Today I wanted to talk to you about the right hand guitar and its importance in the development of the game.

I see little jokers coming with "the right hand of the right-handed or left-handed?" Or "yes, but I am left-handed". Finally, jokes of the level "your range Neapolitan you take it with olives and parmesan? ...".

In short, you have all understood that it was the hand gripping the ropes or holding the pick or both.

Even in the case of a majority use of the legato game, the right hand remains essential. If we observe the game of Allan Holdworth, who is for me the undisputed master of the legato, we can notice that there is a real strategic use of mediator shots.

For my part, I use the legato game a lot but I nevertheless attack many strings as in the video "mix back and legato". Indeed it gives a lot of dynamics to the game. We can accentuate some notes in the case of swing for example.

There are some guitarists who do not play us at all with "the right hand" in the case of exclusive 2 hands tapping like TJ Elmerich or Stanley Jordan. These two great guitarists are immediately recognizable by their games and the sound induced by this 2-handed tapping technique. Although they are monsters, I much prefer many other guitarists.

The style of music.

Whatever the style of music, we quickly realize that good control of the right hand is essential. From death metal to funk to jazz, the right hand is the hand that will give rhythm and dynamics, choke the ropes in Palm muting, percussion on the strings, generate some of the sound and especially the nuance.

I would go so far as to say that every style has practically its right hand technique:

  • in the metal: for the rhythmic it will be necessary to handle the big distortions and the Palm muting for the sound
  • In the funk: you have to have a flexible wrist to do the rhythm (I'm part of a group of funk and I can guarantee that when you do a concert you spend almost 2 hours doing rhythmic so you have interest in be flexible otherwise in the end you have tendinitis). In funk you have to accentuate certain parts of your rhythm to give it more groove. I would even say that you have to just groove with ghost notes, without making any chords. For the cocottes it's the same, whether they are played in "singles notes" or "skank" (when you play the 6 strings but there is only one note that rings) it is really necessary that this hand right ensures. Not to mention the management of the holding of the pick between the thumb and the index ...
  • In gypsy jazz: I am not at all a gypsy jazz specialist but I am lucky to know very good guitarists in this style. Already the pump; it is not enough to do "poum chak" stupidly, there is a groove to respect, it must live, it's a festive music. As for solos, gypsy jazz guitarists systematically attack downward when they change strings and punctuate the end of their sentences with a downward stroke. Joe Pass who is a very big fan of Django Reinhart also used this system. Another thing is that they play in blocks, which means that they practically cross the attacked rope and stumble the next. But as I say above I do not know anything about gypsy jazz ...
  • Blues: Watch the right hand of a Vaughan Stevie ray or a BB King or Albert King and notice how the right hand gesture affects their sounds. We have the impression that Stevie ray Vaughan literally "dismantles" the guitar and yet it is ultra flexible. Or Albert King playing with his middle finger in his right hand ...


  • Jazz: as I said above Joe Pass uses the blow down with each change of rope. In singular games how not to talk about Wes Montgomery and his mythical game to the thumb that gives it a sound that kills and gives it an extraordinary dynamic because it only hits down. In well-known jazz guitarists one can also observe the right hand of George Benson; his forearm is squarely in the extensions of the ropes. Pat Martino practically has an aerodynamic right hand when looking at him (hahahaha).
  • Flamenco: I'm not yet a great flamenco specialist but there are dozens of different right hand movements, it's amazing! Tons of combinations, thumbs back, percussion on the body, tremolos and so on ... In the film desperado with Antonio Banderas, there is a scene that marked me when I was younger or Banderas gives a few pipes to a young boy on the guitar and he tells him that the most important hand is the right hand.
  • The country: as for flamenco, there are dozens of different techniques: finger picking, chicken picking, hybrid picking, koto picking ... and so on ... just as for flamenco and gypsy jazz I n do not know much about it in country. I can just tell you that there is a particular guitarist in this style that makes me dream is Scotty Anderson! He plays with a tab (it is a pick that attaches to the thumb) and that it is simply amazing! It looks almost like a human harmonizer. I told myself to put a little this Year because there are very interesting phrasings. I use a technique that comes from this style is the hybrid picking.
  • The guitar hero: then if I started I could practically write a book just for this chapter, I'll just talk about the right hands that fascinate me. The first is that of Marty Friedman of Megadeth, Cacophony etc ... already the position; I have never seen another guitarist with such a right hand. In addition he uses a special technique that is a mixture of sweeping and going back ... I speak in this video or I declined one of these plans. Another right hand that fascinates me is that of Yngwie Malmsteem. If I had a perfect right hand it would be his. Everything is there ! Perfect position, fluidity in the movement and a relaxed attitude despite the extreme speed ... Other great straight hands: Guthrie Govan, Rick Graham, Marshall Harrison ...


Round trip

I find it essential to master and understand the round trip for several reasons. Of the students I had the opportunity to teach most could not progress because of gaps in their return. Either they had problems positioning themselves rhythmically, or he could not go faster ... it always came from the poor control of the round trip and the position of the right hand. I'm not a big fan of machine gun to go back like Al Di Meola for example or Michael Angelo I prefer the use of legato or speed picking but it is nevertheless a technique that I practice regularly. Indeed the round trip is a basic technique that allows you to organize your movements and to stall rhythmically.

Speed ​​picking or sweep picking or economy picking :

There are several names for this technique which is a mix of sweeping and round-trip.

As I said in the article about sweeping, this technique was popularized by Frank Gambale. Yngwie malmsteem uses this technique too.

The hybrid picking :

The hybrid picking is the fact of using the pick with the other fingers of the right hand, as I said above this technique was popularized by country guitarists.

The fingers game

In the game without picks there are many different techniques that I will discuss in more detail in an article specifically dedicated to that.

Stops, pinches, thumb games, picking, thumb index alternation ... there are so many ...

Sound, dynamics, nuances

I am convinced that the quality of the sound comes from the attack and the way to press the strings. Logic you will tell me. That said, I realize more and more that in addition to these two aspects there is a notion of balance between the two hands.

When it comes to dynamics, it's all about groove or swing or rhythmic life. When I was young I had a teacher who made me work the accentuation and I must confess that I did not understand why and it was much later that I understood why and it is one of the most important to work.

The nuance, the lack of nuance is enormously lacking in today's guitarists ... listen to a Stevie ray Vaughan or a Jeff Beck. It's just the absolute class !!! Imagine how annoying it would be if in life there were no nuances, the music is the same. Guitarists who have done classical are much more aware of this important aspect because the works require a lot of rigor at this level (among many other things).

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