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--- Jan 09 2013 Go to category
Subject: Technique
Category: General Questions
From: Craig Phillips (Saratoga/USA)

Hi Pat, I’m sure you’ve heard this a million times but I’m going to say it anyway-long time fan. I have been playing guitar all of my adult life, just not jazz although it has fascinated me for many years. The itch to learn jazz has just hit me recently, although I am 57, I don’t care-maybe one day I’ll be good enough to share the bandstand, maybe not. Studying it for now, is what does it for me. I have this French publication (Hal Leonard) that I acquired many years ago that contains your concepts and techniques as well as some transcriptions. Not that I can read French, but there is a diagram that shows how you hold the pick and I remember readying a quote of yours basically saying that that is the technique you adopted because in your home town all you could find were the light picks. Do you recommend using your technique or using the one that I’m sure most use with the pointed end down? Also, I know you recommend Mick Goodrick’s book, The Advancing Guitarist, do you know anything about the Berklee Press publication, Modern Method for Guitar and if so, do you recommend that? Thanks.

p.s. If I could make one wish come true, it would be to hear your Orchestrion concert one more time. I saw your performance in Santa Cruz, CA and thoroughly loved it.

Pat’s Answer:

Hi Craig, Thanks for the note and I wish you good luck with everything. For me, the benefit of learning about music is built into the effort that you give to it. The way the resulting insights that an understanding of music increases the quality of just about every aspect of life seems to almost universally deliver seems to speak for itself to just about everyone who addresses music seriously. Regarding technique, the first question is always, "What do you want to do?". That will set a course for you and the more closely you can define an answer to that question the clearer that path will be. It is impossible to give a general answer because everyone has a different goal in mind. In my case, it was and still is pretty clear for me to find the things that I need to work on by looking at what I hear in my head that I can't really get to yet - which is a lot of stuff. Regarding picks, method books, instruments and peripherals, and all the rest, it doesn't really matter - if you are working towards something and giving a deep genuine effort, positive results will follow.