Benson Picking Method

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by Bad Back, Sep 11, 2006.

  1. Bad Back

    Bad Back Member

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    Hey Guys,

    It seems like there was once a thread on Benson’s picking method here, but now I can’t find it. If someone can direct me to it much appreciated.

    I would like to ask those who employ this method about how they developed speed. I’ve been using this method for all my practicing and the last couple of gigs. I really like holding the pick this way for multiple reasons. However, whenever I come to a particularly speedy passage, I have to turn my wrist back clockwise and ease the pick up more on the side of my finger and revert to my old pick angel.

    I have the Tuck Andress web site and for the most part I understand what he said (my gosh a few pictures would have gone a long way) but I trip all over myself with faster passages. Yes, I’m practicing scales, the actual passages, etc but I just keep getting hung up. If you’ve developed consistent speed with the Benson method, please help this old hacker with an explanation or two on how to get there.

    Thanks much.

    BB
     
  2. shigihara

    shigihara Member

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    these 2 dvd's show it all:

    George Benson 'The Art Of Jazz Guitar'
    Rodney Jones 'Live At The Smoke'
     
  3. Mike

    Mike Member

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  4. Bad Back

    Bad Back Member

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    Hello shigihara

    Regarding the Benson DVD, it seems that on an old thread someone mentioned that it showed very little of Benson's right hand. Do you have the Benson DVD shigihara? Perhaps you can shed some light on that.

    Hello Mike,

    Thanks for the picture and thread. My wrist is not that angled under because I play in a rather rocky little band and I must do a lot of palm mutting. However, it's very similar. Especially the way I hold the pick. Perhaps it's going to take a great deal of practice to get good tempo with this method.

    BB
     
  5. yZe

    yZe Senior Member

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    Jimmy Herring picks and Shawn Lane picked like that
     
  6. countandduke

    countandduke Member

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    This type of picking method is cool for those of you that have that weird thumby bendy thing. My Dad has it, he can bend his thumb at almost 90 degrees on the pad. I actually think this method of picking is superior since you can keep your wrist at a more normal level......

    Chris
     
  7. lhallam

    lhallam Member

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    A little trivia: My bud pointed out that many of Irish heritage cannot bend their thumbs backward.
     
  8. countandduke

    countandduke Member

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    Hmmmm, that would explain why I can't then.......

    C
     
  9. Megatron

    Megatron Member

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    My picking motion is the same as Benson and Lane in that it comes from the same wrist motion but I angle my pick down instead of up, and my thumb bends opposite to Benson and Lane....bends out instead of in.

    Tuck talks about a variation of the benson method in his article and it worked for me.....I was more of an elbow picker before.....I knew I had to make a change to get past a plateau and gain more control.

    I've read and watched much on right hand technique, but nothing ever compared to that one Tuck Andreas article.
     
  10. 900

    900 Member

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    Benson definitely doesn't have that "weird thumby bendy thing". His thumb bends even less than on that Rory Stuart pic posted above.
     
  11. daddyo

    daddyo Guest

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    I dreamed last night that I was building a house for George Benson. We didn't talk music, just that he wanted to keep some existing trees and shrubs intact so his courtyard was private from neighbours. It was a big house and I had it to lock-up stage. Weird but true. Why didn't I ask him how he holds his pick?
     
  12. shigihara

    shigihara Member

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    Hi BB,

    I do have the dvd and it doesn't show too much of his RH but enough
    to get the picture... :cool:
    Otoh... check out the Rodney Jones dvd... he's the true heir !
     
  13. jzucker

    jzucker Supporting Member

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    The thumb bend has little if anything to do with it. It's all about getting the reverse angle of the pick so that the bottom edge of the pick strikes the strings on a downstroke and follows through to the next string. This reduces drag and creates a rich, velvety sound.

    That said, there are many ways to get great tone and feel from the instrument. It ain't the technique, it's the player!
     
  14. countandduke

    countandduke Member

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    I would disagree but that's okay. :AOK

    I have seen many guitar players have to cock their wrist in an unnatural way to achieve the "angle" that produces the best tone and speed. When I watch Shawn, his wrist is at what I would consider a more natural angle. I have tried utilizing his wrist and pick angle but I think (again, my opinion) that his thumb bends much further back than mine and I think that helps hold the pick in place. When I use that technique, my pick is on the tip of my thumb instead of on the larger "pad". Shawn points out that he has seen guitarist using the regular method with great results but I also heard that Shawn showed Shrinivas his method and Shrinivas was able to almost instantly improve his picking speed with less effort.

    My 2

    Chris

    Me want Sheets of Sound II!!!! :AOK
     
  15. jzucker

    jzucker Supporting Member

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    What/who are you disagreeing with?
     
  16. countandduke

    countandduke Member

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    That's the part...;)

    Chris
     
  17. Bad Back

    Bad Back Member

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    Played an outside corporate gig last night for a couple hundred.

    Used the Benson method the entire time. My speed is coming, but more importantly, I am so very pleased with the overall effect of this method of holding the pick. Every note, up or downstroke, is pure and clean. With the pick held between the thumb and finger pads, my dynamics change with simple pressure. Back off a bit on pressure for a light rhythm, and then more pressure for various sounds, solos, etc. Wow! I am happy to have tried this.

    BB
     
  18. lgehrig4

    lgehrig4 Silver Supporting Member

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    Chris Poland (Megadeth) also picks like this. There used to be a video with him and and Ed Degenaro and he was testing a Flexi I believe.
     
  19. yZe

    yZe Senior Member

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    I have noticed alot of tightness and soreness in my picking hand thumb muscle

    The thumb stays arched the whole time, right ?

    Does the movement comes more from the wrist than the finger muscles?
     
  20. jzucker

    jzucker Supporting Member

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    no, the thumb is not arched at all. It should be in a relaxed position. Benson picks mostly from the wrist but I've seen him picking from the elbow at times.
     

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