#1

Noob Scalpel picking

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Wed Jul 31, 2013 8:11 am
by andygelband • 11 Posts

Hi,

Just going through PB's daily practice videos. I hate to be obtuse, but I'm not clear on the use of scalpel picking.

Now please don't get me wrong, I used to move the pick with my fingers alone as part of my playing around 10 years ago when I teach got me to eradicate it in an attempt to improve my 'standard' alternate picking speed and technique.

When PB is doing his single string exercises he says to use scalpel picking.

My question is whether that should be used all the time, or in combination with side to side wrist when practising or something else? I don't have a problem either way, I just want to practice correctly and of course to understand the reasoning behind anything I'm doing.

I understand (to the level I need right now) the differences and reasons behind alternate picking vs sarod....but not the scalpel picking thing.

Although I do have a theory that it could be good for speedy alternate picking with string jumps.....for example, picking every note of a piece like the outro from Bark at the Moon bark outro.JPG - Bild entfernt (keine Rechte) What do you think?

Cheers,
Andy

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#2

RE: Noob Scalpel picking

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Wed Jul 31, 2013 8:34 am
by dlraben • 278 Posts

Welcome to the forum. Have a good full read of the picking improvement thread. In that thread, another player fairly new to the forums (Scott), asks similar questions to which many posts ensued. Perhaps you'll get some answers/ideas within.

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#3

RE: Noob Scalpel picking

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Wed Jul 31, 2013 9:15 am
by andygelband • 11 Posts

Thanks for that I've taken a read through - I'm not entirely there in my understanding. I don't stiff arm pick on the guitar anymore - thankfully. I do use strict alternate wrist stuff and I have my eye on Sarod picking - already getting somewhere as per my other post which you are more than welcome to comment on

From Pebber's reply on Scott's thread it seems that the scalpel picking advantage is as much about relaxing the hand (not locking the thumb stiff) which makes a lot of sense in terms of tension being a bad thing generally, as it is about combining the scalpel picking with other techniques.

What I'm not clear on is if I am just to relax my hand and use scalpel picking integrated with 'wrist' alternate picking.....or replace it with scalpel alone (that would take some time, not saying I wouldn't do it) or to use different techniques for different circumstances.

Perhaps for another time, the reason for my questioning right at the beginning is a month I dedicated to the Wizard of Shred Alternate picking programme.....didn't work for me....the guy was friendly and helpful and refunded the money after the month, but I invested a lot of time I consider as wasted so don't want to waste any more time by practising incorrectly....

Cheers,
Andy

Ps - what do I call you? dlraben doesn't trip off the tongue!

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#4

RE: Noob Scalpel picking

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Wed Jul 31, 2013 11:04 am
by dlraben • 278 Posts

Oh, now I understand. No scalpal doesn't replace wrist picking. This has definitely been discussed either in posts or in videos but at the moment my memory isn't delivering an exact source for you. In the end, for alternate using only a pick, a great goal is to be fluent in wrist, scalpal and Sarod picking and to be able to switch between these at will (with or without thinking I guess). Pebber provided a video of him playing live during which he switched between all of these throughout.

-Damon

PS. Just reread your Sarod post. I'm too much of a novice to be able to comment on what you should and shouldn't worry about. I think I'm able to look at picking and tell if it's Sarod or not, and could possibly help someone that isn't using Sarod change their technique to get there. But my Sarod is still way slower and way less clean than the experts on this site to provide the advice you're looking for. For me, I don't contact the guitar or strings with my hand & fingers when I use sarod picking and I don't really have a swan wrist. I did both when starting and consciously learned to stop (maybe keeping a super slight swan wrist is ok; I guess it might depend on how you can get that rotation to balance with your arm/hand). Pebber can mute a little with Sarod which means contacting the strings a little can be ok. But other experts say they can't do this after many years of sarod. Sorry...


Last edited Wed Jul 31, 2013 11:11 am | Scroll up

#5

RE: Noob Scalpel picking

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Wed Jul 31, 2013 11:21 am
by deltadiscos • 310 Posts

there is no quick magical one month picking wizard or scapel fairy or sarod elf. all there is, is you your guitar and your belief in wanting to better yourself. suppose if these guitar con men wrote the truth ,
start picking today stick with it in ten years you may start to get good, would'nt sell would it.

well done on getting your money back though,
maybe just me but find scapel and sarod type picking go hand in hand.
hey give it a go cant hurt


You think you practice enough.......YOU DON'T!............PRACTICE MORE! Darryn U.K
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#6

RE: Noob Scalpel picking

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Wed Jul 31, 2013 11:48 am
by andygelband • 11 Posts

Thanks guys. Damon - I have seen the videos of PB doing the different techniques. I'm a bit of a guitar whore so I'm constantly checking out songs and videos and techniques and then something will make me focus on one of these. I've been looking at PB's things for a couple of years...(but I've only just started applying myself to it)...and in fact, not sure if you've ever had one of 'those' moments. For me it's a memory of a jam with an old group I played for where for a few seconds my picking just flowed and I was playing some pretty fast and clean lines without any effort at all....looking back I wonder whether my posture just 'lucked' into Sarod for a bit....and then was gone.

Darryn - to be fair to Claus (wizard of shred) and myself, there are no unwarranted claims for the majority of people. He says that his methods (breaking down practice into different challenges) and carrying them out in a completely relaxed manner that is drilled into your muscle memory will give you advances in one month of intensive practice that will prove to you that you can break previous barriers in speed. Many players I have seen (or even taught) could benefit from clean 'standard' alternate technique, without noise, playing in time, started slow and a methodical, consistent practice regime. It's just that I am so OCD about my playing that I had already carried most of what he was positioning so it didn't really apply to me.

General points:

I believe that different people have different natural speed and abilities. For example, I have never been able to do that age old fast strum flourish at the end of a number that is (or was) so common.

Some people can reach amazing speed alternate picking. I can't. It's uncontrolled, but in bursts, with Sarod, I can already exceed my alternate picking speeds so I see plenty to make me focus on Sarod.

I don't doubt PB saying that alternate picking is a very uneconomical way of achieving high speed. I've watched his videos several times where he talks about Paco de Lucia, Al di Meola and John McLaughlin and how Al started adopting John's Sarod technique in 1983...very interesting.

More broadly, I see in several threads references to videos....eg the sweep picking thread....but I can't see the teaching example in the thread....is there a way to browse this forum or some other method I've been too stupid to spot in order to find the examples that are being referenced?

Cheers,
Andy


Last edited Wed Jul 31, 2013 11:50 am | Scroll up

#7

RE: Noob Scalpel picking

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Wed Jul 31, 2013 12:41 pm
by JoelMedina • 72 Posts

I think its best to remember that Alternate Picking describes the direction you pick the notes in (D-U-D-U-D-U-etc.) not the body motion that is being used. There are many different motions guitarists use to go about Alternate Picking. Technically speaking both SAROD and Scalpel picking fall under Alternate Picking.

EDIT: I meant to say that SAROD and Scalpel are typically discussed and taught in this forum under an Alternate Picking context. I know in the sweep picking thread Ursin promotes using the Scalpel motion to do the 2-string arpeggio patterns. I haven't heard of SAROD being used in anything other than an Alternate Picking context yet.


Last edited Wed Jul 31, 2013 12:56 pm | Scroll up

#8

RE: Noob Scalpel picking

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Thu Aug 01, 2013 4:56 am
by uderoche (deleted)
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Quote: pebberbrown wrote in post RE: Picking Improvement
Scalpel picking was first taught for many years by Jazz guitar instructors as a technique primarily because of advanced players like Tal Farlow and Kenny Burell. Its a wayto loosen up the naturally "tight (read UPTIGHT)" totally LOCKED first finger and thumb that so many hundreds of thousands of players do. A LOCKED thumb is usually the "automatic" go-to technique for all who pick up the instrument and try to whip a fast run. Kenny Burell and others came along in the 50's and 60's and had that LOOSE scalpel picking style - which was almost universally regarded as a much superior technique to the "LOCKED" thumb technique and thousands of guys started doing it - MOSTLY ALL STRAIGHT JAZZ guys. The teachers I had who INSISTED on the Scalpel technique were, Joe Sandino, Howard Roberts, Russ Tuttle and several others. These were all hard core JAZZ guys though. But after a while I noticed that some really fast rock players used a LOOSE thumb and first finger when picking (related closely to the scalpel technique) such as Jimmy Page in the early days, Jeff beck in the 1970's before he started using only his fingers in the 1980's and Alvin Lee. Ritchie Blackmore could go back and forth from Scalpel to Locked thumb at any given moment.

It is MUCH faster to use than a locked thumb/stiff arm technique - which is the uneducated automatic GO-TO for almost everyone unless you take lessons from someone who has a great deal of knowledge. When I was a student at Berklee, the teachers there (i.e The regular once a week lessons you got from your assigned instructor) who all played hollowbody jazz guitars all used Scalpel Picking. When I went to Dick Grove - Russ Tuttle and Joe Diorio all used ONLY scalpel picking and in the improv classes the requirment was to play bebop lines at 32nd notes at 72. Thats about the same as 16ths at 160 because it would be 32nd notes at 80. However these were all bebop lines and phrases we had to learn - NOT adjacent scaletone soloing - which is SO MUCH EASIER to do with any picking style. So the answer is that Scalpel is actually VERY fast when you get it down and I teach it to everyone because its a CORE BASE technique to learn all other technqiues including Sarod. Traditional Indian Sarod is locked thumb - but the Sarod technique we use on electric is loose thumb scalpel/combined with flick wrist Sarod.

Watch how Kenny Burell uses scalpel - he was one of the first guys in the 1950's do do it so every jazz guitarist followed suit because it was such a smooth technique. Many say Kenny Burell invented it. I would believe that. Howard Roberts was militant about teaching it as was Russ Tuttle. It works very well in ROCK music as well if you try it and make it happen. Here's Kenny:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2DbH1PIWxU

Heres Howard:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h76NVQjwRR0


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#9

RE: Noob Scalpel picking

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:00 am
by uderoche (deleted)
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Claus? The wizard of what?

Quote: andygelband wrote in post #6


Darryn - to be fair to Claus (wizard of shred) and myself, there are no unwarranted claims for the majority of people. He says that his methods (breaking down practice into different challenges) and carrying them out in a completely relaxed manner that is drilled into your muscle memory will give you advances in one month of intensive practice that will prove to you that you can break previous barriers in speed. Many players I have seen (or even taught) could benefit from clean 'standard' alternate technique, without noise, playing in time, started slow and a methodical, consistent practice regime. It's just that I am so OCD about my playing that I had already carried most of what he was positioning so it didn't really apply to me.


Cheers,
Andy


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#10

RE: Noob Scalpel picking

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:13 am
by andygelband • 11 Posts

He's been discussed elsewhere on your forum. He's a very good side to side wrist action alternate picker. Not promoting him or putting him down - I'm all about the peace and love

I'm working from home....well supposed to be working but can't put down this Sarod thing.....loving it!

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#11

RE: Noob Scalpel picking

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Mon Aug 26, 2013 11:27 am
by pebberbrown • 878 Posts

Actually Al Di Meloa was using his own standard wrist picking technique when I saw in in 1983. When I went to see them again in 1997 (front row center seat mind you!) He was STILL using that - BUT - he was ALSO incorporating a whole lot of SAROD style technique into his overall picking technique. It became immediately apparent that he studied how McLaughin was doing it and of course, a player as mighty and good as Di Meola would also be constantly searching for more expedient ways to play and would be curious about ANY techniques that he didnt already do. I suspect that the years he spent hanging with McLaughlin had the SAROD influence on him enough to actually INCORPORATE it into his style!!! I was astonished to see him do the free floating SAROD flutter in fast runs! MAC just looked at him and smiled the whole time. Of course DiMeola still did the muting stuff too with the wrist picking style - but man he can FLY on SAROD now too!


Last edited Mon Aug 26, 2013 11:27 am | Scroll up

#12

RE: Noob Scalpel picking

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Tue Oct 08, 2013 4:37 pm
by John567 • 156 Posts

I'll try to post it here. I've been having some problems lately with my computer.

I'm noticing a lot of scalpel with these jazz guys (starts at 2:34). At least I think its scalpel....

Unfortunately, the forum won't let me post the video link. If anyone has got the time just type in "My Kinda Love Art Farmer Jim Hall" into Youtube. Again, Jim Hall starts to solo at 2:34.

This looks like scalpel to me.

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#13

RE: Noob Scalpel picking

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Wed Oct 09, 2013 7:51 am
by uderoche (deleted)
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Yep, that's scalpel picking


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#14

RE: Noob Scalpel picking

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Wed Oct 09, 2013 3:07 pm
by John567 • 156 Posts

Thanks uderoche. Just one more thing: it seems to me when Jim is comping the chords he's not using his whole arm. It looks like its just from his wrist. Or is it twisting more like a sarod approach? I dunno...

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#15

RE: Noob Scalpel picking

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Wed Oct 09, 2013 8:40 pm
by uderoche (deleted)
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Quote: John567 wrote in post #14
Thanks uderoche. Just one more thing: it seems to me when Jim is comping the chords he's not using his whole arm. It looks like its just from his wrist. Or is it twisting more like a sarod approach? I dunno...


The comping sections to me look like a wrist/scalpel hybrid. Not uncommon. You can throw some arm in and some wrist when necessary to get that snap or that chunk or whatever is required. Comping is an art within itself.


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