electric guitar ala Jeff Beck fingerstyle

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by Secret Ingredient, Jul 13, 2006.

  1. Secret Ingredient

    Secret Ingredient Member

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    Anyone know of any good resources, preferably DVD, for learning to play electric guitar without a pick? I hesitate to use the term "fingerstyle" as I'm not really interested in the solo acoustic guitar alternating bass lines with the thumb kind of thing. I use Jeff Beck as a reference because he and Mark knopfler are the only two rock guitar players I know of who don't use a pick. (edit: I failed to mention Lindsay Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac).

    I played guitar as a teenager, at one point getting rid of my electric gear and playing classical. Long story short, I barely touched the guitar for 20 years. The only playing I did was occasionally pulling out a steel string acoustic and pounding out a couple Christmas tunes. I never had a pick around so I got used to playing without. Now, I have an electric guitar and I'm trying to improve. Only my right hand technique is some sort of crazed banjo picking thing.

    Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    TIA
     
  2. gennation

    gennation Member

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    Each of those players do a lot with the thumb and first finger. But they incorporate their other fingers when needed. And during certain passages might use any finger at anytime. Watching them will show, especially with Beck, there's not a lot of rhyme or reason behind a lot of it. He just goes for it.

    Of course, if you put you continue to play without a pick, you'll start to get the hang of it. I was pickless for a while back around 2000.

    I don't really know of any book other than Classical or Fingerstyle that's going to deal with it. Although, maybe someone has a "play like Jeff" tutorial on the Internet.

    But, even then you have to keep doing it yourself. So, just keep playing without a pick.
    THe other thing would be youtube.com. You can watch them do it. It'll help. Here's a done of Jeff stuff:

    http://youtube.com/results?search=jeff+beck&search_type=search_videos
     
  3. countandduke

    countandduke Member

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    I sometimes challenge myself to play with just my fingers especially when playing fingerstyle jazz cause I don't have the ability to grab my pick and solo. For me, what helped quite a bit was to use my thumb on a typical downstroke and my first finger and/or second finger for the upstroke that way you can still use that mentallity when playing lines.

    Try grabbing that pick too, it's never a bad idea to have some other types of tones available and the pick offers some of those.......

    Good luck.....

    Chris
     
  4. willhutch

    willhutch Supporting Member

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    Check this one from youtube:
    http://youtube.com/watch?v=14uFYA_YFVY&mode=related&search=jeff%20beck

    Wow. This will tell you enough about Beck's right hand to get anyone started without a pick. Now please practice for 10 years.

    I play with a pick. But I gotta believe you can get closer to the instrument without one. There are nuances of tone you can get that are impossible with a plectrum. You've also got a whole handfull of digits to pluck with!

    Some other great finger pickers that I can think of: Wes Montgomery (thumb only!!), Kevin Eubanks (alternate thumb-down index finger-up), Derek Trucks. There are some local cats in my neck of the woods doing some great stuff sans pick.

    I used to think that my speed would suffer if I lost the pick. But now that I've grown up, there are many more important things than that. Perhaps losing the pick would help tap into other musical ideas????
     
  5. daddyo

    daddyo Guest

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    Mark Knopfler is another fingerstyle elecric player as is Jimmie Vaughan.
     
  6. Secret Ingredient

    Secret Ingredient Member

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    I have never used youtube. Very cool. Thanks to all for the links. Hey, I have something in common with Wes Montgomery! When I first picked up a guitar and started playing, it was a plastic acoustic thing my sister had received as a gift. I was about 10 or 11 and had never heard of a guitar pick. My eyesight is terrible, so when I saw guitar players (probably on Hee Haw, mainly), I could not see that they had anything in their hand. I wound up holdimg my hand like I had a pick and using the side of my thumb.

    Got these big blisters, that eventually turned into callous. All downstrokes! When I finally went to a lesson with a real instructor, he was floored at my picking 'technique'. Pretty dang fast for all downstrokes. All that sugar I ate as a kid, I suppose.
     
  7. 56_Special

    56_Special Member

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    Does anyone know if electric fingerstylers like Beck and Knopfler typically use the fleshy part of the finger tips or their nails?

    Thanks!
     
  8. Guinness Lad

    Guinness Lad Silver Supporting Member

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    I don't know any resources but a good way to do it is to take anything you already know and play it with your fingers. I have been playing for 25 years but have used my fingers for only the last 10 years. Believe me for the first 6 months to a year I was kicking myself in the ass wondering why I ever switched but now I wouldn't have it any other way.

    I took tunes like "Donna Lee" and "Straight no Chaser" and played them until I couldn't stand it, then I played them some more. I primarily use my thumb and index but lately I have been using almost any finger and often use combinations of fingers I wouldn't normally even think about. There are no shortcuts but the benifits are really worth it.
     
  9. Secret Ingredient

    Secret Ingredient Member

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    That always seems to be the way of it, right? :YinYang
     
  10. Rocktrans formed

    Rocktrans formed Member

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    I love that Jeff Beck video. Inspires me every time I see it.
     
  11. papatar

    papatar Member

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    That video was awesome. Now it may be obvious to a lot of you guys but to due to my limited experience, is that what would be called a Marshall, Fender, or Vox tone?
     
  12. Nomadgtr

    Nomadgtr Member

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    BTW,
    Jeff Beck is touring the US this fall. Check out his website or ticketmaster for the schedule. Always a jaw dropping event!
     

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