Pebber Brown - Picking Concepts

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by mcmurray, Dec 21, 2009.

  1. mcmurray

    mcmurray Member

    Messages:
    462
    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2009
    Location:
    Perth, Australia
    If there's any wannabe shredders here, check out this series on picking technique, I can't recommend it highly enough. This bloke is a great teacher. It may go against what you have learnt in the past, but keep an open mind.

    I'll link to the first video, but continue on with 1b, 1c, 1d... 2a,2b etc when you're done.

     
  2. jimfog

    jimfog Senior Member

    Messages:
    9,490
    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2003
    Location:
    Philly, Pa
  3. ivers

    ivers Member

    Messages:
    3,215
    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2005
    Location:
    Norway
    Why doesn't he use the same technique when playing live as when demonstrating his technique?
     
  4. mcmurray

    mcmurray Member

    Messages:
    462
    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2009
    Location:
    Perth, Australia
    Well the lesson shows an exaggerated motion in order to get the point across. When he's playing it's much more subtle.

    Try it and see how you like it. It did wonders for my picking hand.
     
  5. buddastrat

    buddastrat Member

    Messages:
    14,736
    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2005
    To me the thumb/index movement is important, so you don't get a lot of noise as well as playing relaxed. When I was learning, I noticed a lot of my favorite players did this so I emulated it.

    I've often said how I dislike the tone of the Benson picking style and here, you can see and hear why. I just don't like that sound especially on the low strings. That thin, sawing sound, and with the thumb locked, you don't get any give.
     
  6. cram

    cram Member

    Messages:
    13,337
    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2006
    Location:
    Southern NH
    isn't this thumb and forefinger movement something that EC does? If I recall, he says his motion is in more of a circle around the strings when he's using the bend of his finger/thumb joints.
     
  7. GovernorSilver

    GovernorSilver Member

    Messages:
    12,093
    Joined:
    May 30, 2007
    When I first learned Pebber's approach, it took me a while to realize he was "bowing" the strings with the pick like Benson, except 90 degrees away from Benson's pick motion. But it is that kind of motion as you say and requires a good apoyando/rest stroke to get a thicker tone and louder dynamics.

    No interest in shred for myself - just looked like an even more relaxed picking method than what I was using. I like picking loose and relaxed.
     
  8. townsend

    townsend Member

    Messages:
    1,205
    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2006
    Location:
    Plano, TX
    Agreed. Perhaps I've misunderstood what he is saying or playing. In the teaching segment, he seems to promote a picking motion that involves extension and flexion of the interphalangeal joint of the thumb.

    Yet when he starts jamming, I see his picking motion as coming from his wrist, with slight movement along the radial/ulnar sides of the hand (= thumb is on radial side; small finger is on ulnar side).

    I'm not going to say one is better. But at the Dallas (or could have been Arlington Guitar show) many years ago, I saw an Japanese shredder guitarist who had a beautiful and rapid alternate picking technique with the same flexion and extension of the thumb.

    I didn't think this was a good technique in the long run. Considering how dedicated some guitarists are to building speed, it just seemed to me that this style might lead to a repetitive stress injury of the interphalangeal joint of the thumb. Flexing your thumb joint rapidly and for long periods isn't, IMO, a natural motion.

    OTOH, picking from the wrist was far more subtle, and involved much less movement of the wrist in the ulnar/radial plane.

    As a physician assistant, I spent 2 1/2 years with a hand surgeon. During that time, I saw numerous instances of "CMC arthritis"--carpometacarpal arthritis--this is the joint at the base of the thumb (NOT the interphalangeal joint). For some reason, that joint would wear out and need surgery. Let it be noted: I never saw anybody, guitarist or otherwise, who came in with an arthritic interphalangeal joint of the thumb. (I did see a few arthritic distal interphalangeal joints of the fingers, which were fixed surgically by fusion.) Just my thoughts. YMMV.
     
  9. Tone Loco

    Tone Loco Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    3,943
    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2004
    Location:
    Boston
  10. GovernorSilver

    GovernorSilver Member

    Messages:
    12,093
    Joined:
    May 30, 2007
    Try the coffee cup drill demonstrated in the video below at 3:30 - with the spoon in the cup, then in the air :



    You will find the movement is more restricted if you lock your thumb but if you let the thumb go, it will extend/flex on its own, and you can probably keep doing this movement for a long time without fatigue in your thumb or anywhere else on your hand or wrist.

    Pebber just asks the viewer to try extending/flexing the thumb to make him/her aware that the thumb should be flexible during the shaking motion.
     
  11. Kappy

    Kappy Member

    Messages:
    14,044
    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2005
    Location:
    West Village, NYC
    Have trouble getting past the playing at the end of the first youtube clip. Probably my ears are off, but it sounded ghastly (and not particularly articulate). I'm sure it's me though. I found Paul Gilbert's picking and his explanation of his picking to be pretty impressive, clear, and articulate. He's not for everyone though.
     
  12. buddastrat

    buddastrat Member

    Messages:
    14,736
    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2005
    I don't see where there's any question. It's a combination of small rotary movement with the thumb movement. They work together and watch Gilbert, Yngwie, EJ, and most players pick this way. With the Benson angle, you lock your thumb. That's when I experienced some sharp pain.
     
  13. bigdaddy

    bigdaddy Member

    Messages:
    6,488
    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2009
    Location:
    Smiths Station, AL
    I've only watched the first 2:09 so far. It's good to see a rocker that knows how to hold a pick (resting on the side of the index finger rather than using the pad of the index finger), but dude is flat out WRONG about "flatpicking". There ain't a flatpicker out there keeping his wrist stiff and using his forearm. This technique appears to be flatpicking 101. Studying flatpicking is a great way to improve right hand technique for almost any style!

    Watch Orrin Starr teching Whiskey Before Btreakfast...

     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2009
  14. buddastrat

    buddastrat Member

    Messages:
    14,736
    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2005

    Yes, there is a weird sound to it, I thought it was my computer though. blurry or messy almost.
     
  15. cram

    cram Member

    Messages:
    13,337
    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2006
    Location:
    Southern NH
    WOAH! Stop the hasty poster! Stop the HASTY POSTER!!!

    I meant to type - EJ... Eric Johson... That guy from texas... Not EC. Not Eric Clapton. Not slow hand...

    grrrrrrrrrrrr....

    :)
     
  16. 57tele

    57tele Member

    Messages:
    914
    Joined:
    May 12, 2006

    Except, of course, Doc Watson, Ricky Skaggs...
     
  17. kimock

    kimock Member

    Messages:
    12,314
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2005
    Location:
    Where the Palm Tree meets the Pine
    Yeah. What about the bit where he says the plectrum has been around since the 30's.
    More like 3,000 BC. . .

    That was a hoot huh?
     
  18. GovernorSilver

    GovernorSilver Member

    Messages:
    12,093
    Joined:
    May 30, 2007
    Pebber says in one of his vids that he got the technique by observing McLaughlin and Django. In yet another vid, he speculates McLaughlin got it off of sarod players.

    Oud players appear to have that loose, yet fast vibrating motion too, but splatt can probably speak better to that.
     
  19. ganttmann

    ganttmann Member

    Messages:
    586
    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2007
    Location:
    Silver Spring, MD
    A long time ago I studied with a guy named Frank Mullen in Washington, DC. Frank taught the "circle" picking technique Pebber is explaining here. But when Frank played everything moved - his arm, his wrist and his thumb and index finger. Years later I took a couple of lessons with Joe Lano in Las Vegas. He taught the stiff-wrist-and-fingers all-motion-comes-from-your-elbow technique. But when he played everything moved - forearm, wrist, thumb and index finger. In other vid lessons Pebber demonstrates sarod picking, which looks like mostly wrist but his arm HAS to move, else how do you skip from one string to another? And, regarding pick angle: As has been pointed out, different pick angles get different sounds. Sometimes I want maximum twang out of my low strings. The best way for me to get that is with the pick parallel to the string. Sometimes I want less pick attack and more velocity so I angle the pick as needed. I grew up watching Danny Gatton play and he did it all with the added twist of insane finger-picking, which opens many doors not available just by flat-picking. My point is this - It's all important stuff to know! There is no one right way!

    But you all knew that already!

    Merry Christmas!

    Gantt


     
  20. guitwitit

    guitwitit Member

    Messages:
    50
    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2009
    Pebber is the man and whatever he says, it's probably worth investigating.

    Once when I was in college, my guitar teacher said, "Genius' contradict themselves all the time. Read some Stravinsky interviews."

    Not to say that PB is a genius but, we all contradict ourselves from time to time.
     

Share This Page