View Full Version : Gypsy Picking Style re-discovered

Apr-22-2004, 12:51pm
Hey all, #This just in, came across the Yahoo group we have for gypsy jazz in Portland (pdxdjazz). #It was forwarded from a guitar group. #A find by Michael Horowitz, a very fine guitarist and author in Seattle. #

I don't know anything more about it, but I have e-mailed Horowitz to ask if the book is available somehow...

--- In gypsyjazzguitar@yahoogroups.com, "meshugymeshugy"
<mhorowit@u...> wrote:
Hi everyone....

Someone emailed a while a back mentioning that there was an old
mandolin tutor that described a technique similar to that of Gypsy

I've found the book...its called "The Bickford Mandolin
Method" by
Zarh Myron Bickford. It was published in 1920.

His description of right hand technique is very detailed (includes
photos and diagrams.) And guess what? It's exactly the same way that
Django and the Gypsies play. Nearly every detail is identical: how to
hold the pick, hand position, rest strokes, when to use an upstroke,
tremolo. Several sections of the text are nearly identical to my own

As I suspected, the Gypsy picking technique is very old and used on
nearly every plectrum instrument around the globe. Its nice to have
some written documentation to prove it.

Anyway, for those of you playing Django on mandolin, you might want to
give the rest stroke a try. I've always suspected Dave Apollon played
this way, and now it seems even more likely.


--- End forwarded message ---

Jim Garber
Apr-22-2004, 2:22pm
The Bickford method is one of the best of the American methods. The first book, I believe, is still in print. The other volumes (2,3,4) are nearly impossible to find anywhere.


Apr-22-2004, 2:35pm
Yeah, volume I is the only one still in print. Bickford does an excellent job of describing and drilling the basics of pick strokes etc.

May-06-2004, 10:53am
HI everyone....the Bickford Mandolin Method is now available as a downloadable eBook from Djangobooks.com

For more info see: DjangoBooks.com (http://www.djangobooks.com/)

We also have Joe Venuti's Violin Rhythm. Its, of course, a violin book. But since the music is "native" to the mando tuning it might be worth looking at.

Have fun!


May-06-2004, 11:48pm
I have a bickford #1 , if any one is covetous, I long since have become an ear (near illiterate) player.
[ I keep putting music books under my pillow, but it just did not speak to me] so much for sleep learning !
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