Jerry's Fingerpicking

Jerry's Fingerpicking

Postby butchpilgrim » Thu Aug 16, 2012 3:30 pm

Be great to just get people's insights and observations on this. Probably obvious, but Jerry interleaves using pick and fingerpicking, usually depending on song section / texture. It's a continuing project to figure out the logic that governs his preferences in this, often it seems during vocals, especially on his own songs, fingerpick, and during solos or noodling over Bob's vocal sections, the pick. And of course additionally he occasionally picks with ring finger while using the pick.

Althea, good example of vocal sections fingerpicking, but check out in this video, he's palming his pick (anyone know exactly where), then plays first phrase of solo (1:15) fingerpicking), adjusts volume (1:20), deploys pick, and plays next phrase with pick. Amazing how fast he switches back and forth, palming and pick, and also how incredibly consistent the tone is from the first fingerpicked phrase to the second picked phrase.

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

Anyway, sorry for long message, just hoping for some cool insights on this.
Thanks,
C
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Re: Jerry's Fingerpicking

Postby mijknahs » Thu Aug 16, 2012 3:50 pm

Hey Clint!

Yep, it was a revelation to actually see Jerry playing some of the songs I "thought" I knew. So many songs are done with fingerpicking that I thought was done with a pick. Intro to Cumberland for example. How about the China Cat intro? And the way he seamlessly switches to the pick and then back to fingerpicking. It's amazing and really cool.

Jim
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Re: Jerry's Fingerpicking

Postby butchpilgrim » Thu Aug 16, 2012 4:05 pm

Hey Jim!

Another aspect of this - palming the pick. I palm it between my index and middle finger, which has the effect of taking my middle finger out of commission. So, (ha ha) it's the same 3-finger system he had, thumb, index and ring. But man is he so much better at it!! :lol:

He does switch back and forth in the blink of an eye. Be cool to include observed fingerpicking vs. pick symbols in a bunch of song charts, even if he played it different ways in different shows, eras. Like I've seen him fingerpick Loser verses, and also use the pick in same....

C
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Re: Jerry's Fingerpicking

Postby mijknahs » Thu Aug 16, 2012 4:43 pm

butchpilgrim wrote: Like I've seen him fingerpick Loser verses, and also use the pick in same....


Oh really? That's confusing. Were they in different eras (70's vs. 80's or 90's)?

I hold my pick with my slightly curved middle finger. Kind of between my middle and palm. Not the "flat" way but the "long" way. I've gotten used to it so it feels pretty natural now (I don't think about it that much and it stays in place).

He definitely fingerpicks more than I ever thought he did. His fingers must be really calloused because they sound like he's using a pick! No noticable change in tone or drop in volume for some reason.

Jim
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Re: Jerry's Fingerpicking

Postby Jimaroe » Thu Aug 16, 2012 5:51 pm

" And the way he seamlessly switches to the pick and then back to fingerpicking. It's amazing and really cool."

My sentiments exactly. I know this sounds like a goofy analogy, but it's almost slight of hand/magician like. Trying to actively follow the pic on an earlier referenced Althea video or the later Peggy-o vid from, I think Vegas 93 or 94.. It's tough to do.

Damn, just watched that link in HD. Didn't realize that was available. 6:30 on is a freakin clinic. Next time Rolling Stone puts out the top guitar players list, perhaps the voters should watch Jer in action on this Althea. Love Phil at 5:50. :cool:
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Re: Jerry's Fingerpicking

Postby Mr.Burns » Sat Aug 18, 2012 7:26 am

Stating the obvious here, but I've always felt like my middle finger was in the way when palming the pick.

Now if it was only two inches shorter...

Seriously, I had no evidence of this, until I saw that Althea in HD. I suspected that the pick may have gotten tucked between his middle and index finger, but you can clearly see it in the video around 1:20, he almost grips it with the knuckles of those fingers. Then he "deploys"( I love that word), it's like a flip or rolling motion, and magically it appears in the scalpel grip. Amazing.

Equally amazing is the "palming" (I'd like to say "tucking") just before the 9:00 mark.
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Re: Jerry's Fingerpicking

Postby JonnyBoy » Sat Aug 18, 2012 8:51 am

Much like Jim I found a new approach to playing these songs after I understood the actual styles that were used in each song we play in our band. Finger picking has its distinctive tone, and I also think Jerry used it as a dynamic control of sorts since his rig was SO loud. Some songs just don't sound right without it once you start doing it finger style and ditch the pick when you're supposed to, ie Althea, Deal, west LA, peggy o, etc....It really takes the authenticity of the sound up a notch. LOL, I tuck it where ever it winds up going on the fly, but usually with my ring finger if I do it right.

I really think Jerry's fingerpicking is pretty consistent though. In terms if approach on an electric guitar, its unique yes, but its an adaptible Travis picking style during his vocal parts. I think it would be much harder if he wasn't missing a finger! I am not saying its easy to do either!

When I sat down to learn this style I worked Peggy-o up from the above vid, not as fast, but standard Travis style. Then you can start to add in the accents Jerry liked to use as you master it. Learning any standard Travis Style approach with a 2 note alternating bass line is a good place to start (again like peggy O)...
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Re: Jerry's Fingerpicking

Postby gr8fulbluz » Sat Aug 18, 2012 10:32 am

I used to think is was hybrid picking, (in such like west la). I dont know why probably cause i never felt comfortable doing hybrid picking meself.
I never back the right horse.
However, I love fingerpicking always looking for a new song to play.

:wink:
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Re: Jerry's Fingerpicking

Postby SarnoMusicSolutions » Sat Aug 18, 2012 1:53 pm

Study Elizabeth Cotten's style, and you'll have a LOT of Jerry fingerstyle down.

And Rev. Gary Davis..


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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dgQEOkuC ... re=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3_Hbuf6FEoY
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Re: Jerry's Fingerpicking

Postby deadagainband76 » Sun Aug 19, 2012 6:02 pm

I think Jerry gets that grit by catching the string with his nail when he goes to the finger style. . Its an overlooked aspect of His guitar style. Jerry was just an all around great guitar player who really understood the instrument and was able to get all kinds of great tones whether he was using the fingerstyle or the flatpick. Althea is the classic example but there are others. I like big river and maggies. Ive seen Him fingerpick solos in both of those tunes as well.
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Re: Jerry's Fingerpicking

Postby mijknahs » Sun Aug 19, 2012 9:29 pm

deadagainband76 wrote:I think Jerry gets that grit by catching the string with his nail when he goes to the finger style. . Its an overlooked aspect of His guitar style. Jerry was just an all around great guitar player who really understood the instrument and was able to get all kinds of great tones whether he was using the fingerstyle or the flatpick. Althea is the classic example but there are others. I like big river and maggies. Ive seen Him fingerpick solos in both of those tunes as well.


I've heard that Jerry cut his fingernails short on his right hand. This was from a guitar player who was interested in this very question.
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Re: Jerry's Fingerpicking

Postby cmc64 » Sun Aug 19, 2012 10:08 pm

I remember reading a Garcia interview quite a ways back and he mentioned that he would slip the pick between his first finger and the single-digit finger when he would fingerpick and then "deploy" it again when needed. I can't for the life of me remember where/when I read that. When I fingerpick I hold the pick normally between my thumb and first finger and then pick with my other three fingers, Just seems to work better for me that way, although I suppose that it is not "true" fingerpicking, but, hey, it works.

There is a great sugar Magnolia from somewhere (can't remember that one either) in which J.G. is fingerpicking the lead. Neat stuff....

Damn, what was that show? Ahh, it's getting late. I'll figure it out tomorrow.
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Re: Jerry's Fingerpicking

Postby waldo041 » Mon Aug 20, 2012 2:36 pm

"Tone is in the instruments. Technique in the hands. Do what you will." ~ quote from some guy at the TGP forum
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Re: Jerry's Fingerpicking

Postby cmc64 » Mon Aug 20, 2012 7:15 pm

waldo041 wrote:http://www.rukind.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=346&t=7293&hilit=claw+technique

~waldo


Thanks for the link - just what I needed - needed to work on those tunes and that close up angle is perfect. :thumbs up:
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Re: Jerry's Fingerpicking

Postby butchpilgrim » Sun Nov 04, 2012 10:17 am

Here's another pretty good shot of Jerry palming the pick. It's blink of an eye.

West LA Fadeaway, coming out of the first solo, at 3:16
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5GMi2oM2 ... re=related

I also think it's stowed between his index and middle finger, he's got a fast technique like that coin trick, rolling a coin up and down the bases of the fingers.

Kind of like this guy is demonstrating with a coin in the following vid, but instead of a coin rolling along the tops of the knuckles, the pick rolls around the index finger inside the hand - just a theory, I'm messing around with it, it takes me about 1 sec to switch cuz I have to make a few struggling motions, I think it took Jer like 0.05 sec. with one 'flip' motion.

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

Good posts on this, thanks,
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