November 14, 2012



Submitted: Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - 11:50am

NEY MELLO- Testing Your Picking Grip for Max speed/volume
An article about three complementary and interchangeable paradigms I have formulated for guitar and general string instrument picking, based on the numerous technical factors covered in minute detail in my 2DVD set "Maximum Speed Picking with Ney Mello.

As art is a medium by which we connect with, and experience our inner nature in a direct manner, it seems fitting to me to treat a given technical matter in an integrated manner, in which philosophy and poetry have their rightful informative and descriptive say alongside the necessary dry intellectual discourse.

Instrumental technique such as right hand virtuoso picking for guitar can - in my experience- be understood on two levels:
A) The factual and pragmatic level, which excludes the artistic expression component.
B) The integrated physical functioning of the body and artistic expression. At this level the factual/pragmatic components are further refined and infused with the vital impulse of the artists inspirational state at the time of execution.
This vital impulse mandates additional movements of a subtle nature to be executed very precisely. These additional physical movements are very small on the guitar and they are responsible for the "soul" "feel" "inspiration" manifestation in terms of sound-waves projected by the guitar.

The diagram illustration shows three very different paradigmatic approaches to the plectrum stroke.
The very light grip requires pick angles parallel to the string. The pick is flat against the string or nearly flat as it touches it. If a tight grip is used, the pick cannot leave the string to complete the stroke, unless one lifts it with an upward wrist movement, which is limiting for high tempo playing.
The very tight grip and tight grip are used when the pick is angled at 45 Degrees or more, to execute the stroke. In this case a tight grip is essential, otherwise the pick will be pushed out of alignment by the force of the string.
This is a cursory description of some of the factors, but not of all crucial factors as this requires much more time and is already covered in my 3 and 1/2 hour long DVD.
The artist does not quite work on technique the same way as the average player. The factors practiced are the same pragmatic and factual ones, but the artist also adds the following:
Accents, dynamics, rhythm and tone as required by how he/she feels the music.
Therefore for an inspired player there is no dry technical practice! All practice is actual musical material, often broken down into small segments perhaps, but always practiced with full expression.
Why is this the chosen method by most masters and natural virtuosi?
It is so because what many call "expression" or "soul" is in fact only transmissible by ultra-precise touch/dynamics and tone as well as micro-variations in rhythm with a phrase. All of which are additional technical factors which vary enormously from phrase to phrase and from style to style and from instrument to instrument.
One can thus conclude that the inspirational content is -also-technical in nature, when it comes to musical execution via the instrument.
There can be no inspired rendition if one's muscle memory has not assimilated the fine technical motions that will bring forth physically the "soul ", the "expression" and the "inspired content".
My intention,with the "The 3 Graces of Picking", is to make three of these fine options visible for guitarists to develop and use when the musical reality of the moment demands it.
Ney Mello
© & ℗ Copyright Ney De Mello Mattos Nov12 2012
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