Flat Picking Thread

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Wed Jun 12, 2013 2:36 pm
by NicholasJacquet (deleted)

It occured to me quite recently that perhaps my judgemental attitude towards flat picking is not the result of the vastness of Sarod's superiority to it, but rather; maybe it is simply because I my understanding of flat picking is not as complete as I would have otherwise thought. So to kick this thread of, I first must thank Ursin for that kickass DocWatson video (or is his name Merle?) that he offered in his reply. I dont know if that is the kind of music that people refer to as "ragtime"
<---I am not sure if this is the proper name for it, but I vaguely remember hearing a couple people talking en passant about what I thought they had called "rag time music" (or rag timing music maybe?). Anyway I thought It was a cool style of music in that video (this was I beleive the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3VWOeqph0M )

Ok, so with those thoughts thrown out there, here is my first question: 1.) Below is a link to a Flat-picking lesson video that I bumped into the other day and it made me aware of something in my own picking which at this point to me seems like a pretty big uncertainty or question mark with my technique. (I dont like it when there are things going on in my picking where I am uncertain if they are proper or improper technique) The dude in the vid talks about what I think seems comparable to the "follow through" from golf technique. Say for instance, when you are flat-picking and down pick say the A-String the guy in the vid says the pick should have follow through to rest on the next string (In this instance up against the D string) And conversly, if you were to then decide to come back to upstroke the A string, the pick should then have a "follow through" to rest up against the E string.

Here is the vid that sparked for me this question: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-jp6kb2i8o

It would seem logical to me that when dealing with faster stuff that involves Sarod pickery, that there would be no slack- time available to grant one the luxury of having the pick get that far away from the A string before it has to make its return journey from an immediatly previous down or up stroke. But in less light-speed contexts; say if I was just doing eigth notes or eight-note triplets on one of the middle four strings (A,D,G,or B) using a Scalpal pure or I guess just flat-picking, should I be requiring such a follow-through of my pick strokes? (because @ the moment I am not subjecting my scalpal picking to this requirement) If I were to do that, it would seem to lend itself really well to including directional picking strokes in instances when I was shifting to and fro from adjacent strings in the form of con-current down or upstrokes; such a follow through would set the pick up perfectly to "follow through" a little bit further if say I knew that after this downstroke on the A string, that my next note was going to be comming up on the string that my "follow through" would leave the pick resting up against (the D-string)...

To paraphrase, does the purest scalpal technique (particularly at more slow to moderate speeds) require/dictate that I make such follow through with the pick before coming up after downstroking (and vice-versa)?

2.) My second question is much less wordy: "When I do picking that involves only a scalpal motion does such picking fall into the category of what people call flatpicking?" Or is flatpicking something a little more than that...or a different technique entrirely?

I am pretty curious about these things and as always, I am eager to drink from the wells on technical understanding that are Pebber, Ursin, and Frakh. -Thanks

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RE: Flat Picking Thread

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Wed Jun 12, 2013 3:12 pm
by NicholasJacquet (deleted)

Oh, and one other thought...I have worked a little bit on cultivating a similiar type of "follow through" but it is i guess a largely scalpalish/arm-bobish type of hybrid motion where the extent of the "follow through" ends at the pick immediately coming to rest on the other side of the sting that it slices through (there-by muting it or in some instances where there is a lot of distortion, it undesireably triggers one of the harmonics that chill in the region of the strings that are floating above the pick-ups) . This was an experimental way of approaching picking that I have tinkered with in an attempt to immatate the way a violin bow "bites" into the violin strings at both the begining and tail end of violin stacatto technique. What has piqued my interest in it is that sometimes when I do picking like this, I notice a most peculiar phenomenon that occurs: Even though my picking hand/arm has gone totally limp after the initial effort of pushing the pick through the string for the opening "bite" the force of gravity and the springy-ness of the strings causes my pick picking arm to kinda bounce back and forth between upstrokes and downstrokes (kind of like the way a pendalum keeps going for a while after you pull it to one side and then let go of it) Beyond the effort of pushing the pick through the initial stroke (kinda like a cannon going off), the picking hand at least for a while doesnt really need to use any muscle effort/or mental effort to keep it doing its thing because it keeps going even after my brain is no longer telling it to. When it first happened it felt very odd but also new/exciting. It offered the bargain of getting a whole bushel of pick strokes for the price/effort of the initial push.

For those who have not heard of staccato technique on violin here is the three part video that first introduced me to it:



As of now, I have not worked enough with this wierd way of approaching picking to effectively use it to go through say scale coils like Frakh does but I am curious if he has ecountered anything like this over his time of exploring to find his perfect picking technique.

I appologize in advance for the blizzard of questions that are introduced by these two posts...I am really hoping to get or if need be, to discover for myself as much clarity on them as possible.

Last edited Wed Jun 12, 2013 3:24 pm | Scroll up


RE: Flat Picking Thread

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Wed Jun 12, 2013 8:01 pm
by Cliff • 344 Posts

The vid that Ursin posted was bluegrass. This is ragtime:


It's a little funny you know all about Neapolitan sixths, but not these two forms of American popular music ;)

Regarding the follow-through technique, don't forget that flat-picking is principally for acoustic guitar, where being able to project a loud and clear tone is important.

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RE: Flat Picking Thread

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Wed Jun 12, 2013 8:41 pm
by NicholasJacquet (deleted)

Classical Music is one of my passions, for 99 out of 100 cases i am not particularly on fire for newer kinds of music. When I went to school I didnt take any classes on American popular music so I dont know much about it...the music dept when I was @ university taught 100% of its stuff from the classical school of music. Also regarding N6, I started learning piano just a little after I started learning guitar...and music for a long time had made the most sense to me from the perpective of the piano. While its certianly true that the N6 doesnt seem to come up very much in the types of music/musical stlyes that pick-style guitarists tend to gravitate towards, It is not at all uncommon to find in part-writing of the 18th century piano music that I looked @ through pianist eyes while I was in school. But I will admit to you that there are many occasions where I feel frustration when I encounter difficulty applying most of the tonal framework that was taught to me in school to pick style electric guitar. So yes, it is a wee bit funny.

I do hope one day to bring into synthesis that musical side of me with the side that plays electric guitar.

Last edited Wed Jun 12, 2013 8:43 pm | Scroll up


RE: Flat Picking Thread

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Wed Jun 12, 2013 11:09 pm
by jimiclaptoncarl • 117 Posts

Tony Rice is one of my favorite bluegrass guitarists. In this video, he is crosspicking, another bluegrass guitar technique.


Another is Dan Crary:


And Steve Kaufman:


Too many amazing players in every style of music... *mind is constantly blown*

"Let's face it, you SUCK; now what are you going to do about it?" - Dick Grove

Practice not just until you get it right, practice until you can't get it wrong.

Stay fit and eat healthy; die anyways. :p

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RE: Flat Picking Thread

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Thu Jun 13, 2013 9:12 am
by uderoche (deleted)

Sorry as I may have answered and created more confusion. I think Nick, that you were saying "flatpicking" and were thinking of anything NOT sarod. But when I hear the term flatpicking, I think of bluegrass acoustic guitarists.

Flatpicking is not what someone like Paul Gilbert is doing. Flatpicking is it's own thing. So, sorry if there was confusion.

Also, Merle was Doc's son. Merle died sometime in the 80's I believe. They often played together.

Bluegrass is bad ass shit! Check out New Grass Revival with Bela Fleck. Fucking awesome.

In your other questions, you may be talking about a rest stroke? This is where the pick hits a string and comes to rest on the next adjacent string. Django did this a lot and it's very common in that gypsy jazz style.

But I don't know if that's what you meant. ???

Keep practicing

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RE: Flat Picking Thread

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Thu Jun 13, 2013 9:27 am
by NicholasJacquet (deleted)

been going @ it for 26 hours straight now... tis re-assuring that if I am not feeling any pains yets must mean that my technique will least be sufficing during this orgy of trill...dinning on trill combo-platers, wishing that I could merge them w/ Sarod, and then mixing them all together like fine wines.

Last edited Thu Jun 13, 2013 9:30 am | Scroll up


RE: Flat Picking Thread

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Thu Jun 13, 2013 9:53 am
by NicholasJacquet (deleted)

I promise that the next trill/Sarod vid I shoot will be the ill-est ever...I can only hope that DJ looserpants wont block it via BS 3rd party content claims. We are in hour 26 now of a firm and un-yeilding Sarod/trill quarantine...I finally am getting close to were i need to be with the picking and also w/ trill-stuffs towards reaching a personal goal that has been long brewing and obsessed over. For the longest time now, I have really wanted to have what it takes to make just one "high quality" cover of a Buckethead Song. All previous attempts have resulted in utter failure/disaster; falling so rediculously short of the standard that that guy sets. T.B.H. when I first saw how he could weave his Sarod and trill into those crazy tuplet tapestries that he does, that was a big chunk of the initial kindling that made me really become interested in focusing on the art of technique. but I cannot even take one short peak back at any of them old B.H. covers videos I had done because they are so obviously pathetic/weakling; nostalgic and cute to be sure...but distateful to me now. I got to stop diddling on the the compy and get BACK TO WORK!

Last edited Thu Jun 13, 2013 10:09 am | Scroll up

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