Gypsy Jazz Picking – How to Get the Best Sound Out of Your Guitar – Lesson from Yaakov Hoter

A lot of new guitarists in the Gypsy Jazz genre have the same dilemma:
Should I learn the Rest-Stroke picking method (The Gypsy traditional picking technique) or not?

There are two main aspects to playing music:
– How to play– right hand technique
– What to play – Your notes and chords

You decide whether you want to take the “what to play” and improve your improvisation, knowledge and skills from Django’s beautiful music, or add the “How to play” and get that special sound as well.

I LOVE this technique – the sound it produces and the feel of the strings under my pick. But what if you already have a good technique of your own? Is it really worth the trouble to learn the unfamiliar Gypsy Jazz technique? Or maybe it’s enough to learn the special phrases, licks and Django’s ideas for improvisation and add them to your playing without the specific technique?

The answer is that it’s entirely up to you.

There are a lot of benefits to Rest Stroke Picking:

  • Sound – you’ll get the best sound from your acoustic guitar (not your electric guitar).
  • Presence – You’ll sound sharp and the dynamics in your playing will stand out.
  • Health – this method fits the natural position of your hand. So, you will probably have less pain when using it.
  • Speed – well, you’ve heard the Gypsies – you can play pretty fast with it….

Yaakov Hoter