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Hybrid picking


uncle fester
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I have also been attempting to get the hang of hybrid/chicken picking.  I just like the sound.. I have never gotten the hang of a flatpick but a  friend of mine who owns a local music shop has been helping me out whenever  I stop by and he has some time.     The physics of it (or whatever you call it I)  are  simple enough.   But old stylistic habits die hard and I always end up just going back to my same old used to be way of fingerpicking.  

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13 minutes ago, zombywoof said:

I have also been attempting to get the hang of hybrid/chicken picking.  I just like the sound.. I have never gotten the hang of a flatpick but a  friend of mine who owns a local music shop has been helping me out whenever  I stop by and he has some time.     The physics of it (or whatever you call it I)  are  simple enough.   But old stylistic habits die hard and I always end up just going back to my same old used to be way of fingerpicking.  

The same thing that helps us play--muscle memory--sometimes gets in the way of learning new things. It doesn't get any easier the older you get.

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1 hour ago, j45nick said:

The same thing that helps us play--muscle memory--sometimes gets in the way of learning new things. It doesn't get any easier the older you get.

 

Chicken picking should come easy to me as I rely mostly on my thumb and middle finger rather than the first finger which  I use far more sparingly..  Or so you would think.  I do not know whether it is muscle memory or what but I am at y best when there is no thinking (at least that I am aware of) going. on.   A while back I was sitting around playing Hot Tuna's "Mann;s Fate"  when somebody pointed out that on the fast single string runs which separate the verses I played every note with a finger upstroke.  I had no clue I was doing that..  But as soon as I tried to play with both down ad upstrokes I was stumbling all over the place because I was thinking about what to do next.  

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1 hour ago, j45nick said:

Richard Thompson is pretty decent with a thumbpick and fingers, too:

Black Lightning

Well, I was on my way to YouTube for another Saturday morning selection, but I'll certainly recharge with some '52 VBL on the way.

Also- there's the cedar top being discussed on the forum earlier in the week, in this case on Richard's Lowden L32C. Lowden only describes the top on the Richard Thompson sig model as "AAAA cedar". Note the pinless bridge

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30 minutes ago, 62burst said:

Well, I was on my way to YouTube for another Saturday morning selection, but I'll certainly recharge with some '52 VBL on the way.

Also- there's the cedar top being discussed on the forum earlier in the week, in this case on Richard's Lowden L32C. Lowden only describes the top on the Richard Thompson sig model as "AAAA cedar". Note the pinless bridge

 

Here is a discussion on cedar vs spruce for guitar soundboards. It is talking about classical guitars, but the same thoughts would seem to apply to steel-string guitars.

cedar vs spruce

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Thanks all, appreciate the replies.  Chicken pickin' seems like anything - it's how you use it.  Richard Thompson is unbelievable!  ... but not the sound I'm going for.  He's just plain super smooth and to me the difference in the pickin is super subtle.  Most of what I found is like that and I'll never have the talent to replicate that. 

I do like that one lick from Samantha fish though - and feel it's within reach  (same link as before, just reposted for reference).  I'll give figuring out that a couple months effort and see what comes of it 🙂

 

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On 11/22/2019 at 2:51 PM, zombywoof said:

Chicken picking should come easy to me as I rely mostly on my thumb and middle finger rather than the first finger which  I use far more sparingly..  Or so you would think.

So I used to think given that my middle finger tends to be my dominant picking finger when I’m fingerpicking. Of course that was until I tried my hand (pun intended) at this style of playing for myself a number of years ago. The challenge was even greater given that it was also the first time I had tried to use a flat pick in ages. Such a disappointing experiment.

In my case I realize that I would likely need to start all over from scratch just as I did when I first started to fingerpick. At this stage of the game I’m just not sure that I would have the patience to do so. But I do still think about it every once in a while

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I think that over the decades I have developed my own style of finger-picking,  I suspect a lot of us have done the same thing.  No formal lessons, only books and watching, getting advice from others are what we've learned from.  For me, it seems like everytime i've found something I really wanted to play, there happened to be some pain-in-the-butt picking cycle or timing pattern that got in my way, so I'd persist and end-up doing it my own way.  Not the way the book shows, but in a way that works for me.  Nothing I do would make Chet Atkins and Roy Clark look down in amazement, but it works for me.  I couldn't begin to write it down in tabulature, because there's not set way that I play it.  There are different pick-up notes, hammer-ons and other nuances each time.  I know the melody I'm after and I know where a lot of slides can be used.  I just do what I'm feeling at the time.  I've finally gotten pretty good at keeping a steady bass going with my thumb and I usually add that to whatever else I'm doing.  I don't know what it's called.  It just comes natural to me.  I use a thumbpick and usually two fingers.  Sometimes I pick a bass run with my thumb and othertimes I use my fingers.  Kind of all depends on where my fingers are placed on the strings at the time.  Don't know what it's all called.  Just know that it works for me and if I don't feel like singing to the chords, I can play an instrumental version of the song..........It's kind of like John Prine said when asked about his guitar playing (and I paraphrase)---he said his mistakes  and faults became his technique.

'

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8 hours ago, MissouriPicker said:

I think that over the decades I have developed my own style of finger-picking,  I suspect a lot of us have done the same thing.  No formal lessons, only books and watching, getting advice from others are what we've learned from.  For me, it seems like everytime i've found something I really wanted to play, there happened to be some pain-in-the-butt picking cycle or timing pattern that got in my way, so I'd persist and end-up doing it my own way.  Not the way the book shows, but in a way that works for me.  Nothing I do would make Chet Atkins and Roy Clark look down in amazement, but it works for me.  I couldn't begin to write it down in tabulature, because there's not set way that I play it.  There are different pick-up notes, hammer-ons and other nuances each time.  I know the melody I'm after and I know where a lot of slides can be used.  I just do what I'm feeling at the time.  I've finally gotten pretty good at keeping a steady bass going with my thumb and I usually add that to whatever else I'm doing.  I don't know what it's called.  It just comes natural to me.  I use a thumbpick and usually two fingers.  Sometimes I pick a bass run with my thumb and othertimes I use my fingers.  Kind of all depends on where my fingers are placed on the strings at the time.  Don't know what it's all called.  Just know that it works for me and if I don't feel like singing to the chords, I can play an instrumental version of the song..........It's kind of like John Prine said when asked about his guitar playing (and I paraphrase)---he said his mistakes  and faults became his technique.

'

Very well said MP. 

I think there's musical technicians who are wizards and can play anything note for note, and then there's folks like me, will never be good enough to do note for note stuff, but more get into a groove that's close to the song, but how my body parts work to get it there...  my grooves may be simple, but they are good though 🙂

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My experience in this area is a whole vegetable soup -- so I don't know if I can be coherent.

The guy who played lead guitar in our last bluegrass band was a hot flatpicker who could also do hybrid picking.  Because of the basic structure on the majority of bluegrass songs, he did not use it much -- I found an early practice session (very imperfect) where he did both a bit.

The problem with this style in bluegrass is it just does not have the power to hang in everywhere in traditional bluegrass.  Although he started in bluegrass in the 1970s, Rick later played a lot plugged in his life.  That light touch just could not blend without dropping the level of the whole band.

I mix a lot of styles when I play, not necessarily well.  I am a technique player -- I just have a few techniques which I mix with many melodies, and whatever comes out is the song.  Seldom any fine tuning or arrangement.  So at some level -- often quite low -- I play rhythm and lead with a flatpick, alternating thumb ragtime/gospel with finger picks, three finger Scruggs style banjo, claw hammer banjo where I freely use 1st, 2nd, and 3rd fingers interchangeably for volume control, and just bare finger finger style.  Somewhere in this odd mix (I have been doing in for 60 years) my brain connected my 1st and 2nd finger with my 2nd and 3rd -- so anything the first two fingers can do, the 2/3 can automatically do too.  I don't know how odd that is.

So I can hybrid pick.  But I never was able to make it work to my satisfaction for strong acoustic music -- the various pieces just get in each other's way for me.  Works great on the couch in the quite.

Just some thoughts.

-Tom

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27 minutes ago, tpbiii said:

My experience in this area is a whole vegetable soup -- so I don't know if I can be coherent.

The guy who played lead guitar in our last bluegrass band was a hot flatpicker who could also do hybrid picking.  Because of the basic structure on the majority of bluegrass songs, he did not use it much -- I found an early practice session (very imperfect) where he did both a bit.

 

-Tom

Tom, is that your FON 910 rosewood SJ he's playing?

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3 hours ago, tpbiii said:

Somewhere in this odd mix (I have been doing in for 60 years) my brain connected my 1st and 2nd finger with my 2nd and 3rd -- so anything the first two fingers can do, the 2/3 can automatically do too.  I don't know how odd that is.

 


I’ve experienced the same phenomena.   I used fingerpicks on my 1st, 2nd, and 3rd fingers.  I often switch whatever my 1st finger is doing to the 2nd or whatever the 1st or 2nd finger is doing to the 3rd finger when I am playing longer gigs as a boredom breaker for my amusement.  Or, if on the rare occasion a fingerpick on my first falls off,  I am always amazed how my second and third finger can just jump right in and seemlessly get me through the song being played.  A cool phenomena.  Must have to do with brain connections formed from fingerpicking for a longtime.  Quite cool!

QM aka “Jazzman” Jeff

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3 hours ago, tpbiii said:

The problem with this style in bluegrass is it just does not have the power to hang in everywhere in traditional bluegrass. 

 

I watched most of the a show on Sam Bush 'Revival' last night talking about him and newgrass etc...  a common theme was how structured bluegrass was and all the rules around it.   I had never heard that before - was interesting to hear...

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2 hours ago, billroy fineman said:

 

I watched most of the a show on Sam Bush 'Revival' last night talking about him and newgrass etc...  a common theme was how structured bluegrass was and all the rules around it.   I had never heard that before - was interesting to hear...

Totally understandable that Sam Bush would have a lot to say about the rules of Bluegrass with his playing- looks like he’s having too much fun, excessive body movement, and not terribly stoic.

Did not Mr tpbiii once compile a BG rule book of some sort at one time?

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9 hours ago, billroy fineman said:

 

I watched most of the a show on Sam Bush 'Revival' last night talking about him and newgrass etc...  a common theme was how structured bluegrass was and all the rules around it.   I had never heard that before - was interesting to hear...

In the news of the weird, I am sort of well known for teaching the rules to the world.  In the 1980s, my wife and I were hanging out in the mountains where everyone knew the rules, but nobody talked about.  Well we gradually figured it out and I wrote an article for the local Atlanta area bluegrass club.  Well the article was met with many accolades -- I had found a need!  So I submitted it to BLUEGRASS UNLIMITED -- the primary international bluegrass  magazine.  That was 20 years ago.  The article has been translated into 10 languages and republished on every continent but Antarctica -- mostly by bluegrass clubs, etc,

If anyone cares, here is the link. BLUEGRASS JAMMING

If you know the rules and have one or more of the required skill sets, you can walk up to one or more people and immediately make (often good, some times spectacularly) music with them.

I just spent the weekend near Boston doing exactly that.

Best,

-Tom

Edited by tpbiii
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