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Gary Willis technique

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Peter McFerrin, Oct 23, 2001.


  1. Does anybody else use his fingerstyle technique? I'm learning it right now and it seems to be really improving the accuracy of my playing. I spent an hour last night doing nothing but scales and arpeggios with it and was amazed at the increased cleanliness of my sound.
     
  2. Gary Willis Technique:--
    is best described as a Jaco Pastorius imitation.
     
  3. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    No, it's not. Jaco used a pretty standard two-finger alterate picking technique.
    Gary uses a sophisticated three-finger technique that is not strictly alternate fingering. It's quite unique.
     
  4. I'm not familiar with GW's technique. When you say he uses 3 fingers, is that index + middle + thumb, or something else? I use that 3 finger combination and pluck my bass much like a classical guitarist would pluck a guitar (often adding a 4th finger to help out). That's just my preference because I happen to play the classical guitar. I am wondering if that's how GW plays.
     
  5. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    He uses index, middle and ring finger.

    He mostly uses two fingers to pluck 8th on one string, for example, and uses the third (ring) to dampen the next higher string and/or pluck a note there. This pattern changes around, depending on the bass line and the strings involved.

    There are two basic "positions" - open and closed, which one he uses depends on whether the bass line is more one a single string or involves more string-skipping.

    I haven't seen the video in a while, and it's quite hard to describe.

    Here are two links to his right hand lessons:

    http://www.garywillis.com/pages/lessons/rh1.html

    http://www.garywillis.com/pages/lessons/rh2.html
     
  6. Xavier: it's pretty much as JMX described it. I don't use the ring finger so much to mute the next upper string (my Dean has so little sustain that it's only necessary to mute strings lower than the one being played). I mainly cross strings going upward with it.

    The main advantage, as I see it, is that it combines the regularity of 2-finger alternation with much greater ease of crossing strings.