View Full Version : What is this technique?

10-28-2004, 03:37 AM
What is the style that Eric Johnson is playing in in this video (http://www.ericjohnson.com/audio/dusty.wmv) called, how does it work, and how should I practice it?

10-28-2004, 04:17 AM
WOW! That was cool! Thanks for sharing. He just doesn't get enough recognition. He has truly mastered the instrument. I think he is probably using several styles including fingerpicking, hybrid picking, flatpicking, and legato. More Eric Johnson! Yeah!!!

10-28-2004, 04:18 AM
Nothing special, it looked like he was fingerpicking but it kinda looks like hes hybrid picking too. Just picking normally but using the fingers not holding the pick to pluck strings and such.

PS. Not to mean nothing special as in its not good, just i'v seen stuff like it before but thanks for the video, i'v always heard of him but never heard anyhting by him, im gonna go look up some tabs and stuff by him now.

10-28-2004, 04:26 AM
Okay, did some snooping around, and the part that interested me the most seem to be a style used by Chet Atkins a lot. It's weird how he can keep the bass going while finger picking using his last three fingers.

10-28-2004, 07:57 AM
Im pretty sure its Travis Picking or a version of it. My teacher is teaching it to me- its used by some country guys, as well as Tommy Emmanuel. You Palm Mute the bass strings (E, A, D) with your right palm, and your thumb is responsible for these. You use I, M, and A for the high 3 strings (G,B,D respectively) The idea is somewhat to keep a steadyish rhythm on the bass, while playng a melody on the high strings. It involves alot of coordination. It also sounds better (In my opinion) If you use a thumb pick ala Tommy Emmanuel. I could post some exercises from my teacher gave me later I guess. Watch/Listen to some Tommy Emmanuel for some beautiful work in this style (His acoustic stuff though, not his electric tommyemmanuel.com )


10-28-2004, 04:40 PM
Okay, did some snooping around, and the part that interested me the most seem to be a style used by Chet Atkins a lot. It's weird how he can keep the bass going while finger picking using his last three fingers.

Ok, try taking the intro from smoke on the water and play the bass line with your thumb while you play the guitar stuff with your 'hybrid fingers'

in case you don't know the bass line is just G on the 6.th string ending every measure with a chromatic line up to G again.
E: ...-0-1-2-|-3-3-3-... etc.

10-28-2004, 05:45 PM
I got introduced to Travis picking by my last guitar teacher (who happened to be a country player), after messing with it for a while I kinda found an approach that worked for me, I use a flat pick (holding it with the thumb and the index) and my remaining three fingers to pluck the high 3 strings.

Here's a pattern that helps you develop this type of technique:

It's pretty simple but just like with any technique it's better to isolate it first and then work your way up.

I'd run it through a progression first and then try to include more hammer ons and pull offs, little breaks(runs) here and there, and before you know it you'll be coming up with some awesome bluegrasish licks.

I hope this helps.


10-28-2004, 07:59 PM
Here is 4 bars from his video in the same style:

10-28-2004, 10:23 PM
Actually for as long as I can remember it's been called Chicken Picking. Many guitarist actually use it. I can name a couple off the top of my head. Zakk Wylde does it on a live version of "Machinegun Man" that was performed on Headbangers ball. Buckethead uses it alot as well on some of his more funk-country oriented stuff like "Hog B*tch Stomp". Here's a powertab of that song.

It actually has been around for sometime now. Bluegrass guitarists usually use this kinda of picking. It's a derived technique from the banjo. I've been known to use if alot. Actually alot of neoclassical guitarist use it when covering older classical music. How do you think they get some of the crazy intervallic pedal tones in there with ease?

If you ask me I think Buckethead really uses this technique to it's full advantage. I've seen him improvise using Chicken Picking and trust me it's quite awesome.

10-28-2004, 11:11 PM
Lindsey Buckingham from Fleetwood Mac does something like that (pumping the bass while playing stuff on the lover stings) in a bunch of their songs. Check out the live version of Big Love, it's great.. can't beliave he's singing while playing like that.

Los Boleros
10-28-2004, 11:44 PM
I do believe that tecnique is called A$$-Kicking. (It may be kicking A$$ i am not too sure though) it's one of those two though.:D

10-29-2004, 01:11 AM
Lots of great guitar players out there with zero to minimum recognition who play that kind of style - Guy Van Duser, Leo Kottke, Laurence Juber, Andrew York, Phil Keagy, Danny Gatten (comitted suicide), Earl Klugh (Jazz style)... just naming the the more familar artists.

I'm no virtuoso, but it's bluegrass/Travis/fingerstyle picking and it helps if you study traditional classical guitar for awhile to get the hang of fingerpicking (PIMA) and alternating the bass strings. Some starter songs: Stairway, Julia, Blackbird, Baby, I'm Leaving You-Zep1, Time In A Bottle, Spanish Romance, Tanz, Freight Train, Jesus, Man's Desiring, Tears In Heaven. (These will not teach alternating bass)

Traditional classical books are Aaron Shearer, Carcassi, and Parkening methods, plus many others, and the Sor studies. If you are really serious, I suggest learning classical guitar for awhile with a qualified teacher, then move on, learning bluegrass songs either by ear, or if you can find them, good TAB bluegrass/fingerstyle songs. Some muscians that you see on music videos have the incorrect right hand technique. The hand is not positioned correctly, they will use only 2 fingers for fingerpicking instead of 3, place the pinky on the top of the guitar, etc. That's why you need a qualified classical instructor to get started, but also who may not know how to improvise or play Travis style guitar. Unfortunately, there's a very steep learning curve to play like that!

Hope this helps and not trying to offend anybody,

10-29-2004, 02:17 AM
A really good song for learning the Travis style of fingerpicking is Dust In The Wind by Kansas. My technique was way better just by learning that one song the whole way through. It's also a good warm-up exercise for the right hand.

10-29-2004, 03:38 AM
Would it be impractical to try and learn to do this hybrid picking?

10-29-2004, 05:41 AM
same as oRg, I know also this technique as chicken picking. when it comes to this technique, 3 guys comes to my mind. Eric Johnson, Zakk Wylde and Steve Morse...

10-29-2004, 07:23 AM
how could you guys all forget about ALBERT LEE !
the master of chicken picking!

10-29-2004, 07:37 AM
Would it be impractical to try and learn to do this hybrid picking?I don't agree on that, since it's hard to produce its sound with other techniques.

10-29-2004, 12:23 PM
Hard? Yes, impossible? No. I Learned this tehnique fingerpicking first (since I'm classically trained that wasn't really all that difficult) Then I saw Steve Morse do it and I thought it was cool to be able to change between flatpicking and fingerpicking so I learned it that way too, and the latest thing I did was adding the pinky instead to have 3 fingers and a flat pick. While I haven't mastered that style yet (try Recuerdos de la Alhambra or El Ultimo Tremolo <Una Limosnita Por el Amor de Dios> while using that technique...) I am pretty profficient with it and I have done it just for a couple of months, so it can be done. If guitarists always listened and did "what you are suposed to do" people wouldn't come up with these weird contraptions.

I agree that a strong Classical foundation is an excellent help not just for fingerpickers but for everyone, even those who are into shredding and neoclassical stuff can get tons of benefits from classical studies.

While I'm in the subject of classical studies, Has anyone tried (William Leavit's) "Classical Studies for pick stlye guitar" (Berklee press)? Man! those studies ARE hard to do, I hadn't realized how little control of the pick I had until I tried some of those... I think everyone should try those, they'll improve your playing A LOT (I'm nowhere near done that book but I strongly recomend it).

Just that. I guess I just ended up rambling...

10-29-2004, 07:00 PM
FK, that book does sound interesting. Maybe I could order a copy through a store or something. I took a number of classical lessons a while back, adn they were definitely fun. The biggest problem I ran into was the technique vs sight reading thing. I was technically proficient enough to play some peices, but my poor sight reading skills really got in the way.

I'm going to try and practice this technique over this weekend. I'll try out both finger picking and hybrid.

10-30-2004, 02:14 AM
Man, I can't believe I left out Albert Lee and Guy Van Duser.

Another guitarist who uses this style of picking is Jason Becker. I'm refering back the the Paganini's 5th caprice where he does some of the fast string skipping and pedal tones. Shawn Lane also used to do some of it when playing triads. He had a certain way he played triads which was a mix between chicken picking and tapping.

10-30-2004, 04:01 AM
Check out my old pal Tommy Emmanuel, he's another master at this style ... he's one of just a handful of player that Chet Atkins gave a CGP to: Certified Guitar Player. They did an album together.

http://www.tommyemmanuel.com ... click on the 'Tommy's Welcome - Waltzing Matilda. We've been friends since 1975.


10-30-2004, 04:39 AM
I said him first :D

Im going to see him in concert (I may of said this earlier?)

How do you know him? Thats pretty awesome

10-30-2004, 07:45 AM

I havent read it all, but it appears to be that sort of stuff.


10-30-2004, 03:54 PM
How do you know him? Thats pretty awesome
Hi Dave. I moved to Australia in 1975 and pretty quickly met up with a bunch of musicians in Sydney, many of whom were doing the session work there. I started being hired for slide and finger style guitar for all kinds of work, especially commercials. Tommy, who was barely out of his teens, also wound up in the studios on a daily basis, so we became friends. I remember one session ... Tommy asked me for a lift home. When we got to my car, I started putting all my gear in the trunk; Tommy was taking his acoustic OUT of its case. He sat in the passenger seat and played all the way home! He is totally addicted to playing, never stops.


10-30-2004, 08:23 PM
I've always called it fingerstyle. I have always seen chicken-pickin' defined as a subset of the fingerstyle technique. My classical/fingerstyle instructor from my teenage days was a master of this. He *made* me learn this style and it gave me a HUGE edge in dexterity and flexibility when compared to most people that don't learn how to play like this.

IMHO, it's about 10 million times harder to play fingerstyle competently than a similar "shred 3NPS or sweep" technique. Okay, maybe that's not really accurate, but it is incredibly challenging to play STEADY 1/4 notes w/ your thumb and play complex chordal/melody ideas with your other fingers. :)

10-30-2004, 08:36 PM
hey pekkaman, i've got the dance to and lindsey is truly amazing, hes like effectivley playing the rhytm lead and singing ........ ahhh! my heads gonna explode, i struggle to do any one of those things at once. I really wanna get a tab for that amazing video of eric johnson (and big love, but icudnt play either). I think eric sardinas uses a sorta thumbpick (i think but not sure) and uses other 4 fingers for picking = best of both worlds.


11-01-2004, 01:22 PM
Hey Jeff (sorry I took so long to respond)

I looked for that book in stores for quite a while (about 4 months) and I couldn't find it so I wound up ordering it through Amazon.com . But if you don't trust internet (I wouldn't blame you for it) Most book stores can order stuff for you. It's worth it. (I don't think I'll be through with it any time soon :) )

I hope this helps.