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To alternate, to sweep or both?

 
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Which works for you and why...
Practice legato/sweeping mostly?
25%
 25%  [ 1 ]
Practice alternating mostly?
75%
 75%  [ 3 ]
Total Votes : 4

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gibson175



Joined: 22 Sep 2007
Posts: 184
Location: Blue Mountains Australia

PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 7:36 am    Post subject: To alternate, to sweep or both? Reply with quote

When saxophonists blow they rarely tongue their notes unless they are deliberately playing staccato (at least in the jazz world). Slurred legato style is the norm. Lovely. So I guess the most similar thing for us is to pick light and slur our notes as much as possible - maybe sweep also.
Trouble is sweeping does not always give us what we need for certain lines. It seems fine but alternating has some advantages.
1. Alternating is simple and uncluttered.
2. Alternating provides a strong rhythmic framework.
and disadvantages:
Notes have a more percussive attack than slurred/slid/hammered notes. Possibly leading to a mechanical feel - very different to most saxophone lines.
Sweeping has these advantages:
1. It allows more legato style playing.
2. Some passages or play can be played smoother/faster than alternating.
And disadvantages:
Not every passage can be slurred. Causing an incosistent technique.

Well, I would like some thoughts from you guys about how you practice this stuff for arpeggios, scales etc.
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wynnphillips



Joined: 09 Dec 2008
Posts: 24
Location: llanelli, South Wales

PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 6:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd say you need a third category in there for people like me who mix it up. I find that diferent tunes, different emotions, different sounds, different guitars change the balance between alternate and sweep picking for me.
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dirtylobster



Joined: 09 Oct 2006
Posts: 15

PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 6:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Both approaches should be mastered if you're even half serious about playing the guitar.

Actually there's more; alternating, economy picking, legato (hammerons/pulloffs), sweeps etc... and stuff like sliding.

I'm finally starting to get fluent in all those areas.

I suggest you start working on them all. If you concentrate on just one technique you'll be forced to change that technique slightly (which can be troublesome) once you decide to incorporate another. Trust me, I've been there. I started out only alternating. Then it took a great while to get used to economy picking (once I realized just alternating was stupid). Sweeping required another type of technique which again forced me to make adjustments in my previous techniques to make them all blend together. Now however I don't think about it anymore, I play most stuff pretty efficiently in terms of right hand technique.
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Tung



Joined: 20 Nov 2007
Posts: 203
Location: toronto

PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 7:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A good 75% of the time, I use economy picking. Sweep and alternate is important too for me. when I play rock or fusion I also exploit a lot more legato playing, especially tapping and Holdsworth style legato.
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sunflower



Joined: 09 Mar 2007
Posts: 581

PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 8:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interestingly Pat Martino's take on this is something like
'my left hand went to college , my right hand does whatever it wants'
Pats right is pretty good too !

I've noticed I'm mainly just downstrokes
with hammers/pulloffs slurs etc

I never could do the Benson alt picking thing
I love it tho , just can't do it
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Generic Sobriquet



Joined: 03 Jul 2007
Posts: 804

PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 9:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Erm, wrong. Saxophonists, including jazz players, tongue a lot more than you assume. Indeed, it is the norm, not the exception. There are various methods/types of tonguing. Moreover, tonguing is in fact used to produce legato.

Perhaps you don't know what tonguing actually involves. You also may be confusing some of that slurring you hear with glissandoa separate technique entirely, also not accomplished by changing fingerings while not tonguing.
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Volume Swell



Joined: 03 Jan 2008
Posts: 250

PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 10:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I mostly use economy. I guess that's a form of sweeping.
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JakeJew



Joined: 30 Jul 2005
Posts: 2190
Location: Boston, MA

PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 10:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use a combo and wish my alternate picking were a lot better. I think when the time comes and you have to play something you just have to go with what works.

Although I was a die hard alternator for a while, I've realized that there are so many things I can pull off at almost twice the speed if I use a combo of hammer ons, pull offs, economy picking, sweeping, and some slides.

I'm going to make a youtube video of a technique warmup I've been doing for a few months that I feel is useful. Stay tuned!
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JakeJew



Joined: 30 Jul 2005
Posts: 2190
Location: Boston, MA

PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 10:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another thing is that I think it's important to pay attention to the tone, articulation, accents, and rhythms produced by these various techniques. Some say that the strict-alternate pickers are too stiff for jazz and can't swing as well...i see that as somewhat valid, but it's just an issue of what you're going for and what you think of as swing.

Ex, compare Pat Martino's general time feel and articulation to Coltrane. The former is much stiffer. But there's a lot of McCoy Tyner stuff that is very staccato and even, and I think that sound can be replicated by a guitarist alternate picking.
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JakeJew



Joined: 30 Jul 2005
Posts: 2190
Location: Boston, MA

PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2010 2:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

lgiro wrote:

finally, i don't think that saxophone players spend much time worrying about making their instruments sound like guitars. i dont think that brass players or pianists try to sound like saxophonists either. neither should we.


To an extent I definitely agree with this. It seems like we hear all the time about all this stuff to get us sounding more like horn players. A guitar sounds like a guitar, there's only so much that can be done about that.

Obviously the guitar is a pretty popular instrument. There has to be something appealing about its sound.

However, I think it's beneficial to copy articulation and phrasing from a variety of sources. I've heard Scofield and Frisell both listened to a lot of singers and tried to match their articulation.

When I cop a lick or a solo I try to match the accents and feel as much as possible, and I spent a little bit of time with some Ella solos last year.

A dude on another forum had the good idea to record himself playing along with the solos he was transcribing and then he could observe, as a listener, how his phrasing and time matched up with the recording.
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