Pete Jennings
Date: 17 Dec 04 - 11:55 AM

Amazing innit, Jim? Just about everybody watching a guitarist will be looking at the (right-handed player's) left hand, even the other players!

Wrong hand!


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Subject: RE: Guitar right hand technique
From: Nick
Date: 17 Dec 04 - 12:00 PM

I play Vincent too but reckon it sounds much more difficult to do than it actually is.

I try and play some John Renbourn stuff like Catwalk and find that HARD. It's all over the guitar and has some odd chord shapes and things to get used to. But stuff like that I do for myself rather than to play to anyone else.


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Subject: RE: Guitar right hand technique
From: Leadfingers
Date: 17 Dec 04 - 12:04 PM

I started with Dum-ching , graduated to a thumb and one finger then gradually got more fingers working . I dont play melodies on guitar as such , just a reasonable accompaniment to a song . However if I am backing a fiddle I will use a flat pick ! Isaac Guillery was the first player i ever saw who used a flat pick AND finger picked with the other three fingers - Best of both worlds !


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Subject: RE: Guitar right hand technique
From: GUEST,Jim
Date: 17 Dec 04 - 12:16 PM

Issac Guillory - what a FANTASTIC player he was (I'm not sure I've seen better) - and he described himself as a rhythm guitarist!

I'm not sure about RichM's post:
"To teach yourself to BEGIN to improvise, you need to start with melody."

It's vital to get the rhythm and timing right first, and that's probably best done by strumming chords. I've seen too many who've skipped this part in an effort to get to the melody and the much loved lead riffs. I know a few who have mastered quite a number of classic riffs, but are knackered when it comes to playing something they're not familiar with. As for improvisation, they'll never get there.

My advice - bottom up approach - from rhythm and chords - to fingerstyle - to melody notes within chords - to scale patterns - to lead guitar - and the Holy Grail

Issac Guillory (RIP) - the standard to strive for


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Subject: RE: Guitar right hand technique
From: EagleWing
Date: 17 Dec 04 - 12:29 PM

I've just read my way through this thread and find myself amused. Why? Because I really would love to be able to use a flatpick properly! I started strumming at 16 (45 years ago) and then got lessons in fingerpicking. Somehow I never did learn how to use a flat pick and I hear some great guitar playing done by people who really know how to use it.

What I think is great is that there are so many different styles - even basic strumming can sound right in some circumstances. I just wouldn't want to make rules about how people should play!

Frank L.


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Subject: RE: Guitar right hand technique
From: GUEST,Jim
Date: 17 Dec 04 - 12:32 PM

Good point Frank - check out Sean Lakeman's guitar playing (Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman - brilliant combination)


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Subject: RE: Guitar right hand technique
From: GUEST,Whistle Stop
Date: 17 Dec 04 - 12:47 PM

I'm Mooh's age (46), and like him I play fingerstyle and with a flatpick. I don't think either is inherently more limiting than the other; they're just different approaches. Martin Simpson is an incredible fingerpicker, and Tony Rice is an incredible flatpicker. Who's better? I don't know; it's a silly question, really.

If you want to achieve maximum versatility, do both. If you started with one, and are wondering when is the best time to try the other? That's easy -- right now.


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Subject: RE: Guitar right hand technique
From: PoppaGator
Date: 17 Dec 04 - 01:18 PM

My technique is probably a bit unusual, because I use fingerpicks exclusively, even for "strumming." I can pick barefingered, and do so often enough when trying to practice quietly, but I'm more comfortable and better able to produce a varety of sounds when wearing the picks (National medium plastic thumbpick, two metal fingerpicks).

My first guitar was a nylon-string classical, and I studied up on my fingerpicking from the beginning, not using picks. After a couple of years, I took classical lessons for a few months, which got me using the right ring finger in addition to the index and middle. (I would later quit using the ring finger.)

When I got my steel-string guitar in 1969, I resolved to learn to play with picks -- both flatpicks and fingerpicks. My fingerpicking tended to be quieter and more painstaking than my boom-chucka flatpick strumming, and I used the two different picking techniques for different songs. With the fingerpicks, I never hit more than a single string at a time and tended to be very careful and quiet.

I was soon playing *long* hours busking on streetcorners, and never developed good enough flatpicking technique to avoid painful cramping in the base of my thumb. So I just quit trying, and decided to wear my fingerpicks at all times. Slowly, I developed a way to play loud, "strumming" with the picks on songs I had formerly flatpicked while playing a bit more quietly on the numbers I had always fingerpicked. Eventually, these two different approaches to using fingerpicks merged into one, and I can fairly easily pick either a single string or a set of multiple strings with any stroke of my thumb or of either finger, all within the course of a given tune/song. (Actually, the thumb can play as many as all 6 strings, but the fingers rarely hit more than 3 or 4.) The thumb handles all the downstrokes, of course, and the fingers upstrokes.

(Playing barehanded, I'll generally strum down with fingernails and up with the thumbnail -- just the opposite. For some reason, this does not confuse me or my hands.)

I might note that I learned *a lot* of entire fingerpicking songs by rote, from tablature, before I could internalize a large enough vocabulary of riffs to even begin playing melody parts semi-freely with the fingers while keeping up a steady bass with the thumb. I had always read about playing that alternating (or monotonic) bass while "improvising" with the fingers, but there's no way I was able to just jump in and start playing that way. I had to learn dozens of John Hurt pieces before I could begin to develop that kind of fluency.

Not using the flatpick does limit my versatility a bit. There's no way I can play, for example, bluegrass-style guitar solos as a fingerpicker (although I can produce a decent BG rhythm-guitar part). Then again, my picking style is not my only limitation, anyway. There are a *lot* of musical styles I enjoy that I can't effectively play on acoustic guitar -- plenty of stuff I can sing but not play, and even more that I can neither sing nor play.

Here's my favorite beginner's fingerpicking pattern, which I learned from a Stephan Grossman book. I *think* I can put this into the same format Pete used above. This is a standard first-position C major chord:

|-0--------0-----------0-|
|----1-----------1-------|
|-------0-----------0----|
|------------------------|
|-3-----------3----------|
|------------------------|

(If I knew how to force the tab to stay in monospaced Courier and not be put into Times Roman, it would look better. But you should get the idea.)

This is good practice because it includes a "pinch" at the start of each measure, along with all the alternations between thumb and fingers. More advanced fingerpicking projects will require various combinations of pinches and single notes, so it's good to get accustomed to both.

Note that the alternating "bass" notes on beats 2 and 4 are on the third (G) string, not truly a bass string. This sets up the possiblity of a slightly more complicated "double-alternating" bass:

|-0--------0-----------0-|
|----1-----------1-------|
|-------0-----------0----|
|-------------2----------|
|-3----------------------|
|------------------------|

All for now!


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Subject: RE: Guitar right hand technique
From: Justa Picker
Date: 17 Dec 04 - 01:25 PM

I've always thought that you're not PLAYING a guitar unless you're fingepicking it...
...as this gets more complexities of tone out of it [sic] MUSIC ... than ANY other method ....

Why sound like 1 person when you can sound like 2? .. mind you I AM a little prejudiced.


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Subject: RE: Guitar right hand technique
From: Blissfully Ignorant
Date: 17 Dec 04 - 01:30 PM

I'm 17 and i don't use picks much, if at all...but i didn't learn fingerpicking so much as my fingers started doing it by themselves. They're probably doing it all wrong, but it sounds ok....


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Subject: RE: Guitar right hand technique
From: GUEST,tunesmith
Date: 17 Dec 04 - 01:42 PM

When I hear the vast majority of fingerstyle guitarists playing steel-string acoustic guitar - i.e. not plugged in, I am invariably disappointed with their lack on volume. I bet I would even be disappointed with Ry Cooder's volume - or lack of it! A plectrum solves the volume problem. Nowadays, I do a lot of "hybrid" picking ( with pick and fingerpic(s) which can - a lot of the time - give the best of both worlds. Too get a really good acoustic sound, playing fingerstyle, I think you're talking false nails etc. Martin Simpson used to get a fantastic loud acoustic sound.


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Subject: RE: Guitar right hand technique
From: Don Firth
Date: 17 Dec 04 - 02:24 PM

I've been playing guitar since 1952, and I think that, in all that time, I've used a flat pick for a total of about three minutes—and that was just trying to figure out how the damned thing worked. My girl friend back in the early Fifties, who first got me interested in the guitar, played with her fingernails. Then I ran into Walt Robertson, and he played with his fingernails. I took about six months' lessons from Walt, then he suggested that I take some classic guitar lessons, which I did—off and on for about ten years from four different teachers. But for someone who's taken that many classic guitar lessons, I should be able to play classic a helluva lot better than I do, but I was concentrating mostly on folk.

I play with "natural meat and bone." In response to tunesmith, I've never had any volume problems, but of course I play nylon-string classics. No volume problem there. A good classic guitar can bounce the sound off the back wall of a sizable auditorium. On the other hand, Walt used steel-string guitars and you could always hear his guitar loud and clear. Maybe it's in the technique somehow.

Some people, such as Doc Watson and a bunch of others (including some country, rock, and jazz guitarists) wreak miracles with a flat pick, so obviously it has a lot going for it. But whenever I mess with a flat pick, I recall when I was going to the University of Washington School of Music and had to take some basic piano as a requirement. I always felt there was too damned much junk between me and the strings. Same with thumb and finger picks. Again, folks can do some amazing things with them, but I've tried 'em a few times and I've always felt it was like trying to tap dance while wearing skis.

Does using a flat pick limit one? My gut feeling says "obviously!" But I dunno. The best of both worlds is to be like Doc Watson and be able to do both like a virtuoso.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Guitar right hand technique
From: PoppaGator
Date: 17 Dec 04 - 03:48 PM

Some of the very best players use Chet Atkins' technique -- holding a flatpick between thumb and index finger while using (bare) middle and ring fingers for additional picking. Gives "best of both worlds", flat and fingerpicking. I've made several brief, halfhearted, and ultimately failed attepts to do this -- besides the problem of developing a whole new kind of dexterity, there's the issue of balancing the volume of the flatpicked notes vs the bare-finger-plucked notes. One solution to the latter complication is Tunesmith's -- wear fingerpicks on the middle & ring fingers.

Also -- I made a mistake on those two measures of tab I tried to contruct in my last post. Omit the final treble note that I indicated in each measure. The rhythm per 4/4/ measure should go like this:

1 pinch (thumb/middle)
& index
2 thumb
& middle
3 thumb
& index
4 thumb
& (rest)


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Subject: RE: Guitar right hand technique
From: Midchuck
Date: 17 Dec 04 - 04:01 PM

I started guitar in 1959, fingerpicking and playing Carter-style - picking bass notes with a thumbpick and strumming across the treble strings with first finger.

In '64 or thenabouts I got excited by John Herald's stuff with Ian and Sylvia, and by my first exposures to bluegrass, then by Doc Watson. I proceeded to use a flatpick more or less exclusively for the next 40 years.

Just lately I've been fooling some with "fingerpicking" using a flatpick and a fingerpick on the middle finger. If I can get that under control, maybe I'll try one on the ring finger as well.

I still think flatpick is pretty much the way to go if you play with other instruments, or to accompany singing. Fingerpicking makes the most sense for solo playing.

IMO.

Peter.


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Subject: RE: Guitar right hand technique
From: Dreaded Thumbpick
Date: 17 Dec 04 - 04:01 PM

Les Paul also used a flatpick and fingers simultaneously, I believe.


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Subject: RE: Guitar right hand technique
From: GUEST,munchie
Date: 17 Dec 04 - 04:01 PM

I learned to fingerpick from the get-go. I use a flatpick for electric guitar, but never for acoustic. I let my fingernails grow long on my picking hand to ring the strings better. I tried fingerpicks but hate 'em. I just use my fingernails.

Seems unlike a lot of folks, I wasn't trying to emulate anyone. Most of the folks that were mentioned I've never heard of. Too many musicians for me to keep up with. I just play for the enjoyment of a good tune.


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Subject: RE: Guitar right hand technique
From: Peter T.
Date: 17 Dec 04 - 04:14 PM

Gee, this is interesting, I always thought decent flatpicking was much harder than fingerpicking (the only kind I do).   Watching Doc Watson flatpick is an experience.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Guitar right hand technique
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 17 Dec 04 - 04:17 PM

anyone ever heard of Joe Fingerpicker...??

anybody..?????

thought not..

strum on..


Btw.. brilliant thread this..

i wish i had resources as good as this when
i was a 14 year old kid 1st learning to play..


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Subject: RE: Guitar right hand technique
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 17 Dec 04 - 04:34 PM

Surely Wilko Johnson is a straight flatpicker (albeit a wondrous one) -
-
-
But Mark Knopler the premier of the flatpick plus THREE other fingers (litle, ring, and whatever you call it) plectrum/picking.

No?


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Subject: RE: Guitar right hand technique
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 17 Dec 04 - 05:28 PM

i might be wrong
.. a lot of time has passed since Dr Feelgoods 1st album..

but at the time me and my mates tried our hardest to copy Wilkos
superfast riffing & strumming.. failing miserably in the process..

until i'm sure we discovered the reason was that he played
simultaneous bass riffs, lead and chords with his fingers..

i have vague memories of us all being in awe
and extra impressed by the bloody battering his fingertips got
from playing his telecaster with heavy weight gauge strings
with a wound 'G'..

Wilko is deservedly one of the most influential UK guitarists from the 70's..

though many guitarists world-wide now probably dont realise it,
or sadly have ever heard of him..


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Subject: RE: Guitar right hand technique
From: Leadfingers
Date: 17 Dec 04 - 07:42 PM

Funny thing - I never really got on with a Flatpick til after I started playing Mandolin - And my Guitar picking improved when I got
into melodic picking on 5 string banjo ! The more you play the better you play !!


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Subject: RE: Guitar right hand technique
From: Pete Jennings
Date: 18 Dec 04 - 09:06 AM

Bit of intentional thread creep:

GUEST,tunesmith. Martin Simpson get his unplugged volume from the Sobell guitar he uses. They are REALLY LOUD, and he uses heavy gauge strings. Stefan Sobel has just made him a signature model, which you can buy for approx £8,000 (yes, that's eight grand pounds sterling!). Martin also has nail extensions on the 1st-3rd fingers of his right hand, which allows him to hit the strings really hard without danage to his nails.

Pete


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Subject: RE: Guitar right hand technique
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Dec 04 - 01:52 PM

I've played with a thumbpick and fingers for over forty years. In all that time I've played my small Martin O-16. The only time I ever felt the need for more volume was playing in a string band. Bought a Guild Dreadnought.

Turns out my spunky Martin was loud enough, put out a much better sound, made the bands sound better and was easier for me to play.

I don't understand the need for high volume. You can hear a reasonable guitar base line under virtually any banjo or fiddle. And a solo break is a solo break -- nobody's playing louder than you are at that point.


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Subject: RE: Guitar right hand technique
From: EagleWing
Date: 18 Dec 04 - 03:24 PM

Blissfully Ignorant said:
"my fingers started doing it by themselves. They're probably doing it all wrong, but it sounds ok.... "

If it sounds right it your fingers must be doing it right.
Different, maybe. But right!

Frank L.


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Subject: RE: Guitar right hand technique
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 18 Dec 04 - 03:40 PM

Being used to playing in UK folk music venues, where there is often no amplification at all, the need for volume becomes very important. I almost always feel that if most solo guitarists were 50% louder they would command the audiences attention a lot more. Playing back-up/accompanying guitar clearly has different demands.


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Subject: RE: Guitar right hand technique
From: Dreaded Thumbpick
Date: 18 Dec 04 - 03:56 PM

I found that if people want to hear me, they shut up. If they don't and I play louder, they talk louder. I can't play louder than the patrons can talk unless I blow 'em out with a sound system. And that tends to piss pople off. Needless to say that the owner/manager won't be inclined to hire me back. But I think I've gotten off topic. Sorry.

I was just curious about how right hand guitar techniques have changed over time. I guess the move to louder and louder rock music has had a significant effect on players of more traditional folk music.


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Subject: RE: Guitar right hand technique
From: s&r
Date: 19 Dec 04 - 12:07 PM

Surely Mark Knopfler is basically a finger picker

Quote "An important event in Mark's evolution as a guitarist occurred while he was with the Cafe Racers. ,,I was playing a rhythm / lead thing with a plectrum, sort of like [British rock guitarist] Mick Green, he says. ,,I used to use a pick until a few years ago, when I started getting more and more involved with playing without one. Then, a sort of synthesis happened between fingerpicking and getting plectrum-type effects by just using my fingers. Eventually, I found myself doing things with just my thumb and two fingers that I couldn't do with a pick. But I still use a plectrum now and again for strumming or for playing on acoustic tracks."

Stu


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Subject: RE: Guitar right hand technique
From: GUEST,The Beast of Farlington
Date: 20 Dec 04 - 11:04 AM

Nick wrote: "I'm the opposite to Beast in that I pretty much fingerpick everything and play with a pick when I need to make more noise. (I put it down to me being much shyer than him and much less noisy :)"

Nick is a great guitar player - and the stuff in brackets is funny!

Pete Jennings - thanks for the tip - I'll have a practice

The shame of it is, that although I use a flatpick, I'm not even very good with that either. I tend to strum using half pick and half the nail of my forefinger or, if I'm not concentrating, pick more than one string / the wrong string when I don't intend to!


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Subject: RE: Guitar right hand technique
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 20 Dec 04 - 10:56 PM

Its not like classical music - theres no one right or wrong way.

Ralph McTell uses both fingers and flatpick expertly, but theres few who can match him in this. Having said that he doesn't really go infor those percussive lead breaks that are only obtainable with a flat pick.

I take the point about volume in clubs and sessions. Derek Brimstone for example plays with a full set of metal fingerpicks.

I have noticed that many people who describe themselves as Martin Carthy devotees are astonishingly ignorant about the complexities that his style embraces. This is because is because they hear him unamplified - and it is quite difficult to see the whole technique in this way. I think if he were recorded and performed with as big a guitar sound as Ry Cooder - people would be astonished at what they were hearing and seeing.

the best advice I could give anybody is to pay attention to whats around. decide what you would like to achieve , and then get all the sdvice you can, and then go for it.


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Subject: RE: Guitar right hand technique
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 20 Dec 04 - 11:11 PM

..curious about Albert Lee & Jerry Donahue..

any one know their playing preferences..??


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Subject: RE: Guitar right hand technique
From: GUEST,goodbar
Date: 21 Dec 04 - 01:06 AM

i'm 16 and i use a pick. i learned a little of 'the minstrel boy' fingerpicking, but i still prefer using a pick. it's just more exciting and makes me feel like i'm rocking out, even if i'm playing slow shit. i'm kind of getting to the point where i want to learn some fingerpicking, but i don't want to buy a book and i can't find any internet sources to help me. anyone know of any sites i could go to?


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Subject: RE: Guitar right hand technique
From: GLoux
Date: 21 Dec 04 - 08:52 AM

Wayne Henderson isn't young, but he's the most amazing finger style guitar player I've ever seen and heard. He can sound like a flat picker, but he's he's not using one.

-Greg


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Subject: RE: Fifties guitar riffs and lead guitar
From: GUEST,Ray
Date: 05 Jan 05 - 06:39 PM

Where can I get some good info on guitar riffs and leads for many of the 50's songs? Any websites?


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