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How to practice the Benson picking method?

cigpow

Member
Messages
547
Hey all,

I was wondering if anyone had any pointers as to how to practice the Benson picking method? I have tried it on and off for the last couple months, but I just can't get it to feel normal and always end up going back to my old picking ways......Does anyone have any pointers? Exercises? Any and all help would be much appreciated!!!

Thanks in advance

-Ian
 

Lammy

Member
Messages
480
You practice it like any other picking method. You just play it. I never felt like it was a big deal to go back and forth between the different picking styles. Just do all your warm up drills, slowly with it at first and then move onto practicing your scales and playing whatever you practice using the benson attack. Keep at it, it will become normal eventually.
Try it in front of a mirror using large exaggerated movements.
Or you can practice sweep picking using benson picking very slowly
Again, the key is very slowly and develop a confident stroke and then you can speed it up.
Is the way the pick is coming across the string aking you uncomfortable? Is it how the pick moves in your fingers? Do you have a double jointed thumb? Maybe benson picking isn't for you. I only use it, if i want a certain sound otherwise.
 

cigpow

Member
Messages
547
You practice it like any other picking method. You just play it. I never felt like it was a big deal to go back and forth between the different picking styles. Just do all your warm up drills, slowly with it at first and then move onto practicing your scales and playing whatever you practice using the benson attack. Keep at it, it will become normal eventually.
Try it in front of a mirror using large exaggerated movements.
Or you can practice sweep picking using benson picking very slowly
Again, the key is very slowly and develop a confident stroke and then you can speed it up.
Is the way the pick is coming across the string aking you uncomfortable? Is it how the pick moves in your fingers? Do you have a double jointed thumb? Maybe benson picking isn't for you. I only use it, if i want a certain sound otherwise.
Thanks for the help! The pick just feels very uncomfortable between my fingers when I hold it..............I also do not have a double jointed thumb, so that may be part of the problem. I really do want to try and develop this picking method though, because I feel like it has a lot of benefits.
 

Lammy

Member
Messages
480
I think a double jointed thumb makes it easier, although i have had students whose thumbs bend very little and there is no way they would be able to play in that picking style.
Do you grip it with the index AND middle?
That might help stabilize it.
 

seacowrider

Member
Messages
26
check out tuck andress' site, scroll down to Benson method
Maybe somebody can help me to find my way on this one? I've read Tuck's description of the Benson picking method several times. But I just cannot seem to fathom what he means - can't visualize it. Can anybody clarify it for me - perhaps even with illustrations. Sorry to be so dense!
 

cigpow

Member
Messages
547
Maybe somebody can help me to find my way on this one? I've read Tuck's description of the Benson picking method several times. But I just cannot seem to fathom what he means - can't visualize it. Can anybody clarify it for me - perhaps even with illustrations. Sorry to be so dense!
I agree............Tuck's article is great but it is very hard to understand what he is trying to say without some pictures of his right hand.
 

Lammy

Member
Messages
480
Yeah. It's not a piece to learn the technique so much as to talk about the benefits of it after youve learned it. It is really quite the read...
Look up santana clips and look up benson picks. Through practice time of your own, you will find the angle of holding the pick that will work for you, and all he other details. Just gotta keep plugging.
Just pretend you are holding a popscicle stick or handing someone an upright stick, that seems to be the kind of pick grip im using.
 

seacowrider

Member
Messages
26
Yeah. It's not a piece to learn the technique so much as to talk about the benefits of it after youve learned it. It is really quite the read...
Look up santana clips and look up benson picks. Through practice time of your own, you will find the angle of holding the pick that will work for you, and all he other details. Just gotta keep plugging.
Just pretend you are holding a popscicle stick or handing someone an upright stick, that seems to be the kind of pick grip im using.
Thanks guys - did the web search - found a pretty good picture at

http://www.jazzguitar.be/forum/everything-else/3507-george-benson-picking-method.html

It is the 8th message in the thread.
 

seacowrider

Member
Messages
26
Looking at the picture it appears to me to be the same grip I use - but because his thumb is arched, the pick's angle of attack on the string is slightly askew. Not so very different it seems to me.
 

UfoPilot

Member
Messages
214
I do something like that too. In my hand the pick becomes an extention of my index fingers fingernail.
 

buddastrat

Member
Messages
14,690
I find the tone scratchy and thinner because of the pick slicing the strings. Compared to the opposite way. Neal Schon does that. I used to play that way for years when I was a kid. But it does have certain advantages for specific picking passages.
 

Lammy

Member
Messages
480
I definitely find the tone not be scratchy, You have to use picks that arent scratched up on the sides. Its warmer and a little fatter for me. I also used picks that i have filed and buffed.
 

Megatron

Member
Messages
1,633
Tuck's article is gold....you might have to read it a few times.

I think just being aware of the mechanics available for picking can be beneficial.

I pick using the Benson method but my thumb is not double jointed like George's. I use the alternate version with my pick angling down. The mechanics are still the same. Ultra fast alt. picking, improved accuracy, light and relaxed.
 

buddastrat

Member
Messages
14,690
I definitely find the tone not be scratchy, You have to use picks that arent scratched up on the sides. Its warmer and a little fatter for me. I also used picks that i have filed and buffed.
I guess it'd depend on a lot of variables. Like strings, guitar etc.. I'm just talking with a standard style, new pick, for me it ends up slicing with the side of the pick, instead of hitting with the meat of the pick. When I a-b the two ways, I always prefer the thicker sound of the traditional way. But with flatwounds and a big hollow body it sure sounds pretty darn good for George.

I also find it tougher to hybrid pick with your hand in that position compared to the normal way.
 
Messages
15,190
That looks like the way I started with the pick. I stumbled upon it while looking for a pick angle that had the least amount of drag. Steve Morse does it too.

My jazz guitar teacher however had me change my picking style to the "common way" depicted here:



It was because he found my volume too low, compared to my classmates, in our class. We were all playing acoustic guitars because hardly anybody cared to lug an amp around university campus.
 

musicianjs

Member
Messages
36
WorkshopLive has started a series of video lessons with Benson himself. Probably best to learn from the source.

Jason
 
Messages
15,190
That was because you were probably not employing the Apoyando technique, which is essential to the Benson picking technique. It brings a huge amount of loudness to the sound without much effort.

Regards
Sorry, man, but I'm having trouble picturing Apoyando as applied to the pick, Benson style. When I think of Apoyando, I think of classical two-finger plucking, with the finger that just plucked resting on the next string - that's why I can't picture it applied to pick technique - Benson style or otherwise.

So are you saying you use Benson technique? Care to post a video? ;)
 
Last edited:

Megatron

Member
Messages
1,633
I've noticed some of the gypsy jazz guys doing this with a pick but it's used in conjuction with economy/directional picking. It's obviously economical but I think it gives them the volume to get over other acoustic instruments. I've never seen Benson do this.
 




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