Django’s Pick­ing

Guitar Techniques - - ACOUSTIC SPECIAL -

A huge amount of Django’s tone, drive and mu­si­cal per­son­al­ity came from his in­cred­i­ble pick­ing tech­nique. The tech­nique comes from a com­pletely ‘bro­ken-wrist’ mo­tion and its ac­com­mo­dat­ing float­ing pos­ture, rather like a con­trolled ver­sion of the move you’d use to shake your hands dry, and it’s hugely weighted in favour of the down­stroke. The gen­eral rule is to start each new string with a down, even when de­scend­ing through a scale or arpeg­gio. You’ll no­tice that most of Django’s re­ally fast phrases are gen­er­ally as­cend­ing, although he had his mo­ments go­ing the other way too! To as­sist the pro­duc­tion of vol­ume for what is essen­tially a com­pletely acoustic style of play­ing, you’re af­ter the plec­trum equiv­a­lent of the clas­si­cal gui­tar rest-stroke, although here the des­ti­na­tion string that our pick comes to rest is near­est the floor. The type of pick you use makes a mas­sive dif­fer­ence too. Gen­er­ally they’re huge (5mm is not un­com­mon) and made out of gen­uine tor­toise­shell, to­day a pretty non-PC ma­te­rial to be seen with. Thank­fully Michel We­gen pro­duces by far the best and most pop­u­lar man-made al­ter­na­tives (www.we­gen­

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