Economy picking

Economy picking is a guitar picking technique designed to maximize picking efficiency by combining alternate picking and sweep picking. Specifically:

  • When picking multiple notes on a string, alternate picking (alternating between down-strokes and upstrokes) is used.
  • When changing to a new string, sweep picking (picking in the direction of travel: down-stroke if moving down or upstroke when moving up) is used.

Rationale

This minimizes movement in the picking hand, and avoids the motion of "jumping" over a string prior to picking it, as often occurs in alternate-picking when changing strings. Thus the picking pattern of an ascending three-note-per-string scale would be: D-U-D-D-U-D-D-U-D, and the descending pattern would start just like alternate picking (up stroke first): U-D-U-U-D-U-U-D-U.

Guitarists notable for their use of economy picking

Gypsy picking

The picking technique of gypsy jazz has been described[2] as similar to economy picking, but with the further requirement that when the pattern switches from string to string in either direction, a rest stroke is performed.

For example, on switching from the G to the B string, the plectrum moves in the same direction and comes to rest on the E string. However, on switching from the B to the G string, the plectrum moves upward and executes a down stroke on the G string, again coming to rest on the B string. This technique was employed by gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt and has been preserved by his successors. However, he did not invent it. He may have learned it from other gypsy players, of whom two of his chief influences were banjoist Gusti Mahla and guitarist Jean "Poulette" Castro.[3] However, this technique was commonly taught in numerous guitar methods in the early twentieth century and was employed by American jazz banjo players.[2]

References

  1. ^ Les Paul Sweeps on YouTube
  2. ^ a b Michael Horowitz: Gypsy Picking
  3. ^ Michael Dregni: "Django: The Life and Music of a Gypsy Legend "

Further reading

Alternate picking

Alternate picking is a guitar playing technique that employs alternating downward and upward strokes in a continuous fashion. If the technique is performed at high speed on a single string voicing the same note it may be referred to as "tremolo picking" or "double picking".

Good alternate picking involves a continuous down-up or up-down motion of the picking hand, even when not picking a note (except when the gap lasts longer than one full up-down motion). In this manner, an up-beat (such as an even-numbered eighth note or, at faster tempos, sixteenth note) will always be played with an upward picking stroke, while the down-beats are always played with downward picking strokes. This allows for fluid incorporation of legato-based notes such as hammer-ons and/or pull-offs in the middle of picked phrases.

The technique has many advantages and some disadvantages, largely depending on the licks the guitarist is attempting to play. For example, during fast passages, alternate picking is necessary in keeping the picking arm from tiring out. At very high tempos, alternate picking is essentially required, since techniques like downpicking are made not feasible.

Most scalar runs are most easily played using alternate picking. Similarly, the complex, syncopated rhythm guitar patterns found in death metal require a good alternate picking technique to play fast and accurately.

On the other hand, large arpeggios (especially those spanning more than one octave) are very difficult to play using pure alternate picking and almost impossible to play at great speeds, which is why many guitarists choose to employ sweep picking to play these arpeggios (e.g. Glenn Tipton, K. K. Downing, Frank Gambale & Mario Parga). Similarly, some kinds of licks are easier when played using such specialized techniques as legato, economy picking (a hybrid of alternate and sweep picking) or tapping.

Despite some of the well-known disadvantages of the technique, some guitarists (such as Al Di Meola, Steve Morse) emphasize the near-exclusive use of alternate picking, even in situations where another technique would be easier, claiming that pure alternate picking leads to a more consistent sound and allows for greater control of tone.

Alternate picking can be heard in almost all styles of picked guitar music, from jazz and bluegrass, to heavy metal.

Victor Wooten uses his thumb for alternate picking, as displayed on his DVD "Super Bass Solo Technique".

Carter Family picking

Carter Family picking, also known as the thumb brush, the Carter lick, the church lick, or the Carter scratch, is a style of fingerstyle guitar named after Maybelle Carter of the Carter Family's distinctive style of rhythm guitar in which the melody is played on the bass strings, usually low E, A, and D while rhythm strumming continues above, on the treble strings, G, B, and high E. This often occurs during the break. The style bears similarity to the frailing style of banjo playing and is the rhythm Bill Monroe adapted for bluegrass music two decades later.With this technique, Carter, who "was among the first" to use it as such, "helped to turn the guitar into a lead instrument". It is unclear how Maybelle developed her then-unique style.

It is known that Maybelle first learned the blues fingerpicking technique around 1930 from Lesley Riddle, an African-American guitarist who used to frequent the Carter family household. Carter can be heard playing in this style on a number of Carter Family recordings. She also played slide guitar and, later, with a flat-pick.

Play

Crosspicking

Crosspicking is a technique for playing the mandolin or guitar using a plectrum or flatpick in a rolling, syncopated style across three strings. This style is probably best known as one element of the flatpicking style in bluegrass music, and it closely resembles a banjo roll, the main difference being that the banjo roll is fingerpicked rather than flatpicked.

A typical element of the technique is the use of three pitches played repeatedly within a four-pulse rhythm. This results in a continual shifting of the pitches vis-a-vis the accented pulse. The three pitches are usually played on three adjacent strings—one per string. The pick direction can vary, depending on the required emphasis and the melody.

Crosspicking is a guitar style that uses a flatpick to imitate the sound of fingerpicking. It is used both as a lead style and as accompaniment. Using repeating patterns involving two or three strings, crosspicking is particularly effective at slow to mid-tempos...The basic [patterns are] forward and reverse "roll[s]"...played in the standard alternating picking pattern (dudududu) or in specialized patterns (dduddudd) or (uuduuduu).

Using "D" for down" and "U" for "up" (and slashes to indicate groups of three), mandolin player Jesse McReynolds used a crosspicking roll of

D - U - U / D - U - U / D - U . . .creating a repeating pattern of notes that expresses the melody. Guitarist George Shuffler used a pick pattern of

D - D - U / D - D - U / D - D . . . .The traditional banjo roll form is

D - D - U / D - D - U / D - D . . .this helps to accentuate the "threes" nature of the pattern against the "four" rhythm.

The other way is using strict alternate picking:

D - U - D / U - D - U / D - U. . . .This may be more comfortable for players who are using alternate picking for most of their playing. In actuality, one (or more) of the three pitches may be varied from one repetition of the pattern to the next, for instance the top note could be toggled up and down one step.

Downpicking

Downpicking, sometimes referred to as down-stroke picking, is a technique used by musicians on plucked string instruments in which the player moves the plectrum, or pick in a downward motion, relative to the position of the instrument, against one or more of the strings to make them vibrate. If down-strokes are played without the addition of upstrokes (as in alternate picking), the tip of the pick never comes in contact with the strings as the hand movies back up to repeat the down-stroke.

Frank Gambale

Frank Gambale (born 22 December 1958) is an Australian jazz fusion guitarist. He has released twenty albums over a period of three decades, and is known for his use of the sweep picking and economy picking techniques.

Guitar Craft

Guitar Craft (GC) was a series of guitar and personal-development classes, founded and often presented by Robert Fripp, who is best known for his work with the rock band King Crimson. Guitar Craft courses introduced students to new standard tuning and ergonomic playing with the plectrum (pick), often using steel-stringed, acoustic, shallow-body guitars from the Ovation Guitar Company.

By 2011, three thousand students had completed the courses. Students who continue to practise Guitar Craft playing have been called "crafties". Notable crafties include Trey Gunn and the California Guitar Trio (all four of whom, with Fripp, constituted The Robert Fripp String Quintet) and Markus Reuter. Crafties have recorded several albums under the name of "Robert Fripp and the League of Crafty Guitarists", for example.

After 25 years, the Guitar Craft movement transformed its activities into Guitar Circles, which offer introductory courses and performances in Europe and the Americas. Guitar Circles meet in many cities; in particular, The Seattle Guitar Circle meets for practices and performances and also sponsors a school.

Guitar pick

A guitar pick (American English) is a plectrum used for guitars. Picks are generally made of one uniform material—such as some kind of plastic (nylon, Delrin, celluloid), rubber, felt, tortoiseshell, wood, metal, glass, tagua, or stone. They are often shaped in an acute isosceles triangle with the two equal corners rounded and the third corner less rounded. They are used to strum chords or to sound individual notes on a guitar.

In British English, guitar picks are referred to as plectrums, reserving the term pick to identify the difference between this and finger picks.

Guitar picking

Guitar picking is a group of hand and finger techniques a guitarist uses to set guitar strings in motion to produce audible notes. These techniques involve plucking, strumming, brushing, etc. Picking can be done with:

A pick (plectrum) held in the hand

Natural or artificial fingernails, fingertips or finger-mounted plectrums known as fingerpicks (for techniques collectively known as fingerstyle)

A plectrum held between thumb and one finger, supplemented by the free fingers—called hybrid picking.Using a single thumb pick with the bare fingers is similar to hybrid picking. Another mixed technique is to play different passages with a plectrum or fingerstyle, "palming" the plectrum when not in use.

Gypsy jazz

Gypsy jazz (also known as gypsy swing or hot club jazz) is a style of jazz generally accepted to have been started by the Romani guitarist Jean "Django" Reinhardt in Paris during the 1930s. Because its origins are in France, and Reinhardt was from the Manouche Roma clan, gypsy jazz is often called by the French name "jazz manouche", or alternatively, "manouche jazz" in English language sources.Django Reinhardt was foremost among a group of Romani guitarists working in Paris from the 1930s to the 1950s. The group included the brothers Baro, Sarane, and Matelo Ferret and Reinhardt's brother Joseph "Nin-Nin" Reinhardt.Many gypsy jazz musicians worked in Paris in popular musette ensembles in which the lead instrument was typically the accordion with banjo accompaniment, the latter played with a plectrum for volume. Elements of both instruments appear in the "gypsy jazz" sound, with arpeggios and decorations typical of accordionists transferred to the guitar, and a right hand attack applied to the lead acoustic guitar to achieve maximum volume in an era of little or no electric amplification. Other elements of the ensemble sound included the use of stringed instruments only, which was unusual for its day. The absence of brass lead instruments and drums was a novelty in the jazz context, as well as the use of the double bass, which had taken over from the sousaphone to play bass lines. The absence of drums was compensated for by a highly rhythmic style of guitar accompaniment called "la pompe" which supplied both rhythm and harmonic structure for the soloists. Gypsy jazz can be performed on guitars alone with or without double bass. But in the Quintette du Hot Club de France, solo work alternated between Reinhardt on guitar and jazz violinist Stéphane Grappelli. Later versions of the Quintette featured clarinet or saxophone as alternate lead instruments to the guitar, and these are sometimes featured in contemporary gypsy jazz ensembles in place of the violin, although obviously departing from the "all-strings" format.

Reinhardt and his band used a range of guitar models available in France, but dominant among them was the Maccaferri guitar, formally called the "Selmer-Maccaferri" and then shortened to "Selmer". This model was popular enough to be marketed today as a "gypsy jazz guitar" played exclusively by gypsy jazz guitarists due to its tone and responsiveness. These guitars were made in two first versions, the earliest with a large "D" shaped sound hole, and later models with a smaller "O" shaped sound hole. The later models are considered most suited to lead guitar playing.

Heavy metal genres

A number of heavy metal genres have developed since the emergence of heavy metal (often shortened to metal) during the late 1960s and early 1970s. At times heavy metal genres may overlap or are difficult to distinguish, but they can be identified by a number of traits. They may differ in terms of: instrumentation, tempo, song structure, vocal style, lyrics, guitar playing style, drumming style, and so on.

Lead guitar

Lead guitar is a musical part for a guitar in which the guitarist plays melody lines, instrumental fill passages, guitar solos, and occasionally, some riffs within a song structure. The lead is the featured guitar, which usually plays single-note-based lines or double-stops.

In rock, heavy metal, blues, jazz, punk, fusion, some pop, and other music styles, lead guitar lines are usually supported by a second guitarist who plays rhythm guitar, which consists of accompaniment chords and riffs.

Life in 2050

Life in 2050 is a 2011 futurology book by Ulrich Eberl. The book deals with the effects that climate change, peak oil and the 2000s energy crisis has on the year of the mid-21st century.This book is intended primarily for students, young professionals, university professors and politicians.

Outline of guitars

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to guitars:

A guitar is a plucked string instrument, usually played with fingers or a pick. The guitar consists of a body with a rigid neck to which the strings, generally six in number, are attached. Most guitar necks have metal frets attached (the exception is fretless bass guitars). Guitars are traditionally constructed of various woods and strung with animal gut or, more recently, with either nylon or steel strings. Some modern 2010-era guitars are made of polycarbonate materials. Guitars are made and repaired by luthiers. There are two primary families of guitars: acoustic and electric. An acoustic guitar has a wooden top and a hollow body. An electric guitar may be a solid-body or hollow body instrument, which is made louder by using a pickup and plugging it into a guitar amplifier and speaker. Another type of guitar is the low-pitched bass guitar.

Sweep picking

Sweep picking is a guitar playing technique. When sweep picking, the guitarist plays single notes on consecutive strings with a 'sweeping' motion of the pick, while using the fretting hand to produce a specific series of notes that are fast and fluid in sound. Both hands essentially perform an integral motion in unison to achieve the desired effect.

General
Fingerstyle
Flatpicking
Innovators
Techniques
Genres

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