The art of picking

By Jimmy Bruno

I listened mostly to guitarists, A few years later I was introduced to the music of CharlieParker, John Coltrane, Art Tatum and Oscar Peterson, as well as many other instrumentalists. I mention those four individuals because they had the most effect on my technique and musical style. After a few attempts to copy or imitate horn and piano lines, I soon realized the alternate picking technique, which I was using at the time, was not going to cut it. I had to find a better way to move the pick across the strings. I discovered when two notes were not on the same string, the pick had to travel past the string that the second note was on and then reverse direction to come back up and play the note. That is a long way for the pick to travel. I found one concept or rule that causes the pick to travel the least amount of distance. The fundamental concept is: When going to a higher string, use a down-stroke.  When going to a lower string, use an up-stroke.  When playing on one string, use alternate strokes.  This technique creates a significant change in one’s right hand technique or, I prefer the term “habit”; most guitarists have been using the alternate picking “habit” for many years (…)

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